NTU: UBULAWU is the first UK solo exhibition by South African-based collective NTU. Drawing on the collective’s ongoing research project NTUSAVE, this programme continues their engagement with Ubulawu – a sacred collection of plants used in traditional Southern African spiritual practice – and their phytochemical properties.
For NTU: UBULAWU the collective seek systems of ancient and future knowledge, organically encoded in the properties of certain plants indigenous to Southern and Central Africa. Catalysed through ritual and symbolic action, these plants – all attached to ancient cultural practices both recreational and ceremonial – allow access to multivalent and healing methods of knowing and being. Aiding divinity and prophecy, communication with ancestors and their spirits, and access to altered dream states, Ubulawu encourages dreams which have personal and prophetic significance for the dreamer, ancestral spirits and the practice of divination.
In the Auto Italia project space NTU will use water as a medium for spiritual interfacing and intuitive sight, enabling communicative, immanent, cumulative and healing relations across apparent physical and temporal boundaries of consciousness. Alongside the Ubulawu plants, water is recognised in traditional African spirituality as a channel for interdimensional communication. Here, NTU mobilises water as a technology of resistance, assembling its spiritual properties to retrieve formal and substantial bodies of knowledge from beyond the limits of Western universal thought.
NTU is a South African collective and creative agency concerned with the spiritual futures of technology. Founded in 2015 by Nolan Oswald Dennis, Tabita Rezaire and Bogosi Sekhukhuni, NTU seeks to disseminate an awareness of African sciences and technologies. Interested in technologies of epistemic liberation and cultures of scientific enquiry, the group seeks to claim agency as advanced technological beings, consciously resisting co-option – internalised or imposed – from white, reptilian, heteronormative patriarchal imperial power structures. Drawing from African spiritual philosophies, NTU’s projects embrace the interdependency of the organic, spiritual and technological to restore our energetic imbalances. Recent presentations include ‘NTUSAVE Sessions’, Berlin Biennale 9 (2016), ‘Co-workers: Network as Artist’, Museum of Modern Art, Paris (2015) and ‘Data Futures: ‘Swaartnet’’, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2015).
With special thanks to Joseph Borgois, Rachel Christian, Alex Craig, Bruno Gomez, Elliot Hewgill, Daisy Hodgson, Aimee Hornby, Felicie Kertudo, Yuxiao Luo, Dani Smith and Keoy Wan for bringing it to life.