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Christina Stadlbauer /2


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      My initial question for the apass research fellowship departed from the place where humans meet their non-human environment. From there it took a few turns.

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      In my artistic research, I explore the relationship humankind has with its other-than human-companions and the environment we are all sharing. The research started from my long term engagement with honeybees MelliferopolisBees in Urban Environments - and the work done by the Institute for Relocation of Biodiversity – an artistic container to explore the ethical implications of issues related with loss of habitat and the collapse of diversity. Lately, I have also started working with bacteria in the frame of my project Kin Tsugi Transformations and reflecting on the ethics implied with microbiological lab work.

      Although the precise expression of a research question, keeps slipping and escaping, I got very interested with a procedure that has been unfolding around the “new” definition of museums, launched by ICOM, the international council of museums. (see more about the MuseumDefinitionProcess.)

      From my perspective, although many aspects and possible roles of museums are considered in the re-definition, a major shortcoming persists. This has to do with a form of denial of other-than-human life forms needing to be acknowledged as also having rights. Taking this serious would give them a place in our re-thinking of the order of the world, and hence their inclusion in the definition and practice of museums.

      To think this further, I propose practice based experiments and explorations of how we humans relate to other species, like plants, animals, bacteria and see what forms of communication can be installed to both create a “language” towards and with them, as well as ways to express the experiences.

      Behind all this, is a wish to create a “museum of the future” that maybe calls for more than a redefinition but rather a deconstruction of the museum as such. It is a container that operates decentralized, ephemeral, at times paradoxical, and it does so by collecting practices, thoughts, interventions and embodied experiences.

      During the almost 2 years of Apass fellowship, some experiments manifested - partly public, partly more intimate. 

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      March 2019, Contribution to Festival Performatiek, at Kanal:

      "Diversity is all around"- Installation and video projection. 

      Climate change poses a significant threat to the continuing existence of many species.
      The Institute for Relocation of Biodiveristy identifies fauna and flora in danger, and creates video tutorials to assist the species in relocating to safety in a new natural habitat.

      In the episode Diversity Is All Around, the Institute focuses on abundance of variety created through human intervention and care as well as surrogates to alleviate the losses.

      During the first block of Apass, from January to April 2019, Vladimir Miller was our curator. The settlement practice that he offers led us ultimately, to settle our entire group and work at Centre Pompidou Brussels - Kanal brut, the newly designated Citroen garage building in Brussels. He also introduced the writing practice. Simply writing. No matter what. During this block, we also were offered some workshops, of which 

      First thoughts about "publishing" and to make public (versus intimacy , fragility and vulnerability) were discussed, together with performativity - a term that I had to grow into, but that is today very much part of my thinking. Some of the co-curators gave important input, in these first weeks - for example Peggy Pierot, who launched us into the theme of nomadism and how and where to feel at home - a theme that touched me as it has a lot to do with my research. Also Philippe Gehmacher, Alex Artega. 

      A workshop with Moritz Frischkorn about logistics and the choreography of objects, made me think about my Institute for Relocation of Biodiversity in terms of linearity, flow diagrams and processes. 

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      Summer 2019, Troubled Garden:

      For the duration of a few months, apass moved headquarters to the Zenne Garden - a community garden in Anderlecht. Nicolas Galeazzi was our curator. He proposed being outdoors, getting in contact with the soil, the plants, the rain. And he proposed a practice of adopting. Everyone adopted from someone a project. One that was stuck, that I did not want to continue, that I have forgotten, no time or energy for and that I would like to pass on to someone else. 

      I gave "Vegetal Speed-dating" to Laura Pante, and adopted a score from Pierre Rubio myself. A score to make an endless poem, an exercise of being present with what is and naming it. It is called "I am made of" and resulted finally in a Letter to a Wheatgrain - I am made of and became a contribution to Migrant Ecologies at Svalbard Seedvault in June 2019. Amongst other contributions, it was added to the seedvault in Norway, in a ceremonial performative act. 

      Converstaions and mentoring with Pierre Rubio, Kobe Matthijs, Marialena Marouda, Philip van DeDingen, Sally de Kunst - all gave extra input to my research. 

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      Later in 2020, this place became an important refuge when the pandemic struck Belgium. Inspired by the exhibition Learning from artemisia by Uriel Orlow, I conducted some resaerch on the plant family Artemisia. They are called wormwood in English, and are used as medicinal herbs. Its antiviral properties can cure Malaria, but are also suggested for the cure of Covid 19.

      I recuperated some plantlets of Artemisia annua from Joelle Corroy, that I had found via the Artemisia house and they grew, made seeds and will be distributed and planted again next year. A distributed plantation is emerging.

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      Fribourg, Blue Factory - the unlearning centre - a trip to Switzerland in the heat of the summer 2019. 

      mini conferences (2 participants) on the topic of dispersing, dry toilets and 

      Collective reading moments of Bruno Latour Down to Earth and Donna Haraway Staying with the Trouble. Very helpful!!

      A reflection about Abundance at the Unlearning Centre, Fribourg. 

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      The Other Within

      Foundation of a collective called the Other Other, later the Other Within (with Gosie Vervloessem, Kobe Matthijs, Marialena Marouda, Maria Lucia Cruz Correia) in the winter of 2018. with a first collective attempt to encounter the other and the other within during a sweat-lodge with Rik Verschueren in July 2019.
      March 2020 – a hybrid conversation online and IRL, during the first days of the lockdown. In December, the collective is invited to Workspace Brussels for a residency to take the Others' idea further. 

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      March 2020 ff, S/Corona

      A part of the apass fellowship happened during the time of pandemic. The in between block was officially not curated, but Lilia Mestre proposed to keep us engaged with a score.  This became an online practice that we could do although we were confined and the school was closed. At times, we met with one or two other fellows, in the park. My brain was over-active, trying to understand what was going on and this practice was very useful to give my thinking shape, but also to stay in contact with others, and their thinking.
      The score was repeated several times. The whole series of my questions and answers (the score) can be found here: S_Corona_March2020.

      A collection of videos is part of it and was publicly screened in May and June 2020, in the shop window of nadine, Brussels: 

      Park or Room Domestication

      Infection is defined as the communication of a disease

      Terrain and Germ

      Biota

       

       

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      November 2020
      A series of conversations about  "new museums" is published as podcasts for the end presentation on the website http://dismantle.space

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      Absorbing philosophical, biological, physical, institutional texts, talks, performances, exhibitions was part of the research. This was not always supportive in advancing my quest, but at times also very helpful. Some texts I had to repeatedly read, so as to find how it could connect and nourish the questions I hold. Some other texts talked so much to me that I ended up contacting the author inviting him/her to a conversation or a collaboration.

      Quote by Vinciane Despret
      I have sometimes thought to myself - and this is surely already the basis for a science fiction novel - that our imagination is so poor, or so egocentric, that if extraterrestrials were to visit the earth, we think it is us [humans] they would want to contact.

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      A selection of references that have helped this trajectory to unfold:

      Agata Siniarska: In the Beginning was a Copy, 2017

      Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel: Critical Zones – exhibition at ZKM, Karlsruhe -23.05.2020 – Sun, 28.02.2021

      Bruno Latour: Down to earth, 2017

      David Abram: The Spell of the sensuous, 1996

      Deborah Bird Rose: Wild Dog Dreaming, 2012

      Descola Philippe: Beyond nature and culture, 2005

      Donna Haraway: Staying with the trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, 2016

      Federico Campagna: Technic and Magic, 2018

      Jonathan Franzen: What if we stopped pretending, 2019

      Karen Barad: Diffractions: Differences, Contingencies, and Entanglements That Matter, 2007

      Karen Barad: On Touching, 2012

      Tim Ingold: What is an animal? 1988

      Ursula Leguin: The carrier bag theory of fiction, 1986

      Vinciane Despret: What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?, 2016

       

    • Salad 03 July 2019
      posted by: Christina Stadlbauer
      Salad

      Une salade, c’est pas comme une tomate

      We went on an excursion to Fribourg in Switzerland. I took my little purse where I keep Swiss Francs from my last visit, but noticed that it contained only a few coins. In the train we were speculating how much we would have to pitch in for food and that we should eat rather rice and beans to keep the budget under control. Switzerland is expensive, for Europeans.

      The experience at the Unlearning Centre, however, was totally unexpected. We had just arrived, when a car came, with crates of food – freegan. Martin Schick had organized a delivery for us and we found ourselves with more than we could handle. All for free and all (almost) expired.

      We tried to fit everything into the two large fridges at the NeighborHub, but did not manage.

      Meat, sausages, vegetables, herbs, juices, ice tea, yoghurt and loads of green salad. That first day we got 2 crates of salad – maybe 20 heads of lettuce. Great! Fresh food!

      We ate a lot of salad. We ate salad at lunch and for dinner, snacked on it in between. But the salad did not end. Some days later, the car delivered another load to us. There was again salad, new salad. This time, some heads of lettuce, but also some that was already washed and torn into pieces, wrapped in plastic. And some salad hearts, wrapped in plastic film. We were still trying to deal with the 2 crates from the first day. Nicolas made salad soup. We had it warm and iced, with salad on the side. At every meal, there was a salad bowl that could never be finished. One evening, we were high on salad. We could not talk about anything else anymore, could not stop laughing. Mathilde composed a song about salad. “Une salade, c’est pas comme une tomate”.

       

      There was also more meat than we could eat, there were bags and bags of herbs that slowly started to rot in the fridge, there were litres of bottled liquid whole egg and many packkages of rice pudding, different flavours. There was an opening of a new atelier – a big space with machinery – and it was rented for free There was a dinner perfomance at the Belluard festival and the wine bottles kept on being opened and poured into glasses at no extra cost. Generosity came upon us from all sides. It was amazing.

      All our lives, we have been hearing about scarcity. At home, we learned how to shut the doors to keep the heat in, we used second hand clothes and we were instructed how to not waste food. At school, we learned the scarcity of natural resources. We all know about the scarcity of money on our bank accounts. But what happened there in Switzerland in June 2019, was abundance. Suddenly, we were confronted with abundance and we had to deal with it. We had to unlearn how we are used to handle scarcity. And this allowed me to observe many interesting things.

      I became obsessed. It went automatically. I could not allow myself to throw food away and invented dishes that consumed lots of parsley. I also ate more than I needed, just because I could not see the food being trashed. My attempt was not successful. Lots of stuff that had gotten a second life – saved from the trash of the supermarket could not be saved by us and went on the compost pile.

      The Fribourg trip and unlearning for me meant to look into abundance as a concept and the salad became my fulcrum.

       





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