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

Share:
#4543billion

#4543milliards
@LTTDS 
@CAPCmusee 
#CAPCmusee

‘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.

RELATED CONTENT:
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • Sediments of the Geologic Time 4-week residency at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity 10 October 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: "S is for Shale or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps" May 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016.
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016

"Modernitat Amagada" (Hidden Modernity), an exhibition at Casa Capell, Mataró (3–31 October 2013)

 Casa Capell at the Parc Central, Mataró.

'Modernitat Amagada' (3–31 October 2013), organised by ACM (Associació per a la Cultura i l’Art Contemporani de Mataró), was a short-lived group show at Casa Capell in Mataró, the wonderful former home of the Masjuan family ("former" as today there are hardly any traces of its original domestic use as it has been coverted into City Hall offices for its department of sustainability). It was built in 1959 by Jordi Capell (1925–1970), a little-known rationalist architect, mathematician and humanist.

The exhibition extended over two floors, presenting works by Alexander Apóstol, Xavier Arenós, Rafel G. Bianchi, Eva Fàbregas, Carla Filipe, Regina Giménez, Terence Gower and Jaume Roure, as well as works by its two organisers, the artists Domènec and Dani Montlleó. The works were mostly produced in 2013, and ranged from sculptural interventions (Eva Fàbregas), responses to the home environment and its particular architecture (Rafel G. Bianchi, Regina Giménez, Jaume Roure), to contributions by artists whose artistic practice usually navigates the field of modern architecture (Terence Gower, Domènec, Xavier Arenós). 
 First room included works by Carla Filipe (on the table), Jaume Roure (by the chimney) and Eva Fàbregas (by the window). All works from 2013. 

Carla Filipe, "Ideal City and Current Town" (2013). 10 acrylic stands with collages. 
 Detail of Carla Filipe's "Ideal City and Current Town" (2013).

Extending the line of her previous projects, Carla Filipe recuperated lost or forgotten memories, trying to connect unknown fragments of local history. Her modules revived the 'Moderno Escondido' (Hidden Modernity) concept which was developed by Portuguese architects in the 1950s and 60s and which resulted in a series of offices, chuches, domestic spaces and commercial spaces though now these are mostly abandoned, both physically and ideologically. 
Regina Giménez, "Composició en vermell, groc, blau i blanc" (Composition in red, yellow, blue and white, 2013).

Regina Giménez thought of her painting as a wink to Capell, the house's modernist architect who was also a fervent activist for Catalan culture, dovetailing him with two referents of Modernism, the artist Piet Mondrian and the architect Mies van der Rohe. Her work suggested a possible intervention within the dinning room of Casa Capell – the incorporatation of a red carpet, white and blue cushions and a yellow wall – based on the principles of Neoplasticism, a movement which often used these primary colours in modern architecture, colours which are coincidentally also that of the Estelada, the Catalan independence flag. 
Jaume Roure, "RE: Projecte Casa Capell" (2013). 

Upon visiting the house and realising that little trace was visible of its original domestic use, Jaume Roure decided to recuperate the family presence by trying to locate photographs and personal memories of the original inhabitants. He couldn't find any photographs and only knew they were a couple with four children. He therefore tried to put faces to them by reconstructing a series of fictional images of what he thought they would look like, and framed them as if these memories were finally coming back to their original setting. 
 Eva Fàbregas, "Collapsible Sculptures" (2013).

The series "Collapsible Sculptures" reflected on the progressive 'containerisation' of our culture  which since the 1950s has triggered a revolution in the production and transportation of merchandising. Our daily lives have also been highly affected by this shift: our food is able to be stored and transported and so are our domestic environments with modular, foldable, extensible or stackable items. Fàbregas sculptures (located in three spaces throughout the house), revealed the correspondences between mass-production and the aesthetics of Modernity.
Above: Jaume Roure, "RE: Projecte Casa Capell" (2013), and below on the screen the 17' video "New Utopias" (2010) by Terence Gower.

Still from "New Utopias" (2010) by Terence Gower.

(From the artist's website): "New Utopias is a lecture about pop culture utopias filmed in the style of a 1950s Walt Disney documentary. The set, costuming, lighting and camera work are based on 1950s television production standards. But where the original Disney documentaries celebrated rockets and nuclear technology, this updated version promotes aesthetic frivolity, sexual perversion and UFO abduction fantasies. Among the new utopias under analysis are an afrofuturist extraterrestrial society, a dreary French seaside town transformed into an aesthetic paradise, and a retelling of the Frankenstein myth set in a sexual utopia ruled by the uninhibited libido. This video is shown accompanied by the Mothership Blueprints."
 Rafel G. Bianchi, Album (2013). 6x7 slides on lightbox.

Rafel Bianchi's slides portrayed the cacti he had been documenting in his own garden in Barcelona. Upon visiting Casa Capell, he felt the need to bring some of the domesticity back to a space which was heavily restored in 2009–10 for it new adminstrative use. Cacti are a recurring motif used in the photographic documentation of architectural spaces, plants that often appear in photographs of works by the Catalan architect and city planner Josep Lluís Sert. Upon finishing a commission, Sert would arrange furniture and plants, with the aim of trying to give an appearance of domesticity and commodity as well as of Mediterraneity and modenity. 
 More "Collapsible Sculptures" by Eva Fàbregas downstairs by the window towering as cacti. These are reminiscent of those projected by Mexican architect Juan O’Gorman to protect Kahlo and Rivera's studio in Mexico City.
Lower gallery with works by Domènec (left) and Dani Montlleó (right).
Lower gallery with works by Dani Montlleó (left) and Alexander Apóstol (right).

Alexander Apóstol's photographic series "Le Corbusier quemado en Bogotá" (2005), documented the interior of the burnt Centro Nariño, a residencial campus of 23 buildings built in Bogotá, developed by Colombian architects following the doctrines of Le Corbusier, who earlier proposed a modern city that was finally never built. Amindst student revolts in the 60s, the buildings were set on fire, destroying most of its interiors, which are still intact amongst the ashes and electric wiring revealing some of the important traces that the Modern thinking left in Latin American cities.

 Domènec, "Conversation Piece: Narkomfin" (2013). Maquette and formica chairs.

"Conversation Piece: Narkomfin" (2013) was supported on two formica chairs, typically used in 1950s and 60s homes, and a maquette of the social housing Narkomfin, a building that fascinated Le Corbusier in his 1930s trip to the Soviet Union and that later inspired his Unité Habitation in Marseille.

 
Maquette of Jean Prouvé's ’Maison Bulldog’ (2011) by Dani Montlleó

This little half-bunker, half-trench-looking house of Dani Montlleó's work was also planned in 1959 (as was Can Masjuan house) for the writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline, although he died shortly after in 1961. The house was a replica of the Villa Arpel, designed by Jacques Lagrange for Jacques Tati's film "Mon Oncle" (1958).
 
Xavier Arenós, ’Madriguera#10. Proun. Desenterrament’ (2012). 15' with music by Rafa Ruiz.

Arenós' video, suitably projected in the lower floor storage room, recreated an excavation in which a Proun – a projection of an imaginary space, a term coined by El Lissitsky in the 1920s – is seemingly unearthed, like an anachronic residue of a remote civilisation, a transitional object. The accompanying futuristic soundtrack enhanced its science-fiction atmosphere.


This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Longitudes cuts across Latitudes’s projects and research with news, updates, and reportage.

Latitudes | www.LTTDS.org (except when otherwise noted).

Latitudes 2006–2019

Previous posts

Nov 2019 (4)
Oct 2019 (2)
Sep 2019 (6)
Aug 2019 (5)
Jul 2019 (1)
Jun 2019 (2)
May 2019 (3)
Apr 2019 (1)
Mar 2019 (3)
Feb 2019 (1)
Jan 2019 (3)
Dec 2018 (5)
Nov 2018 (3)
Oct 2018 (5)
Sep 2018 (7)
Aug 2018 (5)
Jul 2018 (2)
Jun 2018 (2)
May 2018 (3)
Apr 2018 (3)
Mar 2018 (2)
Feb 2018 (4)
Jan 2018 (3)
Dec 2017 (3)
Nov 2017 (3)
Oct 2017 (4)
Sep 2017 (3)
Aug 2017 (2)
Jul 2017 (2)
Jun 2017 (2)
May 2017 (2)
Apr 2017 (3)
Mar 2017 (3)
Feb 2017 (3)
Jan 2017 (2)
Dec 2016 (2)
Nov 2016 (3)
Oct 2016 (3)
Sep 2016 (2)
Aug 2016 (6)
Jul 2016 (2)
Jun 2016 (3)
May 2016 (5)
Apr 2016 (2)
Mar 2016 (2)
Feb 2016 (6)
Jan 2016 (3)
Dec 2015 (1)
Nov 2015 (1)
Oct 2015 (3)
Sep 2015 (1)
Aug 2015 (4)
Jul 2015 (5)
Jun 2015 (3)
May 2015 (3)
Apr 2015 (4)
Mar 2015 (2)
Feb 2015 (2)
Jan 2015 (2)
Dec 2014 (2)
Nov 2014 (3)
Oct 2014 (2)
Sep 2014 (2)
Aug 2014 (2)
Jun 2014 (3)
May 2014 (3)
Apr 2014 (2)
Mar 2014 (3)
Feb 2014 (1)
Jan 2014 (1)
Dec 2013 (4)
Nov 2013 (3)
Oct 2013 (6)
Sep 2013 (4)
Aug 2013 (2)
Jul 2013 (1)
Jun 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
Apr 2013 (2)
Mar 2013 (4)
Feb 2013 (2)
Jan 2013 (5)
Dec 2012 (5)
Nov 2012 (4)
Oct 2012 (4)
Sep 2012 (6)
Aug 2012 (4)
Jul 2012 (2)
Jun 2012 (3)
May 2012 (8)
Apr 2012 (7)
Mar 2012 (5)
Feb 2012 (5)
Jan 2012 (4)
Dec 2011 (4)
Nov 2011 (3)
Oct 2011 (6)
Sep 2011 (4)
Aug 2011 (7)
Jul 2011 (3)
Jun 2011 (8)
May 2011 (10)
Apr 2011 (6)
Mar 2011 (7)
Feb 2011 (9)
Jan 2011 (3)
Dec 2010 (8)
Nov 2010 (9)
Oct 2010 (6)
Sep 2010 (11)
Aug 2010 (6)
Jun 2010 (4)
May 2010 (5)
Apr 2010 (11)
Mar 2010 (4)
Feb 2010 (6)
Jan 2010 (7)
Dec 2009 (6)
Nov 2009 (3)
Oct 2009 (7)
Sep 2009 (11)
Aug 2009 (11)
Jul 2009 (2)
Jun 2009 (10)
May 2009 (7)
Apr 2009 (5)
Mar 2009 (6)
Feb 2009 (4)
Jan 2009 (5)
Dec 2008 (6)
Nov 2008 (5)
Oct 2008 (5)
Sep 2008 (5)
Aug 2008 (3)
Jul 2008 (3)
Jun 2008 (5)
May 2008 (4)
Apr 2008 (5)
Mar 2008 (3)
Feb 2008 (7)
Jan 2008 (5)
Dec 2007 (5)
Nov 2007 (5)
Oct 2007 (6)
Sep 2007 (8)
Aug 2007 (3)
Jul 2007 (5)
May 2007 (8)
Apr 2007 (8)
Mar 2007 (8)
Feb 2007 (3)
Jan 2007 (1)
Dec 2006 (8)
Nov 2006 (2)
Oct 2006 (6)
Sep 2006 (10)
Aug 2006 (1)
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.

More about us. Browse projects. Read Longitudes. Receive newsletters.

Contact us. 
All content
Latitudes
2005—2019