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World of Matter

01 Mar - 22 Jun 2014

On the Global Ecologies of Raw Material
1 March - 22 June 2014

Water. Coltan. Coal. Oil. Air. Lithium. Fish. Rice. E-waste. Soil. Gold. Plastic. Cotton. Tantalum.

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 a group of artists, photo journalists and theorists who propose to expand public discourse about resources, especially given the ever more privatized nature of actual resources and of 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 various situations of heightened 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.

The exhibition in Dortmund is scheduled to travel in 2014-15 to partner institutions in New York, Montreal, Minneapolis and Stockholm.

A publication (in English, with contributions by TJ Demos, Timothy Morton, Gavin Bridge, Nabil Ahmed, Inke Arns, the contributing artists, and others, published by Sternberg Press, Berlin) will accompany the exhibition and provide extensive background information. Its release will coincide with the opening of “World of Matter” at the James Gallery at City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, in September 2014.

Tags: Inke Arns