As the ‘4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ exhibition concluded on January 7, 2018, at the CAPC musée in Bordeaux, we finished archiving all the social media posts visitors, the museum and ourselves have published – see our Wakelet feed below – since research phase to the exhibition itself, and below share the most relevant print and online reviews.
Wakelet collection of the "4.543 billion" exhibition.
December 8, 2017:Tom Jeffreyshighlighted the exhibition in his "Looking Back: Paris" roundup for frieze magazine – illustrated with two works included in the show by Nicholas Mangan and Alexandra Navratil. "A little less academic, but no less rigorous, was ‘4,543 milliards’ (4,543 billion), curated by the Barcelona-based Latitudes (co-founded by frieze contributing editor Max Andrews) at CAPC, Bordeaux. Subtitled ‘The matter of matter’, the exhibition provided a material, geological and political response to the building’s former life as a warehouse for colonial commodities and, by extension, the complex entanglement of culture, money, politics and ecological impact. Marble from Trump Tower (Amie Siegel’s "Strata", 2017) was exhibited alongside partially-burnt documents rescued from a fire at the Bordeaux municipal archives and a 1939 mock invitation to the ‘Museum of Standard Oil’, actually MoMA’s new building, issued by the then-publications director, Frances Collins (unsurprisingly fired soon after). Combining archival materials with work by 30 artists, big ideas with specificity and nuance, this was exactly the kind of exhibition I would want to return to again and again. If the selection of the next artistic director the Venice Biennale were a democratic process, I’d be voting for Latitudes."
"Meanwhile, around the corner at CAPC there’s an intriguing assembly of stones, papers, paintings, photographs and projections that unite geo-physics, sculpture, and art history, including the conversion of the building itself from a one-time commodities warehouse into its current life as a museum. Entitled “The Matter of Matter,” [missing "4.543 billion" years, the age of the Earth, and the first part of the exhibition title] it includes the work of 30 artists, assembled and mounted by a Spanish team, Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. They call themselves Latitudes [wrongly published with two "T"]; they aim to excavate the world we inhabit daily, be it through the history indigo mining in Mexico and southern France (vital for fine pottery and coloring bluejeans) or oil extraction in Venezuela, gas infused sculptures or open pit diamond mining in southern Africa. All that we do, all that we eat, all that we create derives from one form of excavation or another. Simple truism as it may seem, Latitudes takes us into the intimacies of our relation with this earth and calls us to meditate on our physical and aesthetic relation to the steadily warming round rock that is our home."
September 20, 2017: Emmanuel Labails of RCF Radio did a 9-minute interview with Pedro Jiménez Morras, Head of Press of CAPC, who discussed the premises of the exhibition and some of its works. (Listen between minute 4:39 and 13:36). August 19, 2017: Bea Espejo's ‘Cambio de tiempo’, on the Spanish national cultural supplement Babelia, in El País newspaper begins: ˝A ese pensamiento geológico del tiempo conduce la exposición 4.543 millones. La cuestión de la materia en el CAPC de Burdeos. La muestra aborda obras de arte, colecciones e historias culturales con relación a procesos ecológicos y la escala geológica del tiempo. En total, más de 35 artistas que dan valor a las discontinuidades, a las derivas y a las ausencias. La muestra almacena el tiempo como una batería almacena la energía. Y lo hace en varias capas de lectura. Una de ellas es el tiempo que lleva Latitudes, la oficina curatorial de Mariana Cánepa Luna y Max Andrews, trabajando en este proyecto, seguramente el más complejo y ambicioso, aunque esta investigación en torno a las complejas relaciones entre la ecología y el arte contemporáneo está en la base de todos sus proyectos desde 2005. Aquí no pueden ser más rotundos. Abordan la cuestión de la materia desde el lado más inmaterial, que es la memoria. Para ello, estudiaron a fondo el contexto de la ciudad bajo un programa de residencias del museo. Hablamos, pues, de un proyecto de investigación, algo que se traduce en cada pequeño gesto que recoge la muestra, y que lo expande todo. De ahí las relaciones de algunas obras con el departamento de zoología de la universidad (Ilana Halperin), el Museo de Bellas Artes (Stuart Whipps, o el préstamo de Alfred Roll), así como los muchos documentos y objetos que se incluyen de los archivos Métropole, de la Gironde y la colección geológica de la UFR Sciences de la Terre et de la Mer, de la Universidad de Burdeos.˝
July 12, 2017: Catherine Darfay's ‘Le CAPC remonte le temps’ on the local newspaper "Sudouest", was the first feature. The article was illustrated with a with an image showing Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) chartering the daily price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances in the world’s largest carbon market —a changing value documented in this blog post.
First public event on 30 June to the Salle des Collections de l'Unité de Formation de Biologie, Université de Bordeaux. This and following photos: Latitudes.
On December 14 at 2pm, the mediation department of the CAPC will lead a guided visit to Ilana Halperin’s "The Rock Cycle" (2017) intervention at the Salle des Collections de l'Unité de Formation de Biologie, Université de Bordeaux. The event is the third visit (earlier ones took place on October 19 and November 16) programmed in the context of her participation in the exhibition ‘4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ on view at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux. The next (and final one) will be taking place on January 4, three days before the exhibition closes on January 7, 2018. These events are free. Booking is recommended via Léo Correa [email protected] T. (+33) 05 56 00 81 60.
Ilana Halperin’s new project for the exhibition '4.543 billion' deals with geological intimacy and vivacity, and the uncanny fact that something as apparently inert and certain as the stone walls of the CAPC building were once marine life from a tropical ocean of the Oligocene epoch, around 32 million-years-ago. This Calcaire à Astéries (asteriated limestone) characteristic of Bordeaux takes its name from the countless tiny fossil organisms of the genus asterias (a type of sea star) that can be found in the stone alongside fossil mollusks and coral.
Halperin addresses stone, not as dead matter or a mere resource, but as a story-laden substance that both surpasses and partners in humans’ view of the world. 'The Rock Cycle' incorporates the reading of a letter and the hosting of a number of the artist’s geological sculptures within the displays of the zoology collection of the University of Bordeaux. These ‘curios’ originated as fragments of sea-weathered brick from the Isle of Bute in western Scotland, as well as waterjet-cut sandstone, that the artist left for three months in Fontaines Pétrifiantes in Saint-Nectaire. For generations, the mineral-rich waters that percolate through the rock at this site in central France have been used to create sculptures using the same process by which stalactites form, only one hundred times faster. Objects become rapidly encrusted with new layers of stone.
—Latitudes [Excerpt from the exhibition guide]
Three other events have been programmed in the context of the exhibition.
Visit with Terence Gower (participating artist) and Prof. Bruno Cahuzac. Photo: CAPC musée/Département des publics.
8 November 2017, 5:30–7pm Jam Session #1—Guided tour by Terence Gower (participating artist) and Prof. Bruno Cahuzac (UFR Sciences de la Terre et de la Mer, Université de Bordeaux Montaigne).
Guests during “The Return of the Earth: Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene” event. Photo: Latitudes.
During Jam Session #2 event. Photo: CAPC musée/Département des publics.
6 December 2017, 5:30–7pm Jam Session #2—Guided tour by Isabelle Kanor (Head association "Le Labo de Lettres” dealing with cultural issues in the Antilles and colonization), and Charlotte Bouvier and Rémi Cazamajour (Inélia, company that supplied the solar panels feeding the video installation "Ancient Lights" (2015) by Nicholas Mangan). Sign up: Stéphane Mallet, [email protected]
Over 80 visitors enjoyed the 'The Postpetrolistic Internationale' choir performance, a project by the Zurich-based artists Roman Keller & Christina Hemauer as well as the tour around four wasteland sites included in the research publication of the guide 'Wastelands of the Port of Rotterdam' by Rotterdam-based artist Lara Almarcegui.
Bus Tour – Portscapes public art projects on the Maasvlakte, Rotterdam.
On Sunday 8 November SKOR and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are organising a tour coinciding with the 4th International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam. The tour is programmed in the context of Portscapes, a series of art projects related to the construction of the Maasvlakte 2 commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The Maasvlakte 2 project is the ongoing extension of the port by 2,000 hectares, which will be constructed in the North Sea in the next five years. SKOR invited the duo Latitudes from Barcelona, who has curated a series of projects reflecting on the architectural, political, social and ecological aspects of the past, present and future of the Rotterdam port with a focus on the new Maasvlakte 2. Portscapes consists of ten new commissions in and about the Maasvlakte by Dutch and international artists, including interventions, films, performances and mobile seminars.
Bus tour bookings: write to ad [at] skor.nl by 2 November 2009 Free tour. English spoken An exhibition of the Portscapes projects will be on show at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam from 5 February, until late March 2010.
Programme on 8 November (Programme subject to changes)
9.45 am – Leave from NAI Rotterdam, Museumpark 25 3015 CB, Rotterdam On the way to the port you can listen to interviews by Fucking Good Art on mp3 players in the bus. Amongst others, Hans Aarsman, an industrial ecologist, a botanist and an archaeologist, will describe his vision of the Maasvlakte on the basis of his field of expertise. The artistic duo FGA broadcast this and other conversations from a temporary web radio station in a container united placed on the Maasvlakte between 21 August and 21 September. 10.45 am – Visit to wastelands by artist Lara Almarcegui and botanist Remko Andeweg The Spanish-born Rotterdam-based artist Lara Almarcegui has published a free newspaper research project concerning the ‘wasteland’ areas which can be encountered throughout the Port of Rotterdam. Almarcegui and botanist Remko Andeweg will describe these areas characterised by an apparent lack of human intervention. 12.00 am – Arrival at Futureland, the Maasvlakte information centre On the way we pass the billboards by the artists Marjolijn Dijkman, Jorge Satorre, Paulien Oltheten and Hans Schabus.
Lunch in Futureland, provided by the Rotterdam Port Authority. Introduction by Latitudes, curators of 'Portscapes' 1.00 pm – Tour of the artworks in and around Futureland You can view work by Paulien Oltheten and Hans Schabus and explore the nearby area picking up Ilana Halperin’s audio tour. Halperin created a compelling narrative of fragments which draws on fact, fiction and personal fieldwork – as well as site surveys by volcanologists, geologists and the experts involved in the construction of Maasvlakte 2.
1.30 pm – Performance 'Postpetrolistic Internationale' The project by Swiss artists Roman Keller & Christina Hemauer emerges from the medium of the collective human voice, the tradition of the aspirational social anthem alongside the artists’ long standing interest in energy use. The project starts with the transportation of a wooden stage along the Rhine from Basel (where the Rhine begins), near the artists’ home, to Rotterdam (where the Rhine joins the sea) – see post 30.10.09. Upon arrival a local choir will perform this anthem of hope-in-action (composed by the artists in collaboration with musician Mathias Vette) on the stage, against a backdrop of local industry, to mark man’s changing relationship with fossil fuels and energy use.
2 pm – Return to NAI Rotterdam with a number of stops at various art projects along the way: wastelands by Lara Almarcegui and works by Paulien Oltheten
09.45 am – Salida desde NAI Rotterdam, Museumpark 25 3015 CB, Rotterdam Durante el recorrido se podrá escuchar mediante auriculares una entrevista al ecologista, botanista, y arqueólogo Hans Aarsman realizada por el duo FGA durante su residencia en un container emplazado en el Maasvlakte, desde donde recogieron conversaciones temáticas y exploraciones de campo. + info...
10.45 am – Visita de terrenos baldíos por Lara Almarcegui y el botanista Remko Andeweg.
La artista española afincada en Rotterdam Lara Almarcegui ha publicado una guía en formato periódico en la que se recoge su investigación entorno a los actuales terrenos baldíos que pueden encontrarse a lo largo de puerto de Rotterdam. En contraste con la gran planificación que circunda el futuro Maasvlakte 2, Almarcegui se interesa por los espacios definidos por la aparente falta de diseño y desarrollo. El público navegará el puerto como un territorio interconectado con la ayuda de esta guía que, como ha manifestado la artista, "actuará como una herramienta para conocerlo mejor (...) para ver cómo el territorio está cambiando. En el futuro, cuando la mayoría de estos terrenos se vean modificados, la guía actuará como un documento histórico que describirá cómo fue el puerto en el 2009".
12.00 am – Visita del centro de visitantes Futureland y almuerzo Durante el viaje se podrán ver las vallas publicitarias de los artistas Marjolijn Dijkman, Jorge Satorre, Paulien Oltheten y Hans Schabus. A la llegada Latitudes, comisarios de 'Portscapes', introducirán los proyectos.
1.00 pm – Visita de las obras presentadas en Futureland y alrededores Visita de las obras de Paulien Oltheten y Hans Schabus así como la audioguía 'A Brief History of Mobile Landmass' realizada por Ilana Halperin. La audioguía narra fragmentos reales y ficticios recogidos a partir de la investigación de la artista y expertos entorno a volcanes y estudios de campo relacionados con la presente construcción del Maasvlakte 2 – escuchar capítulos o descargar archivos aquí
13.30h – ' Postpetrolistic Internationale', performance de Roman Keller & Christina Hemauer
El proyecto de los suizos Roman Keller & Christina Hemauer comienza con el transporte de un escenario a lo largo del Rin, desde Basilea (donde el Rin abandona Suiza) y cerca de donde viven los artistas, hasta Rotterdam (donde el Rin desemboca en el mar) - léase post 30.10.09. A su llegada un coro cantará la 'The Postpetrolistic Internationale', un himno social compuesto por los artistas en colaboración con el músico y compositor Mathias Vetter, que proclama el comienzo de una nueva era donde el petróleo pertenece al pasado. Los días 7 y 8 de noviembre un coro local interpretará este himno de esperanza sobre el escenario en pleno paisaje industrial, para poner en perspectiva la historia evolución de hombre y su relación con los combustibles fósiles y el uso de la energía. Ésta será la primera vez que se cantará en inglés.
2 pm – Regreso al NAI Rotterdam con varias paradas durante el recorrido a los terrenos valdíos seleccionados por Lara Almarcegui y obras de Paulien Oltheten
As her contribution to ‘Portscapes’, New York-born Glasgow-based artist Ilana Halperin has created a spoken-word narrative in Dutch and English for visitors to the port. Available at the visitor center Futureland (map here) and online (www.portscapes.nl) from September 18 until 2013, ‘A Brief History of Mobile Landmass’ is an audio field guide inspired by a perception of Maasvlakte 2 in terms of formidable geophysical phenomena and a geological sense of time.
The artist has assembled a compelling narrative of fragments which draws on fact, fiction and personal fieldwork – as well as site surveys by volcanologists, geologists and the experts involved in the construction of Maasvlakte 2. It offers echoes, speculations and interpretations surrounding both the artificial and natural processess whereby new land is created. Recalling Jules Verne’s ‘Voyages Extraordinaires’, this 'book on tape' couples a wealth of scientific information with wonder and vivid description.
Halperin is your guide through a landscape with tales of newborn islands, otherworldly Hawaiian magma and the fire deity Pele, a Rotterdam ‘lava flow’ or the ‘industrial volcanoes’ of its port. To paraphrase Mark Twain’s astonished account of the eruption of Kilauea in 1866: “Here is room for the imagination to work!”.
'Portscapes' is an accumulative series of newly commissioned projects taking place throughout 2009 alongside the construction of Rotterdam's [51° 55' N 4° 29' E] Maasvlakte 2 (MV2) – an extension to Europe's largest seaport and industrial area which will be realised between 2008 and 2013 by reclaiming 2,000 hectare area of reclaimed land (see images here) that will extend the Port of Rotterdam, Europe's largest seaport and industrial area by 20%.
Three new 'Portscapes' projects: Fucking Good Art's broadcasting from their 'base camp' in Maasvlakte until 21 September; Paulien Oltheten billboard and forthcoming exhibition at Futureland and Ilana Halperin's scripted audio field guide available in English and Dutch from 18 September 2009
Rotterdam-based artists Rob Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma, editors of the printed and online magazine FUCKING GOOD ART, have been living and working in a ‘base camp’ on the Maasvlakte from 20th August and will be there until end of September producing Portscapes ON AIR – Station Maasvlakte. (+ info...)
On 14 August 2009 a billboard by Amsterdam-based artist PAULIEN OLTHETEN was placed along the A15 on the Maasvlakte. Oltheten made use of the lack of reference of natural elements, such as trees, bushes and people by arranging meetings. These stagings mostly take place in locations on the Maasvlakte that will soon disappear or be displaced and often involve variations of the theme ‘one becomes two’, referring to the Maasvlakte, of which there will later be two. (+ info...)
As her contribution to Portscapes, New York-born Glasgow-based artist ILANA HALPERIN has created an audio field guide available online and on MP3 players which visitors will be able to pick up at Futureland (map here) and experience through wandering the nearby area of the port edge. ‘A Brief History of Mobile Landmass’ is inspired by a perception of Maasvlakte 2 in terms of formidable geophysical phenomena and a geological sense of time. (+ info...)
Audioguide available online and at Futureland (map here) from 18 September 2009 until 2013. Narrated in English and Dutch. Duration: 45 min.
'Portscapes' is an accumulative series of art commissions taking place throughout 2009 alongside the construction of ‘Maasvlakte 2’, a 2,000 hectare area of reclaimed land that will extend the Port of Rotterdam, Europe's largest seaport and industrial area by 20%. Projects varied in size and scale will be produced under the leitmotif itineraries and destinations comprising tours, audioguides, performances, radio programmes, interventions, for example. (+ info...)
Artists involved in Portscapes: Lara Almarcegui, Bik van der Pol, Jan Dibbets, Marjolijn Dijkman, Fucking Good Art, Cyprien Gaillard, Ilana Halperin, Roman Keller & Christina Hemauer, Paulien Oltheten, Michael Rakowitz, Jorge Satorre, Hans Schabus and Jun Yang. Website collaborators: Maria Barnas (poetry) and Markus Miessen (interviews).