Activate: Market Street Featured Artist Ngu Asongwed

Lawless Innovation by a Timeless Generation
Activate: Market Street 11
Alex Scott Cumming
In collaboration with Ngu Asongwed and Jasmine Mans

February 11th – April 1st, 2017
Opening Reception February 11th 7-10pm @ Gallery Aferro

Ngu Asongwed is a video artist and curator living in Newark, NJ. Asongwed works primarily in video and curates performances and art shows in spaces around downtown Newark. The goal of Asongwed’s work is to explore the interaction between cultures and their environments. Using his main subject, skateboarding, he shows the effect an environment can have on the culture within it and vice versa. Asongwed seeks to re-contextualize the skate video by including commentary on the social issues that arise in the modern urban environment in to his work such as architecture, gentrification, violence and race. Starting with his involvement in the Submerged Art Gallery in 2010, Asongwed has been a key figure in the multi-disciplinary arts and music community in downtown Newark. His curatorial credits include The Kanek skateshop and gallery, The Metropolitan performance space and The Life Lab performance space and gallery. Asongwed is currently involved in organizing a monthly performance series with Newark producer and artist Uniiqu3 and releasing limited runs of apparel.

Lawless Innovation for a Timeless Generation is a collaborative exhibition between Alex Scott Cumming, Jasmine Mans, and Ngu Asongwed for Gallery Aferro’s Activate: Market Street 11. The exhibition includes “67BRXSQAD”, Ngu Asongwed’s ongoing video journal within the first installation. Its footage of Newark, some shot by Asongwed himself and other artists, is presented within a “living room”. Locations in the footage, playing in a continuous loop, are familiar to viewers. This contrast of sculpture and film act as the “memory of the present” written of by Paolo Virno in Déjà Vu and the End of History and a “historical a priori” of Michel Foucault in Archaeology of Knowledge. The words of Jasmine Mans, a poet, are presented in the second installation by banners and shapes. Banners and shapes meet text to address our ability to speak and define experience as individuals and communities. The final installation is a structure resemblant of Pennsylvanian coal mine tipples as photographed by Bernd and Hilla Becher. The structure is built replicating the seemingly spontaneous construction of these tipples, some built by miners for mines abandoned during the Great Depression. In addition to the structure, this installation includes New Jersey state law books. As a whole, Activate: Market Street 11 presents interpretations of memory, language, labor, and law in poetry, sculpture, and video.