BxNU SYMPOSIUM: A Perfect and Absolute Blank (08): Chris Butler-Stroud

Publication Date 16 Oct 2015

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.

Chris Butler-Stroud, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Chris Butler-Stroud is Chief Executive and International Director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a leading marine conservation NGO. Joining the UK arm of WDC in 1992 as a researcher, Chris has worked across all WDC’s cetacean conservation disciplines, and has been involved in delivering most aspects of WDC Policy, including participation at the International Whaling Commission (for many years as a specialist advisor to the UK Government), the Convention in Trade in Endangered Species, the UN Convention on Migratory Species, and its regional agreements amongst others. Chris has been an advocate for cetacean conservation and WDC around the globe.

As dedicated cetacean advocacy experts, the organization provides services to other NGO’s (including Greenpeace and WWF) as well as Governments and international bodies such as the European Union (e.g. investigating the abuse of EU funds in the capture and export of Black Sea dolphins from Georgia).

Whilst at WDC, Chris has served as a Board member (including as Chairman and Vice-Chairman) of the UK based Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL), a registered charity coordinating the activities of over 40 wildlife and countryside NGOs (collectively with a membership of over eight million supporters) in their policy delivery with the UK Government. 

A full schedule of the day and biographies of all the speakers can be found in the delegate pack, available here:

Speaker Chris Butler-Stroud
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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