How do artists represent and situate themselves in agricultural contexts?
This panel featuring artists Georgina Barney and Paul Chaney alongside photojournalist Uwe H. Martin considers the politics, cultures and perceptions of farming internationally and in the UK. The projects featured include practices that experiment with the representation of agriculture and those which actively pursue it as a mode of production.
This event forms part of our series The Rural: Contemporary Art and Spaces of Connection.
Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin are visual storytellers working on long-term, in-depth, documentary projects around the world that combine photography with documentary film, text and sound. Since 2007 they concentrate on a set of transmedia documentaries about the global commons water, seed and land that build bridges from magazine journalism over interactive apps and web-documentaries to multichannel video installations in art institutions: White Gold investigates the social and environmental effects of global cotton production. LandRush explores the impact of large-scale agro investments on rural economies and land-rights, the boom of renewable fuels, the reallocation of land and the future of agriculture around the world. Both series are part of the collaborative art and research project World of Matter, which investigates primary materials and the complex ecologies of which they are a part. Frauke and Uwe are members of the web-documentary collective Bombay Flying Club.
Based at Primary contemporary art studio and venue in Nottingham, over the past ten years, starting with GB Farming – a journey around fourteen farms in the UK – Georgina Barney has pioneered research and practice into the relationship between ‘Art and Farming’ exploring themes of place, landscape and the environment, and the rural-urban dichotomy. Barney’s artwork has been featured in major survey shows exploring contemporary ruralism including A Green and Pleasant Land? (Harris Museum & Art Gallery, 2015) and Curating the Countryside (Compton Verney, 2017). Solo exhibition Sheep Sketchbook: Revisiting the Pastoral Tradition (Attenborough Arts Centre, 2014) explored the icon of the sheep in contemporary art since Henry Moore. Recent projects include publication of GB Farming: An Island Journey, launched at the Science Museum, London marking the closure of the Museum’s historic Agriculture Gallery in 2017. The Museum of Contemporary Farming is an online, mass participatory project on Twitter and an intervention with artist and farmer Kate Genever in the stores of the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading.
A large part of Chaney’s artistic practice takes place at End of the World Garden – a two-acre forest garden and off-grid agro-ecological facility located in Cornwall. Between 2004 and 2012 Chaney led FIELDCLUB, a transdisciplinary experiment in agrarian self-sufficiency designed using his bespoke software Fieldmachine. His work focuses on non-human/human relations, geo-philosophy, and agricultural labour dynamics. He is currently a postgraduate researcher at UAL and continues to develop End of the World Garden as a collaborative and durational platform for exploring possible low-impact agrarian reforms and complexities that arise from the rural/urban disconnect in late-capitalist societies.