There is a line in Michel Foucault’s 1976 L’Histoire de la sexualité. It reads “Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power.” In this four-volume study, French historian and philosopher, Foucault, studies sexuality in the Western world. In present-day Miami Beach, Florida, Where there is power, there is resistance is the title of a group show at the Oolite Arts Centre.
Curated by René Morales (chief curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami) and Amanda Bradley (programmes manager at Oolite Arts), the show examines state power in the last two centuries, how it is being challenged, and what it will look like if existing structures aren’t dismantled. The exhibition was first conceptualised last year in response to the social and political tumult brought on by events ranging from George Floyd’s murder in the States, the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down the world, to the Lekki massacre in Nigeria. “It felt like the world was really on fire,” Morales told Art Newspaper. By the time the team began working on the show, the wave of chaos seemed to have passed given that Donald Trump’s presidency had come to an end. But then, Morales pushed forward because “Power, in its varying contexts and forms, has been shaken up badly just in this century alone and we don’t know where that will settle.”It seems the curatorial team was right to still host this contemplation on state power.