Gray Wielebinski (Ed.): The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low
ICA, 2023, Softcover, 120 pages, 25 × 18 cm
Contributions by Gray Wielebinski, Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, Asa Seresin, Larne Abse Gogarty, Maxi Wallenhorst, Joe Shakespeare
Throughout the run of “The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low” other artists, thinkers and collaborators responded to the exhibition’s prompt in the form of performances and interactive workshops. This eponymous publication represents a different instantiation of the exhibition’s thesis, lovingly brought into being by the collaborative efforts of Wielebinski, Asa Seresin and Joe Shakespeare. Part artist’s book, part discursive response, it is a textual and archival collage of the cross-pollination of cultural and political themes of the exhibition—and the relevance of Delany’s writing—with essays by Seresin, Larne Abse Gogarty and Maxi Wallenhorst, and a visual narrative compiled from the Library of Congress. Seresin’s text orbits around the motif of the sun, specifically alighting on modes of defamiliarisation towards an interpretation of the exhibition as an ‘excavation of the apocalyptic in the mundane, foregrounding of the here-and-now within the imaginary of other worlds.’ Abse Gogarty traces Wielebinski’s chain of associations from public toilets to Don DeLillo, to Mike Kelley’s “Harems”, addressing the motif of concentric circles in Wielebinski’s work with a correspondingly telescoping essay. Within an appropriately genre jumping text, Wallenhorst situates the artist’s work in the context of a trans poetics of the literal, ultimately spelling out an emancipatory horizon for literalness. The book is but one example of the defining generosity of Gray Wielebinski’s practice, and of the artist himself, in approaching our shared existence from a deeply curious and dialogic perspective.