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NaturArchy Residencies Update

We’ve reached the halfway point of our art-science residencies at the JRC and wider EC and we wanted to share some updates on all the exciting developments which have been taking place!

We kicked off the year with Kristin Bergaust and Guillermo Garcia Sanchez, who are working on Ocean Connections and using Lagrangian descriptors to create narratives and widen perspectives around the Oslo fjord. We are most pleased to announce that a small “work in progress” installation of Kristin’s will be featured by DG MARE at the European Maritime Days conference (24-25th May in Brest). 

The vibes at the JRC have been immaculate as we have welcomed groups of artists at the same time. Between 6th to 10th of February four projects started shaping up, as a number of artists came on site to develop their projects further. Plastic magnitudes by JD Whitman who spent the week with Andrea Valsesia, Dora Mehn, Jessica Ponti and Marisa Sarria Pereira De Passos from the JRC nano and microplastic groups, working towards a large-scale, community-specific, installation raising awareness about plastic pollution. The entanglement of desert water by Penelope Cain who met with Alan Belward and Bernd Gawlik as well as colleagues working on soil, for her art-science research on lithium mining, water and soil bacteria, and political tensions in the Global South. Ingrid Mayrhofer-Hufnagl discovering the work of Alan Belward, Luca de Felice and Thomas Kemper for the project Specter[al]s of Nature - Seeing beyond the visible which wants to use remote sensing and earth observation results to explore the natural environment beyond the limits of our senses. And Compos[t]ing by Ingrid Ogensted and Ingrid Mayrhofer-Hufnagl collaborating with Jonah Lynch and Jaime Gomez-Ramirez (following from Brussels), working towards a large-scale artwork combining various crafting knowledge and materials as well as environmental responsiveness. It was an exhilarating week as we were able to visit the JRC soil labs, the Africa Knowledge platform, the JRC Observatory, the Nanoplastics lab and finally concluded with a visit to the Officine dell’Acqua – a boat restoration museum in Laveno.

Compilation of images of artists in residence at JRC

Jemma Woolmore was next in residence  to work on These Relations Are Forever . It was beautiful to see her bring together 3 JRC researchers - Sandra Coecke, Caterina Cacciatori and Irene Guerrero Fernandez - and legal anthropologist Saskia Vermeylen from the University of Strathclyde, who have long been working within their silos and different areas of expertise, but between whom Jemma was able to weave a common narrative using their shared experiences with chemicals and endocrine disruptors and the practice of ritual.

At the same time Marina Wainer and Sam Nester began their residencies for the project Synocene – beyond the Anthropocene - which wants to engage local communities with Natura 2000 sites and use artificial intelligence to convey our impressions and biases towards nature. They spent their first week at DG ENV with Lucía Iglesias Blanco and concluded the week with a presentation to stakeholders at the Art and History Museum in Brussels which DG ENV Director General Florika Fink-Hooijer attended. They then moved to the e JRC in Sevilla to work on the AI aspect of their project with Isabelle Hupont Torres, where they gave a small, initial audio/visual demonstration from the work conducted so far done on the project and presenting its potential outcome.

Compilation of images of artists in residence at JRC

In March we were once again fizzing with excitement as we followed the development of three more projects on site – Ghosts of the Anthropocene by Nonhuman Nonsense who are working with Caterina Cacciatori connecting scientific research with mythologies and local communities by exploring contaminants as ghosts, water quality management tools as ghost hunting tools, and citizens as ghost hunters. Anthos by Yiannis Kranidiotis, Sam Nester and Giovanni Paolo Randazzo collaborating with Alba BerniniIrene Guerrero FernandezAna Montero Castaño an immersive, interactive sound and light installation highlighting the importance of pollinators using complex networks theory. And The Tipping Point by Yiannis Kranidiotis, working with Frank Dentener towards a data driven light and sound kinetic installation showcasing the urgency and the increased risk that one or several tipping elements in the climate system might cross a critical threshold. The artists were able to meet with both collaborators who were already involved and new potential connections. The climax was a double presentation on Friday 17th of March followed by a visit to the JRC Crisis management lab. Giovanni continued his residency for one more week, linking up to existing projects on pollinators and starting to shape the visual and participatory aspects of Anthos.

And finally last week before the Easter break, JD Whitman was back in Ispra to continue working with her scientists on Plastic magnitudes. They presented their collaboration and visions, and the artist additionally worked towards a small demo/prototype for the scientists of what her final work wants to look like.

All of our resident artists are presenting their existing work or their ongoing project in the framework of these residencies.

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Compilation of images of artists in residence at JRC

We are most excited for the residencies that are still to come: from 17th to 21st of April Margherita Pevere will be in Ispra for her join project Lament, exploring ecological grief and intimacy with more-than-human death following anthropogenic wildfires, which she is developing with independent environmentalist Céline Charveriat, and Lucía Iglesias Blanco from DG ENV. Contemporaneously Claus Schöning will be in residence at the JRC in Brussels with Julian Keimer to work on their project Politics in Disguise, hoping to integrate non-human values and identities into policy making. From 24th to 28th of April Yiannis Kranidiotis will be back in Ispra for The Tipping Point with Frank Dentener, as well as exchanging with the Energy Systems group in Seville. They will be presenting their work at the end of the week. At the same time, the Compos[t]ing team will be in Brussels to work with Jaime Gomez Ramirez, and to begin to define their large-scale sculptural installation at Parc du Cinquantenaire (Brussels) together with Brussels Environment and our museum partners Horizon 50-200.

There’s still plenty more to come in May and June: first residencies with Gala Berger and Invisible Seeds, and Athena LaTocha with The effect of climate change on natural disasters; second residencies for Nonhuman Nonsense, Kristin Bergaust and Margherita Pevere to finalise their artworks! We like to be kept on our toes and we cant wait to see what thoughtful and aweinspiring discussions, questions, works, and projects will emerge from these residencies.

Compilation of images of text on whiteboard as brainstorms of projects

That’s all for now - stay tuned for more from the SciArt team!

Images: Snapshots and highlights from the residencies so far.


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