Art & Curating PhD Research symposium

12/13 February 2015
Goldsmiths, Barriedale Building, Studio A and other venues

Over the last decade and coming out of very differe nt genealogies, planetarity has projected a renewed sense of orientation onto practices of the anthropocene. This ranges from the invocation of planetary boundaries as corrective against the unsustainable depletion of resources, and the insistence on holistic and/or ecological models as paradigmatic for practice at large, through to a re-thinking of the currency of partial and local perspectives in view of such scaled-up distributions. Geological an d historical parameters are entangled here with registers of urgency for the now and its anticipated futures, and have come to suggest a new referential matrix for current cultural and artistic practice in the process. This 2-day symposium will test planetarity as a new horizon on one hand, and as opening (onto) a new set of hyper-connected perspectives on the other. Drawing on knowledge formations from ecological history and materialist economic critique through to post-colonial narratives, contributions from a range of artistic and discursive practices will inhabit the multiple terrains opened up by the planetary turn.

Led by Ros Gray and Edgar Schmitz with contribution s from Kathrin Boehm (UK), Sean Cubitt (UK), Elizabeth DeLoughrey (US), Kodwo Eshun (UK), Fernando Garcia-Dory (ES), Sigrid Holmwood (UK), Miranda Pope (UK), Asa Sonjas
dotter and Tahani Nadim (DE/UK), Nicola Triscott (UK).

G C Spivak, ‘Planetarity’, in Death of a Discipline (2003), pp71-102

D Chakrabarty, ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’, in Critical Enquiry 35 (Winter 2009)

J Rockström, W Steffen et al, ‘Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity’, in Ecology and Society 14 (2): 32, 2009 [online] URL:

Thursday 12 February
11:00 – 13:00, Studio A
Ros Gray,Edgar Schmitz: WHAT IS IN A TERM? Preliminary material toward an over-determined glossary

14:00 – 16:30, Studio A
Kathrin Böhm,Fernando Garcia-Dory, Miranda Pope (chair), Nicola Triscott: RESCALING REALITIES
This panel will discuss what it means to deconstruct and alter connectivities between specific living and working situations and their settings – both urban and non-urban – through critical artistic and curatorial practices. The term rescaling here refers to processes of unpacking the complex relationalities between communities and their immediate and related environments, taking in historical and sociopolitical conditions, in order to enable structural shifts to take place. A setting is taken to be a fluid, historically and politically differentiated site of activity,rather than a contained space. The session seeks to ask what can critical practices contribute to a rethinking, reformulating or restructuring of such assemblages, and how do their operating conditions support or inhibit their aims? How these practices might connect with similar remote practices – i.e. how can we think through realities being rescaled in planetary terms? And what does it mean to do this within the context of a critical artistic practice?

Kathrin Böhm is an artist and founding member of the London based art and architecture collective public works, and the pan-European artist initiative Myvillages. Her projects are produced collaboratively and within the public realm. Current and recent projects include the “International Village Shop” (2005 – ongoing), the second round of the “Eco Nomadic School”, “Trade Show” at Eastside Projects in Birmingham (co-curated with Gavin Wade), “Good News From Nowhere” an exhibition and events programme at The Architecture Foundation in London. Most recently Myvillages has won the 2014 Create Art Award for their east London based “Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks” project, and Myvillages’ two year long “International Village Show” opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig in Feb 2015.

Fernando García-Dory‘s work engages specifically with issues affecting the relation between culture-nature now, embodied within the contexts of landscape, the rural, desires and expectations related with identity aspects, crisis, utopy and social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology in Madrid and Amsterdam, and now preparing his PhD on Agroecology. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages such as drawing to collaborative agroecological projects, actions, and cooperatives.

Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer and writer, specializing in the intersections between art, science, technology and society. She is the founder and Director of The Arts Catalyst, one of the UK’s most distinctive arts organisations, distinguished by ambitious artists’ commissions that engage with science, including notable projects by Tomas Saraceno, Ashok Sukumaran, Aleksandra Mir, The Otolith Group and Critical Art Ensemble, and the international dimension of its programme of exhibitions, events, research and publications. Nicola has curated many exhibitions and events for The Arts Catalyst. She lectures and publishes internationally, including books on art and technology in the Arctic , art and space, and ecological art. She blogs at

Miranda Pope is a writer, curator and researcher in the Departm ent of Art at Goldsmiths. She is developing a notion of the ecological that is understood as an on-going process of thinking and doing that exposes and questions interests of all entities within assemblages, along with the intertwined politics of doing this, and exploring the possibilities for new curatorial forms to emerge out of it.

17:00 – 19:00, PSH, LG02

(Visual Cultures Lecture Series 2015: Critical Environments, chaired by Lynn Turner and
Wood Roberdeau)

Friday 13 February
10:00 – 11:00, Studio A
Sigrid Holmwood: QUESTIONING THE NATIVE/ NON NATIVE: A Planetary Journey Through Dye Plants

Sigrid Holmwood will present an account of the process of the selection of dye plants for a pigment garden in Andalucia, following lines of colonialism and indigeneity in human/ plant interactions. Sigrid Holmwood is a current PhD student in the Department of Art.

11:00 – 11:30 BREAK
11:30 – 13:00, Studio A

Asa Sonjasdotter and Tahani Nadim(skype), DEAD WASPS FLY FURTHER

Sociologist of science Tahani Nadim and visual artist Åsa Sonjasdotter on their coming exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, 3-29 March 2015. The exhibition will present three protagonists from the museum’s collections and their factual and imagined journeys and impulses. Because behind their apparent stillness lie moving stories and relations that can shift our understanding of nature and our conduct toward the world. The trajectories of the protagonists are reconstructed through three different interventions, which afford an insight into the lively traffic between spaces, times and orders.

Tahani Nadin is a sociologist of science. Her work explores co-constitutive exchanges
between knowledges and natures.

Åsa Sonjasdotter is a visual artist. Her work engages in vegetables and the way they evolve through interspecies dialogue between humans and plants. Asa is a current PhD student in the Department of Art.

13:00 – 14:00 BREAK
14:00 – 15:15, Studio A

Sean Cubitt: FAR HORIZONS – SEMI-CONDUCTORS: The ecological impact of chip fabrication – a case study in globalisation as the degradation of human and physical environments.

The talk focuses on the environmental impacts of digital media – through a case study of chip fabrication – on human and non-human systems to give a concrete account of how material flows integrate productive and consumptive cycles at a planetary scale. It argues when the new international division of labor migrated the old industrial proletariat to the global South, in the north it divided a middle-class of cognitive labourers from a new proletariat whose economic task is to consume and take on debt. Only by understanding how the imperative of growth turns human bodies into environments and both human and physical environments into economic externalities in a single global system will it be possible to move from moral outrage to political organization.

Sean Cubitt is Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths, University of London. His most recent book is The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technologies. He is currently completing a manuscript on political aesthetics and the environmental impact of digital media.

15:15 – 16:30, Studio A

Kodwo Eshun
(details tbc)

16:30 – 17:00 BREAK
17:00 – 19:00, RHB Cinema

Elizabeth DeLoughrey (keynote),“MOMENTS IN PASSING”: Maritime Futures of the Anthropocene?

This paper examines a new oceanic imagination catalyzed by sea-level rise, focusing particularly on the submarine sculptures of Jason DeCaires Taylor.

Elizabeth DeLoughrey is Associate Professor in the Department of English and in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures(2007),and co-editor of Caribbean Literature and the Environment (2005); Postcolonial Ecologies: Literature and the Environment (2011); and a forthcoming volume entitled Global Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities: Postcolonial Approaches (2015). She is completing a manuscript about climate change and empire in literature and the visual arts.