- 8 to 9 July 2022
- A collaborative two-day event convened by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Tate Liverpool.
- Location: Tate Liverpool and Online
Friday 8 July 2022, 9am – 6.30pm
Tate Liverpool and Online
A symposium convened by Sria Chatterjee (Head of Research and Learning, Paul Mellon Centre), Darren Pih (Curator, Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool) and Emilia Will (Project Editor, Tate Liverpool).
Imagined as an extension of the Radical Landscapes exhibition, Day 1 of the symposium provides a space to dig deeper into the histories and futures of the rural. The exhibition opens up the countryside as a space where questions around trespass, borders, access, edgelands, botany, artistic experimentation and struggles around civic freedoms coagulate. Following a private view of the exhibition for all attendees, the symposium will bring together scholars, artists and botanical practitioners to think together about contested spaces and collective action through talks, discussions and live performances.
The Anatomy of a Public Park
Saturday 9 July 2022, 11am – 2pm
Birkenhead Park, Liverpool
Join us for a communal picnic and walking tour of Birkenhead Park, which was one of the first publicly funded parks in the world. Led by historian Dr Ruth Colton, it celebrates the radical nature of public parks as shared social spaces, whose creation was part of a national campaign to access natural, green space in urban settings. The tour explores how the landscaping and architecture of Birkenhead Park relates to empire and colonialism, and how its intended uses have been subverted by the public throughout its history to the present day.
11am to 12pm, introductory talk; bring your own picnic brunch
12pm to 2pm, guided tour led by Ruth Colton
Meet at the Grand Entrance, at the corner of Park Road North and Park Road East.
Tickets for Finding Common Ground at Tate Liverpool include entry to the Radical Landscapes exhibition and morning refreshments; lunch is not included.
We are offering up to ten bursaries to support individuals who may not otherwise be able to attend the symposium in-person. Bursaries will cover the ticket price travel and some expenses including childcare. If you would like to be considered for a bursary please email firstname.lastname@example.org with Finding Common Ground Bursary in the subject field, outlining your request for a supported place by 10am Friday 01 July 2022. Please note that your request should outline what specific support you'll need (travel, childcare, food, etc.), you do not need to outline the reasons why you need support.
09.00 – 10.00am: Private View of Radical Landscapes for all attendees
10.00 – 10.20am: Refreshments Served by the Auditorium
Panel 1: Fabricating the Rural
10.20 – 10.30am: Welcome by Darren Pih (Curator, Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Liverpool)
10.30 – 11.00am: Vron Ware (Writer and Photographer), Occupied Territory
11.00 – 11.25am: Frederika Tevebring (King's College London), Digging Deeper: Archaeology and Politics at the Festival of Britain and Beyond
11.25 – 12.00pm: Discussion and Questions chaired by Darren Pih
12.00 – 1.00pm: Lunch
Panel 2: The Politics of Growing
1.00 – 1.05pm: Welcome by Sria Chatterjee (Head of Research and Learning, Paul Mellon Centre)
1.05 – 1.30pm: Jill Casid (Professor of Visual Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Going to Seed in the Necrocene
1.30 – 1.55pm: Claire Ratinon (Food Grower and Writer) Unearthed: On Race and Roots
1.55 – 2.20pm: Discussion and Questions chaired by Sria Chatterjee
2.20 – 2.50pm: Tea Break
Panel 3: Ecopoetics and Environmental Justice
2.50 – 2.55pm: Welcome by Laura Bruni (Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool)
2.55 – 3.35pm: Bones Tan Jones (Artist) Dream After Screen (2020) [Interactive Screening] with response by Ama Josephine Budge
3.35 – 4.00pm: Discussion and Questions
4.00 – 4.15pm: Comfort Break
Panel 4: Being in the Landscape
4.15 – 4.20pm: Welcome by Sarah James (Senior Curator, Exhibitions, Tate Liverpool)
4.20 – 4.40pm: Delaine Le Bas (Artist) WE Hold It In Our Hands........Ancient & Precious [Performance]
4.40 – 5.00pm: Davinia-Ann Robinson (Artist) [Performance]
5.00 – 5.10pm: Closing Remarks with Darren Pih and Sria Chatterjee
5.10 – 6.30pm: Reception
Occupied Territory – Vron Ware
According to Jeremy Deller, Stonehenge constitutes a mirror on which people can project their views and beliefs: “It’s something that represents our national identity and yet is absolutely a mystery, which is good”. At the same time, he suggests, Stonehenge is a contemporary structure, constantly generating new stories. With this in mind, what happens when we look past the stones at the open grasslands of Salisbury Plain, the largest military training area in the country and the site of one of four “supergarrisons” in the UK? What might we discover about the country’s relationship with itself, as well as with the rest of the world, by acknowledging the military in our midst?
Digging Deeper: Archaeology and Politics at the Festival of Britain and Beyond – Frederika Tevebring
British archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes’ 1951 A Land is informed as much by the author’s expertise on prehistory as by her poetic disregard for conventional distinctions between academic, popular and poetic forms of writing. The book travels vertically into the geological depths of the British landscape, whose stratified layers mirror the national character with its overlapping pasts. Describing the stone architecture of governmental building or archaeologically inspired art, Hawkes paints a picture of the deep past, in the form of stone and soil, as still present and influential in our modern world. The dizzying historical perspective of A Land – covering British history from the beginning of the solar system until the most recent events – was written with a clear eye on Britain’s post-war future. Largely forgotten today, this work exemplifies Hawkes’ ability to combine science, poetry and politics: the path to a more peaceful future, she argued, could be found in Britain’s most ancient past, which she believed was a prehistoric matriarchy. This talk looks at Hawkes’ A Land and her work for the archaeology display at the 1951 Festival of Britain. It then places these landmarks in conversation with contemporary artists who likewise looked to geology and archaeology as mediums through which to connect with a matriarchal past that could inspire a new future.
Going to Seed in the Necrocene – Jill Casid
In their book, Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization, Casid established how landscaping functioned as a violent technology of colonisation that demands thinking past its rhetorics of flourishing to its necropolitical role in producing and maintaining imperial power. Its tools that range from transplantation, extraction and the production of hybridity to killing disindigenation and dispossession operate within a mythos of stewardship and preservation that is articulated materially in the signs of green verdancy. In English there is a metaphorical phrase for disqualified, insufficient life: gone to seed. Going to seed derives its power from forms of plant matter that become no longer harvestable or extractable because their energy has gone into the making of seed. A negative phrase of disparagement, “gone to seed” points to what is not at all merely metaphorical, that is, to the unsettled and unsettling processes of propagation from cuttings, decay and alternative forms of resistant generation from within seemingly dead landscapes and landscapes of the dead. Putting on scene the queering question of how dying, decay and decomposition may be used as material media to agitate for liveable life, Casid will discuss their book project, Necrolandscaping, that thinks with current artistic experimentation that confronts and works through the damage of the landscape form to forge an aesthetic tactics of landscape in the deformative that mines the volatile, strangely resilient powers of death for Necrocene ethics.
Unearthed: On Race and Roots – Claire Ratinon
Claire Ratinon will share her journey into food growing and discuss a number of the threads that run through her new book, Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong such as race and diasporic belonging (particularly in rural spaces), the politics of working the land and how the legacy of colonialism permeates through horticulture, botany and agriculture, and how these strands of our collective history are connected to the unfolding climate crisis.
Dream After Screen – Bones Tan Jones
Dream after Screen is a visual poem with an infinite narrative. In this interactive video installation, audiences are invited to alter the destiny and journey of the URL story, simply by connecting their IRL (in-real-life) hands to the soil. In a world away from the prison of the screen, we follow Una Jynxx, a character embodied by the artist, through wastelands, jungles, oceans, forests and hills, as she explores modes of survival in post-apocalyptic landscapes, foraging for food, divining directions and cultivating her own energy from the true source.
WE Hold It In Our Hands........Ancient & Precious – Delaine Le Bas
Rinkeni Pani – English Romani for Beautiful Water
Who is Delaine Le Bas and the personages she creates travelling through time zones and across the landscape of England? Join Delaine in a new journey where Rinkeni Pani has been the beginning.
Delaine is a performalist (Hannah Wilke 1940–1993) and lifeist (Linda Montano) she lives and works from The House Of Le Bas based in Worthing, West Sussex.
some intimacy, (a meditation) – 2022 – Davinia-Ann Robinson,
is a reading, performed by Davinia-Ann Robinson, examining the colonial and ancestral landscapes which formed her body and the environments she inhabits.
Through breath and repetition ‘some intimacy, (a meditation)’ recites the lineage of ancestors who are housed within her body, while mapping the movement, displacement and violence of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade through both lineage and landscape.
The work then conjures movements of her body through the earth, to question what it means for her and other Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies to ‘concaveandfold’, to ‘compost’ within the land and the body, forming acts of fugitivity.
Thumbnail image: Graham Sutherland, Form over River 1971-2 © The Estate of Graham Sutherland
About the speakers
Vron Ware is a writer and photographer, based in London. Her published work has focused mainly on the politics of gender and race, the social construction of whiteness, anti-racist feminism, colonial history, national identity, militarisation, the cultural heritage of war and ecological thought. Her most recent book – Return of a Native: Learning from the Land (Repeater Books, 2022) – investigates the term ‘rural’, asking a range of questions about sustainability, gentrification, racism and our planetary future ("The perfect book for anyone who has had enough of mournful elegies to England”, Patrick Wright) Previous books include: Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History (Verso 1992/2015); Out of Whiteness: Color, Politics, and Culture (Chicago 2002), co-authored with Les Back); Who Cares About Britishness? (Arcadia 2007); and Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR Country (Palgrave 2012). Her documentary photographs from 1977–1983 have been used in TV documentaries and dramas (Alex Wheatle, Uprising, Ashley Banjo) as well as featuring in exhibitions in Tate Britain, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Goldsmiths University, Broadway Theatre, Catford and the Museum of London. She is currently a visiting professor at the Department of Gender Studies, LSE.
Frederika Tevebring is an intellectual historian with a background in archaeology. Her work investigates how reconstructions of the past reflect modern political concerns and how archaeological artefacts have figured in debates around sexuality, gender and nationalism.
She is particularly interested in figures and tropes described as obscene or primitive that have challenged notions of Greek and Roman antiquity as an idealised European ancestry. Her current project explores how theories of prehistoric matriarchies and goddess worship inspired artists and thinkers in the twentieth century to imagine new aesthetic ideals and social organisation.
She is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Classics, King’s College London and holds a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University, Chicago, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Freie Universität, Berlin.
A theorist, historian and practicing artist, Jill H. Casid holds the appointment of Professor of Visual Studies in the Departments of Art History and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Casid is currently completing Necrolandscaping, the first part of a two-book project on Form at the Edges of Life. Casid is the author of Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization (Minnesota, 2005), Scenes of Projection: Recasting the Enlightenment Subject (Minnesota, 2015) which is being translated into Spanish and forthcoming from Metales Pesados press, and the co-edited collection Art History in the Wake of the Global Turn (Yale, 2014). Recent articles have appeared in Art in America, Photography and Culture, L.A. Review of Books, Women and Performance, TDR and the Journal of Visual Culture. Casid’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in recent and upcoming exhibitions at Signs and Symbols and the Ford Foundation Gallery in New York. Casid’s film, Untitled (Melancholy as Medium) will be part of Documenta 15. Their artist book Kissing on Main Street is in the collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.
Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer based in East Sussex. Claire has grown edible plants in a variety of roles from growing organic vegetables for the Ottolenghi restaurant, Rovi, to delivering workshops throughout London. Claire has been invited to share her growing journey in talks for organisations including The Garden Museum, Charleston House and Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, as well as presenting features for Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. Her writing has been featured in the New Statesman, Bloom magazine and Waitrose Food magazine. She co-wrote the pamphlet, Horticultural Appropriation for Rough Trade Books with artist, Sam Ayre, and her first book, How To Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving The House was published in August 2020. Her new book, Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong, is out now.
Bones Tan Jones (b. 1993, Liverpool) is a London-based artist, musician and performer. Bones’ work is a spiritual practice that seeks to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. They work through ritual, meditating through craft, dancing through the veil betwixt nature and the other. Bones weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Bones sanctifies these mediums as tools in their craft.
Bones is the co-founder of Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, a physical and meta-physical self-defence class for women, non-binary people and QTIPOC, combining Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and magical/medicinal herbalism to create a holistic approach to self-defence. Through community ritual and collective healing, the energy created at SSFC is powerful and creative. Fertile Souls is their community apothecary and survival skill share community which they founded, who planted real seeds in real earth in 2021 in a project seeking to bioremediate toxic soil in North London.
YaYa Bones is their musical alter ego.
YaYa Bones writes protest music for witches, non-binary love songs and apocalyptic lullabies for the gestation phase of the nu-awakening. Influenced by the unheard sounds of the weeds pushing through concrete and the crackling of embers in the hearth, they create a symbiosis of operatic siren calls and technological earth beats, mantras of poetics and epitaphs to the chthulucene. YaYa Bones’ meditational sounds are invoked for the ears of the ancestors past, the hearts of the ancestors in training, the queer warriors and all the plants we have been in our past lives. As Dazed Beauty put it, “Yaya Bones is all about using the human body as a channel for wisdom to flow through, wisdom that comes in the form of art, music and film”.
Their debut EP EARTHEART was released in 2020 with the support of Serpentine Galleries and is available to download on Bandcamp with profits going to the land reparations collective Land In Our Names. In February 2022, YaYa Bones released their mixtape Dust 2 Dust, a love letter to dying romances.
Selected recent commissions and exhibitions include: Shanghai Biennale (2021); Athens Biennale (2021); Solo show at Underground Flower Offsite (2020); Serpentine Galleries, London (2019); IMT Gallery, London (2019); Mimosa House, London (2018); ICA, London (2018–2020); Cell Project Space, London (2018); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2016–17).
Geboren 1965 in Worthing. Unterbrochene Schol Ausbildung zwischen der fünften und sechzehn Jahren. 1978 hört sie Poly Styrene, trägt selbstgenähte oder Vintage Kleidung. 1980 geht Le Bas auf der örtliche Kunsthochschule. 1984 wird das House of Le Bas gegründet. 1985 tritt Damian James Le Bas dem Haus bei. 1986 bis 1988 Saint Martins School of Art in London – Kunst, Clubbing, Mode. Le Bas kehrt zurück nach Worthing, wo sie immer noch lebt, schafft Kunstwerke und reist weiterhin als Lifeist** und Performalist*** durch Großbritannien & Europa und nach Südkorea, Simbabwe, Kanada sowie Rajasthan. Ihre werke worden auf der Biennale in Venedig, der Biennale in Prag, der Gwangju Biennale und in weiteren internationalen Ausgestellt. Alles geht weiter… und hier kommt ihr ins Spiel….
Born in Worthing 1965. Disrupted education between the age of five to sixteen. Listening to Poly Styrene in 1978 dressing in vintage and handmade clothes. 1980 goes to art school. 1984 the House of Le Bas is created. 1985 Damian James Le Bas joins. 1986 to 1988 Saint Martin’s School of Art London – art, clubbing, fashion. Returns to Worthing where she still lives, creates art works and keeps travelling as a Lifeist** and Performalist*** in and across the UK and Europe, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Canada and Rajasthan. Works including in Venice Biennale, Prague Biennale, Gwangju Biennale and other art institutions internationally. It’s all continues… It’s where you come in….
Delaine Le Bas 2022
*Istory – Carolee Schneemann (1939–2019)
** Lifeist – Linda Montano (1942)
*** Performalist – Hannah Wilke (1940–1993)
With many thanks to Sands Murray-Wassink (1974)
Davinia-Ann’s practice examines how “Presencing”, fugitivity and tactility undo colonial and imperial frameworks through which nature and Bodies of Colour are articulated. This is done by exploring Black, Brown, and Indigenous relationships to land and “Colonial Nature” environments. Her work addresses personal interactions with “colonial emotions” she has encountered, in local, national, and global environments as a Black Female Body, building on her intense relationship with earth as a living material explored through sculpture, sound, writing and performance.
Davinia-Ann has been included in solo and group exhibitions and delivered public programmes within arts intuitions, recent of which include: distinction between felt flesh, San Mei Gallery (2022), some intimacy, (a mediation), Rotten TV, Jupiter Artland (2022), Radical Landscapes, Tate Liverpool (2022), Metabolic time / Am meitibileach, Project Art Centre, Dublin (2022), Terrestrial Act II HotDesque Thameside Studios, London (2021), connections unplugged, bodies rewired, das weisse haus, Vienna (2021), Our Other Us, Art Encounters Biennial, Romania (2021), New Contemporaries, Colchester and London (2021), Being Here, Kupfer, London (2021), Slade Summer Show, London (2021), Earthlings, The Residence Gallery, London (2021), SH/FT, No Show Space, London (2021), I Am Unsure As To If It Is Still Alive, Quench, Margate (2021), Tactile Belonging, Mimosa House, London (2021), Bold Tendencies, London (2020), Freedom Is Outside the Skin, Kunsthal 44Møen, Denmark (2020), Working Progress, South London Gallery (2020), PRESENCE, Deptford X, London (2019), The Politics of Pleasure, Genealogies Series, PLASTICISED SENSATION, ICA, London (2019).
Ama Josephine Budge is a British-Ghanaian speculative writer, artist, curator, and pleasure activist whose praxis navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology, and feminism working to catalyse social justice, environmental evolutions, and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is the recipient of the 2020 Local, International and Planetary Fictions Fellowship with Curatorial Frame, Helsinki and EVA International, Limerick, and will be researching the topic Pleasurable Ecologies – Formations of Care: Curation as Future-building. Ama is also a member of Queer Ecologies 2020 and initiator of the Apocalypse Reading Room project. Her visual art and written work have been commissioned, exhibited, and published internationally including with Jupiter Artland, Casco Art Institute, Architectural Review, Feminist Review, Aperture, Whitechapel Gallery, Duke University Press and more.
Sria Chatterjee is Head of Research and Learning at the Paul Mellon Centre. An art historian and environmental humanities scholar, Sria’s research interests lie at the intersection of art, science, and environment. She specialises in the political ecologies of art and design from the colonial to the contemporary. Sria is currently working on her first book, which provides a close look at the deep links between nationalism, agriculture, and the natural environment through the history of art, design, and media. Other projects consider the relationships between the arts, climate, and colonialism. Sria is the founder and project lead for Visualizing the Virus. She received her PhD from the Art & Archaeology department at Princeton University in 2019 and lectures and publishes widely.
Darren Pih is Curator of Exhibitions & Displays at Tate Liverpool. His recent touring exhibitions include Radical Landscapes (2022–3), Keith Haring (2019–20), Yves Klein: Theatre of the Void (2016–7), Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures (2018–9) and John Piper (2017–8). He oversees the curatorial team developing the collection displays at Tate Liverpool and has published numerous essays and chapters on modern and contemporary art, both in print and online.
Dr. Sarah E. James, is the Senior Curator of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool. Along with Dr. Sara Blaylock she recently co-curated the exhibition Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany, at the Tweed Museum of Art, Minnesota. Author of Common Ground: German Photographic Cultures Beyond the Iron Curtain (Yale University Press, 2013) and Paper Revolutions: An Invisible Avant-Garde (The MIT Press, 2022), she is currently a Gerda Henkel Fellow, and was previously a Paul Mellon Fellow based in Frankfurt am Main. Before that, she was Associate Professor in History of Art at University College London (2010–2019) and Lecturer at the University of Oxford. She has published numerous essays, articles and chapters on contemporary art and photography, and writes regularly for magazines including Art Monthly, Frieze and Photoworks.
Laura Bruni is currently Assistant Curator at Tate Liverpool, where she has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and collection displays, including the recently opened Journeys Through the Tate Collection – Port and Migration, Global Encounters, Radical Landscapes, Lucian Freud: Real Lives, Theaster Gates’s first show in the UK and a major retrospective of the work of Fernand Léger. She is also currently working on a J.M.W. Turner show and Candice Breitz: Love Story. Prior to this, Laura held curatorial and research positions at Tate Modern and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
With a specialist knowledge of early twentieth century and post-war Italian and American art, Laura holds a BA in English, French and German Language and Literature, and an MA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London. Laura is also a Member of the British Art Network and of the Museums Association.