Co-published with HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme
Contributors: Taru Elfving, Emmi Itäranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen, and Tracey Warr
Design: NODE Berlin Oslo
Printing: Ruksaldruck, Berlin
Dimensions: 170 x 240 mm
The Midden marks the end of a five-year multidisciplinary research initiative on ecological issues in contemporary art. In response to the current oil-dependent society, termed fossil modernity, it aims at imagining new paths toward more livable futures. As its title suggests, editors Jenni Nurmenniemi and Tracey Warr use the idea of a compost hill to frame the book’s content – a complex and productive mixture of thought.
Contributions from the fields of media studies, speculative fiction, philosophy and curatorial writing are left to seep and leak into one another. Many boundaries in the book dissolve naturally challenging dichotomies, segments and divisions of different kinds. At other times, borders breakdown in a more conscious editorial effort: disparate sources – from Donna Haraway to Lewis Carroll to George Bataille – traverse the pages of one text and reappear later on others..
Time and change are key factors at play in the compost. The Midden digs into a heap of material amassed by the art research network Frontiers in Retreat. From 2013–18 the project involved eight residency and research organizations from around Europe and 25 artists including Bartaku, Quelic Berga, Brett Bloom, Sylvia Grace Borda, Company, Gints Gabrans, Fernando Garcia-Dory, Kati Gausmann, Carl Giffney, Tue Greenfort, Terike Haapoja, Hanna Husberg, Radhildur Ingadottir, Saara-Maria Kariranta, Mari Keski-Korsu, Elena Mazzi, Janne Nabb & Maria Teeri, Mirko Nikolic, Tuula Närhinen, Khaled Ramadan, Anna Rubio, Joanes Simon-Perret, Richard Skelton, Tracey Warr, and Simon Yuill.
Underlining some of the research themes such as entanglement and co-constitution, the book presents documentary photographs of artists’ work and renders them in superimposed compositions. An image from one work is left to negotiate with another, and another and so on, where sculpture and workshop or research and performance become something else.
What will art and society become in the future under a post-fossil or post-sustainable paradigm? And how can they challenge human-centred and Western European worldviews? The Midden is a melting pot that collects various lines of inquiry where participating artists and writers “seek new routes, concepts and operating systems for making these entwined ecologies palpable.”