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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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Fragments as a Tool | Le Narcissio, Nice

Fragments as a Tool – Memory and Archeology in Contemporary art

This event, curated by Lorenzo Bruni, is a cross-reading about one of the latest trends in contemporary art: the use of archives and the archaeological method adopted by artists to reflect not on the identity of a society of the past, but on our present.

Films by artists Maria Thereza Alves, Rossella Biscotti, Uriel Orlow, and Ulla Von Brandenburg will be screened in order to create a moment of encounter, informal debate, and reflection upon this theme.


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There past the borders of nowhere | John Hansard Gallery, Southampton

John Hansard Gallery’s presents an evening of artist’s films in partnership with Southampton Film Week.

14. November 2017 | 7-9pm | FREE, booking required

Book your place HERE

The following films will be shown:

Shezad Dawood, Trailer, (2011), 15’00”
Uriel Orlow, Muthi (2016-17), 17’00”
Imogen Stidworthy, Barrabackslarrabang (2010), 9’13”
David Blandy, Child of the Atom (2011), 14’00”
Rosalind Nashashibi, Vivian’s Garden (2017), 29’50”


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Sharjah Biennial Prize 2017

Uriel Orlow, Reader for the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster, received the Sharjah Biennial Prize 2017 for his work Theatrum Botanicum that was exhibited in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The multi-component work Theatrum Botanicum (2016) envisions the botanical world as both witness to and actor in the enduring legacy of colonialism in South Africa, looking to the botanical world as a stage for politics at large through film, photography, installation and sound.

Working from the dual vantage points of South Africa and Europe, the project considers plants as both witnesses and actors in history, and as dynamic agents – linking nature and humans, rural and cosmopolitan medicine, tradition and modernity – across different geographies, histories and systems of knowledge, with a variety of curative, spiritual and economic powers.

The Position of the Researcher – Undisciplined meetings: Arts and Social Sciences | Mucem, Marseilles

8-10. November, 2017 | Mucem Auditorium
Free admission, registration recommended: i2mp@mucem.org

The ethical or political positioning of a researcher is built through his or her working methods. In the human and social sciences, these methods are so many ways of doing within discourse. We start from the common materiality of the research work – the confrontation with the materials, the archives and the testimonies – to create a dialogue around the gestures of the collection, the methods of investigation, the forms of writing and exposure.

Participants include artists Kapwani Kiwanga, Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Vincent Meessen, and Uriel Orlow.


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What Plants Were Called Before They Had a Name | PAV Parco Arte Vivente, Turin

As Michel Foucault says, “the theory of natural history can not be dissociated from that of language.” In any culture, naming things means dominating them, as in law, the legal act of naming is an exclusive prerogative of the person who has power over it. This solo exhibition take shape from the artist’s research between Europe and South Africa. European colonialism was preceded and flanked by important botanical expeditions. The aim was to explore and classify the new territories and their natural resources, thus paving the way for employment and exploitation. Through films, photographs, installations and sound projects, the artist outlines a scenario that focuses on the idea of ​​the botanical world as a stage for complex and articulate political dynamics.

Curated by Marco Scotini


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Mondialisation de la Santé | Le Polygone Etoilé

An interdisciplinary thematic school of research entitled ”  Globalization of health: knowledge, practices and policies ” will take place in Marseille from 23 to 27 October 2017.

The term global health is now used by very diverse actors, from universities to industry to foundations, its polysemy is therefore equal to its ubiquity insofar as it denotes both the ” emergence, especially in the United States and Great Britain, of a real field of research and action than processes of the flow of goods, capital, people, knowledge and policies, all of which long term, even though the last thirty years have introduced enough breakthroughs so that we can talk about a new regime of the inter- and transnational government of health.

A screening of the Mafavuke film cycle will take place on 26 October at Le Polygone Etoilé cinema. The films include: The Crown against Mafavuke; Imbibizo Ka Mavafuke (Mafavuke’s Tribunal); Muthi, and will be shown in the presence of the director, Uriel Orlow

Le Polygone Etoilé, 1 rue François Massabo, 13002 Marseille.

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 7 pm


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In the Peaceful Dome | Bluecoat, Liverpool

In the Peaceful Dome is themed around transformation and continuity, time and time travel, and the intersection of the past and the future. The show will attempt to trace within this accumulation of history a continuum across time as culture shifts and the building itself undergoes profound change.  It raises questions about how the past informs the future and how art and arts venues might adopt a more civic role.

Including works by Roderick Bisson, Sean Borodale, Fanny Calder, Edward Carter Preston, Julia Carter Preston, Dan Coopey, Philip Courtenay & Yellow House, John Davies, Jacob Epstein, Edgar Grosvenor, The Grantchester Pottery, Janet Hodgson, Nathan Jones & Scott Spencer, Juniper Press, Sumuyya Khader, Donald Lynch, Joanne Masding, Syd Merrills, Grace Ndiritu, Uriel Orlow, William C. Penn, Jo Stockham, and Edmund Tan.


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Solo Exhibition | Theatrum Botanicum: The Memory of Trees | Parc Saint Léger, France

This solo exhibition looks at the history of South Africa, from the first wave of colonization by the Dutch and the British to the apartheid regime and contemporary society. From the dual point of view of Europe and South Africa, the artist explores the links between plant ecology and the construction of national identity. Plants here assume the roles of actors, witnesses or instruments working for the organization of space, the delimitation of borders and, consequently, the establishment of territories. This botanical universe thus makes it possible to reveal or re-evaluate political, social, economic, but also spiritual narratives.

If the whole project is anchored in the context of South Africa, its scope is more general, since through these studies of botany, Uriel Orlow tells us about the migratory flows, hybridization, and the relative purity of species.

Curated by Catherine Pavlovic.


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Stealing from the West | The Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne

Cultural appropriation has recently become the subject of heated debate. What was not long ago considered a purely aesthetic, vaguely postmodern, individualistic device of translation is suddenly revealed in its frightening political-economic dimension of exploitation and profit. This exhibition seeks to show another side of this story overshadowed by current discussions: the strategy of cultural counter-appropriation used by the underprivileged. The thieves, counterfeiters, and resistant appropriators in the exhibition show that “stealing from the West” is a potent tool of cultural resistance and an instrument of postcolonial retaliation.

Curated by Ekaterina Degot, David Riff, Aneta Rostkowska, including works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Yuri Albert, Kader Attia, Younes Baba-Ali, Ines Doujak, Tom Gould, Ramon Haze, Uriel Orlow, Gosha Rubchinskiy, and Ulay.


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7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art | New State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, entitled Clouds⇄Forests, is a proposition at a time of crisis to instigate the establishment of new relationships in our world. This proposition will be proposed by the artists and creators called ”Creative Tribes”, who gather in different sites all over the world, do not feel restricted to the notion of nation state and also surmount the dichotomy between globalism and localism. Curated by Yuko Hasegawa, including works by 52 artists from 25 countries.


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The Materiality of the Invisible | Bureau Europa, Maastricht

This exhibition sees contemporary art as a form of archeology: new and strange worlds are exposed by spitting in reality and underlying layers of our social, social and political reality. In discoveries, stories and installations, artists bring possible versions of the past and the future, in which the present is peeled into layers. Thus, they offer us new insights into our own reality and also make them visible what lives in the imagination.

The exhibition includes works from Lida Abdul, Sema Bekirovic, Rosella Biscotti, Marinus Boezem, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Mikhail Karikis & Uriel Orlow, Daniel Knorr, Jeroen Kooijmans, Irene, Kopelman, Guiseppe Licari, Chaim van Luit, Mark Manders, Alice Miceli, RAAF , Raewyn Martyn, Stephanie Saade, Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Oscar Santillan, Daniel Silver, Studio Ossidiana, Marjan Teeuwen, Leonid Tsetkov, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Roy Villevoye & Jan Dietvorst, Matthew C. Wilson, Martin Westwood and Joey Bryniarska.


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Summer of Love | Art Space Pythagorion, Samos

The exhibition borrows its title from the sociocultural phenomenon that took place fifty years ago in the summer of 1967. While in Europe 1968 might have more of a legendary status due to the student uprisings in Paris and the Prague ‘Spring’, 1967 was in many ways a more seminal year in terms of geopolitical, cultural and intellectual developments. It was the year of the Six-Day War, which irrevocably changed the landscape in the Middle East; the effects of this are still being felt today. In Greece it was the year that marked the beginning of the seven-year military dictatorship. Ironically, it was also the year that the UK applied for EEC membership. In the US, 1967 also saw the first major political protests by young people against the war in Vietnam. At the same time the outburst of new popular and subcultural music was also one of the defining features of the ‘Summer of Love’.

The exhibition Summer of Love will reflect on the unlikely liaison of love and politics, connecting the summer of 1967 to the world in 2017, where the idea of love – at least in intellectual but also political circles – is dismissed as naïve and sentimental. It is a mystery why, since love is one of the most potent – and complex – forces of human life. The exhibition Summer of Love will draw on these ideas and weave a web of cultural and historic reference points in order to link the ideas of fifty years ago to the present European crisis point, and perhaps inspire us to imagine a way out of the current political impasse. It is an opportune moment to do this. Fifty years have gone by; the postwar baby boomers are ageing and dying, and their youthful ideals have largely died out. We might ask: what went wrong, when and why? What lessons can we learn? Should we rethink these ideals? Can we learn from the experiences and disappointments of the generation of 1967? In a world that rapidly seems regressing, it is time for checks and balances in order to learn from history and to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Including works by Nicolas Kozakis, Raoul Vaneigem, Johan Grimponprez, Mikhail Karikis, Mäetamm, Uriel Orlow, and Marge Monko.

Curated by Katerina Gregos

 


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