Conflict Minerals – Exhibition opens 24 March and features ‘Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld’ by Lise Autogena (Cross-Disciplinary Art, SHU)

An image of a landfill by the sea, from overhead.

In a month-long exhibition and inquiry, Arts Catalyst looks at artists’ practices that explore the nature of conflict in relation to the use of the Earth’s geological natural resources.

24 March 2017 – 22 April 2017
Arts Catalyst
London WC1H 8DR

Exhibition open Thursday – Saturday, 12PM – 6PM
Preview: 6:30PM – 9PM on Thursday 23 March

Advances in technology – from atomic energy to the latest smartphones – are underpinned by a material reality that depends on extracting the planet’s natural ores, driving a global mining industry. While the term conflict minerals is most frequently used to describe the situation in Congo, where the mining of valuable minerals fuels violence and armed conflict, across the globe many different types of conflict and tension are unfolding in countries and communities inextricably connected to mining and the minerals trade. How are artistic inquiry and the eco- and geo-political aesthetics of art and film contributing to our understanding of conflict – on varied scales – within countries and communities affected by large-scale Anthropocenic and geopolitical forces.

Showing throughout the exhibition, Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway’s film Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld (2016) is a work in-progress, forming the first part of the artists’ long-term investigation into tensions and conflicts within the small, mostly indigenous, community of Narsaq near the Kvanefjeld plateau in southern Greenland; site of one of the richest rare earth mineral resources and uranium ore deposits in the world. The film portrays a community divided on the issue of uranium mining as a means of gaining autonomy, social progress and financial independence, in a region where traditional ways of living from the land and the sea are struggling to compete with big investments from foreign mining companies. The film 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.

A series of discussions and study sessions accompanies the programme. More details can be found here.

Professor Lise Autogena is an artist and a Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art at the Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University.