Longitudes

15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux

Xavier Ribas, detail of diptych num 7 'Caliche Fields' (2010), 22 Pigment prints on Harman Baryta paper 33 x 50 cm. Courtesy the artist and ProjecteSD, Barcelona.

'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene'
Study day
Wednesday, 15 November 2017  
4:30—8:00pm
Auditorium
CAPC musée d’art contemporain Bordeaux 
7, rue Ferrère, 33000 Bordeaux, France 


PROGRAMME

4:30—5:30 pm

Keynote by science historian Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (Paris) 
5:30—5:45 pm
Break
5:45—6:45
pm
Conversation between artists Xavier Ribas (London) and Ângela Ferreira (Lisbon)
6:45—7:45
pm
Roundtable discussion moderated by Latitudes (Barcelona)


Free event. Simultaneous translation French/English. 

Conference programmed in the context of the exhibition '4.543 billion. The matter of matter', CAPC musée d’art contemporain Bordeaux, 29 June 2017–7 January 2018. Curated by Latitudes.



The work of many of the artists in the exhibition '4.543 billion. The matter of matter' explores the shared history of human activities and Earth systems. Yet this comes with a critical and political inflexion of the universalizing notion of the Anthropocene, the proposed geological ‘epoch of humanity’ that would cast all of the mankind as being responsible for the alarming damage caused by modernizing and capitalizing nature.

With a keynote by science historian Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, and a conversation between artists
Xavier Ribas and Ângela Ferreira—the latter both featured in the exhibition—this event hosted by Latitudes ('4.543 billion' curators Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna), sees art practice and historical research intertwining with environmental and geological narratives, and vice versa. Both Ribas and Ferreira make art that resists the generalising story of the Anthropocene that Fressoz unmasks in his book 'The Shock of the Anthropocene. The Earth, History and Us' (co-authored with Christophe Bonneuil, Verso Books, 2016). Echoing the meticulous historical approach of Fressoz, both Ribas’s and Ferreira’s projects in the exhibition deal with case studies with a very specific place and politics. Addressing mineral agency and colonial extraction, the artists will discuss their approaches to work that has sprung from diamonds in South Africa (Ferreira) to nitrate in Chile (Ribas).

As Fressoz & Bonneuil have written, the Anthropocene “signals the return of the Earth into a world that Western industrial modernity, on the whole, represented to itself as above earthly foundation … Environmental history, natural anthropology, environmental law and ethics, human ecology, environmental sociology, political ecology, green political theory, ecological economics, etc., are among the new disciplines that have recently begun to renew the human and social sciences, in a dialogue with the sciences of nature.” The dialogue during the event will seek to discover what might happen when artists, curators, exhibitions and museums come into the mix of such emerging practices. What is at stake when artists venture beyond the conventional separation of humanities from sciences, and into environmental art history, cultural ecology, decolonial activism, and so on?


Entrance to the exhibition at the CAPC. Photo: Latitudes/RK.

GUESTS

Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, formerly a lecturer at Imperial College, London, is a historian of science, technology and environment. He is based at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris, the largest governmental research organisation in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe. He is the author, with Christophe Bonneuil, of 'The Shock of the Anthropocene' (Verso, 2016). “This bold, brilliantly argued history of the Anthropocene epoch is a corrective to cosy thinking about humanity’s grave disruptions to Earth systems. Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz draw on climate science, economics and technological history to reveal how, starting in eighteenth-century France, imperial narratives that saw people and planet as a ‘totality to be governed’ laid the conceptual basis for the crisis. They call for a ‘new environmental humanities’, and a shift away from market-based approaches that feed the beast.” – Barbara Kiser, Nature.

Ângela Ferreira’s works in the exhibition form part of a series titled “Stone Free” (2012) in reference to the 1966 hit song performed by Jimi Hendrix (1942–70). “Stone Free” creates correspondences between two voids below the ground, two ‘negative monuments’ as the artist has termed them: Chislehurst Caves, in southeast London, and Cullinan Diamond Mine in Gauteng Province, South Africa. 


Chislehurst Caves is a man-made network of underground tunnels mainly worked in the late 1700s yet dating back to as early as 1250. The tunnels were excavated in order to mine chalk and flint. Following their use as an air-raid shelter during the second world war, the tunnels were transformed into a venue for rock concerts in the 1960s and 1970s. The Jimi Hendrix Experience played there in 1966 and again the following year, bringing Hendrix’s unique countercultural synthesis of social realism and psychedelic spiritualism based on African and indigenous-American imagery into the literal underground.

Cullinan Diamond Mine (known as Premier Mine from its establishment in 1902 until 2003) is famed for being the source of the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered, in 1905. Most of the gems cut-and-polished from this stone were used to adorn the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The recent history of the diamond industry is inextricable from that of settler colonialism in southern Africa and a commodity cartel established by the De Beers corporation founded in 1888 by British imperialist Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902), two years before he became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. De Beers owned all of the major mines in South Africa, as well as controlling global distribution until it began a recent sell-off of its less productive mines to the Petra Diamonds group, including divesting itself of Cullinan in 2008. 


Ferreira was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1958, and lives in Lisbon, where she teaches Fine Art at the Lisbon University.
http://angelaferreira.info

“A History of Detonations” (2014) is a glimpse at an extensive body of work by Xavier Ribas devoted to exploring the legacy of the mining of sodium nitrate in northern Chile, which boomed from the 1870s until the early-twentieth century when it was discovered how to make the compound synthetically. Comprised of photographs taken by the artist during research visits, alongside vintage postcards and press prints bought on the internet, Ribas’s poster sequence takes us from Chile to London to the surface of Mars. The mining and trade of Chilean sodium nitrate was led by a class of British ‘gentleman capitalists’—aristocrats, bankers and merchants. The extraction of the resource not only industrialized the arid Atacama Desert at one end of the commodity chain, and enriched country estates at the other, but through its use as a chemical fertilizer and a component of explosives, it would radically alter a whole series of seemingly disparate geographies, bodies and institutions.

Ribas was born in Barcelona, 1960, and lives in London.  He is a lecturer at the University of Brighton and associate lecturer at the Universitat Politècnica de València. http://www.xavierribas.com/

Latitudes is a Barcelona-based curatorial office initiated in 2005 by Max Andrews (1975, Bath, United Kingdom) and Mariana Cánepa Luna (1977, Montevideo, Uruguay). They are the curators of the CAPC exhibition ‘4.543 billion. The matter of matter’, and led the related month-long residency programme ‘Geologic Time’ that took place in September 2017 at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. During 2009 Latitudes developed ‘Portscapes’, a series of ten public commissions in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2009); in 2010–11 it was a partner organisation in the exhibition ‘The Last Newspaper’ (New Museum, New York) and in 2011 was the guest curator of the project space of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) in León, Spain. More recent curatorial projects include the solo exhibition ‘José Antonio Hernández-Díez. I will fear no evil’, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona (2016); ‘Compositions’, site-specific commissions for two editions of the Barcelona Gallery Weekend (2015 & 2016); and editing the online curatorial reportage initiative ‘Incidents (of Travel)’ developed in partnership with Kadist (initiated in 2016).  
www.LTTDS.org

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‘4.543 billion’ is the contribution of the CAPC musée to the cultural season Paysages Bordeaux 2017

Views of the exhibition at the CAPC musée. Photos: Latitudes / RK.

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"We are looking for glimpses of life as it was over half a billion years ago. In sight of the snout of the Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park, lie deposits of Burgess Shale, a rock famous for its exceptional preservation of hitherto unknown, and frankly bizarre, soft-bodied marine creatures." Continue reading  

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“Thinking with” geology at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity


Greetings from the Banff Centre in the Canadian Rockies!

For the next four weeks, Latitudes will be Lead Faculty of the residency programme "Geologic Time" organised by the Banff International Curatorial Institute (BICI) at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Curators, artists and writers Justy Phillips & Margaret Woodward (A Published Event) based in Hobart; Sema Bekirovic, based in Amsterdam; Caitlin Chaisson based in Vancouver; Becky Forsythe, based in Reykjavik; Chloe Hodge, based in London; Shane Krepakevich, based in Toronto; Caroline Loewen, based in Calgary; Penelope Smart, based in St. John's, Newfoundland; and Camila Sposati, based in Sao Paulo, are here for a month to discuss geological formations and timescales, while speculating about a more expansive and longer-term view of art, exhibitions, and their institutions. 

Through fieldwork, seminars, and independent study, 'Geologic Time' we will be thinking with geology as a potential way to consider non-conventional, deep-time perspectives on curating, exhibition making, programming, and fieldwork within contemporary art.

Programme on Banff's website.

On September 12, 4 pm, Latitudes will give a lecture presenting their practice at the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Building 204. Everyone is welcome!

"Geologic Time" is a thematic residency programme of the Banff International Curatorial Institute (BICI), Visual + Digital Arts organised by the Banff Centre for Art and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. Within the framework of the residency, Latitudes curated the group exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France, on view until January 7, 2018.  


Entrance to one of the two wings of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France, on view until January 7, 2018. Photo: Latitudes / RK.

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Social media archive related to the exhibition.
Photo gallery of the exhibition.

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities. 

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"Geologic Time" thematic residency programme at the Banff Centre for Art and Creativity in Alberta, Canada

Julius von Schoppe (1795–1868), Illustration of giant stone near the Rauenschen Mountains near Furstenwalde, 1827, Lithograph, von Tempeltey.

Between September 11 and October 6, 2017, ten artists, researchers, writers and curators from around the world will ponder geological formations and stratigraphy, minerals, and resource extraction to speculate about a more expansive, slower and longer-term view of art, exhibitions, and institutions. The spectacular Rocky Mountains will not only be the backdrop, but the active participants.

Through
fieldwork, seminars, and independent study, 'Geologic Time' participants will be “thinking with” geology (beyond the depiction of landscape) as a potential way to consider non-conventional, deep-time perspectives on curating, exhibition making, programming, and fieldwork within contemporary art. 

Lead faculty: Latitudes  
Guest Faculty: Sean Lynch

"Geologic Time" is a thematic residency programme of the Banff International Curatorial Institute, Visual + Digital Arts organised by the Banff Centre for Art and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. Within the framework of the residency Latitudes curated the group exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France, on view until January 7, 2018.   


View of the Banff Centre campus. Photo: Latitudes.

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Second research trip to Bordeaux in preparation for an exhibition at CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux

We just returned from a week in Bordeaux, where we continued with meetings and archival research in preparation for the forthcoming Latitudes-curated group show at CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux opening at the end of June 2017 coinciding with the 7th edition of the Agora Biennial of Architecture, Planning and Design centred on landscape. 

The exhibition will present existing artworks (including several from CAPC’s collection) alongside commissioned pieces, as well as documents and objects from Bordeaux’s municipal archives, seeking to problematise the time-span of museums and consider their collections as tangible material history.


Upon arrival, led by Bruno Cahuzac (Maître de conférence), we visited the incredible carothèque-lithothèque at the Université de Bordeaux in Talence which houses over 30,000 core samples from the subsoil of the Aquitaine basin. 
 


We also went back to the Archives Bordeaux Métropole to continue looking for documents related to the trade with the former French colonies of the Antilles (known as "sugar islands"). We also visited the Archives Départamentales / Gironde where we found further evidence of CAPC musée's past as the former warehouse for colonial commodities known as Entrépot Lainé. 

Delving deeper into colonial landscapes and commodities exchange we were glad to revisit the permanent presentation of the Marcel Chatillon Collection at the Musée d'Aquitaine, which includes an incredible selection of over 600 documents and iconographic representations of slave working conditions, as well as portraits, flora and landscapes from the 17th to the 20th Century. 

Some of the Bordeaux's frantic maritime trade is visible in Pierre Lacour's majestic "Vue d'une partie du port et des quais de Bordeaux dits des Chartrons et de Bacalan" (1804–1806) one of the most iconic pieces in the Musée des Beaux-Arts (below). 



Pierre Lacour, "Vue d'une partie du port et des quais de Bordeaux dits des Chartrons et de Bacalan" (1804–1806), Musée des Beaux-Arts.

On the left one can identify the two iconic conical towers of Hôtel Fenwick, built between 1796-99 by Jean-Baptiste Dufart, and the location of the first Embassy of the United States. Out of the picture, also on the left, a few years later in 1822, architect and engineer Claude Deschamps would build the Entrêpot Lainé, headquarters of the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux since 1974.

Photo of the Entrêpot Lainé published in the book "Bordeaux: Il y a 100 ans en cartes postales anciennes" by Fabienne Texier and Jean-Claude Bertreau.   


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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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