Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections

  • Laura Huertas Millán, Journey to land otherwise known (still). Film. © Le Fresnoy - Laura Huertas Millán.

  • Carlos Motta, Corpo Fechado, 2018, HD 16:9 video, color, sound, 24 minutes, 47 seconds, installation view. Courtesy of PPOW Gallery

  • Morehshin Allahyari, She Who Sees the Unknown (still). Video. Courtesy of Upfor Gallery and the artist.

  • Felipe Steinberg, In God We Trust, 2013, Gold dies of a five dinar coin, 1 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches each. Courtesy of the artist.

  • François Bucher, The Man Who Disappeared, 2011, single channel video, 26:46 min. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Daniel R. Small, Excavation II, 2016. Mixed media installation. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by David Ayala-Alfonso

On a desk of the private study collection of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, an old stuffed parrot guards a vast ornithology collection. An excited young scientist reads a story on the origins of the desiccated animal for the purpose of entertaining a group of visitors: it may have been the last “speaker” of a dead Indigenous language from colonial Venezuela, or a German prince’s precious gift to the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. There is no clear understanding which of these versions, if any, might be true.

Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections is a traveling exhibition that reflects on the birth of modern collections, the art institutions that sustain them and their contingent origin stories. Curated by Colombian curator David Ayala-Alfonso, an alumnus of ICI’s Curatorial Intensive, the exhibition is part of ICI’s new series of programs, pioneered with the support of the Hartfield Foundation, aimed at championing emergent curatorial voices by providing opportunities to alumni of ICI’s Curatorial Intensive. The exhibition was selected from among 66 proposals submitted by Curatorial Intensive alumni from over 30 countries.

Considering how institutional collections organize our lives, Never Spoken Again brings together artists whose works open up a critique of material culture, iconography, and political ecologies. These practices examine not only the collected objects and the systems of distribution that facilitate their circulation but also the disciplines and subjects of study that they trade in.

Variously, the works shed light on myths, simulations, fake currencies, war games, and the slow violence of systematic racism that historically underpin collecting practices. Together they open the field for considering our agency in how our histories and futures may be constituted otherwise.

Artists: Morehshin Allahyari, Maria Thereza Alves, François Bucher, Giuseppe Campuzano, Alia Farid, Sofia de Grenade, Laura Huertas Millán, Ulrik López, Carlos Motta, Erkan Öznur, David Peña Lopera, Michael Rakowitz, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Reyes Santiago Rojas, Daniel R. Small, and Felipe Steinberg.

Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections is a traveling exhibition curated by David Ayala-Alfonso and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI). It is the result of a new series of programs, pioneered with the support of the Hartfield Foundation, aimed at providing opportunities to alumni of ICI’s Curatorial Intensive as they move through the stages of their career, and reflecting ICI’s commitment to fostering and championing new curatorial voices who will shape the future of the field. Never Spoken Again is made possible with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. Additional support for Erkan Öznur’s participation is provided by SAHA.


David Ayala-Alfonso

David Ayala-Alfonso is a Colombian Curator, Artist, and Researcher working between Bogotá and London. He is a guest curator at the traveling exhibitions program of Independent Curators International, and part of the editorial teams of Journal of Visual Culture, Cultural Anthropology and {{em_rgencia}. Ayala-Alfonso has been Curator in Residence and Academic Coordinator at FLORA ars+natura in Bogotá, and lectured in different art schools in the US and Colombia. He has published books and articles on interface theory, Latin American art history, artist-run spaces, performance studies, visual studies, urban sociology, anthropology of education and artistic interventions in the public realm. He is also an occasional collaborator for different academic publications as a writer and a translator. Recent work as a curator and as part of the art collective Grupo 0,29 has been featured at Museos de Arte at Banco de la República in Bogotá, South London Gallery, the David Rockefeller Center at Harvard University, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, Concordia University in Montreal, Columbia College in Chicago, and Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago. He has been awarded the Fulbright Grant, the AICAD post-graduate Teaching Fellowship, the ICI-Dedalus Award for Curatorial Research and the Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research at SAIC. Ayala-Alfonso holds a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Specialization in Art Education from the National University of Colombia, and is preparing publications on critical heritage, and art in the public realm to be released in 2019.


touring schedule

Telfair Museums, Jepson Center
Savannah, GA, USA
June 18, 2021 - August 29, 2021

The College of Wooster Art Museum
Wooster, OH, USA
September 22, 2020 - November 26, 2020

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI, USA
January 25, 2020 - August 23, 2020

Booking Info

Number of Artists/Collectives: Approximately 15
Number of Artworks: Approximately 15
Space Requirements: 3,000 – 5,000 sq feet or more

For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
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