April 20, 2020 - Arts Catalyst - Re-thinking Planetary Practices
April 20, 2020

Arts Catalyst

[1] Rachel Pimm, Hevea Brasiliensis, from (The Great Exhibition of the Works of) Cash Crops, 2019. [2] Bahar Noorizadeh, After Scarcity (film still), 2018. [3] Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Multispecies Banquet, 2019. [4] FRAUD, Árbol de Bu-Craa [Tree of Bou-Craa], research image from Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (Madrid, Spain), courtesy Dr Lino Camprubí. [5] Leah Clements, Collapse (film still), 2019.

Re-thinking Planetary Practices
New programme inquiries

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During this time of uncertainty, Arts Catalyst is looking ahead to the future and continuing to work towards relocating its Centre for Art, Science and Technology from London to Sheffield, South Yorkshire, in 2021. 

Articulated in tandem with the ongoing exploratory programme Recentring Attention, the relocation provides the organisation with an opportunity to question and re-imagine the functions, uses and possibilities of a cultural organisation in times of ongoing structural crisis.

Over the next five years—through a transdisciplinary curatorial approach—Arts Catalyst aims to open up a conversation around existing complexities and entanglements that shape social and environmental (in)justices on both a local and planetary scale. Through interrelated co-inquiries, the organisation is seeking to develop artistic and curatorial practice in four distinct areas: climate and environmental justice, infrastructures of health and care, extractive politics and migration, and the weaponisation of technology.

These long-term collective inquiries (outlined below) will be articulated through exhibitions, commissions and public programmes bringing together communities of practices and artists including The Alternative School of Economics, Leah Clements, FRAUD, Regina de Miguel, Bahar Noorizadeh, Other Ways to Care, Rachel Pimm, Luiza Prado de O. Martins and Gary Zhexi Zhang.

An Army of the Sick Cannot Be Defeated
An Army of the Sick Cannot Be Defeated is a collective inquiry that brings together scientists, academics, artists, service users and activists to re-think modes of care and healing practices in the light of the ongoing austerity climate and of the resulting structural violence it imposes on communities and institutions. Inspired by practices of institutional analysis, Arts Catalyst will explore, research and test ways of working and collaborating that simultaneously seek to heal and re-invent the institutions of care themselves. 

Emergent Ecologies
Emergent Ecologies explores more-than-human notions of citizenship, stewardship and rights, considering the ways in which bacteria, fungi, plants, animals and humans interact to shape each other’s destinies and behaviours. The programme brings together artists, researchers, activists and scientists to collectively explore experimental practices and reparative approaches to ecological issues. Underpinned by a "queer ecologies" mode of investigation, Emergent Ecologies draws on multi-species thinking to collapse binary categorisations and understandings of identity and the world we live in.

Extractable Matters
Extractable Matters is Arts Catalyst’s ongoing inquiry into the politics of extraction and its ecological impacts on a planetary scale. Across the world—in areas such as Chile, Sápmi Sweden, the Congo and Greenland—communities of humans and non-humans are being displaced, challenged and intoxicated by mining companies’ ever growing demand for natural resources. Punctuated by interweaving programme chapters and seasons, Extractable Matters provides a polyfunctional context for inquiring into the molecular violence that extractive activities inflict on land, minerals, cultures and communities, from loss of indigenous knowledge to deforestation and soil erosion. It provides a space through which to encounter and explore modes of resistance, self-governance and organisation.

Ungovernable Machines
Ungovernable Machines investigates the ways in which technology shapes and is shaped by geopolitics, from the redrawing of state borders on Google Maps to the illegal export of toxic electronic waste to the global south and human rights violations through mass surveillance. In exploring the invisible infrastructures and forms of surveillance that technology enables, the programme examines the social, political, economic and ecological implications of the intangible networks and systems that govern our daily lives, and the power structures that underlie them.

About Arts Catalyst
Arts Catalyst works across art, science and technology to produce ambitious new projects that critically engage with our changing world. Programming exhibitions, events, residencies, performances and publications, it often works in collaboration with national and international partner organisations from the fields of art, science and academia. Arts Catalyst’s public programme forms an intrinsic part of the organisation’s work, creating space for conversation, debate and fresh thinking. 

Find out more at artscatalyst.org

*Emergent Ecologies borrows its title from anthropologist Eben Kirksey’s publication of the same name. An Army of the Sick Cannot Be Defeated is inspired by a quote attributed to artist, activist and writer Gregg Bordowitz.

Arts Catalyst
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