A Calamitous Node in a Planetary Chain
Interview with Bassem Saad
From bioplastic cookbooks to multispecies speculative fictions: five new web residencies by Solitude & ZKM have started, selected by curator Mary Maggic.
Juror's Statement by Mary Maggic — Jan 17, 2019
Multispecies speculative fictions, bioplastic cookbooks, cephalopod training tutorials, YouTube chatroom roulettes & eatings, and VR-storytelling – five new projects from Indonesia, Thailand, Lebanon, and the US are selected by curator Mary Maggic for the web residencies by Solitude & ZKM. This time, the topic was »Planetary Glitch«. Against the background of climate change, rising sea-levels and the chemical alteration and industrialization of the planet, the call asked for new open–source strategies for undoing the trap of this planetary shift. Read Maggics juror’s statement and have a look at the concepts by the artists, designers, and storytellers: Natasha Gabriella Tontey, Tiare Ribeaux, Jennifer Katanyoutanant, Bassem Saad, Miriam Simun.
Indonesian artist and graphic designer Natasha Gabriella Tontey has a brilliant portfolio and a clever aesthetic that pokes at our deepest, darkest fears. The cockroach alludes to this gut fear, and Tontey plans to use speculative fiction in the form of texts, recipes, and codes to propose an interspecies kinship with the cockroach that survives beyond our hyper-sterile capitalist desires.
The Bioplastics Cookbook by Tiare Ribeaux perhaps answers the open call the most directly, channeling the 3D Additivist Cookbook and its open-source ethos for combatting an irreparable planetary problem, such as the overproduction of plastics. Tiare Ribeaux plans to supplement her extensive documentation of recipes, texts, and photos on DIY bioplastics with mythologies and stories of plastic entanglements, offering visions of new material relationships.
The Korean YouTube phenomenon of Mukbang – live overeating on the Internet – embodies a culture of excess and consumption and a very real material consequence of web use, causing an imbalance in our global food supply chain. Jennifer Katanyoutanant approaches this topic by creating an online dinner table. Its guests and hosts are confronted with alternatives and awareness of the problems of online indulgent media.
Artist and writer Bassem Saad proposed a site-specific storytelling of the garbage crisis in Beirut and plans to address the issue through 3D objects, architecture and fictional narration. This will call attention to the hypocrisy of for-profit waste management programs that only serve to bring further toxicity to the region.
Interdisciplinary artist Miriam Simun asks us to become cephalopods in the wake of rising sea levels and watery realities. Rather than taking the stereotypical transhumanist approach of using high technology and gene modification, Simun proposes we use physical training, a strategy that is founded in equity across race, class, and gender.
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