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Socially engaged artists need not be aligned (and may often be opposed) to the public sector and to institutionalized systems. In many countries, structures of democratic governance and public responsibility are shifting, eroding, and being remade in profound ways—driven by radical economic, political, and global forces. According to what terms and through what means can art engage with these changes?

Greiner’s works involve buying 40 litres of maggots and bringing them to the exhibition space until they turn into flies, composing music based on
 the luminous skin of a squid, convincing the Director of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to consider a fly as a living artwork, photographing portraits of algae, carefully orchestrating explosions around Berlin

“The Condition” might look like standard (media) art installation but don’t let its playful appearance fool you. The deeper you dig, the more you realize how many thought-provoking ideas and issues the work raises: new forms of ‘natural selection’ where it’s the prettiest -not the fittest- that survives, novel ecology in which salmons and tulips are grown à la carte, and intersection between the design of biological organisms and capitalistic values

Ellie Irons is one of those rare artists whose work opens your eyes to what is just under your nose but remains unnoticed. Some artists bring the spotlight on data collecting, others on corruption, corporate malpractice, or land grabbing. Ellie forces us to consider the wild and often reviled urban ecology that sprouts all around us. She uses galleries to provide asylum to wild and invasive plant species, extracts the pigments from local weeds to paint their map-like portraits, photographs the vigorous life growing inside vacant lots, and is actively collecting the seeds of the most humble but robust plants that mirror population growth and flux in globalized cities

The piece is made of Exxon, Shell, BP, and Mobil oil cans, but overnight, the local gallery staff had them secretly changed to Petronas labels. Though this violates the contract, I decided to keep the piece in the show because of the strange situation this tampering creates–a nationally owned oil company rushing to put its logo on a piece of art that is highly critical of the oil industry and what it appropriates and extracts

The quality of groundwater is heavily affected by human industrial activities. Looking for innovative ways to get clean waters to irrigate agricultural fields, artist Rihards Vitols is currently experimenting with a new type of agronomy that relies on “cloud-farming”. In his scenario, people will raise thousands of helium balloons over their land to collect water from the cloud

The artist harvested 24kg of an invasive weed from a highighly polluted area in Spain, extracted the iron ore from the plants and used it to make an iron ring. The innovative experiment brought together the biological, the industrial, the technological and even craft to create a piece of jewellery that weights 2 grams. The project also suggests a way to reverse the contamination process while at the same time mining iron ore from the damaged environment

The exhibition seeks to investigate the historical and social implications of the plant world in light of the ever-increasing resurgence of “green” as an agent of change in relation to current economic processes. To place a plant within a historical context means to consider not only its biological constitution, but also the social and political factors which see it already positioned at the centre of the earliest forms of economic globalisation

Pothier is in the region to shoot videos and make sound recordings but because he a PhD researcher in Arts, Anthropology and Architecture, the artist is also investigating nomadic architecture, drawing lessons from the way nomadic cultures live in symbiosis with the environment and more generally exploring issues of global warming which are felt so acutely in circumpolar regions