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  • Serpent Rain

Curated by Darryn Doull


Serpent Rain is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future.

The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher – how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying – maybe we can make a film without time.

The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.

Together we ask: what becomes of the human if expressed by the elements?

Serpent Rain is commissioned by Stefano Harney for The Bergen Assembly.

About the Artists 

Denise Ferreira da SilvaDenise Ferreira da Silva is an artist and Professor and Director of UBC's Social Justice Institute-GRSJ and Adjunct Professor at Monash University’s School of Art, Design, and Architecture. She is the author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), A Dívida Impagavel (Oficina da Imaginaçāo Política and Living Commons, 2019), Unpayable Debt (Sternberg/MIT Press, 2021) and co-editor (with Paula Chakravartty) of Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Her several articles have been published in leading interdisciplinary journals. Her artistic works include the films with Arjuna Neuman and the relational art practices Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon in collaboration with Valentina Desideri. She has exhibited and lectured at the Pompidou Center (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London, MASP (Sāo Paulo), Guggenheim (New York), and MoMA (New York). She has written for publications from Liverpool Biennale, 2017; Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016, Venice Biennale, 2017, and Documenta 14 and published in journals such as Canadian Art, Frieze, Pass, Texte Zur Kunst, and E-Flux. She is a member of the Collective and an Editor of Third Text.

Arjuna NeumanArjuna Neuman is an artist, filmmaker and writer, with recent presentations at CCA Glasgow; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Manifesta 10, Marseille; Showroom Gallery, London; TPW Gallery, Toronto; Forum Expanded, Berlin Berlinale; Jameel Art Centre, Dubai; Berlin Biennial 10, Germany; Serpentine, London X Qalandia Biennial, Palestine; Gasworks, London; Bold Tendencies, London, UK; Or Gallery, Vancouver; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; MAAT and Docslisboa, Portugal; Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity; Industry of Light, London; the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt; at Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; the Canadian Centre for Architecture; and the Rat School of Art, Seoul amongst others. As a writer, he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP, Hearings and e-flux.


Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman, Serpent Rain, 2016. Still image from single-channel video installation with sound, 30:00 mins. Commissioned by Stefano Harney and The Bergen Assembly, 2016. © and courtesy of the Artists.