The international research, exhibition and online project World of Matter investigates raw materials and the complex ecologies of which they are a part. A multiyear endeavor, it was initiated by an interdisciplinary group of artists, photo journalists and theorists who propose to expand public discourse about resources, especially given the ever more privatized nature of the actual resources and of the knowledge about the powers that control them. The exhibition presents aesthetic and ethical approaches to the handling of resources, while challenging the anthropocentric assumption that the planet’s matter is primarily a resource for human consumption.
The artworks on display are the result of extensive field research, addressing many situations of heightened natural and material significance: gold mining in Brazil, oil extraction from Canada’s tar sands, rice and cotton growing in Southeast Asia, land reclamation in Egypt, fishery in the North Sea, the sugar trade in Nigeria and coal mining in the Ruhr. World of Matter brings these territories, actors, and ideas into contact in order to stimulate a variety of potential readings about the global connectivity among these sites.
We contributed two projects to the World of Matter exhibition at the HMKV: LandRush was presented on three iPads, featuring the interactive LandRush App for the first time. Our other major research project White Gold – about the social and environmental effects of global cotton production – was shown as a multichannel video installation.