in/stasis brings together thirteen artists whose works attend to the attritional loss of community, land, and resources in the world around and beneath them. The exhibition approaches the experience of displacement in stasis, marking the ways displacement functions not only geographically, but also at cultural, temporal, and infrastructural levels. The exhibition takes up Rob Nixon’s proposal of “a more radical notion of displacement, one that, instead of referring solely to the movement of people from their places of belonging, refers rather to the loss...that leaves communities stranded in a place stripped of the very characteristics that made it habitable.” Such displacements often occur slowly and over such long periods of time that they are rendered invisible and readily ignored. Through attention to these calamities, in/stasis seeks to represent and resist their devastating effects.
Displacement is typically understood in the context of forced movement, defined as the act of relocating someone or something from its site, position, or role. This notion of displacement calls to mind images of migrants and refugees fleeing war, persecution, or environmental disaster. Yet, there are also those who remain in place—in the midst of dispossession, extraction, and gentrification—immobilized yet moved out of the living knowledge of home. The artists featured in in/stasis complicate the association of displacement with mobility and unsettle notions of what characterizes the displaced experience.
in/stasis presents work by Natalie Ball, Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki, Carolina Caycedo, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Emily Jacir, Tomashi Jackson, Nadia Myre, Otobong Nkanga, Cameron Rowland, Farideh Sakhaeifar, Sheida Soleimani, and Betty Yu. The projects in the exhibition engage a range of subjects and geographies including: the changing boundaries and status of property in Sunset Park, New York; the Canadian Indian Act of 1876; river communities and the damming industry in Colombia; and the extraction of natural resources in West Africa. Each of the artists in the exhibition approach displacement as a critical political question, exploring the personal and institutional registers that structure, implement, and benefit from displacement. In addition to calling out perpetrators, they also call attention to rebellions against slow violence, led by those who fight against the social and cultural amnesia induced by displacement in stasis through sustained activism and protest.
Curated by Daría Sól Andrews, Sally Eaves Hughes, and Klaudia Ofwona Draber, the 2021–22 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Independent Study Program.
NORÐRIÐ / NORTH
Listasafn Árnesinga, Hveragerði
In the wake of global warming and excelling ecological changes, will our environments of today become a mere fleeting impression? The human imprint is permanently changing landscapes, savagely and irreversibly morphing our natural environments, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Arctic. From the retreat of glaciers to the most rapid rise in temperatures anywhere in the world, the countries bordering the Arctic are experiencing especially radical shifts.
Nordic landscapes are being devastatingly altered by an unconcerned, self-absorbed human footprint. Once heralded for the unique beauty of its natural environments, the landscapes of the North are transforming at a rapid rate from the harsh effects of climate change. In response to these freshly emerging and turbulently changing landscapes, many artists are finding themselves compelled to focus on the fragility of nature and manifesting this perspective in their practices. New landscapes are being revealed already that have never been seen by the human eye, while others are inundated for an unforeseen future.
Norðrið focuses in on the Northern countries and their adapting environments, exploring the ways in which changes in nature are influencing and informing artists ́ expressions and ideas, through a lens of climate change here in a Scandinavian climate specifically. In order to make sense of these rapid shifts in the northern landscape, the selected artists affirm instability and change as a necessary part of nature. As the effects of climate change in the North bring with it an uncertainty towards the future of our known landscapes, these six artists reimagine the place and the function of the human, using their artistic practices to come to terms with change and reinvention within nature.
Arngunnur Ýr, Erna Skúladóttir, Ulrika Sparre, Pétur Thomsen, Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir, and Nestori Syrjala present a blend of expressions, ranging from critical documentation to poetic invocations. How can we reconnect back to the non-human and communicate in relation to nature, connect back to the landscapes and environments that the invasive human is ripping apart, and explore a nature that is not simply ‘other than man’? We take nature, the mountain to be the constant, unchanging, solid – a consistent marker of our environment in memory, but these works acknowledge the reality of its fleeting nature. The result becomes a thing of beauty, fragile, yet strong, and a way to rise anew. They offer a unique concept of landscape, land art, and environmentalism, suggesting new creations and fantastical environments, whilst simultaneously acknowledging the dissolve of our present ones. These artists gently draw us back to nature, dirt, land, earth, the elements, allowing us to focus on its beauty rather than the overweighting anthropocentrism. They remove the human and bring us back to our earthly roots by unapologetically bringing us face to face with the harsh reality of the state of nature.
In Silent Spring, Lilja Birgisdóttir, Hertta Kiiski, and Katrín Elvarsdóttir invoke a tender, coaching warmth towards environments neglected and at the brink of loss. By focusing in on the beauty in the found, in the renewed, they hope to awaken an urgent appreciation for the delicate state our deteriorating world is in. Working in the face of climate change, these three artists employ the photographic medium and a sculptural, sensory focus to environments which call for a nurturing attention.
Lilja, Hertta, and Katrín work in collaboration and yet singularly, their thought-processes distinct yet subtly intertwined. Using elements of smell, sound, and physicality, the exhibition space is experienced in a fully sensory fashion, connecting us to our natural environment, colorful and alive. These three artists awaken an attention to the implications of our wasteful practices. We are offered a space to recharge, reconnect, and actively contemplate potentials for change within all aspects of our own waste production. Through these elements, Silent Spring inspires a refreshed joy in that which is already, in the foundness of things, in the environments we have, and the beauty therein.
The exhibition is a part of the programme of The Icelandic Photo Festival.