Oreet Ashery’s Revisiting Genesis is a major online commission taking the form of a web-series in twelve episodes. Commissioned through the Stanley Picker Fellowships, the project premiered at Stanley Picker Gallery in Spring 2016 and led to Ashery winning the Jarman Award in 2017. The work is being presented at The Wellcome Trust in 2019 as part of Jo Spence & Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies.
Written and directed by the artist, Revisiting Genesis explores the philosophical, sociopolitical, practical and emotional implications of the processes surrounding death and withdrawal, digital afterlives, outsider communities, social networks and reincarnations of women artists. Developed in consultation with Medical and Death Online experts, including researchers at Kingston University, and produced with a range of artistic collaborators, Revisiting Genesis responds to diverse influences spanning from feminist art practice to outsider and minority politics, as well as the emergent online death industry.
Revisiting Genesis follows two nurses, both named Jackie, who assist people actively preparing for death to create biographical slideshows serving as their posthumous digital legacy. The slideshows become a tool for reflection on cultural and social loss, friendships and memory as identity. When a group of friends request this treatment for Genesis – an artist who is dying symbolically and otherwise – Nurse Jackie attempts to activate Genesis’ memory through the making of her slideshow, which draws from elements of Ashery’s own autobiography and explores the disappearance of social and educational structures under contemporary neoliberalism. Jackie concludes that it might not be Genesis who is vanishing, but the structures she had relied on. Presented in parallel with Genesis’ story, the twelve episodes are intercut with improvised interviews between individuals with life-limiting conditions and Nurse Jackie, played here by a practising GP.
Revisiting Genesis was commissioned by the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University and supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Tyneside Cinema, Goldsmiths University of London and waterside contemporary.
Oreet Ashery is a UK based interdisciplinary visual artist born in Israel, whose personally and politically charged exhibitions, performances, videos and writings are highly regarded internationally. Ashery works on public, community, educational and participatory projects that are both politically and socially engaged, and is particularly interested in gender, race and religion, ethnicity and identity. Ashery was appointed Stanley Picker Fellow in 2014 and won the Jarman Award in 2017.
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