World of Matter: Exposing Resource Ecologies

LandRush contributed two projects to the World of Matter exhibition “Exposing Resource Ecologies” at the Leonard & Bina-Ellen Gallery at Concordia University in Montréal. We presented our interactive LandRush-App on two iPads, and showed White Gold, about global cotton production’s social and environmental effects, as a six-channel video installation.

Exposing Resource Ecologies brought together seven works produced by World of Matter, an international art and media project investigating primary materials (fossil, mineral, agrarian, maritime) and their complex ecologies. Initiated by an interdisciplinary group of visual practitioners and theorists, World of Matter responds to the urgent need for new forms of representation that shift resource-­‐related debates from a market-driven domain to open platforms for engaged public discourse.

“World of Matter considers a planetary perspective on a world that matters.”

World of Matter’s method of working and gathering, sharing, and debating knowledge is driven by a desire to build an expanded public commons, which constitutes an engaged social practice. The group’s thrust is global in scope. It is sensitive to inequalities between and within areas of the global South, worsening poverty, and the pervasiveness of corporate exploitation of labor and resources worldwide. Critical of a human-­‐centered approach to resource extraction, the World of Matter projects are informed and shaped by a broad field of actors (human and non-­‐human), diverse disciplines, and cultural filiation. The urgent need to foster debate in the transnational public arena – a debate that opens the possibility for different modes of social organization – has led the various practitioners to embrace an open­‐access approach in their online platform. This approach valorizes visual material as a tool for building agency and diversifying its mode of exchange by “acting” through exhibitions, symposia, texts, and other public events.

Ten collaborators have developed visual projects from long‐term investigative fieldwork of the interconnected extractive ecologies at play in particular sites worldwide and their multifaceted impact on human and non‐human lives and systems. Videos, interviews, testimonies and narratives, documents, maps, and texts are configured as installations in the gallery space and form a complex interaction of critical documentary analysis and speculations addressing our relationship to (and definitions of) nature.

By placing the result of their research and collaborations within an exhibition framework, World of Matter engages with questions of display, aesthetic consideration, artistic experience, and art world reception – all areas that have been an underlying and open-­‐ended object of inquiry for the gallery. The documentary nature of their work, the volume of information, and its manner of presentation require an extensive investment from the visitor. As a result, World Of Matter’s work resists standard forms of accelerated artwork consumption. Instead, it opens up the field of the visual, of the exhibited, to a reflexive engagement with the complex subject matter.

Venue:The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal
Date: February 20 – April 18, 2015
CuratorsKrista Lynes and Michèle Thériault

Mabe Bethônico, Ursula Biemann, Uwe H. Martin & Frauke Huber, Peter Mörtenböck & Helge Mooshammers, Judy Price, Emily E. Scott, Paulo Tavares, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan

Supported by:
austrian cultural forum, ifa Institute für Auslandbeziehungen, pro helvetia, fondation suisse pour la culture.