If you love me… Actualities birthed in impossibilities—Kumasi Locomotive Shed and other lines along Ghana rail tracks

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November, 2016
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This text walks the reader through the process, production, and presentation of “if you love me…”, a collaborative exhibition that sought to approach curating as an artistic practice in and of itself. Channelling productivist strategies of “functional transformation”, the co-curators intervened in identified sites of critique, in an attempt to birth actualities from within impossibilities. Collaborative efforts bridged institutional, ideological, and economic lines, involving a cross-disciplinary group of artists, scientists, labourers and hustlers. Interventions occupied ecosystems of the site(s), and at the same time were inhabited by them. In our several curatorial roles, we were the paradoxical colonisers who strove toward freedom, and by analogy, invasive bacteria equally vulnerable to infestation. The exhibition was multiple-sited with roots at the Locomotive Shed of the Kumasi Railway, and surrounding city streets and other lines along Ghana rail tracks. Our “garden of forking tracks” calls to mind an open-ended labyrinth with portals and trails along which participant audiences construct their chosen routes (or roots). Through visual, aural and sensory resonances attuned to multiple modes of perception—bricolage, installation, projection, performance, imagery, event and ingestion—the invited artists and their collaborators reconstructed debris of our times, and reimagined their potentials. Material and semiotic reconfigurations created other worlds within their world, and other positions from which to enter them. The open-ended, cross-genre and nonhierarchical curatorial strategy resonates with the rhetorical prose style, lowercase titling and unorthodox chapter organisation of this accompanying text. The contents are not exclusively my own, but a shared initiative of numerous individuals who have been labouring over the years, and a number of whom came together for this brief moment in time in the name of love.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Art Painting and Sculpture