Assembly: Extractable Matters

Image: The Cerrejon coal mine, Colombia; courtesy Richard Solly, London Mining Network
Shifting Sands #1, Sim Chi Yin / Magnum Photos
Demonstration outside Antofagasta PLC Annual General Meeting. Church House, London, England, 2013; Image courtesy Ignacio Acosta
Still from Europa: Nueva Geografía Especulación Minera. European Parliament. Ignacio Acosta, 2018
Ignacio Acosta: Satellite views of Chuquicamata corporate mining town, c. 2011. Atacama Desert, Chile
Ignacio Acosta: Satellite views of Chuquicamata corporate mining town, c. 2011. Atacama Desert, Chile

Assembly: Extractable Matters is a two-day gathering at the University of Westminster that brings together artists, academics, activists and human rights experts to collectively explore the politics of extraction across the globe and the role that its operations play on environmental, ecopolitical and societal levels.

 
DAY 1 (Assembly): 29 November 5.30 – 8.30pm (£5/£3 concession) BOOK
DAY 2 (London Mining Tour) 30 November 10am – 11:30pm (FREE, booking essential) BOOK
DAY 2 (Assembly) 30 November 12pm – 6pm (£8/£5 concession) BOOK
 
How can we understand the infrastructure of mining beyond its materiality and geography? What are the new frontiers of mining and what neocolonial patterns do they reveal? 
 
Together, we will collectively explore the molecular effects of mining and extractive practices on a planetary scale. We will try to disentangle these complex interdependencies – for instance, between the demand for forms of renewable energy that require the extraction of scarce resources and the disruption of ecosystems and communities – and reflect on how we might build alliances and solidarity between artists, activists, and those affected by mining industries.
 
Through talks, workshops and roundtable discussions, over two days we will delve into multiple case studies that expose the entanglements between extractive violence, financial networks and poisonous infrastructures. Together we will explore different forms of resistance, particularly those that seek to carve out spaces of autonomy and solidarity where the structural violence enacted through the exploitation of natural resources – of minerals, labour and cultures – can be countered.    
  
 
Assembly: Extractable Matters is organised by Arts Catalyst in partnership with CREAM, University of Westminster. It is part of Resistance Labs, a series of discursive events, workshops and broadcasts that bring to the fore existing forms of solidarity between various anti-mining movements in the context of Ignacio Acosta’s exhibition Tales from the Crust at Arts Catalyst.
 
SCHEDULE
Assembly: Extractable Matters, W1W 7BY
Speakers include: FRAUD, Xavier Ribas, Elena Solis (Ecologistas en Acción), Neal White, Jol Thomson, Sim Chi Yin
Light refreshments will be provided. 
 
10 – 11.30am banking tour led by London Mining Network (TBC)
 
Speakers: Lise Autogena, Bobby Banerjee, Suzanne Dhaliwal, Gaia Foundation, Que Kenny, London Mining Network, Margarida Mendes, Ainhoa Montoya, Rachel O’Reilly, Pluriversal Radio, Louise Purbrick, Xavier Ribas, Elena Solis (Ecologistas en Acción)
Lunch will be provided*
*Let us know if you have any dietry requirments: diane.edwards@artscatalyst.org 
 

Participants

Ignacio Acosta is a Chilean-born, London-based artist and researcher working primarily with photography to explore geopolitical power dynamics around minerals, their geographies and historical narratives. His interconnected research projects involve extensive fieldwork, investigative analysis, visual documentation and critical writing on sites and materials of symbolic significance. 
 
Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway have worked together since the early 90’s, developing large-scale multimedia installations, site-specific works and performances, using custom-built technologies, data visualisations and video.
 
Bobby Banerjee is professor of management at the Bayes Business School, City University of London. He researches and teaches on sustainability, climate change, corporate social irresponsibility and resistance movements. Prior to becoming an academic Bobby worked for US and European multinational corporations in the chemicals industry where as a sales manager he was responsible for overseeing the selling and import of chemicals that were banned in the US and Europe to developing countries. In the little spare time he has these days Bobby dreams of destroying global neoliberal capitalism. 
 
Suzanne Dhaliwal is an activist and campaigner, working on indigenous rights and mining issues. She is the director and co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network, which works in solidarity with the Indigenous Environmental Network to campaign against UK corporations and financial institutions invested in the Alberta Tar Sands. Since 2011 she has developed anti-oppression and creative action training to support the development of a creative, inclusive environmental movement grounded in anti-oppression principles.
 
FRAUD (Canada/Spain) is made up of the duo Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo. Critical spatial practitioners, they develop modes of art-led enquiry, which examine the process of ‘financialisation’ through extractive data practices, and cultivate critical cosmogony building. FRAUD has been awarded the State of Lower Saxony – HBK Braunschweig Fellowship (2020), the King’s College Cultural Institute Grant (2018), and has been commissioned by the Contemporary Art Archipelago (2020) and the Cockayne Foundation (2018). 
 
Gaia Foundation is an organisation with over 30 years’ experience accompanying partners, communities and movements in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. Together they work to revive bio-cultural diversity, to regenerate healthy ecosystems and to strengthen community self-governance for climate change resilience. With a base in north London, they work globally and apply a holistic approach to addressing the root causes of our converging crises, triggered by the industrial growth society.
 
Que Kenny is a Western Arranta woman, community support worker and activist from Ntaria (Also known as Hermannsburg) in Central Australia. She is also studying law at Deakin University, Melbourne (AU) and has been involved in grassroots campaigns against the Northern Territory Emergency Response (“NTER – The Intervention”) since 2007, and against Northern Territory gas fracking with the Protect Country Alliance. 
 
London Mining Network (LMN) is an alliance of human rights, development,  environmental and solidarity groups. The Network pledges to expose the role of companies, funders and government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects and works in support of communities around the world who are badly affected by mining – mining by companies based in, or financed from, London.
 
Margarida Mendes's research explores the overlap between cybernetics, ecology and experimental film, investigating the dynamic transformations of the environment and its impact on societal structures and cultural production. She is interested in exploring alternative modes of education and political resilience through her collaborative practice, programming, and activism. She curates across the world and was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016) and 4th Istanbul Design Biennale (2018). 
 
Ainhoa Montoya is Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK. Her research focuses on post-conflict violence and conflicts over natural resources.Montoya has also acted as an expert witness in asylum appeal cases in the UK involving Salvadorans. She is currently a co-editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research, the journal of the Society for Latin American Studies, and a co-convener of the London-based Latin American Anthropology seminar.
 
Rachel O’Reilly is a poet, critic, independent curator and researcher whose work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, media and psychoanalysis, aesthetic philosophy and political economy.
 
Pluriversal Radio is a collaborative practice of listening to land and all that lives there, and amplifying voices of resistance to extractivism and stories about livelihoods that do not imply exploitation of other bodies (human and other-than-human). In the places Pluriversal Radio live and work, their practices are rooted in solidarity with indigenous populations and local communities defending water, air and earth from the assault of resource industries hellbent on extracting land powers, blood and knowledges without reciprocity and consensuality. 
 
Louise Purbrick is Principal Lecturer at School of Humanities (University of Brighton). Her current research examines how the past remains present in its material forms. She has a longstanding interest in the Long Kesh/Maze prison site, the now empty ‘icon’ of ‘The Troubles’ located ten miles south of Belfast, and has spent many years documenting the transformations of its cell units, the H Blocks. Her recent work as part of the Traces of Nitrate project, an interpretation of the abandoned architecture of mining in Atacama Desert in northern Chile and the legacies of the nitrate trade in Britain, is in publication. 
 
Xavier Ribas' work explores notions of practice and experience of space, the relationship between centre and periphery, the built and the unbuilt environment, and the contemporary fragmentation of landscape. Ribas' documentary photographic practice embraces cross-disciplinary approaches to research.
 
Sim Chi Yin is a photographer and artist from Singapore, currently based in London and Beijing. Her practice integrates multiple mediums including photography, film, sound, text, archival material and performative readings. Combining rigorous research with intimate storytelling, Sim’s works often explore issues relating to history, memory, conflict and migration, and their consequences. She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 and created a solo show for the Nobel Peace Centre museum in Oslo on nuclear landscapes, using video installation and still photography. 
 
Elena Solis has worked as an environmental lawyer, activist, researcher and writer since 2010. She is presently the head of mining in Ecologistas in Acción, a Spanish grassroots confederation consisting of 300 environmental groups. Since 2014, she has been campaigning and working to take legal action against indiscriminate and speculative prospecting and licensing of new mining projects in Spain; projects which are posing a serious risk to the environment and the people living near them. She is interested in the interconnection between the acceleration of mining projects in the Global South and Global North and the world of financial economy. 
 
Jol Thomson is an artist, sound designer, film maker, educator and researcher. His work diffracts cultural studies, environmental humanities, and the histories and philosophies of science and technology to develop experimental ‘audio-visual compositions’ – moving image installations that document the ongoing ecotechnical transformation of nature and its modes of description.
 
For over 20 years, Neal White has critically explored art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. As part of numerous collaborative endeavours – he has been developing projects, research and artworks, publications, archives, fieldworks, critical excursions as bus tours and exhibitions with academics, architects and activists. His current work explores situated practices and knowledge - drawing together environmental and ecological matters of concern with marine biologists, ecologists, coders, architects and volunteers in Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, Dorset for Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme.