“In X-cosmos-X, screens and video overlap, multiplying textures and dimensions to inundate the senses. The underwater environments form a fluid topography, eminently immersive, conducive to contemplation; a wandering cosmos, a transitory state responsive to the flow of matter.” Marilou Craft

In Olivia McGilchrist’s videos works we see overlapping scenes of water, light, and forms. We can imagine ourselves flying or floating in these landscapes, maybe into the future or into a dream. Something unusual happens when our bodies are floating in water, or flying through air: we become more aware of what we are feeling. It can remind us just how strange gravity is, or how mysterious it is that we can walk, talk, see, feel. 


Find somewhere quiet in your home or outside. Stand or sit with your eyes closed. Pay attention to what you hear, smell, and feel. Imagine you are slowly floating up from the ground. Where do you go? What can you see from the sky? Come back down, and now imagine yourself diving into water. You can breathe, and swim below the surface for a long time. What do you see? What does it feel like?


What kind of body do you have? In either writing or drawing, describe yourself. Notice the way it feels to observe yourself. Do you feel comfortable in your body? If you use a mobility device, what is unique about that experience of moving around? What does your body allow you to do? Does it make some things harder for you? Think about a moment when you felt good, safe, and relaxed. Where were you? How can you return to that feeling? 


Think about a body of water that is important to you. Maybe there’s a river that runs through your city; maybe there’s a public pool you visit in the summer, a lake you once drove to, or a big pond in a local park. What do you know about it? Collect different kinds of information about this place: if it's nearby, go and visit it. Take a camera or some paper. What kind of plants and animals do you find? What does the water look like? What do you hear or smell? Are there a lot of people around, or are there boats on the water? Do an internet search and find out how long this water has been there. Are there interesting stories about this place? Who uses this water? Who takes care of it?  


Olivia McGilchrist website and videos :


Meet the artist !


Talk with the artists Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism) and Olivia McGilchrist, moderated by Hannah Strauss.

More from our files!


Guided tour of the exhibition Some Ellipses adapted to an online format, with works by the Black Quantum Futurism collective (Camae Ayewa & Rasheedah Phillips) and Olivia McGilchrist.


Explore projects from our archives through two series of conversation starters and DIY experiments. Our series for families introduces projects which help us imagine new ways of being together and being at home during this period of physical distancing, with activities to try and questions to ask each other. Our series for the general public brings together projects from our archives which have explored various kinds of intimate ecologies, and prompts reflection and conversation to nourish our collective imagination.