Gropius Bau

Pioneers of Environmental Art – with Lauren Bon and Newton Harrison

Part of “Carved to Flow: Germination” by “In House: Artist in Residence” Otobong Nkanga, co-curated with Maya Tounta

20 Jun 2019

Otobong Nkanga, “Preliminary Recipe for a Support System” (2016/17). digital drawing, collage und acrylic on paper, 42 × 28 cm

© Otobong Nkanga
At the Gropius Bau, Lauren Bon and Newton Harrison talk about their artistic practice and the potential of art to impact the life web at times of fading biodiversity. The talks are followed by a discussion which is hosted by this year’s artist in residence Otobong Nkanga and Maya Tounta.

In an era of mass extinction and great societal change, artists Lauren Bon and Newton Harrison employ art to counter extinction and produce solutions that support biodiversity and community. Exploring the potential of art to have a real impact on the life web, these artists put forward a model of collaborative and cross-disciplinary making that reverberates with urgency. This expansive, self-sustaining type of work echoes Otobong Nkanga's project Carved to Flow, which, though differently oriented, aspires to emancipate itself in order to create new support systems.

Newton Harrison worked from 1969 to 2012 with his wife Helen Mayer Harrison (1927–2018) and has continued the studio’s practice since her passing. Initially focused on preserving and mitigating damage to the life web, their work since 2007 has shifted more specifically to actively countering human destruction. Harrison and his team, currently working at the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure at University of California Santa Cruz, continue to develop large-scale responsive designs on the ground across the globe.

Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio explore self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Her ongoing project Bending the River aspires to reconnect the LA river with the Los Angeles State Historic Park and the New Albion Riverside Park, seeing the river as a sustaining living system.

18:00 Talk by Newton Harrison
19:30 Talk by Lauren Bon
Followed by a conversation between Lauren Bon and Newton Harrison, hosted by Otobong Nkanga and Maya Tounta