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Extractivism and the Arts

Project leader:
Anette Baldauf (IKW)

Project team:
Daines Sanga, Bekele Mekonnen, Zena Mnasi Mabeyo, Berhanu Ashagrie, Anca Benera, Rehema Chachage, William Manyama, Eyob Kitaba, Deman Yusuf, Tseday Wondimu Shenkute, Safina Said Kimbokota, Mona Mwakalinga

3 years

Funded by:
OeAD – Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation | Cooperation Development Research  – CDR

OeAD | Cooperation Development Research
led by Anette Baldauf, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.10.2023 – 30.9.2026

"Extractivism and the Arts" argues that extractivism is at the center of today’s planetary crisis. To challenge this dominant form of world-making, the project suggests expanding the scope of the debate from the politico-economical sphere into the realm of culture and the arts. At the intersection of community work and the arts, artistic practices have the potential to challenge the dominant extractivist worldview; they can blur the lines that separate the extracting subject and the extracted object, and highlight the space in-between and beyond: Artistic practices are powerful means to bear witness to injustice; they foster sensibilities in relation to more-than-human others, including mountains and rivers that are equally affected by toxicity and waste. Artistic practices facilitate processes of mourning in the face of loss; they nourish relationships of care and stimulate desire-driven narratives about the not-yet and the not-any-more.

To explore these potentialities, the project invites researching artists and community workers from Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam and Vienna to gather in a series of semi-public events hosted alternately by the participating institutions. The aim of the project is to deepen our knowledge on the possibilities of anti-extractivist art and develop a common vocabulary that cuts across geographic borders. The final product of the project will be a "traveling suitcase", which holds a variety of objects, both material and immaterial. As an educational tool, it moves across time and space. It adapts to different geographies and facilitates alternative forms of world-making.