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How on Earth presents: Matters of Vision

What is the role of art and design in challenging anthropocentrism?

film screeningThursday 12 December '19

Auditorium, AKI ArtEZ Enschede(archive)

Host: Rana Ghavami

The final event of this year concludes with the exhibition Matters of Vision, made by the students of AKI BIO MATTERs artistic research program Living Images, and asks what the role of art and design is in challenging anthropocentrism. Can we live and create with collapses of ecologies and climate breakdown, rather than simply ignoring it for the sake of art’s investment in autonomy and unbounded creativity? Through their experiments with the porosity and dynamics of vision and methods of visuality, students put forth an alchemistic approach towards making processes. Matters of Vision is about how making something visible or invisible is an ethical and ecological act. Afterwards we will be screening Mood Keep by the Portuguese artist Alice dos Reis, who will be joining us for a talk.

Living Images - Minor AKI BIO MATTERs artistic research program is led by Dr. Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko, Patrick Mangnus and Aalt van de Glind.

Mood Keep by Alice dos Reis (2018)
Mood Keep is a fictional documentary tracing the collective decision of axolotls in captivity to develop eyelids as a part of their biology. Axolotls are water salamanders with regenerative abilities who refuse to metamorphose into maturity.

In Mood Keep, axolotls communicate via wi-fi waves and watch anime telepathically.
Collectively, from the confinement of their enclosures, these axolotls decide to develop eyelids, choosing to shut their eyes indefinitely as a way to reclaim agency of their bodies and encourage empathic communication.

This film is set in a near future—or recent past—and charts the intersection between the axolotl’s engender status, postcolonial histories, unearthly biology, and its online popularity as one of the world’s cutest creatures.

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How on Earth?

Do images move us? If so, in what direction? What has capturing “the world on fire” brought us, ranging from naïvely dangerous images of children playing with pebbles in cities during heat-waves to horrific birds-eye views of deforestation? Do we know better? Or are we just stunned and limited in our actions?

How we make something visible or invisible is an ecological act. On what grounds can we act, create and care in times of heightened ecological crisis? Can we even remain attached to artistic practices?

The film series How on Earth? is about creative practices that can teach us how we can endure life, and envision forms of co-habitation on this damaged planet. This series is dedicated to artists, filmmakers, activists, and theorists, who through their work refute the universalising logic of techno-optimism or pessimism, and eco-efficiency of petro-capitalism. Together with invited guests we will discuss how we are accountable for the visual propositions we make.