“Transposition” is a term borrowed from both music and genetics, where it refers to a state in which a certain boundary is crossed. It is also the title of a 2006 book, Transpositions: On Nomadic Ethics, by Rosi Braidotti, who emphasizes possibilities for mobility and mutual reference. “Transposition” means a leap from one code, field, or axis toward another code, field, or axis—creating complex and discrete changes through radical leaps, which result in rich modulations (in music) and mutations (in genetics). It has been used to underscore the experience of creative insights in the visual arts, which give rise to different ways of knowing.
In this exhibition, “transposition” centers on the transpositional representation of the human and non-human body. It shares works that use transpositional methods to capture interpretations on the body with its traits and limitations, trans-human metamorphosis into human bodies, and critical perspectives on phenomena in which skin color or gender are used as a basis for discriminatory perception. The adoption of the body as a key perspective is meant in part to draw renewed attention to issues of representation and recognition based on ethnicity and gender. But another factor amplifying interest has been the physical vulnerability and interconnectedness of bodies revealed to us through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past three to four years, Art Sonje Center has presented exhibitions such as The Island of the Colorblind (2019), Koki Tanaka: Vulnerable Histories (A Road Movie) (2020), and Dust Clay Stone (2020), using images of ecological crisis and societal conflict to pose the question of how can we live together. Rooted in a sense of concern about the internal divisions in various categories that have been heightened by the pandemic, Transposition focuses on methods of practice in artistic form and content that relate to prevailing value systems—including racism, gender-based discrimination, and the dogma of scientific reason.