‘Rivers of Emotion, Bodies of Ore’: Professor Lise Autogena’s ‘Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld’ showing at exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim, opening 13 September

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

Professor Lise Autogena’s video installation Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld will be showing at an exhibition entitled Rivers of Emotion, Bodies of Ore at Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway  between 13 September and 21 December 21 2018.

Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld, 2016 (27 minutes) by Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway portrays the region of Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland – site of the richest rare earth mineral resources in the world, and home to one of the world’s largest deposits of uranium. The film explores a Greenland divided on the issue of uranium mining as a means of gaining autonomy, social progress and financial independence. Traditional ways of living from the land and the sea do not sit easily with the Greenland’s government’s plans for big investments by foreign mining companies. The film portrays 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 and will be introduced by a paper by the artists.

Rivers of Emotion, Bodies of Ore
Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway
Exhibition opens 13 September 2018, running until 21 December 2018

Extraction is a phenomenon commonly associated with fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, or with the mining of metals and minerals. In the digital era, the notion of extraction has expanded even further, to also include data- and virtual currency mining as well as the commodification of human emotions and behaviours through social media. In the 21st century the extractive paradigm seems to be without bounds: plans for mining previously unreachable territories such as the deep-sea floor and celestial bodies are well underway, all the while the shoals of data we leave behind while conducting our everyday lives are being captured, mapped and profited from, commodifying even the most intimate aspects of our own minds and bodies.

Examining various nodes – geographical, economical, material and historical – where different forms of extraction intersect allows for an interdisciplinary understanding of these processes and their consequences. To correlate the exploitation of the Earth with that of the human body, for example, or to compare the actual materiality of digital hardware with the promise of the immaterial experience it seduces us with, enables a more integrated insight into the subject than approaching it via separated categories.

Still from 'Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld' by Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway, courtesy of the artist

For the exhibition in Trondheim, the Kunsthall will itself become one such site of intersectional exploration, placing a number of artworks and historical materials in dialogue with each other. Using Trondheim’s history of copper extraction as a starting point, the exhibition aims to open up a wider field of actual connections and imaginative associations spanning various geographical and digital domains as well as the human subconscious and social fabric.

The exhibition also asks the question of how to understand art in relation to extraction: in a thousand years from now, when both Earth’s resources and the human consciousness might have been depleted of its resources, will artworks be the only remaining fossils bearing witness to the emotional landscapes once inhabited by humans?

Participating artists include:
Lise Autogena & Joshua Portway, David Blandy, Liv Bugge, Sean Dockray, Bodil Furu, Marianne Heier, Louis Henderson, Ignas Krunglevičius, Lawrence Lek, Hanna Ljungh, Rikke Luther, Eline McGeorge, Karianne Stensland, Anja Örn, Tomas Örn & Fanny Carinasdotter

The exhibition is curated by Lisa Rosendahl.

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. Find out more about her work here.