curated by Dietikon Projektraum with TETI Group
Oops a daisy! (Urban Management Remix) takes place in the former ‘Bauamt’ (public construction authority) from Dietikon. Now in a precarious state, the building illustrates the ambiguities of city planning. The place where decisions concerning the development of the city were made, is itself being renovated and transformed into a site of urban growth and its inherent contradictions.
Departing from Volumes nature/city archive, the exhibition explores the tensions from nature-city entanglements. A city is a place produced by multiple agents, humans, and more-than-humans. Politics and socio-economic interests model our cities. Gentrification and real estate speculation dislocate people and define the limits of urbanization. But there are other worlds inside these cities. Animals mark their territory with scent glands, marks, or urine creating their own visual and olfactory geographies. Weeds grow on sidewalks against the rationale of hygienic urban control. Viruses circulate through the webs of globalization forcing people to stay indoors. A city is a complex web of polyphonic co-existences and temporalities that contest the distinction between organic and artificial growth.
To understand these tensions the exhibition considers present efforts to go beyond the nature and culture divide inherited from Western knowledge. How can we engage with our local environments in a way that reduces the tension brought about by the ongoing commodification of ‘Nature’? There is violence at play in the architectural and urban design of our planet, our continents, our cities and villages, evident in its systematic measurement, division, and productive ambitions. How then do we negotiate these tensions, these pressures, these settled or uncertain futures? What is the position, the role, the voice of the animals in the urbanizing machine, or indeed that of the minerals, the forest spirits, and herbs and weeds someone forgot to eradicate by the building site? The exhibition calls attention to the multiple forms that experiences of the sprawling city can take, and how attention to intangible, individual, and collective appropriation of the seemingly faceless pace of progress can open fruitful unchartered territories, where alternative forms of knowledges may if queried, reveal the secret passages to a disputed urban reality.
LITHIC ALLIANCE, Crystal Blades
The film follows the energy that is stored in material environments and investigates their ontological significance. Which kind of agency do minerals have in our world. The work explores the idea of proximity and its role in the comprehension of places of mineral extraction and the corresponding transformation of their energy. Through the juxtaposition of hand operation of minerals, computer renderings of mining projects, and scientific institutional venues, the film creates a series of speculations and fantasies about the mechanisms and processes around mineral resources and their relation to capital. As a result, Crystal Blades is a visual journey into different mineral formations and repositories and how their manifestations shape contemporary coexistence.
LOURENÇO SOARES, Books
Books connects the production of knowledge about nature to the construction practices in urban development by painting covers of fictional encyclopedias and scientific treatises into cement and gypsum bags. The bags represent, on the one side, the necessary technical and bodily labor during construction projects which subjugate nature for the sake of urban growth and, on the other side, they can vaguely serve as a reminder for a wide range of extractivist practices executed by multinational companies. In both dimensions, there would not be the possibility to profit from nature without the knowledge about it. The installation shows clearly one of the relations in which capitalism appropriates nature and highlights how the economy and environment are not separated in the ventures of urban development.
ANNE-LAURE FRANCHETTE, Grands Travaux Urbains
The construction site could be portrayed as a quintessential site of the separation between nature and culture. Urban planning and development transform the city into a machine where cranes, backhoes, and construction workers excavate, divide and order the soil, plants, and animals to give the space to the city, the human space of living and culture. The installation vanishes this dichotomy between nature and city. Franchette sees the construction site as a third space to produce new forms of hybridity, creating an aesthetic framework for sustainable relations between nature and city. By collecting plants on-site and using construction material as a deposit form for them, she creates a new way to re-think the relations between city and nature, while at the same time producing a monument to their reciprocal dimension.
RIIKKA TAURIAINEN, Animals, Chimeras, and Hydra
Tauriainen’s work explores the representation of animals, chimeras, and hydra which could be understood as a case in point to the dimension of non-humanity produced by modernity, and is based on the research from different repositories of knowledges that oscillate from modern science, mythology to fiction. The work presents a collection of 200 found images displayed in looping intervals on four monitors positioned one above the other. The shifting colour gradient of the images constantly changes the character of the image which is being seen. Thus, it deconstructs the representation of non-humanity and poses differently the question as to how the human gaze constructs and objectifies minerals, plants, and animals.
MONICA URSINA JÄGER, Forest Tales and Emerald Fictions
Forest Tales and Emerald Fictions is a reflection on the urban transformation of Singapore through the juxtaposition of cityscapes, forest views, and animated chlorophyll paintings. The video installation narrates interconnectedly a scientific-like view on the significance and purpose of the rainforest’s ecosystem and the nostalgic childhood memories of an older woman in relation to the forest. It shows different forms of territorial and scientific colonization affecting the idea of the forest, but, at the same time, re-locates marginalized histories and non-western forms of knowledge. In this way, she highlights the pluralistic, multilayered, multiperspectivistic dimension of the forest as a site and its future relation to urban development.
VOLUMES NATURE/CITY ARCHIVE
The Nature/City archive explores the relationship between these topics from a myriad of perspectives, from the micro- to the macro-level, from the local to the global, and from a specific to a more relational analysis. The result is a rhizomatic ensemble of works that individually or collectively deconstruct the binary nature/city through introspection, investigation, documentation, or simply repetition. The showcased works are loosely divided into three sections. On the one side, you have a study case of the city of Zurich, an urban and economical reference to the urban development of Dietikon. Furthermore, you have an associative exploration that investigates the relations between nature and city in the global context. Finally, there is a small selection of publications as poetic relations to the presented work in the exhibition. The Volumes Nature/City archive is activated by Jose Cáceres, Anne-Laure Franchette and Gabriel Gee from TETI with the support of School of Commons.
Oops a Daisy (Urban Management Remix) is co-curated with TETI Group, an interdisciplinary study group on textures and experiences of trans-industriality that explores the changing imaginaries of our global/glocal societies at the turn of the 20th-21st centuries. The group favours enquiries into trans-disciplinary commonalities and investigates the potency of ideas as they migrate from one body of practice into another. Finding such common grounds is not meant to lead towards more homogenized landscapes, but on the contrary as a springboard through which to re-invest in differentiation. Circulation can be understood, diversification must be the object of pro-active creativity. TETI Group organizes exhibitions and artistic interventions, talks, and workshops, as well as publications and digital communication interfaces. TETI members taking part in Oops a daisy! (urban remix management) are Jose Cáceres, Anne-Laure Franchette, and Gabriel Gee.
Reading Rämistrasse #21: Leila Peacock on Oops a daisy!