Last Friday, Re-Locate participated in the weekend-long Visual Activism symposium curated by SF MOMA. The symposium explored ways that art takes the form of political and social activism, and ways that activism takes on specific, and sometimes surprising, visual forms.
SF MOMA asked: How is our broader visual culture shaped by activist practices that circulate in public space? How can we better understand forms of communication that take place under threat of war, revolution, or repression? What strategies can be deployed to transform our engagement with the built environment and broader ecologies? How do embedded social hegemonies, such as racism, figure in the larger efforts to engage with activism visually? Scholars, artists, and activists address these and related questions in a series of presentations, performances, and interactive projects.
Re-Locate participated on Friday, March 14, 2014, on a panel titled Environment, Justice, Inequity. Panelists presented on their artistic and activist projects related to environmental racism, the depletion of resources, global climate change, pollution, and toxicity—highlighting strategies of resistance and engagement. View schedule and participants.
Panelist’s short presentations were followed by a live-streamed roundtable discussion, moderated by Julie Sze, director of American studies at UC Davis, author of Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice. Panelists include visual and performance artist Nathalie Mba Bikoro, whose practice converges arts and sciences and is deeply influenced by her ten-year battle with leukemia during childhood; artist Mel Chin, whose “green remediation” artworks Revival Field in St. Paul, Minnesota (1991–present) and Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project in New Orleans (2007–present) use plants to remove toxic heavy metals from the soil; artist Veejayant Dash, whose work in Odisha, India, focuses on artistic approaches to community engagement with water politics; artist and architect Michael Gerace, a curator of the ReLocate Project, a multidisciplinary group of partners working with residents of Kivalina, Alaska, and other climate-threatened communities to support community-led and culturally specific relocation processes; and artist and curator Sofia Varino and Brooklyn-based photographer Syd London, who have worked collaboratively on the projects Sandy versus NYC and Unfiltered: The Sandy Edition, which examine the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and its effects on New York City’s public health and housing.
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