Retracing the Roots: Formafantasma, Anab Jain & Manthia Diawara
"What if we liberated ourselves from progress?"
Back to Earth artists Anab Jain (Superflux), Formafantasma and Manthia Diawara consider how art, design and philosophy can effect long-term change in the face of ecological crisis.
Connecting Formafantasma’s current exhibition Cambio and the Serpentine’s ongoing environmental project Back to Earth, this discussion brings together artists and practices that span multiple continents, perspectives and media, but which share key concerns: how can we do better by learning more about the systems that we are a part of? How do we go about changing these systems, and our own behaviours as a result?
Manthia Diawara will talk about his new film for Back to Earth, which connects local economies in Yene, Senegal with philosophical approaches to climate change drawn from Édouard Glissant; Anab Jain from Superflux will describe her studio’s process of introducing audiences to possible futures through multi-media installations, films, objects, systems and technologies, and Formafantasma will focus on what they have learnt from Cambio and from the pandemic, what the outcomes of both might be, through their methods as designers and as teachers. This conversation follows on from Tracing the Roots, a podcast episode released earlier this year as part of the Serpentine’s Back to Earth podcast, exploring the relationship between ecology and design.