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NEWS

Text on 'Performative practices in East European art in the 1960s' by Maja Fowkes published in the catalogue of Facing the Future: Art in Europe 1945-68 (Bozar, 2016).

For reflection on Translocal Institute's River School project, see both the project publication and a forthcoming text in GeoHumanities on 'The Primeval Cosmic River and its Ecological Realities'.

An interview with Maja and Reuben Fowkes exploring the 'Natural, Artistic, and Political Ecologies of East-Central Europe' appeared in the journal Mezosfera in April 2016.

  • Actually Existing Artworlds Under Socialism Actually Existing Artworlds Under Socialism Conference at Kassak Museum Budapest May 2016
  • The Green Bloc The Green Bloc Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism by Maja Fowkes
  • River Ecologies River Ecologies Contemporary Art and Envirionmental Humanities on the Danube, edited by Maja and Reuben Fowkes
  • Translocal Library Translocal Library A specialised collection of books on art, ecology and Eastern Europe
  • Art and Ecological Crisis: Planetary Consciousness in Practice Art and Ecological Crisis: Planetary Consciousness in Practice Experimental Reading Room Seminar at Translocal Institute, Oct-Dec 2015
  • Natasha Ginwala: Justice as Medium Natasha Ginwala: Justice as Medium Guest lecture at Translocal Institute
  • Walking without Footprints Walking without Footprints Exhibition curated by Maja and Reuben Fowkes at tranzit.sk Bratislava

     

REVIEW

The Gulf : High Culture / Hard Labor

Book review published in Art Monthly (March 2016)

The irresponsibility of arts institutions in participating in massive building projects which, due to their ecological footprint and growth-oriented symbolism will contribute significantly to global warming, adds another dimension to the failures in social solidarity highlighted in The Gulf. The problem of the ‘ultra-rich’ could therefore be usefully framed not just as one of global social justice, or in art-world terms through the divide between a small minority of blue-chip artists and those who feel no trickledown effect from soaring auction prices, but also by making visible the disproportionate impact of art-loving billionaires on the ecological balance of the planet...(more)

LECTURE

Feeling the Curve of the Earth (Art and Ecology in Post-Democratic Times)

Presentation by Maja and Reuben Fowkes at Cultura / Natura: Fotograf Festival 6, Prague, 17 October 2016.

What happens when states that reject democratic values and restrict human rights and are often are also heavily implicated in the structures of the global carbon economy chose to embrace environmental art as a vehicle for self-promotion? In an artworld increasingly dependent on private interests, how much leeway do artists and curators have for the articulation of critical ecological visions in reflexive correlation with the biosphere? What can contemporary art bring to our understanding of the connection between global political crisis and the biogeochemical metabolisms of the Earth, and how can substance be given to the call to reintegrate communities, species and the Planet into the practice of politics?


PUBLICATION

'Planetary', 'Rewilding' and 'Cosmopolitics'

Entries by Maja and Reuben Fowkes in The Posthuman Glossary, edited by Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).

Cosmopolitics points towards the reinvigoration of the planetary sphere of political theory and action in the age of ecological anxiety. It arises out of the realisation that the triumphalist rhetoric of cosmopolitanism is out of place in a world in which the cultural and political assumptions on which it rested have been radically destabilised. The cosmopolitical proposition recognises the desirability of an ambitious reframing of politics that reaches beyond settled categories, borders and territories, but also the practical and philosophical difficulties in recomposing planetary politics on a more inclusive basis.

 

ANTHROPOCENE RESPONSE

Natasa Ginwala: Medium as Justice

Translocal Institute
13 June 2016, 19.00

Natasha Ginwala will present her ongoing curatorial and research process in conceiving Contour Biennale 8. Through artistic acts that challenge procedures of testimony, evidence production and witnessing; as well as the performative nature of the trial. The Great Council established in Mechelen during the fifteenth century stands as a historical reminder of a court architecture that first sought to address the European Lowlands through rational jurisprudence. We now face the limits of justice unravelling as a volatile crises of ethics within our collective present...(more)


CONFERENCE

Contested Spheres: Actually Existing Artworlds under Socialism

Co-organised by Kassák Múzeum – Petőfi Literary Museum and Translocal Institute, Budapest

Dates: 27-28 May 2016

This conference aims to provide a platform for fresh research into the art history of Eastern Europe that brings to light the varied solutions that artists and cultural workers found to living and working inside the socialist system in the period of the 1960s and 1970s...(more)

ANTHROPOCENE RESPONSE

Brian Holmes: Landscapes of Fear and Desire - The Political Ecology of the Present

Translocal Institute
6 May 2016, 19.00

In this lecture/slideshow, art and cultural critic Brian Holmes explores some landscapes of late industrial modernism while developing his four-field theory of social change. What does the concept of "political ecology" really mean? Where is the pathway to transform the present structure of society? Dead ends and violent confrontations will not be ignored in this thought-provoking inquiry...(more)

The Green Bloc
Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism


Maja Fowkes
Budapest/New York: CEU Press, 2015

Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism,The Green Bloc: Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, Maja Fowkes’s innovative research brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology...(more)

ANTHROPOCENE RESPONSE

Katerina Gregos
on
'The Politics of National Representation in the context of the Venice Biennale'
Translocal Insitute, 10 March 2016

Katerina Gregos presentation about her approach and her experience in curating the Danish Pavilion in 2011 and the Belgian Pavilion in 2015. She elaborated on alternative curatorial strategies that challenge the orthodoxy in the context of the national pavilions at the Venice Biennale, as well as what constitutes the notion of 'national representation'...(more)

Walking without Footprints
tranzit.sk, Bratislava,
11 December 2015 – 27 February 2016

Curators:
Maja and Reuben Fowkes

Participating artists: Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan,
Fokus Grupa (Iva Kovač / Elvis Krstulović),Oto Hudec, Michal Kindernay, Cecylia Malik, Davor Sanvincenti

To walk into the landscape today is to do so in awareness of the tragic record of anthropogenic transformation of the natural world. Taking care where we tread, avoiding disrupting the undisturbed, we cannot help anticipating the sound of the chainsaw, the peel of gunshot and the eerie silence that marks the absence of birds, reminding us that civilisation has changed nature forever...(more)

Art and Ecological Crisis: Planetary Consciousness in Practice

Translocal Institute
October - December 2015

This seminar examines how contemporary art not only comments on current debates around the growth-oriented economy and its effect on the natural world, social inequality and its relation to climate change, the technocratic paradigm and forms of political power, but also decisively contributes to bringing about genuine change. It also offers a forum to explore points of connection between global and planetary consciousness, indigenous knowledge and scientific culture, as well as multi-species and human solidarity. A number of free places are available for the seminar group and those wishing to participate are invited to send a short motivation letter to the organisers. The group will meet at Translocal Institute on alternate Mondays beginning on 12 October 2015...(more)


River Ecologies: Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities on the Danube

Edited by: Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Translocal Institute, 2015

Challenging anthropocentric conventions that seek to harness the river for economic, cultural and political purposes, River Ecologies places the complex ecological materiality of the Danube at the centre of artistic and scholarly attention. Drawing on the insights of artists, scientists, anthropologists, writers and environmental historians, brought together in the experiential setting of the River School, this collective inquiry journeys to sites of urban and natural wilderness to explore issues of reciprocity, resilience, non-human agency and interspecies solidarity...(more)

 

What’s Left of Nature: Art and Wilderness in the Anthropocene

Translocal Institute,
February - May 2015

At a time in which nature appears thoroughly exploited, subjugated and managed, reflecting an anthropocene era in which humans have usurped planetary processes and used technology to turn their dreams of mastery over nature into a nightmarish prospect, a counter urge to reconnect with what is left of wild nature is beginning to emerge...(more)

River Symposium on Art, Ecopower and the Liberation of Energy

Central European University, Budapest
3 October 2014, 14.00-19.00

River Excursion to Szentendre
4 October 2014, 10.00-17.30

Speakers:  Axel Braun, Peter Coates, Ian Fairlie, Jozsef R. Juhász, Cecylia Malik, Ilona Németh, James Prosek, Martin Schmid and Nick Thorpe

The River Symposium on Art, Ecopower and the Liberation of Energy considers the political, social and ecological proportions of the river and examines it as a site of power. While appreciating the natural strength, kinetic energy and resilience of rivers, the discussion will also take into account political struggles over their use, as well as schemes to control and harness their flows....(more)

 

 

What’s Left of Nature: Art and Wilderness in the Anthropocene

Translocal Institute,
February - May 2015

At a time in which nature appears thoroughly exploited, subjugated and managed, reflecting an anthropocene era in which humans have usurped planetary processes and used technology to turn their dreams of mastery over nature into a nightmarish prospect, a counter urge to reconnect with what is left of wild nature is beginning to emerge...(more)

Like a Bird: Avian Ecologies in Contemporary Art

Trafo Gallery Budapest
Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
tranzit.ro Bucharest
May 2014

Like a Bird is a group exhibition with a focus on avian ecologies in contemporary art, a theme that provides a platform to investigate intricate questions around the changing human relationship to the natural world, the channelling of environmental awareness and its political dimensions...(more)

Csaba Nemes - Don’t Try to Make it Logical!

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka
25 June – 19 July 2014

In his distinctive and wide-ranging critical art practice, Hungarian artist Csaba Nemes investigates the overlaps between personal and political history, the dark side of the nationalist psyche, and the fragile bonds of social solidarity. The exhibition Don’t Try to Make it Logical at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka surveys Nemes’s singular artistic achievement that deftly incorporates painting, drawing, film, animation, photography, as well as art activism. ...(more)

Art, activism and daily life in an age of crisis

Translocal Institute Budapest
September 2014

Isabelle Fremeaux and John Jordan will present their work with the The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a collective that brings artists and activists together to create new forms of civil disobedience and post capitalist life...(more)

River School Bucharest

Tranzit.ro Bucharest

Tour of the Văcărești Bucharest Delta
9 May 2014, 2-4 pm

The Văcărești swamp is an abandoned lake site in the south-eastern part of Bucharest, the remains of a hydrological flooding system begun during Ceausescu’s regime, but never finished...(more)

#underthestars

Knoll Gallery Vienna
2 Oct - 15 Nov 2014

#underthestars explore ecological alternatives to the tragic figure of the 24/7 immaterial worker who spends too much time in bed - replying to emails, creating clips for social media, interacting virtually, but not going anywhere. The exhibition highlights the opposite tendency of sleeping outdoors, making a bed beyond the illusionary security provided by modern architecture, and challenging the alienation of a technologically-determined life symbolised by the bad habit of working in bed...(more)

Art in the Age of the Anthropocene

Translocal Institute
Oct-Dec 2014

The realisation that we have become geological agents with the power to alter the most basic physical processes of the planet has wide-reaching consequences for economics, society, politics, culture, as well as art. This seminar considers the anthropocene as a transformative concept for environmental art history, sustainable art systems and green curating...(more)

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