The Gas Imaginary in The Jerusalem Show VIII ‘Before and After Origins’

For the eighth edition of The Jerusalem Show, curated by Vivian Ziherl, Al Ma’mal Foundation presents ‘Before and After Origins’ as part of Qalandiya International 2016 – This Sea Is Mine.

See the full program: Before and After Origins Program

My series on unconventional gas extraction, The Gas Imaginary, is presented in collaboration with Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds from PA/LA/CE Architects and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.

The Gas Imaginary is an artistic research project incorporating poetry, photomedia
documentation, archi-poetic diagrams and essayistic labours exploring the aesthetic languages, mechanical ideology, speculative economics, and technocultural patterning surrounding the large-scale install of ‘unconventional’ gas extraction. Through this technology and industry, indebted state and national governments cause disenfranchised rural but increasingly urban populations to speculate on their own health and futures: through compensatory leasing arrangements, temporary industry employment and privatized infrastructure delivery and sponsorship aimed at the social licensing of investment in environmental injustice and dispossessions from common bioheritage.

I will also participate in a panel discussion, ‘Poetics and Power, In Translation’ on Wednesday 19 October at 18:00 at Garage Coffee Shop & BAR, Al Rajaa Street, Ramallah, Palestine.

This discussion event features poetry reading, a lecture and a public editing workshop that seeks to grasp the power of language in the governance of land, property and peoples. The event departs from the many contributions to Jerusalem Show VIII that prominently feature language. These include the prison writings of Syrian/Golan poet Yasser Khanger, drawings by Rachel O’Reilly that diagram the social economies of mineral extraction politics in Australia, and a legal contract devised by Ramallah-based artist Yazan Khalili. The event will take place in Arabic and English, with translation foregrounded as a crucial issue in itself, and is in collaboration with the Educational Bookshop (Jerusalem) and Garage Cafe.

For more information: Poetics and Power – In Translation

The Arts of Logistics conference

The Arts of Logistics conference, Queen Mary University of London

I will be a co-presenter at The Arts of Logistics conference at the Queen Mary University of London. The conference takes place on June 3 & 4, 2016, with keynotes from Deborah Cowen & Alberto Toscano.

I co-present the panel “Art and Logistical Disruption” with Danny Butt from the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, from 2pm – 3.30pm on the second day of the conference, June 4, and our guests are Leah Lovett and Michael Wilson.

“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.

Art and Logistical Disruption – Indentured aesthetic economy on the professional frontier

Australia can be seen as a settler colonial nation that has effectively neoliberalised its cultural infrastructure over the last three decades, constructing a speculative futurity for an institutionally unbound professionalism that subtracts a historical ‘labour’ consciousness from dominant forms of production. The effect of this “turn” in the visual arts of the settler colony, partially due to its coincidence with a relatively healthy public arts funding until very recently, is a transition that brings institutionalised “professional” art work and workers into line with a global paradigm of deskilling and proletarianisation.

In this space, the coincidence of curatorial and artistic professionalism with the neoliberal State form risks working away at a frontier of a frontier – a frontier of labour, value and place – whereby the reimposition of speculative limits for capital, or the demand for foundation, results in what Angela Mitropolous describes as “calls for genealogical order” that could be observed both in calls for and against the widely debated boycott of the 2014 Sydney Biennale.

As nominally “public” institutional art of the biennial becomes increasingly bound up in contractual play in the post-welfare settler colonial state, fine art’s residual discourses of modernist autonomy appear not simply paradoxical, but indicative of a “machinery of fealty” that circulates the performative defense of aesthetic autonomy precisely to suppress the material-symbolic dynamics of its contractual base. Exploring Mitropolous’ elaboration of the contractual and the subject-form, and responding to recent re-examinations of aesthetic and political autonomy by UK and European theorists and historians in the wake of major arts cuts and populist takeovers of re-nationalized funding programs of export-oriented utility, this paper pays special attention to the spatial and contractual fix of neoliberal disposition in the ‘contemporary’ to ask questions about affective composure, forms of negation, divestment and reinvestment as alternate forms of professional response-ability.

More information on the conference here: Arts of Logistics conference

Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction seminar

On Tuesday May 24, 6-8pm, I will give my seminar: “Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction” at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA)

It is presented for the seminar series “Precarity//Futurity//Aesthetics”, co-convened by Jennifer Biddle, Anna Munster and Veronica Tello, at the Elywn Lynn Conference Centre (near the UNSW A&D library).

Contemporary mine production involves high salaried contractors negotiating ‘unconventional’ extractive regimes via increasingly privatized, post-democratic licensing and labour agreements, at the anthropocenic limits of land use. In the settler-colony especially, the image of mining labour, once key for dramatizing production (and anti-production, in strike) has been mobilized within the New Economy in ways that fundamentally disturb the figure-ground relations of citizenship through which the mine worker dialectically achieved its value in the first place.

Rachel O’Reilly’s visit to NIEA, UNSW A&D, coincides with the presentation of two series of drawings from her larger research project, The Gas Imaginary (2011-) as part of Frontier Imaginaries, currently at IMA/QUT.

Working through the difference of the contemporary mode of primitive accumulation of the mining contract, this talk draws on an earlier generation of feminist filmmakers’ im-proper and clinamen-like engendering of industry forms and formal ‘movement’, between labour and nature, to substantiate a contemporary aesthetic theory of divestment.

——-
Credits:
1. Sandra Lahaire, Uranium Hex, 1987
2. Susan Wallace-Babb in oxygen mask, Winnsboro, Texas, Sept. 12, 2011. (Erin Trieb for ProPublica)

Future Vocabularies event, BAK, Utrecht

Artist talk: Instituting for the Contemporary, BAK

As part of BAK’s Future Vocabularies project, I particpated in an Artist Talk/public editorial meeting alongside Simon Sheikh and Ewa Majewska, April 11, 2016 from 19.00–22.00 hrs,  Utrecht’s BAK, basis voor actuele kunst.

Details:

In the first of three Public Editorial Meetings held towards the publication of the new critical reader Instituting for the Contemporary, Ewa MajewskaRachel O’Reilly, and Simon Sheikh will present draft contributions in response to one of the reader’s eight guiding concerns: “compositionalism”; “not not art, not not politics”; and “care to power” respectively.

These terms bring to question the methods of, and resistance to, the institution. They raise a number of considerations: the transversal assemblies of contemporary organization and its forms (compositionalism); the slippage between categories and methodologies in such practices (not not art, not not politics); and the intertwining issues of care and interlocution in relation to the institution (care to power).

Ewa Majewska’s presentation outlines her proposal for a non-heroic “weak resistance,” that poses the question of an institution of the common. This new form of institution would be one rooted in the resistant composition of singularities that make up feminist, post-colonial, and so-called “periphery locations’ debates on the commons and its political agency.

Drawing on her ongoing project “The Gas Imaginary,” Rachel O’Reilly presents a selection of interventions, images, and vernacular texts, useful for reading the historical present of “extractivist realism” alongside counter-politics, their limits, and the convergences between the aesthetic tactics of contemporary industry and neoliberal culture sectors.

Simon Sheikh connects the notions of care (for the self), through the capacity for speaking of truth to power, to a consideration of the question of how to institute anew. If the speaking of truth has long informed the artistic political critique of institutional critique, the coupling of care to power proposes that the position of speaker — produced as an audience, and speaking for this body — be central to thinking institutionality, and indeed governmentality today.

More on the program: BAK Future Vocabularies

‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below - on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’, by Rachel O’Reilly

‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below – on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’ talk

I give a talk, ‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below – on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’, on Friday 8. January, 2016, at the MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp as part of the School of Missing Studies’ Lodgers #4 program.

Could the desire for the fully automated movements of goods also be a desire for silence, for the tyranny of a single anecdote?

From January 4-16 Lodgers #4  presents a series of reading-, scriptwriting, – and performance workshops, departing form the harbour as a plethora of disparate languages. Each stage in the reception, processing and distribution of goods comes with its own syntax, vocabulary and infrastructure. Each of these languages also has its own history and evolution.

We will be looking at the coded communication between ships, the harbour master, dockworkers – but also at the PR language used to present the ideal harbour; the programming language of automatization, the human language of formal and informal labour protest, and the gaps in the story that the colonial leaves.

Accumulated, this Babel-like situation marks a point on the evolution of the harbour, one that offers an insightful opportunity to investigate the many facets of its influence and breadth. For some, automatization threatens the future of the voice(s) that the harbour can speak with – traditionally the setting for interaction and tales of fantasy. For others, the future harbour is a utopian site where humans are emancipated from the location itself, leaving the harbour silent and speaking in inaudible code.

Participants are invited to participate and engage in a collaborative process incorporating the many disparate languages with which a harbour ‘converses’ – working on a speculative narrative that takes place in the harbour of 2050. Departure points for this narrative are silence as a political imperative of infrastructure, and the role that silence will play in the future harbour both in its human and automated state. In proposing that the future harbour may be silent, we’d like to increase the volume of the stories, which must be told now.

More information on the program: Lodgers #4