This publication brings together the work of five anthropologists and five artists/collectives researching and responding to the dramatic rise and fall of Mongolia's mineral economy
. Drawing from ongoing fieldwork in Mongolia, the contributors conceptualise crisis as a space for the emergence of new possibilities.
What does the future look like, or feel like, from the perspective of a yak in the coal-mining district of Khovd? From the perspective a Mongolian root extracted, illegally traded, and sold internationally as a pharmaceutical product? Or from that of the toolkit of an urban shaman securing economic futures for professional women in Ulaanbaatar?
Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi): Art, Anthropology and Mongol Futurism
brings together the work of five anthropologists and five artists/collectives researching and responding to the dramatic rise and fall of Mongolia's mineral economy. Launched in tandem with the eponymous exhibition at greengrassi and Corvi-Mora in London, the publication features visual documentation of multiple art-anthropology
exchange processes, ethnographic texts, and further written contributions that introduce contemporary Mongolia as a dynamic site for conceptual and creative experimentation.
In the essay section of this book, the Green Horse Society tells a history of art and culture newly untethered in post-Soviet
Mongolia; an early style of ethnographic art known as “One Day in Mongolia” painting provides a canvas for urgent environmental protest; Mongolian hip-hop and nationalist poetry
become ciphers for thinking through deep time; and space is opened up for what Simon O'Sullivan terms the art-anthropology probe head to do its important work.
Faced with questions that transcend geographies and act across various scales, Five Heads
mounts an experiment in separation (research detached from author, material detached from method) and growth (through the contact space between disciplines) in order to call into being new subjectivities and imagine possible futures.
is part of Emerging Subjects of the New Economy, a project funded by the European Research Council and led by Dr. Rebecca Empson in the Department of Anthropology, University College London.
Published following the eponymous exhibition at Greengrassi and Corvi-Mora, London, from August 31 to September 15, 2018.