Zhou Tao, "Fan Dong" ("The Worldly Cave"), 2017, fragment, Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space
ms1, Więckowskiego 36
It is more than likely […] that we are no longer the citizens of any one particular state. Deep down, we carry within us the countries that we were born in: this means their chaotic diversity, rivers and mountain ranges, forests and savannahs, the changing seasons, birdsong, insects, air, sweat and humidity, grime and city noises, laughter, disorder, and confusion.
Achille Mbembe, Politiques de l’inimitié, 2016 [forthcoming in English, 2019, as Necropolitics]
The history of Pangaea, or ‘Pangaia’, is the tale of a mega-continent that existed about 200-250 million years ago, combining all the currently separated continental blocks. The fragmented pieces of what was once Pangaea still bear the traces of that oneness. By making use of this geological metaphor, the Pangea United exhibition invited viewers to imagine our earthly community as one household, one home.
Artists taking part in the exhibition asked a number of questions in order to spark our ecological imagination. How can prototypes created within the art world teach us responsibility for the often-unnoticed suffering inflicted on other bodies? Can the logic of industrial livestock production lead to a similarly objectifying production of human life? What is the environmental potential of humble actions, such as scrubbing floors with recycled fabric, seeding cress in public spaces, or organizing meetings where women can collectively discover the burdensome legacy of patriarchy? What can we learn from people who live in communities under threat of extinction, many of whom belong to so-called indigenous and folk cultures? What would be the value of goods, money and labour in a future devoid of all prospect of economic growth? Why will the borders, zones, and territories that divide the Earth forever remain fictitious and porous? The artworks presented in this exhibition formed a kind of essay, a meditation on the matter of human attentiveness and the interdependence of life in all its forms.
For far too long, notions such as the utility of production and consumption, the borders between states, or the hierarchies of species, have been used to categorize terrestrial habitation. This exhibition contended that we need to do away with such stridency in favour of images, concepts and feelings capable of expressing the more complex relationships that both unite and divide us. This shall necessitate the harnessing of an awareness of the fragility and malleability of each life, always intersected and stirred by others – other people, living organisms, machines and ecosystems. This approach represents the basis of our search for community. Imposing the intimate scale of a household on the all-encompassing broadness of our planet can create a new way of looking at these relationships. Perhaps such a filter would allow us to look at how we relate to them with more care, that is with a responsibility for our own position, power and violence, both within the community and within the environment shared with those whom we know, and with those whom we may yet come to know.
Artists: Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Alan Butler, Carolina Caycedo, Czekalska & Golec, Agnes Denes, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Diana Lelonek, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Tamás Kaszás, Teresa Murak, Christine Ödlund, Artavazd Peleshian, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Alicja Rogalska, Sin Kabeza Productions (Cheto Castellano & Lissette Olivares), Zhou Tao, Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor, Monika Zawadzki and Dobrawa Borkała, Edyta Jarząb
Graphic design: Gra-Fika
This exhibition was the next stage of a project that began in conjunction with the Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst in Oldenburg.
Tell us what you think! Fill in the visitors survey here