Brittle Land, an artist book on Alexandra Navratil.

Alexandra Navratil’s Brittle Land artist book

I edited, and contributed a poem to Alexandra Navratil’s artist book Brittle Land, launched at Dan Gunn gallery, Berlin in June 2016.

This book is comprised of stills from Alexandra Navratil’s works ‘Silbersee’ (2015) and ‘Resurrections’ (2014), along with essays by Paul Feigelfeld and Keston Sutherland, plus a poem by editor Rachel O’Reilly.

Taking the former Agfa-ORWO photographic film factory in Wolfen, Germany, as a point of departure, it divulges the interdependent histories of photographic emulsion, gelatin, labour, exploitation, exhaustion, chemical contamination, and slow violence. For Navratil, film reflects the ongoing technological development from the late 19th century until now, a product inextricably linked to the plastics industry that developed simultaneously with it, and to today’s widespread digitisation.

Design by Roger Willems and published by Roma Publications and Dan Gunn, Berlin.

For further information on the publication: Brittle Land
For further information on the artist: Alexandra Navratil

Publisher: Roma Publications
ISBN: 9789491843594
Idea Books Order Code: 16200

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The Arts of Logistics conference

The Arts of Logistics conference, Queen Mary University of London

I will be a co-presenter at The Arts of Logistics conference at the Queen Mary University of London. The conference takes place on June 3 & 4, 2016, with keynotes from Deborah Cowen & Alberto Toscano.

I co-present the panel “Art and Logistical Disruption” with Danny Butt from the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, from 2pm – 3.30pm on the second day of the conference, June 4, and our guests are Leah Lovett and Michael Wilson.

“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.

Art and Logistical Disruption – Indentured aesthetic economy on the professional frontier

Australia can be seen as a settler colonial nation that has effectively neoliberalised its cultural infrastructure over the last three decades, constructing a speculative futurity for an institutionally unbound professionalism that subtracts a historical ‘labour’ consciousness from dominant forms of production. The effect of this “turn” in the visual arts of the settler colony, partially due to its coincidence with a relatively healthy public arts funding until very recently, is a transition that brings institutionalised “professional” art work and workers into line with a global paradigm of deskilling and proletarianisation.

In this space, the coincidence of curatorial and artistic professionalism with the neoliberal State form risks working away at a frontier of a frontier – a frontier of labour, value and place – whereby the reimposition of speculative limits for capital, or the demand for foundation, results in what Angela Mitropolous describes as “calls for genealogical order” that could be observed both in calls for and against the widely debated boycott of the 2014 Sydney Biennale.

As nominally “public” institutional art of the biennial becomes increasingly bound up in contractual play in the post-welfare settler colonial state, fine art’s residual discourses of modernist autonomy appear not simply paradoxical, but indicative of a “machinery of fealty” that circulates the performative defense of aesthetic autonomy precisely to suppress the material-symbolic dynamics of its contractual base. Exploring Mitropolous’ elaboration of the contractual and the subject-form, and responding to recent re-examinations of aesthetic and political autonomy by UK and European theorists and historians in the wake of major arts cuts and populist takeovers of re-nationalized funding programs of export-oriented utility, this paper pays special attention to the spatial and contractual fix of neoliberal disposition in the ‘contemporary’ to ask questions about affective composure, forms of negation, divestment and reinvestment as alternate forms of professional response-ability.

More information on the conference here: Arts of Logistics conference

The Gas Imaginary artist talk, Institute for Modern Art, Brisbane

The IMA’s current exhibition Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Ease features two collaborative drawing series’ from my ongoing project The Gas Imaginary (2011-). On May 26, 2016 at 18:00, I will discuss this project in more detail in a free lecture at the IMA.

The first series—The Gas Imaginary (2014)—traces the difference between the modernist imagination of underground mining versus contemporary fracking regimes. The second series—Gladstone, Post-pastoral (2016)— has been commissioned for the Brisbane launch of Frontier Imaginaries. It gives a deep time and horizontal social image to the privatised drama of approvals surrounding the expansion of the port of Gladstone into a gas export hub for Queensland.

Despite traversing World Heritage Protected and UNESCO-listed terrain, the LNG developments and dredging were made possible through legal innovations and special economic zonings. Environmental Impact Assessments of the infrastructure itself have since been proven to have lacked ‘critical information’ on groundwater and well locations, while the process of approval has been subjected to a 2015 Federal Senate Inquiry. 

Both series have been produced in collaboration with PALACE architects (Valle Medina and Ben Reynolds) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.

Born in Gladstone and based in Berlin, Rachel O’Reilly is a poet, critic, independent curator and researcher. Her work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, media and psychoanalysis, aesthetic philosophy and political economy. From 2004-08 she was a curator of film, video and new media at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. She has a background in comparative literature, and a Master (Cum Laude) in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Rachel is part of the How to Do Things With Theory program at the Dutch Art Institute. From 2013-14 she was a researcher in residence of the Jan van Eyck Academie, NL. Her critical writing has been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, and Postcolonial Studies and in collaborative criticism e-books by the V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Rotterdam.

Website: The Gas Imaginary talk

Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction seminar

On Tuesday May 24, 6-8pm, I will give my seminar: “Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction” at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA)

It is presented for the seminar series “Precarity//Futurity//Aesthetics”, co-convened by Jennifer Biddle, Anna Munster and Veronica Tello, at the Elywn Lynn Conference Centre (near the UNSW A&D library).

Contemporary mine production involves high salaried contractors negotiating ‘unconventional’ extractive regimes via increasingly privatized, post-democratic licensing and labour agreements, at the anthropocenic limits of land use. In the settler-colony especially, the image of mining labour, once key for dramatizing production (and anti-production, in strike) has been mobilized within the New Economy in ways that fundamentally disturb the figure-ground relations of citizenship through which the mine worker dialectically achieved its value in the first place.

Rachel O’Reilly’s visit to NIEA, UNSW A&D, coincides with the presentation of two series of drawings from her larger research project, The Gas Imaginary (2011-) as part of Frontier Imaginaries, currently at IMA/QUT.

Working through the difference of the contemporary mode of primitive accumulation of the mining contract, this talk draws on an earlier generation of feminist filmmakers’ im-proper and clinamen-like engendering of industry forms and formal ‘movement’, between labour and nature, to substantiate a contemporary aesthetic theory of divestment.

——-
Credits:
1. Sandra Lahaire, Uranium Hex, 1987
2. Susan Wallace-Babb in oxygen mask, Winnsboro, Texas, Sept. 12, 2011. (Erin Trieb for ProPublica)

The Gas Imaginary, in Frontier Imaginaries, The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (AU)

The Institute of Modern Art and QUT Art Museum present the launch edition of roaming art platform Frontier Imaginaries across two exhibitions: No Longer at Ease (IMA) and The Life of Lines (QUT Art Museum), and takes place between 14. May and 9. July, 2016.
Frontier Imaginaries is founded by QUT Alumnus Vivian Ziherl through the IMA Curatorial Fellowship.I was commissioned to make a new piece, The Gas Imaginary, for IMA’s No Longer at Ease show in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico).

Across the IMA and QUT Art Museum, local and international artists address the role of the frontier within the global era through works ranging from an oyster shell installation to monumental history paintings and multi-channel video. Linking both galleries together will be a specially commissioned exhibition design by award-winning Brisbane architects Kevin O’Brien and Claire Humphreys. This design will include an ‘assembly point’ conceived to host reading groups, community meetings, workshops, and artist talks.

No Longer at Ease at the IMA presents new commissions by Alice Creischer (Germany); Gordon Hookey (Waanyi/Australia); Rachel O’Reilly (Australia; Germany), in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom), and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico); alongside works by Juan Davila (Chile/Australia); Demian DinéYahzi’ (Diné/United Sates of America), Bonita Ely (Australia); Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Zaire/Congo); Ryan Presley (Marri Ngarr/Australia); and Wendelien van Oldenborgh (Netherlands). These are joined by a presentation of Virtual Meanjin by the Virtual Songlines project, and a curated selection of materials from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.

The Life of Lines at QUT Art Museum includes new commissions by Megan Cope (Qandamooka/Australia); Ho Rui An (Singapore); and Tom Nicholson (Australia); as well as works by DAAR (Palestine); the Karrabing Film Collective (Karrabing/Australia); Elizabeth A. Povinelli (United States); and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe (Myanmar/Canada). Also on display is a selection of archival real estate posters from the collection of the John Oxley Library; the film The Changing Face of Australia produced by the Shell Film Unit Australia in 1970; and a selection of photography documenting the installation of the Shell Oil Refinery in Geelong circa 1953-1958 by legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton.

Further information on the exhibitions: Frontier Imaginaries