I’m really honored to have contributed the cover image to this important book on migration and global justice co-edited by my friend Prof. Claudia Tazreiter! I took this image in 2017 as artist-in-residence of Plan International, where I visited youth in Lewoleba in Indonesia; Chiang-Mai in Thailand, and Tacloban in the Philippines. In Tacloban, a local tricycle driver took me around the city to witness the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan that devastated Tacloban in 2013. The image shows a fishing vessel that had run aground Philippine soil during Haiyan.
Working with children and youth who were affected by the climate emergency was one of the most impactful and humbling times of my artistic practice, and I am still grateful to Plan for the opportunity to co-create artworks on climate with them.
The Handbook of Migration and Global Justice is published by Elgar Handbooks and is edited by Dr. Leanne Weber, Professor of Criminology, University of Canberra, Australia and Dr. Claudia Tazreiter, Professor in Ethnic and Migration Studies, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linköping University, Sweden. This timely Handbook brings together leading international scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and geopolitical perspectives to interrogate the intersections between #migration and global #justice. It explores how cross-border mobility and migration have been affected by rapid economic, cultural and technological globalisation, addressing the pressing questions of global justice that arise as governments respond to unprecedented levels of global migration. Available here: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-migration-and-global-justice-9781789905656.html
June 17, 4-5PM AEST: How can art and science work together to contribute towards sustainability? I’m stoked to give a talk on The Creative Resistance: Art, Science, and Systems Change, and be on the panel on Arts-based Methods for Transformations 2021! I’ll be speaking about my art practice since 2013, and will focus on my PhD work here in Sydney. See you there!
About Transformations 2021: Enabling Positive Tipping Points in an Uncertain World
In 2020 a tipping point may have been crossed on how societies worldwide deal with multiple overlapping crises. On an unprecedented scale we see groups and communities mobilizing to re-imagine and transform the pre-pandemic systems which led to current vulnerabilities, risks, and unsustainable practices. This challenging but also fertile moment calls for urgent knowledge synthesis able to enact positivetipping points and tipping interventions towards new regenerative development trajectories.
Keynote speakers: Jessica Clark – Research affiliate at MIT Open Documentary Lab, publisher of Immerse.news
Kate Raworth – Co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab
Ailton Krenak – Philosopher and indigenous movement leader of Krenak ethnicity, Brazil
Heila Lotz-Sisitka – Distinguished Professor at Rhodes University
Honored and happy to be part of this group exhibition:
From SixtyEight Art Institute:
Invitation to our next exhibit:
Memoirs of the Abyss: Three Ecologies and More
5 June – 7 August 2021
SixtyEight Art Institute is very pleased to be able to launch its new exhibition programme, Memoirs of Saturn, with the exhibition ‘Memoirs of the Abyss: Three Ecologies and More”, a group show curated by Malou Solfjeld. Challenging the common tendency to think of ‘infinity,’ limitlessly, the exhibition Memoirs of the Abyss aims to contribute to a ‘finite turn’ by moving away from the idea of endless abundance towards more sustainable forms of cohabitation with nonhumans and their ecosystems. In this way, the exhibition directly engages with the idea of re-imagining the concept of ‘prosperity’ that is central to the themes of the Memoirs of Saturn exhibition series, which this upcoming exhibit inaugurates.
Opening: Saturday 5 June, 13:00-17:00. Gothersgade 167, København K
Drinks will be served, featuring some special new wines among other offerings. We encourage you to come throughout the afternoon, giving time and space to others to enjoy the exhibition, which will be open to a restricted number of guests at a time.
Memoirs of the Abyss is a collaborative artistic and curatorial research project, which examines various ecosystems with a shared awareness of the entanglements of terra (Earth, Soil, Gaia) and territory. The structure of the project reflects this research approach and output, dividing the exhibition across SixtyEight’s own space and a number of events, where public projects will be made accessible in several locations around Copenhagen, while artworks central to the gestation of the project will be shown at SixtyEight’s space on Gothersgade 167.
Catherine Sarah Young Elena Lundqvist Ortíz Enar Dios Rodríguez Madeleine Andersson Signe Vad
Curated by Malou Solfjeld
ABOUT THE WORKS
The work of Enar de Dios Rodriguez focuses on how human actions change and radically alter ecosystems, often leading to invasive operations that destroy biodiversity. In her 2020 video piece Vestiges, the narrative follows the million-year journey of minerals as they become grains of sand. After water, sand is the material most extracted by humans — in 2014, humans consumed 40 billion tons of sand, which makes the artist speculate whether we might run out of sand before we run out of time. Her latest work, Liquid Ground, narrates humanity’s past, present and future underwater excursions, including the current mining of the seabed.The themes of the work will be articulated through a screening at Koncertkirken on 26 June, the church on Blågårds Plads, Nørrebro, followed by a “Samtalekøkken” in which the audience will have the chance to discuss the work with the artist, the curator and SixtyEight Art Institute, while enjoying a meal and natural wines. More info about this event to follow shortly.
Philippine artist Catherine Sarah Young’s work Arctic Ice Chess initiates dialogues about the geopolitical issues at stake in the ‘battle for the Arctic’. As the players discuss and play, the pieces — toy soldiers frozen in ice cubes — melt onto the board, which features a map of the Arctic and its indigenous peoples. The kings and queens are flagged as nations who have political, industrial and economic stakes in oil and shipping, and stand to gain from the melting ice and emerging maritime routes, whereas the pawns represent countries that will be affected by rising sea levels.Over the summer a chess tournament will take place alongside Copenhagen Harbour, in which invited players will discuss the causes and effects of melting ice in the Arctic, and related political and climatic issues. Exact times and dates will be announced during the exhibition period.
From these macro-political issues of climate change and national interests, Danish artist Elena Lundqvist Ortiz zooms in on the bodily and intimate yet universal abyss, which transforms women in all cultures and layers of society. The ongoing work Birth Within the Abyss is situated in the woods north of Copenhagen, and will be open for participants to take part in a creative and transformative process collectively created as a Summer Solstice Rebirth event on Sunday 20 June. Limited space means that interested participants are required to sign up here. First come, first served basis for this reservation. Participants will be invited to stay the night in the forest, where a shelter will host us.In SixtyEight’s front exhibition space on Gothersgade an open laboratory will be running, where material gathered through the curatorial research will be presented. Visitors are invited to reorganize the different elements presented on a wall-size investigation board, and add new inputs of their own.
In the back room, the exhibition becomes bodily, personal, and intimate, by touching upon global issues such as stress, (climate) anxiety and depression amongst humankind. Featured here are Signe Vad’s Death to the Death Starand Placenta Rug, and hearts cast in ashes from the Australian bushfires by Catherine Sarah Young – originally commissioned as peace offerings by The Peace Studio during lockdown. A cocoon-like hammock, a place of restitution and transformation, is accompanied by an open journal titled “Memoirs of the Abyss”. The journal begins with an essay called “Birth within the Abyss” byElena Lundqvist Ortiz, followed by thoughts from the past year about what has individually and collectively been ‘given birth to’, shared by each artist represented in the show, as well as some empty pages for visitors to write on.Finally, Madeleine Andersson’s video Dirty Fossil Fuel is hidden away to surprise visitors in a private space with its humorous yet deeply serious take on humanity’s drive to exploit the Earth’s resources. Find the darkroom and let the shame of excitement fill you. The seduction is explicit, dirty and driven by raw energies, revealing the human tendency and desire for short-sighted behavior and self-destruction.
Malou Solfjeld is an independent curator based in Copenhagen. For three years she ran the residency program and curated a number of exhibitions at CCA Andratx, Mallorca. Her curatorial research interest centres on sustainability, climate, care and ecological concerns. She holds an MA in Art History from the University of Copenhagen, and also studied Neuro-aesthetics at the University of Bergen, Norway.
Catherine Sarah Young holds an MFA in Interaction Design from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has also studied at the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, New York and holds a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the Philippines, Manila. She is currently resident at the Sydney Observatory, Australia.
Elena Lundqvist Ortiz holds an MA in Modern Culture from the University of Copenhagen with a specialisation in gender studies and hydrofeminism, and a BA in Art History. She is a member of the Earth Weavers community and the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology. As a curator she has developed various platforms, previously The Syndicate of Creatures with Signe Vad and Astrid Wang, Hydra with the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology.
Enar de Dios Rodriguez holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2020 her work Vestiges (an archipelago) was celebrated at the PLJ Film Festival in Sarajevo and later in Vienna at This Human World. She is currently in residence at the Laboral Centro de Arte in Giron, Spain, where she will present her Liquid Ground project as a large scale solo exhibition by the end of June 2021.
Madeleine Andersson is an MFA student at The Royal Academy of Art, Copenhagen, and holds a BFA from Konstfack, Stockholm. Through humorous, often self-deprecating video installations, she seeks to highlight the emotions and relations that entangle western European lifestyle and climate change. She investigates this mainly through language and performance, aiming to twist and contort the rhetoric of climate discourse to find its limitations and possibilities.
Signe Vad holds an MFA from the School of Photography, University of Gothenburg. She has been active in self-organizing numerous exhibitions spaces and projects on the Copenhagen art scene for many years. She is currently working on the project Office of Emergency, an activist and collaborative project, which addresses the biodiversity and climate crisis, approaching the future as a soon to-be situation, and the human race as a part of the common biodiversity (www.ooe.zone).
I’m stoked to contribute my first academic book chapter in Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations” edited by Vail Fletcher and Alexa Dare. I’ve given the final chapter: Subversive Art: Communicating the Climate Crisis on a Planetary Scale, which details my art practice, specifically The Apocalypse Project body of work.
The purpose of Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations is to tell a different story about the world. Humans, especially those raised in Western traditions, have long told stories about themselves as individual protagonists who act with varying degrees of free will against a background of mute supporting characters and inert landscapes. Humans can be either saviors or destroyers, but our actions are explained and judged again and again as emanating from the individual. And yet, as the coronavirus pandemic has made clear, humans are unavoidably interconnected not only with other humans, but with nonhuman and more-than-human others with whom we share space and time. Why do so many of us humans avoid, deny, or resist a view of the world where our lives are made possible, maybe even made richer, through connection? In this volume, we suggest a view of communication as intimacy. We use this concept as a provocation for thinking about how we humans are in an always-already state of being-in-relation with other humans, nonhumans, and the land.
The book is edited by C. Vail Fletcher And Alexa M. Dare with contributions from Carol Adams; Paul Alberts; Katharina Alsen; Anne Armstrong; Joshua Trey Barnett; Christianna Bennett; Peggy Bowers; Suzanne Brant; Chelsea Call; Laura C Carlson; Patricia Castello Branco; Amal Dissanayaka; Marybeth Holleman; Jessica Holmes; Kathy Isaacson; Deepani Jayantha; Michaela Keeble; Marianne Krasny; Libby Lester; Todd Levasseur; Lyn Mcgaurr; S. Marek Muller; Anna Oehlkers; Peter Oehlkers; Elizabeth Oriel; Emily Plec; Joshua Potter; Paul Pulé; Jenny Rock; Madrone Kalil Schutten; Ellen Sima; Richard Stedman; Carie Steele; Mark Terry; Mariko Oyama Thomas; Keith Williams; Çağri Yilmaz and Catherine Sarah Young.
inVivo, a collaborative network for planetary health, is holding its 9th annual conference virtually from December 2-9. I’ve been invited to speak at Session 2 for a short talk on “The Artist as Rebel” and by artist, I mean all of us.
There is an opening keynote by Cornel West and keynote address by Deepak Chopra and lots of speakers from various disciplines.
Reading Circle 4 by studio das weisse haus curated by Malou Solfjeld. Image by studio das weisse haus.
[VIENNA]—Our friends from studio das weisse haus have created a weekly reading circle curated by the wonderful Malou Solfjeld! I read an excerpt from my story, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store from the anthology, Our Entangled Future. Thanks for having me! Listen to it here.
Readers this week (text by Malou Solfjeld)
Åse Versto Langesæter reads
“Der bor en ung pige i mig som ikke vil dø”, written by Tove Ditlevesen
“Ensomhedens have”, written by Inger Christensen
“Coming to Writing” and Other Essays, written by Hélèn Cixous
First we’re reading about the journey back in time to one’s younger self, learning how to use the poem as a mirror of self-reflection, expectations and realizations.
Mie Hybschmann reads “Momo and the time thieves”, written by Michael Ende
Secondly we travel along the journey of the moon as a magic mirror one can use in times where we’re really longing to see someone that we can’t be with.
Catherine Sarah Young reads “The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store”, written by Catherine Sarah Young
Jeremy John reads “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”, written by George Orwell
Then we question the nature of memories through smells and sounds of the past or the future – with a particular focus on longing for spring to come after a winter that appears endless.
Florian Conrad Eybesfeld reads
“Anywhere out of this world”, written by Charles Baudelaire
Our fifth reading takes us into the deepest part of our soul, all the way to the place where it really hurts. And from here we learn how connecting with pain can be healing, through the power of poetry, imagination and in memory of loved and lost ones. .
Maxime Grausam and Philipp Krummel read
Pippi in the South Seas, written by Astrid Lindgren
Finally we travel to the south seas with the strongest girl in the world, who reminds us of homeschooling and the value of playing with our friends.
The story revolves around a female perfumer who lives in a future time when climate change has eradicated a lot of scents and she tries to preserve as many of these as possible. One day, she receives a knock on a door from a client who searches for her to create a perfume that has not been smelled in a very long time.
Ice Chess examines the Arctic crisis and inspires viewers and participants to reflect on the situation up north. A map of the Arctic with its indigenous peoples is printed on a chessboard with pieces cast out of ice. Inside the pieces are toy soldiers and that represent the players in the emerging “battle” of the Arctic—the political and industrial figures that have big stakes in oil and shipping that stand to gain from melting ice and the emerging maritime routes as a result, and the pawns that represent the countries that will be affected by sea level rise and that are sacrificed in order to achieve these goals.
In these urgent times, now is not the time to romanticize the Melt. In a game with high stakes, who is responsible? On the edges of the board are freestanding soldiers and figures that represent observer countries and other affected nations, and anonymous figures that represent globally concerned distributed people. The battle is on, and we are all watching with bated breath. Ice Chess uses art and science to interrogate, to speak truth to power, to point to the powerful entities who are primarily responsible for what is affecting the whole planet.
Chess is one of the oldest skill games in the world and has been
played for over 5000 years. Chess spread around the world through
colonization and trade. The objective of chess is to trap the king—to
checkmate him—and it wins the game. Chess is historically played
by the wealthy. In this project, it references wealth inequality, one of
the systemic causes of climate change.
Chess is metaphorical of how humanity has treated nature—as a
game of strategy where we seek to exploit it and each other. It takes
this further by actually melting the project with the aid of the
players—a reference to how we collectively have caused the Arctic
to melt and how we can also put a stop to it.
This game does not intend to pit one human being against the other (or one country against the other), which risks oversimplification. Rather, each player represents a set of alternative possibilities that, when the game is played, clash to produce permutations of consequences. In the game, players and the audience are allowed to view the many entanglements that a wicked problem such as the Arctic crisis can provide.
A primary reason for economic interest in the Arctic is the emerging
Northern Sea Route, which will connect Western Europe and Asia. This
could make shipping up to 14 days faster than the southern route via the
Suez Canal. In 2018, the Venta Maersk, owned by Maersk Line and
carrying 3,600 containers, successfully set sail from Vladivostok to St.
Petersburg—the first container ship to tackle the Arctic sea route north of
The Chessboard & The Pieces
The board is a map of the Arctic labeled with indigenous communities,
seas, emerging shipping routes—all of these will be names we would hear
more about in the coming decades. This map represents the battleground
where a literal and figurative cold war is already happening.
The powerful row of pieces—the king, queen, bishop, knight, and
rook—represent the Arctic Council nations: Russia, USA, Iceland, Finland,
Sweden, Norway, Canada, and Denmark. The row of pawns represent
countries around the world that are and will be most affected by sea level
rise. Surrounding the board are Arctic Council observer countries, other
nations affected by sea level rise, and anonymous figures that represent
globally distributed concerned people.
Climate Change & the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes contain 5,500 cubic miles of freshwater, one of the biggest freshwater resources of the world. It supports more than 34 million people who live within its Basin. These people rely on the lakes for drinking water, fisheries, recreation, and industry. Climate change is already affecting these ecosystems through extreme weather, decreased crop yields, heat waves and consequent poor air quality, stress on water quality and infrastructure, affected navigation and recreation, and impact on wildlife.
Thank you to curators Mark Valentine Sullivan and Antajuan Scott and the rest of the Science Gallery Detroit team!
I’m delighted to announce that The Apocalypse Projectis in the running for the Best Climate Solutions 2018 Award for “Communicating Climate Change Threats and Opportunities”! I’m hoping to fund a future series of projects benefiting an indigenous rainforest community in the Philippines, and to create an arts-led curriculum that outlines the frameworks of the climate change adaptation projects and workshops I’ve been leading in all of these places in the world you’ve seen me in.
The online voting procedure will be open from September 24, 2018 until October 15, 2018 (5.00 pm CEST).