Potentially Yours, The Coming Community

Newell Harry, Louise Menzies, Dan Nash, Fatima Al Qadiri and Khalid Al Gharaballi, Mika Rottenberg, Sorawit Songsataya, Martine Syms

November 10 – December 22, 2016
Curated by Tendai John Mutambu
Opening Thursday November 10, 6pm

Public programme


Martine Syms

Martine Syms, Notes on Gesture, 2015. HD Video. Courtesy the artist.


Contemporary capitalism [coerces] us all to ‘live up to our potential’ by getting with the program, by playing the game, by giving it everything.

– Sven Lütticken, 20141


Presented in the form of a sign-off to an open letter; a missive whose subject remains undefined, the title of this exhibition imagines the promise of alternative approaches to potential. In his book The Coming Community, the philosopher Giorgio Agamben presents an assemblage of essays on a variety of themes, including potentiality. And much like Agamben’s eponymous text, this exhibition brings together a range of ideas that collectively become at once a critical (re-)reading, a thought-experiment and a material provocation, which find expression through a variety of aesthetic modes.


Here political ecologies, inhuman subjectivities, the archive, racialised temporalities and the chronopolitics of labour and leisure coalesce around the central premise of asserting new understandings of potential. While certain works focus on the potency of not-doing, others deploy the strategy of ‘potent impotence’ to occupy zones of indeterminacy; spaces located between refusal and acquiescence. In its defiant resistance to the neoliberal rhetoric of potential-as-self-optimisation – one which poses a threat to our critical imagination – Potentially Yours, The Coming Community proposes a kinship between the ‘not-yet-here’2 of unformed communities and collective material histories as the potential of an unfolding present.


1 “Liberation through Laziness. Some Chronopolitical Remarks.” Mousse Issue no. 42.

2 José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (New York: New York University Press, 2009).  


Public Programme:

Saturday November 12, 2pm: Exhibition tour
Join the exhibition curator and contributing artists Louise Menzies, Dan Nash and Sorawit Songsataya in a floor talk on the exhibition.

Tuesday November 22, 6pm at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki auditorium:
Easy Listening presents Martine Syms Misdirected Kiss, performative lecture.


Works list
An essay by Emilie Rākete
A conversation between Bridget Riggir & Dan Nash


The Artspace Curatorial Assistant role is generously supported by Dame Jenny Gibbs.


Baker + Douglas