20 January 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm (GMT)
IAS Common Ground (G11)
Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)
South Wing, Wilkins Building, University College London
Gower Street, London
This event is free but registration is essential.
Kateryna Aliinyk, Ukrainian garden, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 200 × 160 cm. Courtesy: the artist. Learn more about this artwork here
A panel discussion with artists and curators on the political potential of horticultural practice with Raluca Voinea, Dana Olărescu and Darya Tsymbaliuk, hosted by Vlad(a) Vazheyevskyy (Goldsmiths), Daša Anosova (SSEES UCL) and Maja and Reuben Fowkes (UCL Postsocialist Art Centre).
Gardening as a political practice unearths the radical potential of non-exploitative, self-organizing and collectivist approaches to tending plants by confronting social and environmental injustices, challenging the mistreatment of displaced communities, as well as contesting the extractivist ethos of industrial agriculture. An Experimental Station for Art and Life in the Romanian countryside draws on cooperative socialist legacies to reimagine horticulture as a emancipatory platform for institution building, while inner London allotments are reclaimed as spaces of social inclusion by East European migrants sharing knowledge and care for the biotic communities of the soil. At issue also is the extent to which human and plant relations are transformed by uprooting and displacement, with the war in Ukraine posing urgent questions of solidarity and resistance that transcend political and species divides. Political gardening will be explored in this discussion as a strategy for grassroots action in defence of endangered communities, as a field of social struggle and eco-utopian imagining that echoes the subversive histories of rural rebellion and as a rapprochement with other-than-human worlds in troubled times.
Raluca Voinea is curator and art critic, based in Bucharest. Since 2012 she is co-director of tranzit.ro Association. From 2012 to 2019 she managed tranzit.ro space in Bucharest. Starting with 2021, the ideas and approach that configured this space are continued in a new project, The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life, realised by tranzit.ro together with a group of artists and other cultural workers in a village north of Bucharest. Her work is grounded in a local context, yet open for transversal and transdisciplinary collaborations. Tranzit.ro / people
Dana Olărescu is a socially engaged artist with a focus on challenging minority exclusion and environmental injustice. Through participatory methodologies that democratise access to art and knowledge, she aims to give agency to underserved migrant groups and people habitually excluded from decision-making processes, so they can become active co-producers of culture. Between 2011 and 2018, Dana formed one half of There There, a performance company concerned with reclaiming Eastern European identity in the West. Recent publications include ‘Practising Migration’ in Art, Migration, and the Production of Radical Democratic Citizenship (2022).Dana Olărescu (danaolarescu.com)
Darya Tsymbaliuk (St Antony’ College, University of Oxford) is a writer, researcher and an artist whose work lies at the intersection of environmental humanities and artistic research, and engages with feminist and decolonial methodologies. She is currently a Max Hayward Visiting Fellow (2022 - 2023) at St Antony’ College, University of Oxford, having most recently obtained her PhD at St Andrew University with a thesis on Multispecies ruptures: stories of displacement and human-plant relations from Donbas, Ukraine. darya tsymbalyuk
This event is co-organised by the OCCUPY PPV: Politics and Aesthetics convenors Vlad(a) Vazheyevskyy (Goldsmiths), Daša Anosova (SSEES UCL), and Maja and Reuben Fowkes (UCL Postsocialist Art Centre) within the framework of the SAVA project
Please consider supporting Ecoplatform - a Ukrainian vegan-anarchist eco-organization that promotes principles of horizontality and evasion from anthropocentric ideology. Learn more about how anarchist and vegan initiatives participate in the resistance to the Russian invasion of Ukraine here.