Despite Extractivism

Events

The Despite Extractivism events series is an unfolding opportunity for collective learning  and solidarity building with artists, activists, academics, communities and active audiences.

Between a launch event and a closing event, three webinars will explore the stories, ideas and practises of the Despite Extractivism contributors and the communities they engage with. The events, featuring performances, presentations and discussions,  focus in turn on expanding but intersecting scales, from the body to the global.  Presenters and further information to be announced.

Online Event

Welcome

Thursday, 20 January 2022
12 – 1:30pm (UK time)

The curatorial collective will be joined by contributors to launch the website and open the exhibition to the public. Together we will take a guided journey through the online exhibition spaces, meet the artists and explore the themes and questions at the heart of the exhibition. A recording of this event will be available shortly.

Online Event

Embodiment

Thursday, 27 January 2022
12 – 1:30pm (UK time)

How can embodied, sensory or emotional experiences evoke new sensibilities to distanced extractive realities? Sharing participatory performances and discussion, contributing artists Arabel Lebrusan and Luce Choules invite us to explore their practises as responses to and ways of resisting extractivism:

Arabel Lebrusan. Toxic Waves II. Harvesting empathy and coping with ecological grief through drawing. 

Toxic waves II, is an online participatory drawing performance where participants are invited to draw to the beat of a metronome the shape of a wave with a repetitive line. Please bring to this session paper affixed to a flat surface such as the wall or a table and charcoal/ pen/ pencil, ideally something thick to draw with.

Luce Choules. Remembering and Forgetting the Air. 

Building ‘traces’ from fragments in their collaborative work REGOLITHIC (Choules+Roisner), Choules will perform a poetic script to voice the space of air – a visible substance circulating in our bodies and carried in our breath. 

Online Event

Community

Thursday, 3 February 2022
12 – 1:30pm (UK time)
Communities of place are often at the centre of stories about impacts and resistance to extractivism. When we ask what persists ‘despite extractivism’, the question also invites us to think about what we mean by ‘community’ in our stories.
Online Event

Worlding

Thursday, 10 February 2022
12 – 1:30pm (UK time)
Extractivism describes a singular and toxic way of being in and relating to the world. Each Despite Extractivism contribution invites us to relate and act ‘otherwise’ in different ways and through different registers. Working with the Zapatista definition of the pluriverse – ‘the world we want is a world in which many worlds fit’ – this webinar provides a common space to share stories and conversations across our differences.
Online Event

Closing

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

12 – 1:30pm (UK time) (TBC)

This event will bring together the collective learning of the exhibition and accompanying events. Rather than marking the end of the project, the event will consider what new ideas, connections or questions have unfolded and how we might cultivate these.
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Credits

The Extracting Us exhibition and conversation series is co-curated by Siti Maimunah, Elona Hoover, Dian Ekowati, Alice Owen and Rebecca Elmhirst with critical insight and support from independent curator Celina Loh. Online exhibition designed and developed by Celina Loh with the Extracting Us Collective.

This project is made possible by support from 
ONCA Gallery, the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics at the University of Brighton, the Wellbeing, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity research network funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764908), and collaboration with the Women in Action on Mining in Asia (WAMA) collaborative network and the ‘Sustainable’ Development and Atmospheres of Violence: Experiences of Environmental Defenders project funded by The British Academy.


Partners

WEGO-ITN (Wellbeing, Ecology, Gender and cOmmuny International Training Network) is an EU-funded research network contributing to the political ecology, feminist studies, human geography, anthropology, and development studies’ understanding of extractivism, commoning, care, communities, livelihoods, embodied subjectivities and resistance to development. WEGO-ITN is made up of scholar-activists working on feminist political ecology from ten institutions in six European Union countries: Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom and ten institutions from eight countries for training and secondments: Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay and USA.

The Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics (SECP), based at the University of Brighton, undertakes interdisciplinary research to address global and planetary challenges such as climate change, human migration, social inequalities and resource access or depletion. SECP explores the environmental, spatial and cultural dimensions of ecological and social challenges in specific places, to offer new knowledge and practice for the creation of more sustainable and socially just societies.

ONCA logo

ONCA is a Brighton based arts charity that bridges social and environmental justice issues with creativity. ONCA promotes positive change by facilitating inclusive spaces for creative learning, artist support, story-sharing and community solidarity. ONCA Gallery works with artists, educators and organisations to co-deliver exhibitions, events and workshops that explore social and environmental issues.

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About Despite Extractivism

As with the Extracting Us exhibition, we invited the Despite Extractivism contributors to consider how their work can follow our guiding principles:

• The online exhibition brings together artistic and creative contributions that explore everyday community experiences of and responses to extractivism, and/or engage in ongoing conversations around extractivism, communities and care, in its various forms and registers.

• It includes three core aims:
– to challenge ‘north-south’ and ‘producer-consumer’ narratives on extractivism
– to listen to perspectives from those most affected, and develop actions of solidarity and resistance across countries and continents
– to challenge the viewer to make (sometimes unexpected) connections and develop solidarity (e.g, inviting the viewer to take specific actions or connect with the community

• The exhibition thinks about extractivism and care in terms of materials from (and of) the earth, and considers the experiences of humans and the rest of the natural world.

• The exhibition will include narratives of resistance where possible/relevant; and avoid relying on pathos that might develop an ‘us/them’ feeling

• The exhibition will work with quality materials while also challenging ‘professional’ or ‘distanced’ kinds of aesthetics

Despite Extractivism assembles expressions of care, creativity and community from diverse sites of extraction and geographical contexts. Extractivism is characterised by the violent accumulation of resources, which often devastates and disrupts affected communities and the natural world. Collectively, the works in this exhibition illuminate and explore ways of questioning, subverting and resisting the logics and impacts of extractivism.

Despite Extractivism
is part of the ongoing ‘Extracting Us’ collective journey exploring the  diverse, uneven but sometimes connected ways in which resource extraction also extracts from communities. It is an invitation to explore questions around extractivism and its logics, but also to explore the already-existing alternatives.  How do communities and creatives (struggle to) cultivate care for nature and for each other despite extractivism? Can sites of extraction be a fertile ground for alternatives?  Can artistic interventions help foster new sensibilities and solidarities with distanced extractive contexts?

Like weeds growing through the cracks in concrete, and in their flourishing slowly forcing the cracks to widen, the contributors to
Despite Extractivism scatter here their seeds of ways of thinking or being in extractive contexts. 

There are stories of artists who are involved with communities inhabiting landscapes threatened by destructive projects, imagining and practising ways of being which subvert and resist extractivism:  V’Cenza Cirefe’s
Counter-mapping in the Sperrins (resisting gold mining in Northern Ireland), Chesney’s Down The Line (resisting the HS2 railway in England)  and Federico Pardo’s forthcoming contribution (resisting gold mining in Cajamarca, Columbia).

There are illuminations of other tactics of resistance, from the creativity of the Kartini Kendeng women ecological defenders and their portrayals by Dewi Candraningrum (resisting cement mining in Java, Indonesia), to the counter-mapping initiative by the Pari Island community, JKPP and collectives to stop extractive tourism (Seribu Islands, Indonesia).

There are explorations of the uneven geographies of extractivism, with Karin Edstedt’s (Title) embroidery depicting the disproportionate environmental injustices of mining on indigenous communities (copper extraction conflict in Laver, Sápmi; coal mining in Kalimantan, Indonesia), and Sandro Simon’s audiovisual work Bidonmondes drawing attention to the omnipresence of extractivism through the everyday repurposing of imported palm oil canisters in the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal (originating from extractive palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia).

There are intimate accounts of uprooting due to extractive projects, accompanied by the persistent determination to build or rebuild lives in Between Rivers by Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik (Intergenerational care and multidimensional extractivism, Russian Urals), This is my Home by Maria Rosa Pessoa Piedade & Marilene Ribeiro (dispossession caused by the Belo Monte dam, Brazil) and In the Forest We Believe by Albertus Vembrianto (Covid-19) exacerbates migration from a coastal area affected by gold mining waste, Papua, Indonesia).

Finally, there are invitations to engage with practises and performances which inspire embodied reflection on the destruction and destabilising effects of extractivism in distanced contexts: Arabel Lebrusen’s Toxic Waves II (in response to deadly failure of a dam at the Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil ) and Choules+Roisner’s
REGOLITHIC (in response to global extraction).

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