January 11, 2021 - Goethe-Institut - Take Me to the River
January 11, 2021

Goethe-Institut / Prince Claus Fund

[1] Misha Vallejo, Pachamama, 2019. Video still. [2] Misha Vallejo, The Oil Company, 2019. Video still. [3] Daniel Torres, Surfaces (Superficies), 2020. Film still. [4] Pham Thu Hang, Phuong Detecting Explosive Remnants of War, excerpt from The Future Cries Beneath Our Soil, 2018. Film still. [5] Gilberto Esparza/Taller 30, Immersion of the structure, 2018–20. Film still.

Take Me to the River
Art and Culture Respond to the Climate Crisis

Curator-led tour & talk (online): January 28, 5–6pm, with curator Maya El Khalil


All over the world, cultural professionals, artists, architects and designers are grappling with the effects of climate change whilst actively involving their communities. Their work opens up creative spaces that raise awareness of changes in our environment and develop possible solutions to counter the climate crisis. Some of these perspectives are now being shown in the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund’s multimedia exhibition Take Me to the River, curated by Maya El Khalil. The selected works from Egypt, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Congo and other countries include film, photography, VR video, audio-visual archives and community radio. The exhibition is online now at www.takemetotheriver.net.

Since 2018, a joint funding programme by the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund has been supporting initiatives that seek cultural and artistic responses to global environmental changes. Around 35 art and culture projects from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe have been funded so far. Take Me to the River, a multimedia online presentation, will make 15 of these artworks available to the public. The exhibition is being presented online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Take Me to the River presents the diverse perspectives of the funded projects as a chorus of voices against resource depletion, environmental abuse and the violation of the rights of indigenous communities. The exhibition is curated by Maya El Khalil, an independent curator and cultural adviser based in Oxford. To weave the individual projects into a story that both illustrates the effects of the climate crisis on people and the environment and shows alternative answers, it pursues five narratives:

Nature is repositioned as a Subject of Rights, presenting works that afford the non-human world renewed subjecthood and respect. Here, the platform emphasises innovations exemplified by recent landmark legal cases as well as critical alternative cosmologies—indigenous belief systems that respect non-human nature as a living being. Object of Abuse takes an unflinching look at the anguish of nature and the irreparable damage inflicted by exploitative practices. Furthering the narrative of a legal gesture, Nature Prosecutes imagines vengeance. The precarious zones of natural disaster, dwindling resources and increasingly unpredictable circumstances are unmasked as direct results of human action. The cruel and ambivalent effects of the climate emergency are charted in Humanity Sentenced. The online journey reveals rays of hope: The projects collected in Motion to Recover seek new attitudes and empowered solutions to resolve these calamities.

With works by Misha Vallejo (Ecuador), Diana Rico and Richard Decaillet (Colombia), Arko Datto (India), Mohamed Mahdy (Egypt), Gilberto Esparza (Mexico) and others.

The multimedia exhibition is available online at www.takemetotheriver.net

Curator-led tour & talk (online):
 January 28, 5–6pm

The presentation will be supplemented in the coming months by more funded works and will be available as an online archive in future.

In addition, the Goethe-Institut’s Ecologues dossier offers essays and articles by experts and cultural professionals on topics of sustainability and ecology. More about this at www.goethe.de/ecologues.

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. With 157 institutes in 98 countries, it promotes the study of German abroad, encourages international cultural exchange and conveys a contemporary image of Germany. Through partnerships with institutions in numerous other locations, the Goethe-Institut has about 1,000 contact points worldwide.

The Prince Claus Fund has almost 25 years of excellence in supporting cultural and artistic initiatives in the most challenging spaces. Its mission is to support, connect and strengthen cultural professionals where culture is under pressure. The Fund has been a successful actor and liaison in the arts and culture sectors globally, generating possibilities for critical discussion and boosting creative expression. Because of its track record and autonomy, the Fund is seen as a global leader in supporting independent cultural initiatives of the highest quality with a broad social impact.

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