A web series by Oreet Ashery
Revisiting Genesis takes the form of a web series in 12 episodes, released weekly from 13 April 2016. Written and directed by the artist, Revisiting Genesis explores the philosophical, sociopolitical, practical and emotional implications of withdrawal, digital afterlives and legacy, dying, social networks and reincarnations of women artists.
With a new episode released weekly, the online narrative unfolds. Revisiting Genesis follows two nurses, both named Jackie, who assist people actively preparing for death to create biographical slideshows serving as their posthumous digital legacy. The slideshows become a tool for reflection on cultural and social loss, friendships, and memory as identity. When a group of friends request this treatment for Genesis – an artist who is dying symbolically and otherwise – Nurse Jackie attempts to activate Genesis' memory through the making of her slideshow, which draws from elements of Ashery's own autobiography and explores the disappearance of social and educational structures under contemporary neoliberalism. Jackie concludes that it might not be Genesis who is vanishing, but the structures she had relied on. Presented in parallel with Genesis' story, the 12 episodes are intercut with improvized interviews between individuals with life-limiting conditions and Nurse Jackie, played here by a practising GP.
A parallel story follows a patient called Bambi, played by artist Martin O'Brien, who has cystic fibrosis. Nurse Jackie introduces Bambi to the emerging 'death online' industries, and presses him to decide who will be his 'digital legacy contact' after he dies, and encourages him to write a 'digital will' that deals with his assets, which are intellectual rather than material. Jackie is particularly keen for Bambi to consider joining avatar research like LifeNaut's Bina 48, or to explore the application of Augmented Reality in gravesites.
In one episode, the nurse discovers a bronze head by Gordine in Genesis' possession. The nurse suggests that Genesis is a reincarnation of Gordine, as well as Amy Winehouse, and that her disappearance is due to an incomplete reincarnation cycle. This unravels Genesis' feelings about being a semi-visible woman in the art world.
Revisiting Genesis is commissioned by Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University and supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Tyneside Cinema, Goldsmiths University of London and waterside contemporary. View the full series by visiting revisitinggenesis.net.