Extractable Matters on Film #2 | Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway: Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld, 2017

Film still courtesy the artists
Film still courtesy the artists

Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway: Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld, 2017

UK, 2017, Directors Joshua Portway and Lise Autogena, Producer: Lise Autogena. Documentary, Danish and Greenlandic with English subtitles, 30 min

Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway's film Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld portrays the conflicts facing the small community of Narsaq in southern Greenland. Narsaq is located next to the pristine Kvanefjeld mountain; site of one of the richest rare earth mineral resources deposits in the world, and one of the largest sources of uranium. For generations the farming near Kvanefjeld has been Greenland’s only agricultural industry. This way of life may soon be threatened, as Greenland considers foreign investments in an open pit mine that could become one of the largest uranium and rare earth extraction operations in the world. Autogena and Portway’s film portrays a community divided on the issue of uranium mining. It explores the difficult decisions and trade-offs faced by a culture seeking to escape a colonial past and define its own identity in a globalised world.
Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld was commissioned by Arts Catalyst and Ele Carpenter, as part of the Nuclear Culture programme
Joshua Portway (UK) and Lise Autogena (DK) are artists who have worked together since the early 90’s, developing multimedia installations, films and performances. They are currently working with The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on several projects that explore the crisis room as a performative and collaborative space for addressing slow crisis and shared urgencies. They have since 2014 investigated the social, cultural and democratic challenges involved in the siting of a uranium mine in South Greenland and are currently developing new work for Critical Zones - Observatories for Earthly Politics, an exhibition at ZKM, curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. Lise Autogena is a Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art. She is Head of the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, where she works with Risk and Empathy, a cross-disciplinary group of researchers that explores fine art methodologies in relation to global conflicts.