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BxNU SYMPOSIUM: A Perfect and Absolute Blank (07): Bergit Arends

Publication Date 16 Oct 2015
Description

BxNU SYMPOSIUM: A Perfect and Absolute Blank
16 October 2015, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Panel 2: "Moby Dick seeks thee not it is thou, thou that madly seeks him"


In response to issues raised BALTIC exhibition Fiona Tan: DEPOT, this symposium will bring together eminent practitioners, artists and theoreticians whose work addresses that least visible but most present entity, The Sea. The exhibition includes BALTIC’s spectacular new commission DEPOT, which re-imagines the exhibition of ‘Jonah the Giant Whale’, a preserved whale which toured Europe from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, and Disorient 2009 with imaginaries of trade and travel.

Despite its powerful subconscious and imaginary pull - the source of fantastic creatures and lost cities, the cruel grave of hapless seafarers and travellers - the sea has largely been consigned to the margins of the terrestrial, a mere surface to be traversed in pursuit of capital and territory – Lewis Carol’s ‘perfect and absolute blank!’ Contemporary thought has however taken an oceanic turn - prompted by political, ecological, technological and material shifts - undersea resource extraction, claiming and division of sub maritime territories, seaborne migration and trafficking, overfishing, rising sea levels – all have emerged as concerns of global significance.

Emerging from the research interests of staff at Northumbria University in inter-disciplinarity and the creation of new knowledge across the sciences, humanities and arts, the event will include performances, screening and discussions in order to consider both the impact of human activity upon the 71% of the planet’s surface that is covered by water and how we might think with the liquidity, mobility and volume of the sea to evolve new fluid ontologies of the world we inhabit.

Curated and convened by Jane Arnfield, Reader in Arts, Director of Fine & Visual Arts Programmes, Northumbria University; Christine Borland, BALTIC Professor, Northumbria University; Sandra Johnston, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Northumbria University; Rona Lee, Professor of Fine Art, Northumbria University and Hannah Marsden, Adult Public Programmes Assistant, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

Bergit Arends, Royal Holloway, University of London

Bergit Arends was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Natural History Museum in London from 2005 to June 2013 where she curated a number of major exhibitions, commissioned works and an international artists-in-residence programme. From 1999 to 2004 she also managed the science and art programme at the Wellcome Trust, co-editing ‘Experiment: conversations in art and science’ (2003) and ‘Talking back to Science: art, science, and the personal’ (2004) For her doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London, Bergit, focuses on contemporary artists’ projects that experiment with constructions of nature and representations of environmental change through the exploration of historic archives. She examines how the proposal of the ‘Anthropocene’, a term intended to highlight the significance of human agency within the Earth’s natural system, resonates within these works.

She is currently researching the work of American naturalist William Beebe 1877 - 1962 - the first scientist to descend into the deep abyss in the bathysphere - in conjunction with the work of contemporary artist Mark Dion.

A full schedule of the day and biographies of all the speakers can be found in the delegate pack, available here: http://balticplus.uk/bxnu-symposium-a-perfect-and-absolute-blank-delegate-pack-c27510/

Speaker Bergit Arends
Format MPEG 4
Month October 2015
Keywords BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art, Critically Engaged, interdisciplinary
Related Events BxNU SYMPOSIUM: A Perfect and Absolute Blank (16 October 2015), Fiona Tan: Depot (10 July - 1 November 2015)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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