“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Art/France/Ecological Thought

In Bourges

Ghost Nature is a group exhibition based around the strangeness of the natural world. As contemporary philosopher, Timothy Morton posits in his book, The Ecological Thought (Harvard University Press, 2010) ‘nature qua nature’ no longer exists as an “over there” place. Humankind is wholly integrated within its “mesh” and as such, the Romantic desire to commune with a landscape beyond the scope of humanity is impossible. Nevertheless there remains an inherited desire to so. It is a glitch. The tickle of a phantom limb. A desire forever unfulfilled but nonetheless maddening. Artists Sebastian Alvarez, Irina Botea, Marcus Coates, Every House Has A Door, Milan Metthey, Rebecca Mir, Katie Patterson, Tessa Siddle, Agnes Meyer-Brandis and collaborative duo, AOo will install, perform and screen works that explore the dynamic between human and non-human spheres. As with Katie Patterson’s Earth-Moon-Earth or Rebecca Mir’s Long Distance Relationship with the Ocean: Rock + Two Letters, these works sometimes expose idiosyncratic strategies to compensate for, and overcome interspecies bounds — as with AOO’s horse-human blood transfusion, Que Cheval Vie en Moi, or Agnes Meyer-Brandi’s Moon Geese Experiments, where she has been training geese to adapt to moon-like conditions. Instead of challenging the environment of an institution by way of socially engaged practice, Ghost Nature exposes a more general and omnicient environment, hoping through discrete works of art, to highlight longstanding hierarchical expectations that have thus far shaped the western world. As part of this exhibition, in collaboration with La Box and the Paris-based group, Laboratoire du Contemporain, I propose an auxiliary mini-symposium, that would integrate the worlds of contemporary art and philosophical discourse by durectly addressing themes present in the exhibit by way of lectures, workshops and performances.Participants include performance artists Sebastian Alvarez, Ever house has a door, Devin King and Tessa Siddle; with lectures presented by JoЛo FlorРncio, Graham Harman, Timothy Morton, Eileen Myles, Laurie Palmer, and Lily Robert-Foley. The purpose of this mini-symposium is to invite students, artists, academics and the general public to discuss the remarkable ecological times we live in, using a series of curated talks, art works and philosophical examples thatwith the hopes of transforming the way humankind conceives of itself in the natural world. It would of great interest to invite local speakers and guest artists in addition.