Translocalia Artists on Decolonising Environmental Humanities, and Interspecies Communication and Learning
Translocalia is a platform co-founded in 2014 by Lavinia Filippi and Amanda Masha Caminals. It connects practitioners and institutions from different disciplines and fields of action, such as art, architecture, science and activism to discuss, share and plan for an inclusive and sustainable future through art.
“Mobility creates spaces to catalyse specific projects that otherwise wouldn’t exist.” —Amanda Masha Caminals
During the month of May 2022, thanks to the i-Portunus grant, and with the support of Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation and Mimosa House, part of Translocalia’s network participated in a residency in London, to start or expand on two main projects:
- The first one was the Agency for Decolonising Environmental Humanities (ADEH): an interdisciplinary project of radical pedagogy which addresses current environmental challenges, while considering the implication of justice and inequality. ADEH is a shared project with Pablo de Soto, experimental architect, radical cartographer, scholar and educator, and director of LABoral Centro de Arte and member of Translocalia’s network.
- The second project has been unfolding in a series of commissions on our line of research ‘Interspecies communication and learning’ by artists Fito Conesa and Paula Nishijima. Moreover, artist Michela de Mattei has been participating as an online resident developing a series of presentations on human, non-human dynamics.
Translocalia’s stay in London has been extremely productive. The time spent at the Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation and Mimosa House has allowed us to further pursue conversations around our practice and upcoming projects that will undoubtedly benefit the platform. Specifically, we had advanced conversations to collaborate with Delfina Foundation on their Politics of Food programme, with Central Saint Martins’ Art and Science MA; with Gasworks, in relation to our shared advocacy for European connectedness in the UK and to further strategic partnerships together with Suhair Khan.
As for the residents of the Nicoletta Fiorucci Foundation, artist Paula Nishijima was able to better focus on her research on interspecies communication and learning and the connections between living organisms and artificial intelligence. Moreover, Translocalia was able to connect her latest projects to practitioners such as the team at Cambridge Neuroscience, the Collective Intelligence researchers at Imperial College and introducing her work to Kostas Stasinopoulos as part of the curatorial team of Back to Earth, and many others.
The stay at the Foundation has also benefited greatly Pablo de Soto, allowing him to strategise and draft possible collaborations between his institution and leading cultural practitioners and entities in London, including the Architectural Association of London and the Environmental Architecture at the Royal College of Art, as well as artists Cooking Sections and Naiza Khan.
While participating virtually from Milan, artist Michela de Mattei also greatly benefited from the conversations which happened translocaly. She was able in particular to pursue her research in view of the production of a series of publications, entitled ‘Until lions have their historians…’, to reimagine history from a non-human perspective.
Finally, the possibility of operating within the inclusive context of Mimosa House, has allowed Fito Conesa to further pursue conversations around his practice. He was able in particular to better focus on his research on sound and reverberation which unfolded into a workshop. ‘Reverberation as a first possible Shelter’, is a choir of non-human voices that aim to engage local communities ‘to Sing the place, harmonize history and embrace those invisible and vibrant sonorities’.
Reflections on Mobily
Translocalia is committed to support practitioners that address the ecological and digital transitions, and is dedicated to promote a more inclusive and diverse art community. As part of their vision and work, the residents and host reflect on mobility and its future.
Lavinia Filippi explains that the entire idea of Translocalia was to find new ways to curate, produce and communicate art at a planetary level, with less economic and ecological impact, believing that the format of the large-scale exhibitions requiring high costs, lots of travel and little to no connection with local communities, was not very sustainable. “The idea of mobility was very strong in our initial concept”. For co-founder Amanda Masha Caminals, mobility remains very important because it creates states of exception in our daily practices and research, taking us out of our patterned routine, allowing us to really connect with other practitioners and researchers. “Mobility creates spaces to catalyse specific projects that otherwise wouldn’t exist.” Amanda adds that through the pandemic, we have gained a more conscious way of doing mobility and looking at it, not just as a way to fly from one place to another for a short time, but to create this “specific context of collaboration and to establish relationships for a longer period of time.”
For Fito Conesa, next to moving from one place to another on a professional level, “sharing, inhabiting near spaces and conversation is part of mobility.” When thinking about the future of mobility, Fito invites us to think in terms of the laws of physics and remember that “our way of moving, transporting ourselves not only affects our relationships, but also the ecosystem in general.”
Michela de Mattei sees mobility as an aptitude to change perspective. While it may not always be linked to moving physically to another place, “the fact of moving has more to do with dislocating your own practice. For example, for me, it means finding ways to work with people from other fields, researching in other fields, and looking at the things that I’m studying from another point of view.” She sees the future of mobility as moving less physically and more digitally.
Paula Nishijima reflects on the added value of this residency, and mobility in general, to her work, like here in London, where she met many people from different institutions, introducing her work and learning more about what is happening in the art field. “This motion, this displacement, I think is very inspiring, also for my artistic practice.” When looking at the future of mobility, Paula says it is somehow already happening, “and it’s hybrid, because online calls and communicating with people in this virtual space has become even more common than it was already before the pandemic.” She also adds that because mobility is connected to environmental issues, to our contemporary lifestyle and using airplanes a lot, the tendency should be to reduce the reasons for travel in order to be more aware of the environment. “On the other hand, the physical contact, being present in the place, being able to move adds a lot of value to our work.”
Join the conversation on social media
Have you implemented hybrid ways of working into your practice? How much of the work you do within international collaborations is now online and how much of it requires mobility?
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