MFA Degree Show 2023
Infrastructures of proximity
by Natalia Sielewicz.
Art schools like museums tend to be structures of confinement. But despite the embedded inequity in the system, they produce psycho-social promises of visibility and access. Here bodies can form attachments – to forms, concepts, and if you are lucky, to other humans. Afgang 2023 gathers 34 artists graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art. It probes modes of attachment and intimacy in line with what affect theorist Lauren Berlant, in their book On inconvenience of other people, called nonsovereign relationality. Through this inconvenience, Berlant understood the force through which we “shift a little while processing the world, because we cannot know each other without being inconvenient to each other”.
Probing the desire to bother other people and objects, this year’s degree show explores cohabitation with humans, devices, plants, inanimate matter and the attachments we form with them. What kind of intimacies grow out of these proximities? Could we think of them as invisible infrastructures, like water, electricity and other media, which are fundamental to the maintenance of life? Could the “inconvenient guests” invent a new tender logic of cohabitation with their hosts? The audience is invited to experience these entanglements where humans and objects are never passive, but reorganise each other through pleasure, drama, gossip, dissociation, reckoning, grief and other “inconveniences”. Because, as Berlant reminds us, “adjustment is a constant action: the grinding of the wheels of awkwardness and the bargaining with life’s infrastructures.”