The Metabolic Landscape

Jessica Rayner and Gina Glover

An exhibition of photography and visual art investigating the impact of energy on the landscape
5 July – 28 September 2018
Exhibition Preview, Thursday 5 July 2018 from 6 -8 pm

The exhibition extends over all four floors of the Alison Richard Building.

The exhibition shares its title with an accompanying book. Metabolism refers to the physiochemical process that underpins all life. Just as a metabolic disease refers to an energy-sourced disorder of the body, so too the planet is revealing signs of metabolic distress. The cause is the massive change in energy use by society. What is called the Energy Transition – the shift from a low to high-energy use society – has been seen as enormously beneficial (food production, transport, heating, etc.) but our increasing use of energy, particularly fossil energy, is now identified as a cause of climate change and ecosystem harm.

This exhibition attempts to engage with the dynamics of the world about us by addressing energy in the landscape, energy extraction, energy transmission, energy ‘substances’ – coal, oil, minerals, gas, and the sun, the source of most of our energy.

Gina Glover’s photographs exploit atmospheric and ambient light conditions to construct images, which draw attention to the place of energy and changes in the landscape. Her project builds upon visits to coal mines in the Arctic and geothermal energy plants in Iceland, where the heat from volcanoes is used to generate electricity. Realising how both nature and human history had irrevocably changed by energy her recent work includes nuclear reactors in France, hydroelectric power stations in Wales, opencast coal mines in Germany, oil wells and hydraulic fracturing sites in the USA and glacier loss in Greenland.

In contrast, Jessica Rayner examines the energy of ‘things’ within the landscape. She uses a range of media, including photography, video, printmaking and three-dimensional sculpture to explore the idea of energy through objects, materials, substances and processes. She describes objects and processes as ‘affordances’, because they offer value to us. Delving into the histories of these objects, she offers up their stories of origination, discovery and scientific analysis. In constructing these artworks she provides a further ‘story’, the question of whether an artwork can express within it the artist’s own sense of knowledge and perception of an object.

Read our Q&A blog with the artists about the exhibition here: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/blog/post/qa-the-metabolic-landscape

Advertisement

Adam King & Renee Spierdijk Exhibitions

5 April – 29 June 2018

Exhibition Opening, Thursday 5 April 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm

Adam King: New Suburbia Flowers

In the spring of 2016, Adam King returned to the area south of Norwich, Norfolk, where he grew up. The semi-rural landscape is currently undergoing considerable road and housing development. Over a period of 14 months, King produced a series of constructions, along with related regular format drawings, to explore and make sense of the changes in the identity of a once-familiar landscape.
Adam King was born in 1971 in Norwich, Norfolk. He received a BA (Hons) Painting from Brighton University (1994) and an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon School of Art, London (2003).

@Adam King
Adam King

Renee Spierdijk: Imposed Transitions

Renee Spierdijk’s work responds to images of young women in formal settings, mainly from found photographs. Spierdijk’s current work is largely set in 19th century America during the civil war and its immediate aftermath; a time of upheaval when many were forced to search for a new identity or had a new identity imposed on them. This is an experience which is both timeless and in an era of continued forced migration as contemporary as ever.
Renee Spierdijk is a Dutch artist, born in Amsterdam, who came to England in 1977. She studied Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmith’s College, and now lives and works in Cambridge.

© Renee Spierdijk
Renee Spierdijk

Reality Machines: an art exhibition on Post-Truth

 9 – 29 MARCH 2018

Exhibition Preview, Friday 9 March from 7-9pm
Performance by Sophie Seita ‘Making Light: In the Temple of Formidable Hypotheses’, at 7:30pm (duration 15mins)

“Truth” is of no small importance to human affairs, yet it has been and remains a contested category. Its status shifts radically through time, place, religion, discipline— and today, social platform. Truth can be definite and mercurial, divine and political. As secularism, cosmopolitanism and positivism enter a moment of crisis, and as information seems to be ever more available – while also subject to algorithmic modification – anxieties about the status of truth and the transparency of information are on the rise.

“Post-truth” was the 2016 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year, denoting “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The crisis in objectivity that this new word unveils has been accompanied by an unprecedented proliferation of homemade images that excel the art of “remixology”, the “practice of recombining preexistent content”. These images result in often-fake contents that circulate both virally and ephemerally online. The “post-truth phenomenon”, however, is not only fuelled by low-tech and intimate creativity, but also by technologically sophisticated and politically driven techniques of image creation, alteration and destruction. These sustain electoral agendas, responses to catastrophe and affective relationships to powerholders.

While fake news has a long history, its contemporary currency has been enhanced by the ways in which new biopolitical regimes, from genetic testing to big data, confront more entrenched epistemes. These regimes are potentially capable of bypassing old forms of expertise and knowledge production. The ethical and aesthetic significance of this shift in the status of “truth” is pending critical debate, as is art’s response to the current wave of iconographic politicization, conspiratorial fears, and data skepticism. Reality Machines addresses this “knowledge controversy” while intersecting it with the work of artists from a multiplicity of countries working as activists, social critics, and human rights advocates. Curated by Mara Polgovsky Ezcurrain.

Artists: Alejandra España (Mexico) | Alejandro Luperca (Mexico) | Angelo Ferreira (Portugal)| Camila Moreiras (US & Spain) | Charles Ogilvie (UK) | Forensic Architecture | Joana Moll (Spain) | Máximo Corvalán (Chile) | Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico & Canada) | Virginia Colwell (USA)

Related Event:
Artist talk by Joanna Moll, Thursday 8 March 2018 at 5pm, Room DD48, Cripps Court, Queens’ College, Cambridge