The Soil Assembly: Ecologies, Circularities and Living Pedagogies
1-5 February 2023, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India
Curators: Ewen Chardronnet, Maya Minder, Meena Vari, Neal White
This international gathering of artists, designers, curators, architects, educators, activists, farmers, and hackers is to support the freedom of exchange and sharing of knowledge. It is an active dissemination of a humanistic/biodiverse/holistic approach within notions of food growing practices, more-than-human correlations in these practices and life, as well as the freedom of movement for plants, animals, humans, algae, fungi and seeds.
With this assembly, we intend to subscribe to the essential convictions that our life on this planet is symbiotically linked to its food resources and its biodiversity, from the tree tops to the deepest groundwater or ocean surface water sufficiently exposed to sunlight.
The first assumption of the “Soil Assembly” is that most human interactions depend on the 20 cm surface thickness of humus so that it is imperative to nurture back the healing balance between human/more-than-human interests so we, humans, do not become aliens to the planetary holobiont.
The assembly will be a voice for highlighting thinking in practice and monitoring developments across local/critical zones, awareness of multi-species futures, environmentally friendly and fair transportation of food and feed, as well as social struggles for agroecology and climate justice.
The assembly aims to connect with a wider audience to highlight the interventions of various creative collectives and individual artists around the world in this field and also wants to show that it is important today to teach and transmit these knowledges in art and design schools, so that new generations of art practitioners can also contribute to the collective regeneration of the degraded landscapes of the Anthropocene. All these interventions aim to reintegrate and reclaim that symbiotic coexistence we share with diverse species that is the foundation of all life.
“Teaching ecology in an art school may seem incongruous or out of place. However, it makes sense if we consider art in its relationship to reality and in its capacity to transform, both on an individual and collective scale, the representations linked to nature. Faced with the ecological emergency, teaching ecology in the same way as teaching art seemed obvious to us, especially since many artists, at least from Joseph Beuys to Pierre Huyghe, have made it the heart of their art.” Les Jardins Suspendus, School of Art of Belfort, France.