Full Dark Ecology Journey Programme Announced

The second edition of the art and research project Dark Ecology will take place from 26 to 30 November 2015. The Dark Ecology Journey begins in Kirkenes in Norway’s northern extremes and travels via Nikel (Russia) to Murmansk, the largest Russian city above the polar circle. The programme includes lectures by UK-based artist and researcher Susan Schuppli and American philosopher Graham Harman, as well as presentations of new commissioned works by HC Gilje, Margrethe Pettersen, Joris Strijbos, Tatjana Gorbachewskaja and Hilary Jeffery. Susan Schuppli is Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths (UK). In her lecture ‘Material Evidence from Disputed Arctic Sunsets to Dark Snow’, Schuppli focuses specifically on the ways in which the transformations brought about by industrial pollutants and global warming are creating new material witnesses out of the chemistry of sunlight, ice and snow, and explores the ways in which these emergent toxic ecologies might operate as evidential agents that can testify to contested events. Graham Harman is Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo, where he has worked since 2000. He is a founding member of the Speculative Realism movement and chief exponent of Object-Oriented Ontology. In his lecture ‘Morton's Hyperobjects and the Anthropocene’, Harman will compare Timothy Morton’s concept of ‘hyperobjects’, which refers to entities that exceed the usual dimensions of a human life, to ‘anthropocene objects’, which require human beings as one of their components, even if they are not exhausted by human access to them. The programme also presents new commissioned works by five international artists: Margrethe Pettersen (NO) created Living Land, a sound walk that will take participants above and below ground in Kirkenes; Joris Strijbos (NL) constructed IsoScope, a major kinetic light and sound installation that will interact with its environment. HC Gilje (NO) will present a video installation and a light intervention in public space in the Russian border zone. Hilary Jeffery (UK/DE) will develop Murmansk Spaceport, a new performance, with musicians from Murmansk and Bodø. Germany-based Tatjana Gorbachewskaja (RU/DE) returned to her former hometown of Nikel to work on a conceptual tour and an interactive map exploring the materiality of the town, in collaboration with Katya Larina. Visit the Dark Ecology website for the full journey programme. About Dark Ecology Dark Ecology is a three-year art, research and commissioning project in the Northern regions of Norway and Russia. It is initiated by the Amsterdam-based organisation Sonic Acts and Kirkenes-based curator Hilde Methi, in collaboration with Norwegian and Russian partners. 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, and 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. 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. For more information about Dark Ecology please visit the website.

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