Dark Ecology First Edition from 9 to 12 October 2014

Kirkenes - Nikel - Zapolyarny   The first edition of the art and research project Dark Ecology will be held between 9 and 12 October 2014 in the border zone between Norway and Russia, with events scheduled in Kirkenes (NO), Nikel (RU) and Zapolyarny (RU). Programme highlights include a keynote lecture by American philosopher Timothy Morton, author of Ecology without Nature (2007) and Hyperobjects (2013), several commissioned works, by sound artists Signe Lidén and Raviv Ganchrow, artist/designer Femke Herregraven and photographer Marijn de Jong, and new ‘Secret Chamber’ concerts.   Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project, initiated by the Dutch Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi, and in collaboration with Norwegian and Russian partners. Dark Ecology unfolds through research, the creation of new artworks, and a public programme that will be presented in the zone on both sides of the border in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The programme for 2014 includes lectures, presentations of newly commissioned artworks, guided walks, a discursive programme, concert evenings, and a workshop.   Dark Ecology is informed by the idea that ecology is ‘dark’ (as the American theorist Timothy Morton has argued), because it invites – or demands – that we think about our intimate interconnections with, for instance, iron ore, snowflakes, plankton, or radiation… Ecology does not privilege the human, it is not something beautiful, and it has no real use for the old concept of Nature. What we now know about the impact of human beings on the planet has led to the need to rethink the concepts of nature and ecology, and exactly how humans are connected to the world. This rethinking occurs in philosophy as well as in the arts.   Though these issues are relevant anywhere in the world, they are especially pertinent in the Barents Region with its pristine nature, industrial pollution and open-pit mining. Speculation on global warming fuels local economic growth, as the prospects for both the exploitation of the oil and gas reserves below the Barents Sea and the trade through the Northern Sea route are rising. Disparate interests and ‘approaches’ from both sides of the border have to negotiate. This interaction informs the Dark Ecology project, and is a starting point to invite artists and theorists to develop new approaches and new works.   Preliminary Journey Programme The journey starts on Thursday 9 October in Kirkenes with a symposium featuring a keynote lecture by Timothy Morton, and several guided walks investigating different aspects of Kirkenes. In the evening the first ‘Secret Chamber’ concert, curated by Ivan Zoloto and Anya Kuts from Petrozavodsk, will take place at a secret location. It features Chikiss, one of the most versatile artists on the Russian electro-indie scene, and slow ambient techno by Sergey Suokas.   On Friday 10 October the programme crosses the border to Nikel. Different aspects of Nikel, its history, industry, culture and environment are explored through guided walks, followed by the second part of the symposium with, amongst others, Dutch artist/designer Femke Herregraven presenting her latest research commissioned for Dark Ecology.   Nikel and Zapolyarny are the locations for the programme on Saturday 11 October, which include a visit to the new site-specific work by the Norwegian artist Signe Lidén. The symposium focuses on sound art and ‘dark acoustics’ and includes artist presentations by amongst others Espen Sommer Eide, Raviv Ganchrow, and Jana Winderen. The second ‘Secret Chamber’ concert has live performances by Love Cult from Petrozavodsk, and ambient hip-hop all the way from Komi by Mnogoznaal and TILMIL (more to be confirmed).   On Sunday 12 October Dark Ecology returns to Kirkenes with a first work-in-progress presentation of the large-scale sound installation Long Wave Synthesis by Raviv Ganchrow, commissioned by Dark Ecology, and a closing keynote speech.   The trip is followed by a two-day Alternative Academy in Kirkenes on 13 and 14 October 2014: an intensive workshop on electronic music with Austrian sound artist Franz Pomassl for aspiring, emerging and curious musicians from the border zone.   Anyone who is interested in participating in the journey or the alternative academy can contact the organisation by e-mail: darkecology[at]sonicacts[dot]com, and do so before 10 September. If you cannot be there in person, you can follow the project on the Dark Ecology website or Facebook.   Dark Ecology Online Platform The results of the Dark Ecology explorations will be distributed in the Barents Region and internationally. From September onwards an online platform will offer documentation and reflection, through interviews, travel reports, videos, photos and audio recordings.   Partners Dark Ecology is curated and produced by Sonic Acts and Norwegian curator Hilde Methi in collaboration with the Russian partners Full of Nothing (Petrozavodsk), Fridaymilk (Murmansk) and Roman Khoroshilov (Nikel). Dark Ecology is generously funded by BarentsKult, Public Art Norway (KORO), Arts Council Norway, Creative Industries Fund NL, PNEK (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway), Mondriaan Fund and Finnmark County Municipality.

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