How can artists working today help us imagine the future? What concerns will affect us as a species? What will the world and politics surrounding us look like? How will our cultures change, and how will the people of the future think of us as their past? These are the questions the Ulrich will tackle in a series of presentations of moving image works titled Some Possible Futures
The Civilized is the third and last presentation in this series of exhibitions. Commissioned by the MAM-Rio Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this fifteen-minute film by Zahy Tentehar asks the fundamental question “What is it to be civilized?” The artist comes to this question as a member of the Indigenous Tentehar-Guajajara people, and her first language, the Ze’eng Eté dialect of the Tupi-Guarani family, is heard in the first part of the film. “I am the encounter of two worlds,” she says. “An ancestral world versus the ‘civilized’ world.’” The film is an oblique but powerful indictment of the physical and cultural destruction that colonization and modernity, emblematized by industrial machinery, have wrought on both Indigenous lifeways and human experience more broadly. In juxtaposition to this imagery, Tentehar asks what future it will be possible to envision in the future, suggesting that what we mean by “civilization” might need to be dramatically rethought in light of Indigenous experience and knowledge.
The Ulrich is grateful for the ongoing support of the Ulrich Friends with Benefits members who make the Museum’s exhibitions and programs possible through their memberships. We also receive funding for general operational support from the City of Wichita and Wichita State University.