Towards the Planetary Commons: Reimagining Infrastructures for Autonomy

Centre exterior, Towards the Planetary Commons, 2019
Installation view, Towards the Planetary Commons; Lorenzo Sandoval: Shadow Writing (Todo el universo es par. Sin embargo, estos pares son opuestos y se enfrentan en una tierra del medio), 2019
Installation view, Towards the Planetary Commons, 2019
Installation view, Towards the Planetary Commons; Lorenzo Sandoval: Shadow Writing (Todo el universo es par. Sin embargo, estos pares son opuestos y se enfrentan en una tierra del medio), 2019
Installation view, Marwa Arsanios, Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part I (2017)
Installation view, Marwa Arsanios, Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part I (2017)
Installation view, Marwa Arsanios, Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part I (2017)
Installation view, Marwa Arsanios, Who’s Afraid of Ideology? Part I (2017)
Installation view, Towards the Planetary Commons; Lorenzo Sandoval: Shadow Writing (Todo el universo es par. Sin embargo, estos pares son opuestos y se enfrentan en una tierra del medio), 2019
Paloma Polo: Still from 'The earth of the Revolution' (2019), courtesy the artist
Paloma Polo: Still from 'The earth of the Revolution' (2019), courtesy the artist
They are Here, 'Prototypes for New Wardian Cases' (2019); courtesy They Are Here
Marwa Arsanios: Still from 'Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part 2' (2019), courtesy the artist
Marwa Arsanios: Still from 'Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part I' (2017), courtesy the artist
Image courtesy Lorenzo Sandoval

“we-are-in-this-together-but-we-are-not-one-and-the-same” — Rosi Braidotti

 
Neoliberal policies imposed on communities of humans and non-humans reinforce strategies of land grabbing and monoculture, threatening the land and its biodiversity. Whilst corporations and governments alike remain removed from accountability for pollution, natural resource extraction and displacement of entire communities, across the world, in regions such as the Philippines and Kurdistan, people are collectively adopting new modes of decision-making and self-governance through approaches inspired by eco-feminism, class struggle and planetary commoning practices.
 
Towards the Planetary Commons is a new exhibition investigating agency and autonomy in the face of global ecological crises. Encompassing a two-part programme of films by artists Marwa Arsanios and Paloma Polo, screened for the first time in the UK, and a 'living room' – an evolving installation comprising new artist works and learning resources – the programme reflects on different ways of living and on how new knowledge can emerge from struggles against current ecopolitical challenges. 
 
Showing during the first half of the exhibition are two films by Lebanese artist Marwa Arsanios, including her 2017 work Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part I and Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part 2, both of which are presented in the UK for the first time. In these works the artist explores forms of self governance and ecofeminism that have emerged from the autonomous women’s movement in Rojava, Syria, highlighting how group learning has become a vital component within the movement. The second phase of the programme will see the premiere of Spanish artist Paloma Polo’s new feature-length film The earth of the Revolution, which, in the context of the guerilla struggles in the Philippines, offers a nuanced look into and meditation on the political practices that underlie contemporary revolution.
 
Arts Catalyst’s second space is transformed into a ‘living room’ – an evolving installation of artist works and a library of ‘knowledge for living’ featuring case studies emerging from the programme and other learning resources – presented within the framework of a site-specific, modular environment designed by Berlin-based artist Lorenzo Sandoval. Other contributions include Paloma Polo’s 2015 animation work, What is Thought in the Thought of People, made in collaboration with Leonilo Doloricon and Becoming Planetary, a soundwork by UK-based collaborative practice They Are Here comprising field recordings sourced online, and which also marks the start of They Are Here’s year-long research residency at Arts Catalyst.
 
A programme of talks, conversations and workshops accompanies the exhibition featuring artists Luigi Coppola, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Paloma Polo, They Are Here, researcher Dr. Eray Çaylı and more to be announced.
 
Towards the Planetary Commons is part of Arts Catalyst’s Test Sites programme, an ongoing co-inquiry exploring the rapid transformations in human and non-human lives caused by environmental change. Featuring works by international artists, this next phase in the project opens up the programme to broader planetary perspectives. 
 
EXHIBITION DATES & TIMINGS
 
23 May – 6 July 2019 | Preview: Wednesday 22 May, 6.30pm
Exhibition open Thu – Sat, 12 – 6pm (and some evening screenings TBC)
 
11 July – 3 August 2019 | Launch & talk: Wednesday 10 July, 6.30pm
Exhibition open Thu – Sat, 12 – 6pm (and some evening screenings TBC)
 
EVENTS PROGRAMME
 
Thursday 6 June, 5:30 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
In collaboration with Arts Catalyst and Delfina Foundation
Friday 14 June, 4 – 8pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
Free, booking essential
 
Performance | They Are Here, BRUNO
Sunday 7 July, 3pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential (booking opens soon)
 
Artist Talk | Paloma Polo
Wednesday 10 July, 6.30pm – 8:30pm
Arts Catalyst Centre
£5, booking essential (booking opens soon)
 
SUPPORT
Supported by Wellcome Trust, University of Westminster, Bournemouth University, Canal and River Trust, and Arts Council England.