SPOKEN COLUMN: CHRISTEL VESTERS
“… from the streets and town squares (back) to the meadows and gardens…”
When we think of protest, the image that comes to mind is that of people taking to the streets and occupying town squares; never one of gardens or woodlands.
In response to T.J. Demos lecture ‘Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology’, Christel Vesters embarks on a trail through woods, parks, farmlands, parks and community allotments exploring how these green sites function as spaces for political and social activism in the work of artists, architects and designers.
Christel Vesters is a writer and researcher who studied art history and curating in Amsterdam, New York and London. She has curated various exhibitions and discursive projects and regularly writes for international art publications such as MetropolisM, Afterall and FlashArt. Currently, Christel divides her time between her PhD research on the representation and production of alternative knowledge systems in contemporary art, and teaching Art Theory at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
KEY-NOTE LECTURE: RICK DOLPHIJN
Art as the Revelation of a World: Spinoza, Guattari and the New Materialist Alternative
In the summer
Peaches the color of sunrise
In the fall
Plums the color of dusk
There is a strong movement in academic and aesthetic activism that offers us a very different analysis of the state of the world today. Contrary to deep ecology and eco-criticism, which tend to be conservative and dualist (nature is different from culture, technology is alien to the world), the materialist tradition argues the contrary by mapping the various ecologies (environmental, social, mental) that make up the world we live in. Discussing key figures in ‘materialist’ or ‘continental naturalist’ thinking (Spinoza, Deleuze & Guattari) and several of the artists that practice a similar take on the world, we move to the discussions that are taking over the debate today examining the alternatives offered.
The current state of the earth, of life, demand us to change our thinking about nature, about matter, about technology, and especially about art, in a fundamental way. Moreover, to dismantle the most resilient powers that have been structuring the earth for so long, and more importantly, in such a bad way, “…requires all of the resources of art, and art of the highest kind”, as Deleuze and Guattari tell us. Only thus, by experiencing, by experimenting, an alternative world can reveal itself. Only through art, we can map the radical “anotherness” inside nature. By drawing the transversal lines between the different ecologies “the revelation of a world”, to quote Samuel Beckett, can be realized.
Rick Dolphijn is a writer and a philosopher. He is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Humanities, and senior fellow of the Centre for the Humanities, both at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
He wrote a book entitled “New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies” (soon to be published with Open Humanities Press in the series New Metaphysics (ed by Bruno Latour and Graham Harman) together with his colleague dr. Iris van der Tuin in which they systematically set out how the “new tradition” called new materialism is situated in philosophy, in the sciences and in the arts.
LAUNCH: Roadmap presentation
The Where Are We Going, Walt Whitman – team is proud to finally present you with a roadmap to the upcoming conference-festival on March 12, 13, 14, 15. The team will introduce you to some lines of thought, to facts and to fictions and announce the names of the main protagonists of this remarkable 4 day – long trip: a wonderful company of artists, poets, performers, writers, thinkers, musicians, activists, curators, organizers, educators & friends – all looking forward to meet you at the Rietveld Academie.