Leah Sandler (born 1992)
Center for Post-Capitalist History Virtual Portal
This “virtual portal” hypertext game guides the viewer through materials documenting the parafictional bureaucracy of the Center for Post-Capitalist History. The project questions the inevitability of the forms of knowledge production that subtend capitalism.
Existing through conceptual and performative practices, The Center for Post-Capitalist History presents the viewer with a thoroughly branded corporate identity implying the existence of a real institutional entity with a goal of creating new methods of knowledge production and writing history during times of extremis. The project was created through collaborations between artist Leah Sandler, designer Britta Seizums Davis, photographer Steve Gula, and audio engineer/voice actor Jared Silvia which established a network of economic interstice through non-monetary skill trades.
“A critique of Capitalism’s effects on the body is explored in Leah Sandler’s para-fictional research institute, the Center for Post-Capitalist History (CPCH). In her elaborate project she questions “what and who holds historical value.” In Sandler’s vision the body should be understood as a valuable archive of information that can reorient our understanding of knowledge production and the writing of history. For Sandler, it is imperative that we develop alternative forms of documentation and inscription during times of extremis. The CPCH adopts the language of a federal relief agency, and is composed of three branches, “The Body Bureaucratic,” the “Institute of Experimental Inscription,” and the “Archive of Scarcity.” Through its banal logo, informational booklet, didactic posters, clinical lab coat, and slick instructional video we are presented with a toolkit for a post-apocalyptic landscape forged by scarcity and scavenging and shaped by an endless stream of itinerant refugees. However, there is a moment when one realizes that this is not a science fiction fantasy and in fact a commentary on contemporary conditions.”
–Alex Klein, Dorthy and Stephen Weber Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia