The Otolith Group

The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 by London-based artists Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. Between 2003 and 2009, the group created the Otolith Trilogy, a series of essay films that combine fictional narration with documentary footage, dissolving the boundaries between these modes of address. The Otholith Group is named for the part of the inner ear that is sensitive to gravity and motion, and their first film, Otolith I, imagines a future in which the otoliths of off-world humans will cease to function, effectively exiling them from Earth. 

Otolith I is set in the 22nd Century, when the human race is no longer able to survive on earth and must migrate to outer space. Dr. Usha Adebaran-Sagar, the future descendent of Otolith Group member Anjalika Sagar, is a paleoanthropologist researching life on an earth that she can experience only through media archives.

Otolith II is set in the near future and mixes fiction, archival material, and documentary footage filmed in Mumbai and Chandigarh. Again viewed through the eyes of Dr. Usha, the film explores the pressure of urban density exerted upon inhabitants residing within contrasting and competing versions of the city of tomorrow.

Otolith III takes The Alien, the unrealized screenplay of the legendary Bengali director Satyajit Ray, as its point of departure. Written in 1967, The Alien would have been the first science fiction film to be set in contemporary India. As an experiment that the group calls a premake, or remake of a film before the original, Otolith III returns to 1967 to propose an alternative trajectory in which the fictional protagonists of The Alien attempt to seize the means of production in order to create the conditions for their existence as images. 


Film still
Courtesy and copyright the artists