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Digital Ecologies Chapter One | SKLAD and The Ancient Bath, Center of Contemporary Art, Plovdiv

Art Today Association’s project “Digital Ecologies” is an exhibition that, by employing the means of art, is exploring the interaction between electronic technologies and urban environment in its complexity. The project will have two editions in 2018 and in 2019.

Operaismo Naturale: Ecology of the Event (27 July – 31 August 2018, at SKLAD and at Ancient Bath) is an exhibition accompanied by a series of talks, art interferences and performances.

The concept behind the two editions comes from the project curator, Dimitrina Sevova (Switzerland/Bulgaria), in collaboration with Katharina Swoboda (Austria) and Emil Mirazchiev (Bulgaria).


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Subcontracted Nations | A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah​

Subcontracted Nations is a group exhibition that questions differing concepts of nation. In these times, we are seeing major transformations in these concepts through rhetorical and political discourse across many corners of the globe.

The exhibition draws its title from the proliferation of the processes of sub-contracting found in our world today―whether it is the sub-contracting of health services, or the privatisation of public resources including education. These processes have been instrumental in the fragmentation and compartmentalisation of public services and the diminution of the role and obligations of the state.

Another question the exhibition will pose is how the different forms of neoliberal orders in societies are being kept within socially and economically acceptable limits, in a manner considered optimal for preventing dissent and thus serving to maintain the delusion of social agency. The effects of these neoliberal mechanisms have become intrinsically entrenched in the production of day-to-day relationships, from family to sexual relations, to the status of citizenship and the structure of politics. This imposition of neoliberal mechanisms has contributed in numerous ways to the transformation of the individual through reformatory techniques, pre-designed lifestyles, dependency, and so forth.

Curated by Yazid Anani, featuring works by Ahed Izhiman, Ahmed Hamed, Alexandra Handal, Bashar Alhroub, Bashir Makhoul, Bisan Abu Eisheh, Dirar Kalash, Essa Grayeb, Habib Asal, Iyad Issa, Jonas Staal, Jumana Abboud, Khaled Jarrar, Lara Baladi, Larissa Sansour, Majdi Hadid, Manal Mahamid, May Odeh, Mirna Bamieh, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nida Sinnokrot, Noor Abed, Rima Essa, Sarah Beddington, Sliman Mansour, Taysir Batniji, Uriel Orlow, Vera Tamari, Vladimir Tamari, Waseem Fouad, Yazan Khalili and others.

Imbizo Ka Mafavuke and Theatrum Botanicum book launch | Whitechapel Gallery, London

The London premiere of Orlow’s new film Imbizo Ka Mafavuke (Mafavuke’s Tribunal), will be followed by a discussion between Uriel Orlow, Emily Pethick and Shela Sheikh and the launch of Theatrum Botanicum, published by Sternberg Press, with contributions by Sita Balani, Melanie Boehie, Clelia Coussonet, Karen Flint, Jason Irving, Nomusa Makhubu, Bettina Malcomess, Karin van Marle, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, designed by In the shade of a tree (Samuel Bonnet, Sophie Demay, and Maël Fournier-Comte).


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The London Open 2018 | Whitechapel Gallery, London

The London Open 2018 brings together critical and dynamic art that reflects on the experience of living in a global city now. This triennial open submission exhibition features 22 artists working across painting, sculpture, performance and video. With works by Larry Achiampong, Rachel Ara, Gabriella Boyd, Hannah Brown, Rachael Champion, Gary Colclough, George Eksts, Ayan Farah, French & Mottershead, Vikesh Govind, Richard Healy, Des Lawrence, Tom Lock, Céline Manz, Uriel Orlow, Rachel Pimm, Renee So, Alexis Teplin, Elisabeth Tomlinson, Jonathan Trayte, Tom Varley and Andrea Luka Zimmerman.


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Manifesta 12: The Planetary Garden | Palermo

Throughout history, the city of Palermo has been a laboratory for diversity and cross-pollination.  Continuous migration – from the Ancient Greeks, the Arabs and the Normans to the recent arrival from Northern Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East – has constantly redefined the city and its people. Palermo’s streets, architecture, parks, cultural legacy and personal histories are the result of a long-lasting syncretism of cultures across the Mediterranean and beyond.

Manifesta 12 in 2018 will also dialogue with the ephemeral components of Palermo’s life. Honouring the city’s long tradition of storytelling – or canta storie – through a series of new narrative productions about the city’s hidden networks. Recognising Santa Rosalia procession as a territory of contemporary syncretism, dialogue and celebration. Supporting existing initiatives to provide spaces for public hospitality. Mobilising its rich collection of archives to disclose untold stories on the city and its characters.

New commission presented in exhibition curated by Bregtje van der Haak, Andrés Jaque, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, and Mirjam Varadinis. Featuring works by Maria Thereza Alves, Jelili Atiku, Coloco & Gilles Clement, Cooking Sections, John Gerrard, Uriel Orlow, Khalil Rabah, Rotor, Marinella Senatore, Giorgio Vasta and others.


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Yinchuan Biennale | MOCA Yinchuan

The second Yinchuan Biennale “Departing from the Desert – Ecology on the Border” is conceived with the aim of measuring itself against a specific geo-historic context, and proposed as a form of minor language within the biennale system, Starting from the Desert seeks to respond to contemporary urgencies (not only in China) by adopting an “archaeological method.”

The Biennale’s framework is articulated over four, interdependent (and often overlapping) thematic areas that, without seeking to limit or circumscribe, attempts to visualize their material and immaterial aspects: Nomadic Space and Rural Space, Labor-in-Nature and Nature-in-Labor, The Voice and The Book, Minorities and Multiplicity .

Curated by Marco Scotini, with Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah, and Lu Xinghua. With works by over 80 artists including Can Altay, Said Atabekov, Erick Beltrán, Alighiero Boetti, Filipa César, Emory Douglas, Duan Zengqu, Miriam Ghani, Raphaël Grisey, Silima Hashimi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Hiwa K, Li Fenglen, Liu Ding, Adrien Missika, Pedro Neves Marques, Uriel Orlow, Kyong Park, Marjetica Potrč, Song Dong, Zheng Bo and others.


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CinemAmbiente​ Festival Cinema | Massimo, Torino

The films presented here, chosen from those exhibited at the Parco Arte Vivente in the last two years, investigate the antagonistic relationship between environmental activism and neoliberal policies on a global scale. Policies that, in spite of the imminent depletion of fossil fuels, continue to devastate vast areas of the planet, replicating exploitative practices that constitute a new colonialism and acting to the detriment of the dignity à and the rights of indigenous peoples of the North and South of the world .

Uriel Orlow’s films Imbizo Ka Mafavuke and The Crown Against Mafavuke are screened alongside works by Pedro Neves Marques, Oliver Ressler, Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, curated by PAV Turin.


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“Reprendre”? | Centre Pompidou, Paris

The question of the restitution of patrimonial objects is currently hotly debated in a world which is a return to the European colonial past and which questions the origin of extra-European objects torn from their original context, as well as their exposure patterns in the West. Director Susan Vogel , an expert on African art, recounts the fast-paced and tragically burlesque journey of a Fang statuette through the 20th century, since its delivery to the West. In his film The Visitor (2007), the Swiss artistUriel Orlow goes to meet Oba Erediauwa, then king of Benin, to question him on the need to repatriate or not the famous bronzes of Benin preserved in the British Museum. Finally, the Senegalese videographerFatou Kandé Senghor films a Casamance artist-ceramist, Seni Camara, whose ancestral know-how is threatened with extinction.These different films help to question the fate and transmission of confiscated objects, all too often dedicated to museification alone. 

Uriel Orlow’s film The Visitor is screened alongside Fatou Kande Senghor’s work Giving Birth, and Susan Vogel’s film, Fang: An Epic Journey, followed by an in-conversation with curator Alicia Knock


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Infected Landscapes | M.1 Hohenlockstedt

Landscapes hint at demarcations and serve communities; are depositories of memories and states of being that allow us to make conclusions about the past and assumptions about the future; and are run through with or even constructed by computing and biochemical processes. Landscapes prompt desire and yearning. They provide an image both diffusely beautiful and alluringly disturbing. Landscapes and the shifts that occur therein foster critical reflection on the so-called anthropocene as well as observations on interaction between human and non-human players. The term landscape designates both a spatial situation and a symbolic construct; and each carries traces of multifaceted aesthetic, cultural, territorial, capitalised and subjective inscriptions. Landscapes have different effects depending on their context.

The artists’ contributions to the symposium and exhibition are a lens through which we will collectively review these constructs and discuss the extent to which we might consider landscapes to be impure and infected.

Curated by Joerg Franzbecker, featuring works by Filipa Cesar & Louis Henderson, Esther Kinsky, knowbotiq, The Many Headed Hydra, Elke Marhöfer & Mykhail Lylov, Uriel Orlow, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Sandra Schäfer, Kerstin Schroedinger, Virgilijus Šonta, Vangjush Vellahu, and Gitte Villesen.


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Maybe I hadn’t been paying attention | NTU, Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore

Inspired by Tarek Atoui’s current exhibition The Ground: From the Land to the Sea at NTU CCA Singapore, this screening series features artist videos, documentaries, and filmic essays that examine how the image and the sonic create immersive ways for multiple sensorial elements to come together and form a singular space. Maybe I hadn’t been paying attention is further guided by the Centre’s overarching research topic CLIMATES. HABITATS. ENVIRONMENTS. by focusing on artistic interpretations that reflect our present-day ecology, bringing attention to global issues we tend to overlook, and by observing how we navigate different environments, particularly through aural perception.

The screening series features works by Robert Ashley (United States), Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Jordan/Lebanon), Melanie Bonajo (Netherlands/United States), Camille Henrot (France/United States), Alison O’Daniel (United States), Uriel Orlow (Switzerland/United Kingdom), Simon Ripoll-Hurier (France), Ben Russell (United States), and Nico Vascellari (Italy).


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The Battle of Coal | Sculpture Museum Glaskasten Marl

The Sculpture Museum Glaskasten Marl includes sculpture, video and sound art, which are also reflected in the exhibition. Two plants are to be newly produced for the exhibition with a special focus on the situation of the coal mining site Marl and the Ruhr area.

Denise Ritter will record noises underground and use them to create an electroacoustic sound installation. Another site-specific video work will also address the specific conditions and phenomena of coal mining. Jeremy Deller’s video work The Battle of Orgrave is a reflected re-enactment of the heated situation at the end of coal mining in England in the late 1980s. This emotionally highly charged work reflects the economic and social contradictions of Margret Thatcher’s politics, which show a clear contrast in comparison with the development in Germany. Steve McQueen has created a video that also causes a strong physical presence in the viewer: The mining journey of black African miners in 3. 000m depth is set in its tormenting physical urgency in the picture. Coleen Alborough has created a relief-like installation that conveys an imaginative picture of South African coal mining in small scale, which also allows a comparison to the situation of the now-ending coal mining in Germany. This work is supplemented with an abstract black and white video. The more or less conventional, metal worker sculptures from the collection of Werner Bibl form the plastic counterpart and frame to the virtual media. which also allows a comparison to the situation of the now-ending coal mining in Germany. This work is supplemented with an abstract black and white video. The more or less conventional, metal worker sculptures from the collection of Werner Bibl form the plastic counterpart and frame to the virtual media. which also allows a comparison to the situation of the now-ending coal mining in Germany. This work is supplemented with an abstract black and white video. The more or less conventional, metal worker sculptures from the collection of Werner Bibl form the plastic counterpart and frame to the virtual media.


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Theatrum Botanicum | Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen

In his research-based and process-oriented artistic practice Uriel Orlow is concerned with spatial manifestations of memory and blind spots in history. At Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen Orlow is presenting his ongoing research project Theatrum Botanicum (2015–2017). The large-scale work series sees the botanical world as a stage for politics. From the viewpoints of South Africa and Europe the project shows plants as witnesses and actors in history, as dynamic agents which combine nature and humanity, rural and cosmopolitan medicine, tradition and modernity — through various geographies, histories and knowledge systems. Videos, sound works, photographs and installations illuminate botanical nationalism and other legacies of colonialism, plant migration and invasion, bio-piracy, flower diplomacy under apartheid, the role of the classification and naming of plants along with the garden planted by Mandela and his fellow inmates in Robben Island prison.


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Imbizo ka Mafavuke / Mafavuke’s Tribunal | The Edge, University of Bath

Imbizo Ka Mafavuke / Mafavuke’sTribunal, (2017) is an experimental documentary set at the edge of a nature reserve in Johannesburg. A kind of Brechtian ‘Lehrstück’, the film shows the preparations for a people’s tribunal where traditional healers, activists and lawyers come together to discuss indigenous knowledge and bio-prospecting. The protagonists in the film slip into different roles and make use of real-world cases involving multinational pharmaceuticals scouting in indigenous communities for the next wonder drug. Ghosts of colonial explorers, botanists and judges observe the proceedings.

Imbizo Ka Mafavuke / Mafavuke’s Tribunal is part of Orlow’s major new body of work and ongoing research called Theatrum Botanicum, which looks to the botanical world as a stage for politics at large through film, photography, installation and sound.

Orlow’s film installation at The Andrew Brownsword Galleries also includes film Muthi, and sound work What Plants Were Called Before They Had a Name (2016).

Muthi (2016-17), 17’00” takes us to South Africa where the artist documents the infrastructure around traditional herbal practices in Johannesburg, the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal. Muthi is a comment on value and practice, whilst touching on the wider issues of the loss of indigenous knowledge and tradition, in the presence of modernity.

Orlow’s sound installation What Plants Were Called Before They Had a Name (2016) re-creates an oral dictionary of plant names in a dozen South African languages, not only restituting audibility but also spirituality.


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Plant Echoes | Galleria Laveronica, Modica

In this exhibition, Orlow’s interest in how colonialist categorisation expunges indigenous systems of knowledge and belonging, took him to South Africa. Here, he found that not only did the British and Dutch re-name indigenous plants and try to eradicate as dangerous the use of herbal remedies, they also imported 9000 different exotic plants, many of which choked local flora. Orlow’s extraordinary new body of work uses plants as a potent lens through which to explore the socio-political, economic and spiritual ramifications of colonialisation.

Orlow focuses on the important role of medicinal herbs or ‘muthi’ in South African culture, with 60% of the population consulting a healer, who can choose from over 3000 plant species. With European pharmaceuticals exploiting the market for ’natural’ cures, a new front has opened in the contest of who owns what the land grows, has always grown. In ‘What Plants Were Called Before They Had A Name’ (2015-ongoing), male, female and collective voices recite the names of native plants in ten African languages, from isiZulu and SePedi to isiXhosa and Khoi, which had no legitimacy under a Latin taxonomy. ‘Language relates to politics,’ says Orlow, ‘and plant classification can be a form of epistemic violence’ In this sense, the surround sound audio piece acts as a restorative and moving oral dictionary.

‘Echoes’ (2017) is a series of photographs of dried brown sap stains on protective paper from botanical repositories in South African herbaria which date back to the colonial era of exploration. The tracings tell nothing of the traditional names or uses of the plants and highlight the imposition of a one-dimensional classification system that was revered as objective and unrivalled. It’s difficult to look at these frail residues, which contrast the tending delicacy of the botanists working amidst the cruel and murderous savagery of apartheid and colonialism before.

‘The Fairest Heritage’ (2016-17), poignantly intercepts a version of history. During his research, Orlow discovered a film made in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kirstenbosch, the national botanical gardens of South Africa. Only three years after the Sharpeville Massacre and a year before Mandela’s incarceration for life on Robben Island, fifty international botanists toured South Africa, in a whites-only garden party. Orlow invited an African actor, Lindiwe Matshikiza, to interact with the projected images, delivering an elegantly silent addendum to the past, when the trade in exotic flowers evaded the boycott of South African goods till the late 1980s.

In this show, Orlow continues and develops his sensitive and pertinent re-working of histories, staging old documents in new settings, giving voice to those who have been muted to reconsider how agency can be re-enforced by art.

On 31. March at 14:45 there will be a film screening followed by a conversation between Uriel Orlow and Gabi Scardi at Cinema Aurora, Modica.


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Geometries | Locus / Agricultural University of Athens

A walk through the grounds will be both a visual and discursive feast as in parallel with the exhibition framework a parallel program activating different layers and sites of academic life will sow and reap knowledge throughout the exhibitions’ three-month cycle. Soil, food, seeds, eco-systems will be some of the vital bi-products of research into the primary materials on hand. Academic knowledge, technological methodologies, agricultural practices will be understood through the prism of contemporary art for the artists who have been invited to contemplate and create new landscapes in the University’s environment.
Curated by locus athens (Maria-Thalia Carras and Olga Hatzidaki)
Featuring works by AREA (Architecture Research Athens), Paky Vlassopoulou, Marios Desillas & Georgia Ntousikou / Soil School, Céline Condorelli, Cevdet Erek, Faye Zika, Athina Ioannou, Kassandras, Troō Food Liberation, Giannis Manetas, Natassa Biza, Marjetica Potrč & Valentina Karga, To Peliti, Didem Pekün, Javier Rodriguez/Standart Thinking, Thanasis Totsikas, κ.ά.

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What Happens to People and What Happens to the Land is the Same Thing | Le Narcisssio, Nice

Curated by Chiara Nuzzi, the project What Happens to People and What Happens to the Land is the Same Thing explores the role of art in ecological emergence, investigating its intersections with environmental commitment, political ecology and indigenous knowledge in relation to our modernity. In this frame, the works by several artists develop different cosmologies in light of the specific topic of reconciliation, an approach facing a de-colonial sensibility in the contemporary engagement with art.

The project is thus divided in three different chapters covering in turn an evening of lectures and screening program where selected video works will establish new powerful relations and crucial questions, followed by a video exhibition, and concluded by a collective sound walk in a botanical garden on the French Riviera.

Curated by Chiara Nuzzi, screening works by Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares, the Karrabing Film Collective and Uriel Orlow.


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Healing | Czech Centre, Berlin

The exhibition Healing (Healing in the active and passive sense of the word) is based on the fact that personal health and a healthy way of life in today’s society (above all, but not only in the western world) is such a highly valued asset. that the pursuit of health sometimes seems almost cultic. The definition of “being healthy” is different in different cultures, and the healing methods and procedures are different.

Medicine, healing and therapy will be addressed, taking into account the existence of certain tensions and paradoxes: be they interfaces between rationality and belief, between science and magic, between healing applications and rituals, or between natural and artificial substances or aids. In today’s globalized world, it is often not easy to draw a clear line between what is modern and progressive (qualities that we can associate with the development of technologies, science, chemistry, etc.) and what is in essence originated in a long tradition (which in turn is based on inherited knowledge, natural sources, but also on collective rituals and non-rational beliefs).

From the perspective of contemporary art, the exhibition as a whole intends to present various current perspectives on the topic of healing and health, thus placing the complex of issues in broader social, political and economic contexts. The fact that the exhibition builds on the tension between rational and irrational aspects of healing is a consequence of her concern to point out the close connection between these opposing aspects, which in the final analysis can not be separated.

The exhibition is organized by the Jindřich-Chalupecký-Gesellschaft and presents mainly young Czech artists in an international context, among them also selected winners and finalists of the Jindřich-Chalupecký Prize.

Curated by Tereza Jindrová

Exhibiting artists: Jana Doležalová, Marco Donnarumma, Romana Drdova, Jakub Jansa, Barbora Kleinhamplová, Martin Kohout, Uriel Orlov, Johana Střížková, Miroslava Večeřová & Pavel Příkaský


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There Will Come Soft Rains | Basis-Frankfurt

Group exhibition curated by Stefan Vicedom and Bernard Vienat with works by: Marcela Armas, Hicham Berrada, Carolina Caycedo, Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner & Tyler Friedman, Galina Loonova, Uriel Orlow, Mario Pfeifer , Superflex, Jeronimo Voss, Pinar Yoldas

For modern people, the experience of certain scenarios often proves to be an effective medium for opening new perspectives on themselves and their present. Following on from this, the exhibition explores a special context of experience by initiating a fictional journey through time. A group of international artists enter the year 2318, where they encounter a new world without human species. Fundamental questions on dealing with our environment, the relationship between art and science as well as the late capitalist self-understanding of the human being form recurring moments of the artistic argument within the exhibition.


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