Em'kal Eyongakpa
Gaia beats/bits III-i/
doves and an aged hammock, 2017

Installation view: Tidalectics, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Vienna, Austria, 2017. Photo: Jorit Aust.

Recycled wood, multichannel sound, electronic interfaces, analog motor, nets, plant fibers, mycelium
Dimensions variable
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Academy

Ocean voyages and narrations of migration are the pivot of Em'kal Eyongakpa's work in the exhibition. Reminiscent of a boat,his newly commissioned installation, Gaia beats/bits III-i/doves and an aged hammock (2017), destabilizes the ground under visitors' feet. The moving floor is accompanied by a fishing net swinging back and forth suspended from the ceiling, filled with debris found by beachcombers and personal objects of oceanic travelers, from voluntary voyages to forced migration. An audio track of poetic tales and rhythmic sounds evokes a linguistic polyphony of different biographies and destinies, all joined by the sea. Connected by water and maritime ties, the movements of people, animals, goods, and ideas transcend the biographical and point to global webs of power and of solidarity. Archipelagic thinker, poet, and philosopher Édouard Glissant metaphorically evokes our common submarine roots-"that is floating free, not fixed in one position in some primordial spot, but extending in all directions in our world through its network of branches,"[1] resonating with Brathwaite's assertion that "the unity is submarine."[2]
Em'kal Eyongakpa (b 1981) Mamfe, Kɛnyaŋland, Dɛnyaland
Lives at: itinerant.

Em'kal Eyongakpa approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through the ritual use of repetition and transformation.
Eyongakpa's interwoven installations, which could be experienced as paradoxical systems, not only blur the boundaries between employed media, but also alter the notions of real and illusory.
Since 2007, the artist has travelled extensively between Africa, Europe and the Americas. These voyages and itinerant spaces are increasingly reflected in the forms and deliberations, processes and encounters, that stand at the core of the aesthetics of his work.
Selected recent exhibitions include Sharjah Biennial 13, La Biennale de Montréal 2016, 32a Bienal de São Paulo, Beats/bits of(f) sPACE(s), [solo] 2016, Brescia, Negotiations 1-i; Dualaland-Paris, Kadist art Foundation Paris [solo] 2015.
Eyongakpa was a resident at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2013-2014) and was initially trained as a Botanist at the University of Yaounde I (2000- 2005).
[1] Édouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1989), 67.
[2] Kamau Brathwaite, Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean (Mona: Savacou Publications, 1974), 64.