Arts Catalyst announces a new exhibition and programme investigating the politics of extraction across the planet.
The ecology of extractive practices is a poisonous one. In Chile as in Sámi areas in northern Sweden, mining activities by multinational corporations are both visibly and invisibly shaping the landscape, intoxicating water, soil and air while displacing agricultural and indigenous communities. The excavation, extraction and exploitation of minerals – justified by the promise of immediate accelerated economic growth – means that spaces inhabited by communities become ravaged by desertification, contamination and expropriation, and sites of political and environmental dispute.
Building on ongoing research into extractive activities in Chile and Swedish Sábme, Tales from the Crust presents existing and new work by Chilean artist Ignacio Acosta, comprising documents, films, photographs, maps and objects. The programme will hone in on ways in which local and transnational acts of resistance are making use of technologies (such as drones) in order to monitor the impacts of extractive industries and develop micropolitical strategies. Resistance Labs is a series of discursive events, workshops and broadcasts that will bring to the fore existing forms of solidarity between various anti-mining movements, and address the role that counter-actions can play on a planetary scale. The full programme will be announced soon.
Through an in-depth visual and spatial exploration, the works presented in the exhibition are articulated as a series of overlapping case studies of extractive violence. These include Parque Andino Juncal, an Andean conservation park currently fighting against mining exploration; and Caimanes, an agricultural town heavily affected by water contamination and scarcity by Latin America’s largest toxic dam El Mauro from Los Pelambres copper mine.
In the film installation Litte ja Goabddá (Drones and Drums) Ignacio Acosta explores how the Sami indigenous communities are using drones as a way of resisting the mining exploration at Gállak in Jåhkåmåkke (Jokkmokk) in northern Sweden through an indigenous lens. Based on research visits and close collaboration with activists and Sami families living and working in the area threatened by the mines, the project explores the link between drums and drones as navigation and communication tools.
This multifaceted spatial narrative is populated by the overlapping voices of activists, indigenous people and archaeo-astronomers – bringing together a constellation of stances rooted in the distant to recent and present geographies of extraction, exploitation and trauma. Here, filmed interviews, close-ups of resilient landscapes and cartographies of global power expose forms of human and non-human resistance.
As part of the exhibition, Nexus, an environmental project exploring global challenges connected to water, food and energy based at Imperial College, have contributed a series of digital resources mapping sites of extraction.
Tales from the Crust
forms part of Extractable Matters
, Arts Catalyst’s new thematic strand exploring extractive capitalism and the politics that underlie its spatial infrastructure and logistics. Starting with an exhibition in autumn 2019 by artist Ignacio Acosta the programme reflects on ways in which capitalism extracts and exploits both material and immaterial resources, such as minerals, labour, data, affects, cultures and resistance. Through exhibitions, artist residencies and public programmes, over six months Extractable Matters
provides a polyfunctional context for discussions inquiring how extractive infrastructures – as well as borders, conflicts and trades attached to them – impose uneven maps of power. Other participants in the programme include FRAUD
(artist-researchers Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo) and the Alternative School of Economics
, a collaboration between artists Ruth Beale and Amy Feneck.
The works presented in Tales from the Crust
have emerged from Traces of Nitrate
, a research project developed in collaboration with Art and Design historian Louise Purbrick and photographer Xavier Ribas, based at the University of Brighton and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC); and Drone Vision
, a research project based at the Hasselblad Foundation / Valand Academy, Gothenburg University led by Dr Sarah Tuck.
The exhibition is open Thursday - Saturday, 12 - 6pm. Entry is free.
Artist Talk: Extractive Violence Between Europe and Latin America, Ignacio Acosta in Conversation with Elena Solis and Godofredo Pereira
6.30pm - 8.30pm, Wed 9 October 2019
Join us for a conversation between artist Ignacio Acosta, activist Elena Solis and architect/researcher Godofredo Pereira.
Taking Arts Catalyst’s current exhibition Tales from the Crust as a starting point, the conversation will explore the linkages between contemporary forms of extractive violence in Europe and Latin America and existing forms of resistance that seek to counter them on both a local and transnational level.
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.
Dr. Godofredo Enes Pereira is the course leader for the MA in Environmental Architecture and teaches ADS7 Ecologies of Existing design studio at the Royal College of Art, London, where he also leads the Architecture and Social Movements Research group. His doctoral research ‘The Underground Frontier: Technoscience and Collective Politics’ investigated political and territorial conflicts within the planetary race for underground resources. He was a member of Forensic Architecture where he led the Atacama Desert project; and was the curator of the exhibition Object / Project (Lisbon Architecture Triennial, 2016).
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. Between 2012 and 2016, he completed a Ph.D at the University of Brighton, UK, from which his thesis The Copper Geographies of Chile and Britain: A Photographic Study emerged. The publication Copper Geographies (2018) has since been published by Editorial RM. He has recently exhibited work at Parque Cultural Cerro Carcel, Chile (2015); Noorderlicht Festival, The Netherlands (2016); National Waterfront Museum, Wales (2017); Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC), Chile (2017); Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland (2018); Hasselblad Centre, Sweden (2018); Ájtte Museum, Sweden (2019); and Zeppelin Museum, Germany (2019)
Tales from the Crust is supported by funding from Arts Council England, Pluriversal Radio and the CREAM (University of Westminster).