CCC Public Seminar : Conversation between Mabe Bethônico and Ursula Biemann

Monday 2 December 2019

HEAD, Boulevard Helvétique 9, 1205 Genève.
Salle de séminaire CCC, 2ème étage, salle 27

An indigenous university in colombian amazonia :
A conversation between Mabe Bethônico and Ursula Biemann 

The video projects of Ursula Biemann generally take a systemic approach to terrestrial conditions by connecting the micropolitics on the ground with a theoretical and planetary macro level. The main protagonist in her recent narratives is the figure of the indigenous scientist who emerges from a shared history of colonialism and the appearance of modern science. Her latest field research in the summer 2018 took her to the South of Colombia. At the invitation of an indigenous leader, she is currently engaged in the co-creation of an indigenous University for crosscultural knowledge generation. Grounded in an international partnership, the visionary project aims to integrate indigenous knowledge systems with occidental science and technologies, fostering a supportive biocentric worldview. The project also involves the creation of an online audiovisual platform gathering the knowledge baseline of the Inga people of Colombia.

Ursula Biemann is an artist, author, and video essayist based in Zurich, Switzerland. Her artistic practice is strongly research oriented and involves fieldwork in remote locations where she investigates climate change and the ecologies of oil and water, as in the recent projects Deep Weather (2013) Forest Law (2014) and Subatlantic (2015). Her earlier work focused on geographies of mobility, e.g. in the widely exhibited Sahara Chronicle on clandestine migration networks. Her video installations are exhibited worldwide in museums and at international art biennials in Liverpool, Sharjah, Shanghai, Sevilla, Istanbul, Montreal, Venice and Sao Paulo. She had comprehensive solo exhibitions at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Bildmuseet Umea, Lentos Museum Linz and Helmhaus Zurich. Biemann is cofounder of the collaborative World of Matter project. Biemann has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York (1988). She received a doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea and the Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss Grand Award for Art.

Mabe Bethônico is a Brazilian artist living between Geneva and Belo Horizonte. Her artistic work departs from historical accounts from Brazilian colonial history and archives. One of the main references in her works is the history of mining in Minas Gerais. She narrates the cultural, economical and political transformations caused by extractivist activities, using both documents and field documentation, focusing on destruction and workers’ life around the mines. She has dealt with contents from collections such as the Eisenbibliothek in Schlatt and the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva, the Imperial College in London, the geology museum of Medellin and with materials from Brazilian archives, such as photographs from the Mining sector of the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Mabe has a Masters and a PhD from the Royal College of Art, London and is a member of World of Matter. 

CCC Public Seminar As the planet burns and neoliberal austerity grinds on, politics has taken a hard right turn in many countries. Will the Left rise again? Can critical art be heard without it? Our guest speakers help us to make sense of contemporary complexities and possible responses. The objective of the CCC Public Seminar is to offer a transversal platform to the CCC students, and to all students of HEAD as well as the general public of Geneva, with specific focus on debating research practices of urgent relevance for the field of contemporary art practices. Each year, the CCC Public Seminar is conceptualized by a particular approach for discussion at CCC. In 2019/20, the approach will be defined through the Critical Studies seminar, which sets out to rethink the places of art in social, political, and planetary crisis.


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CCC Public Seminar : Conversation between Mabe Bethônico and Ursula Biemann
© Kick-off meeting in Mocoa, Putumayo, for the co-creation of the Indigenous University, October 2019