Regina de Miguel, CATABASIS, (film still), 2020; courtesy the artist
FRAUD, Árbol de Bu-Craa [Tree of Bou-Craa]; research image from Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (Madrid, Spain), courtesy Dr Lino Camprubí

Extractable Matters

How do mining activities affect land, water and air? What collective practices and knowledge are being activated in order to counter these environmental and social threats? How can artistic inquiries help disentangle the complex sets of relationships between extraction, technologies, finance and unsustainable economies? If we start to think about extraction beyond natural resources – to encompass data, labour and culture, as well as forms of cooperation and self-organisation – what might a non-extractive economy look like? 

 
"Geology is a mode of accumulation, on one hand, and of dispossession, on the other, depending on which side of the geologic color line you end up on." – Kathryn Yussof, 2018
 
As Kathryn Yussof suggests, extractable matters are both mineralogical and corporeal. They encompass anything that while being dug, removed, displaced, contaminated and exploited, produces profit and value. Extractable Matters is Arts Catalyst’s ongoing inquiry into the politics of extractive practices, of their infrastructures and effects on a planetary scale. 
 
Punctuated by interweaving programme chapters and seasons, Extractable Matters provides a polyfunctional context for inquiring into the molecular violence that mining companies are inflicting on land, minerals, cultures and communities and for encountering new forms of resistance.   
 
The programme commenced in late 2019 with an exhibition by Chilean artist Ignacio Acosta. Tales from the Crust, which built on the artist’s ongoing research into extractive activities in Chile and Swedish Sábme, focused on how activists and communities are making use of technologies (such as drones) in order to monitor the impacts of extractive industries and develop resistance strategies. Participants confirmed for the upcoming programme include FRAUD (artist-researchers Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo) and the Alternative School of Economics, a collaboration between artists Ruth Beale and Amy Feneck.
 
KEY TERMS
 
Mineralogical
Mineralogy is the study of minerals. In this context we use the adjective ‘mineralogical’ to refer to the mineral nature of the matters that are being extracted. 
 
Corporeal
Related to the bodies that are at work in the mining industry, as well as the bodies of those who are removed and displaced from their land as a consequence of mining activities.
 
Extractive practices
The extraction of profit from humankind and natural resources.