Hicham Berrada, Cao Fei, Diego Lamar, Rebeca Mendez, Michael Najjar, and Adam Sébire, curated by Tim Peterson, Latitudes: Artists from Six Continents Reflect on Earth’s Changing Environments, Mill City Museum, Northern Spark 2016. Photo: Max Haynes.
video still from Présage, 2013
Video still from Présage, 2013. Courtesy Hicham Berrada.
Video still from Rumba II-Nomad, 2015. Courtesy Cao Fei and Vitamin Creative Space.
Video still from Baguaja, 2014. Courtesy Diego Lama.
Video still from El Norte, 2013. Courtesy Rachel Mendez.
Video still from Orbital Cascade_57-46’, 2013. Courtesy Michael Najjar.
Video still from Camel Roundabout, 2012. Photo courtesy Adam Sébire.
Latitudes: Artists from Six Continents Reflect on Earth’s Changing Environments features recent single channel works by a diverse lineup of six internationally-acclaimed artists whose selected videos explore a range of topics addressing climate change.
Running time: 4 ‘50”
Courtesy the artist
An authentic chemical theater, Présage, is the result of a performance in which the artist combined various chemicals in a beaker, creating a chimerical world animated by his manipulations. In this manner, Berrada created a personal university that is intrinsically tied to experimental method, exploring its codes and protocols that presents viewers with an alternate world, both living and inert, suggesting questions of creation, nature and matter.
Barrada’s work miniaturizes chemical effects on an ecosystem, plunging the viewer’s eye into a troubled world, manipulated by human action. #Perceive
Berrada (b. 1986 in Casablanca, Morocco) has exhibited extensively with recent solo projects at venues including Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Mumbai Art Room, and the 13th Lyon Biennial. The artist lives in Paris.
Rumba II-Nomad, 2015
Running time: 14’ 16”
Courtesy the artist and Vitamin Creative Space
In Rumba II: Nomad, several autonomous robot vacuum cleaners are released within a demolished area on Beijing’s urban fringe. The robots randomly navigate the detritus of neighborhood raised to make way for China’s rapid, ongoing urbanization.
The construction and demolition industry is considered one of the largest producers of solid wastes globally. Among other harmful environmental impacts, the CDW industry consumes large quantities of physical resources, contributes to the increase of energy consumption and depletes finite landfill resources. #Move
Cao Fei (b. 1978 in Guangzhou, China) is an internationally acclaimed artist who has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Tate Modern (London), Secession (Vienna) and the Orange County Museum of Art and The Mistake Room (Los Angeles). The artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the US is currently on view at MoMAPS1. The artist is based in Beijing.
Running time: 3’02”
Courtesy the artist
Emulating the process by which mud is washed to obtain gold from the Amazon River, Baguaja reveals the particularities of the conflict surrounding informal mining in Peru. The title refers to the Peruvian virgin forest affected by mining tailings and mercury poisoning, inevitably revoking its virgin status. Starting from a simple action, the video attempts to describe the complexity of a conflict, a product of the government’s neglect of the area.
The uncontrolled spread of illegal mining has rapidly deforested wide swaths of the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon. In addition, miners are employing mercury to assist with gold extraction resulting in atmospheric and water pollution that is directly impacting the lives of humans, animals and plants in the area and far beyond. #Interconnect
Lama (b. 1980 in Lima, Peru) has exhibited at Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid), the Getty Center (Los Angeles), Ludwig Museum (Cologne), Havana Biennial, Triennial of Contemporary Art (Prague), and the Contemporary Museum of Art (Lima). The artist lives in Lima.
El Norte, 2013
Running time: 4’ 26”
Courtesy the artist
In El Norte, Mendez presents a critique of recurrent global colonialism, rooted in 15th century exploration, surrounding nationalistic sea floor claims in the arctic in pursuit of new sources of oil and gas, made possible by the receding polar pack ice. El Norte was filmed on Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard Archipelago, High Arctic.
Arctic sea ice has been steadily thinning, with winter maximum and summer minimum ice cover reaching greater levels of decline each year. The loss is attributed to greenhouse gases, with the arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. #Act
Mendez (b. 1962 in Mexico City, Mexico) has exhibited internationally at venues including the Hammer Museum, El Paso Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York) and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca. The artist lives in Los Angeles.
Orbital Cascade_57-46, 2013
Running time: 5’ 59”
Courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery
Najjar’s animation visualizes the demographics of defunct objects in orbit around the earth from 1957 through 2046, including everything from spent rocket stages and old satellites to fragments resulting from disintegration, erosion, and collisions. Drawn from a data archive, each spherule in the video represents a real existing object orbiting in space starting with the very first object in space, the Sputnik satellite, projected through a worst case scenario of two realistic collisions, known in aeronautics as the “cascade effect,” which could pose a lethal threat to our entire satellite infrastructure.
Man-made debris in low Earth orbit continues to grow without intercession, making cascade effect an ever-greater possibility. One projected outcome of the expanding distribution of orbital debris is the possibility of rendering human activity in space unfeasible, including the use of satellites, for generations. #Perceive
Najjar (b. 1966 in Landau, Germany) has exhibited extensively at venues including Oldenburger Kunstverein (Germany), Museum of Contemporary Art (The Hague), Akademie der Künste Berlin, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Karlsruhe, Germany). The artist lives in Berlin.
Camel Roundabout, 2012
Running time: 8’ 18”
Courtesy the artist
The video features the wanderings of a herd of camels lost amid the abandoned desert suburb in the United Arab Emirates. Deserted, fully signposted multi-land highways cut swathes through the sand, only to end in the middle of nowhere. The video was shot outside Dubai following the global financial crisis.
Current climate models project that temperatures in the Gulf region will surpass human survivability levels by 2070. Worldwide, expanding cities and suburbs contribute to global warming, increasing demands on natural resources and impacting environmental factors such as rainfall and air pollution, which extend for hundreds of miles beyond urban borders. #Nourish
Sébire (b. 1970 in Melbourne, Australia) has exhibited international at venues including the Sydney Opera House, Asolo Art Film Festival (Italy), the United Nations (New York), and the Havana International Film Festival. The artist has worked with Pierre Huyghe and co-founded the Vertical Film Festival (Katoomba, NSW, Australia). He lives in Sydney.
Latitudes: Artists from Six Continents Reflect on Earth’s Changing Environment is organized for Northern Spark by the Minneapolis-based independent curator, Tim Peterson.
View more photos from Latitudes: Artists from Six Continents Reflect on Earth’s Changing Environment on the Northern Spark Flickr here.