• Issue
  • Aug 09, 2016

Nicholas Mangan: Radiant Times

PROGRESS IN ACTION, 2013, coconuts, makeshift coconut oil refinery, converted diesel generator and video projector, dimensions variable. Installation view at the 9th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, 2013. Unless otherwise stated all images courtesy the artist, Labor, Mexico City, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, and Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland.

“May you live in interesting times,” as the saying goes, appears to be a blessing, but in fact is meant as a curse. The expression is commonly purported to be an ancient Chinese aphorism that was drolly paraphrased by the British during the tumultuous 1930s in China. By today's standards of accelerated technological means many might well say that the English understatement needs to be reconsidered. The present is much more than merely "interesting": it is at once splendidly and anxiously radiant in its possibilities. And yet our planet, seemingly spinning ever faster on its axis, is showing worrying signs of not coping with humanity's hubris.

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