On toxic conservation and the emergence of counter-hegemonic gestures
A research seminar on art and museums, conservation, colonialism and vegetal life with Lotte Arndt and Gaëlle Choisne
Funded by the two-year project “Floraphilia: On the Interrelations of the Plant World, Botany and Colonialism”, curated by Aneta Rostkowska. The Floraphilia project is realized by the Academy of the Arts of the World/Cologne and funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
Hosted by Goldsmiths’ Critical Ecologies Research Stream
Convened by Lotte Arndt, Wood Roberdeau, Aneta Rostkowska and Shela Sheikh
Lotte Arndt, Please don't touch
When entering a museum, visitors are used to behaving in a specific manner: they would not speak loudly, they would keep a distance from the artworks, if they would try to touch or get accidentally close to an art work, a guide or a sound would indicate for them to step back. They would see in a corner of the museum a machine measuring the humidity in the air. The light intensity would be strictly controlled. They wouldn't be aware of the work done when the museum closes its doors, and conservators would control the stability of the exhibition and storage conditions. Everything would be done in order to protect the exhibits and make their life spans last. What do these protocols tell about notions of conservation in the European museum? Taking the classificatory order of anthropological and natural history museums as a starting point, this presentation interrogates Life and Non-Life divisions as negotiated through artistic interventions in museum storages and displays.
Gaelle Choisne, Temple of Love
Cric crac is a Haitian Creole expression. When someone wants to tell a story, the "Cric" is the invitation to start and if the audience agrees to listen, they say "Crac". In my homonymous work and other projects that I will present, I refer to travel and architecture, organic material and waste as means of reconstruction and construction. I focus on matter as site of narration and transformation: the materials are in tension, struggling, resisting, cohabiting, disagreeing, fragile or in harmony. My lecture performance engages with my work, my ghosts and my luvs by focusing on human–non-human interactions in spaces of resistance: it connects a colonial museum in Haiti with the practice of a plant healer and permacultural cohabitance.
For biographies and further information please see the Critical Ecologies website (see below)
Image: Gaëlle Choisne, Temple of love – Absence, installation view, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. © Blaise Adilon.
Critical Ecologies website
Dates & times
If you are attending an event and need the College to help with any mobility requirements you may have, please contact the event organiser in advance to ensure we can accommodate your needs.