New Red Order
Adam Khalil (Ojibway, born in the United Snakes; lives in New York and in Copenhagen, Denmark), Zack Khalil (Ojibway, born in Newton, United States; lives in New York, United States), Kite (Oglála Lakȟóta, born in Sylmar, United States; lives in Montreal, Canada, and in Tulsa, United States), and Jackson Polys (Tlingit, born in Kichx̱áan; lives in New York, United States) form the current configuration of New Red Order, a public secret society that takes a critical yet humorous look at desires for Indigeneity and at the “authenticity” imperative that is often imposed on individuals identifying as Indigenous. NRO explores the attraction to Indigenous epistemologies and the ways in which colonizers attempt to appropriate them, both intentionally and unintentionally. Through interdisciplinary projects, NRO sets out to destabilize these colonial attitudes and expand Indigenous agency.
- Countries / Nations
- Ojibway, United Snakes / Ojibway, United States / Oglála Lakhóta, United States / Tlingit, United States
In the video installation The Last of the Lemurians, NRO addresses the myth of Lemuria, which has it that a continent situated in the Indian Ocean, now submerged, was the cradle of humanity and the Lemurians were the first people on Earth. Several theories related to white supremacy derive from this myth, including that of “root races” devised by Russian theosophist Helena Blavatsky (1831–91), who invented a hierarchy of races and promoted the Aryan doctrine. Inspired by New Age Lemurian beliefs built on Blavatsky’s concept, NRO proposes a counter-reading of these racist fictions. The Last of the Lemurians is articulated around two geological formations each of which is the subject of legend: Mount Shasta, a volcano in California, which supposedly harbours a secret city populated by superior blond beings from the lost continent, and the Hawaiian island of Kauai, purportedly once a capital of Lemuria. The work makes symbolic use of two materials connected to these geographies: lava, a destructive material in its liquid state and bearer of life in its solid state, and crystal, an object synonymous with purity that, in its liquid state, can flow like water but also refract like ice. NRO metamorphizes the moving, sometimes toxic, dimension of historical narratives and their crystallization in the collective imagination. A hybridization of the native and the alien, The Last of the Lemurians makes light out of colonial desires, proposing an alternative to the romanticization of Indigeneity. Here, the fluidity of materials echoes the redeeming metamorphosis of exoticizing phenomena into a multitude of reciprocal relations.