Join leading thinkers, artists and activists for a unique gathering that launches Black Atlantic: a new decolonial cultural project at the intersections of race, art, ecology and climate justice.
Timed to take place just before the intergovernmental climate conference COP26, Sensing the Planet will highlight issues of race and environmental harm as well as the role played by the UK, most prominently the south-west of England, in histories of slavery, empire and climate breakdown. It will also champion the role of interdisciplinary artists in imagining new futures built on principles of sustainability and justice.
Participations include: ‘Earth Talks’ by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Paul Gilroy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Philippe Sands; as well as interventions, performances and installations by artists, musicians and researchers including Nabil Ahmed, Barby Asante, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Radha D’Souza & Jonas Staal, Forensic Architecture, Hannah Catherine Jones, Thandi Loewenson, Elaine Mitchener, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Femi Oriogun Williams, Ingrid Pollard, Tabita Rezaire, Imani Robinson, Libita Sibungu, Jason Singh, Himali Singh Soin, Shifa, Foluke Taylor, Pat Thomas, Seah Wraye, The Otolith Group and Zadie Xa.
Activists will join from Wretched of the Earth, Exeter Decolonising Network, Bristol Decolonising Network, Plane Stupid and Racial Justice Network.
The weekend will also feature an installation of over nine hours of interviews by Hans Ulrich Obrist to Edouard Glissant (currently presented at LUMA Arles, Hans-Ulrich Obrist Archives – Chapter 1: Édouard Glissant – Where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another, courtesy of LUMA Arles)
The in-person gathering will take place at Dartington, Devon, on 29-31 October 2021. Book here. Selected sessions will be live-streamed at this page. Scroll down for a full schedule.
Sensing the Planet launches Black Atlantic, a new decolonial arts partnership, co-established by UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre, Serpentine, the Royal Court Theatre and Dartington Trust that aims to strengthen the role of arts and culture in advancing social and climate justice. Additional partners include Cafe OTO/OTO Projects, Verso, Lawrence & Wishart Books, LUMA Arles and the Stuart Hall Foundation. It is spearheaded by filmmaker and activist Ashish Ghadiali and Serpentine curators Amal Khalaf and Lucia Pietroiusti. Additional support comes from advisor Paul Gilroy.
(* denotes session will be livestreamed)
Friday 29 October 2021
2:30pm-7pm, Great Hall
*These Shoots Need to Grow: An invocation by Asadua. Turning Sour into Sweetness. Featuring Barby Asante, Hannah Catherine Jones, Femi Oriogun Williams, Foluke Taylor and Seah Wraye
Earth Talk: Paul Gilroy
*Ecologies of Empire: short presentations by artists and activists, focusing on decolonising our assumptions about nature and the English countryside. With Todd Gray, Paige Patchin, Ingrid Pollard, Matthew Smith and Vron Ware.
8pm, Great Hall
Music by Shifa, Pat Thomas and Elaine Mitchener
DJ set by Jason Singh
Saturday 30 October 2021
10-10:15am, Barn Cinema
Film: Tabita Rezaire, Deep Down Tidal (2017, 18’41”)
10:30-12:45m, Great Hall
*Earth Talk: Alexis Pauline Gumbs
*Sound work: Zadie Xa, Ancestral undulations and the transmission of knowing (2019). The sound work explores the vocalisations of Orca and other Pacific Northwest cetaceans as a method for modelling collectives, pods, care, kinship, family and interspecies communication.
*Sensing the Planet: short presentations inviting participants to seek out an experience of what lies beyond ecologies of empire – a sense of connection with the planet and the planetary that transcends the limits of island, nation and even species, bringing us into contact with a more-than-human world.
2:30-4:20pm, Barn Cinema
Film: Himali Singh Soin, we are opposite like that
*Earth Talk: Ruth Wilson Gilmore (via Zoom)
4:30-7pm, Great Hall
*Futurism as Organising/Organising as Futurism: short presentations by artists and activists, looking at the role played by imagination in the work of political organising and in the building of just and sustainable futures.
*Performance: Pat Thomas, piano solo
8pm, Great Hall
Black Atlantic DJ Sessions with Jason Singh, Chris Hall, Ru D, Keiko Yamamoto and more
Sunday 31 October 2021
10-10:35am, Barn Cinema
Film: Forensic Architecture, If toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down (2021, 31’03”)
10:45-12:45, Great Hall
Against Ecocide: A morning focusing on the nascent definition of ecocide as a crime within international legal frameworks, bringing together struggles towards social and environmental justice.
*Earth Talk: Philippe Sands
*Libita Sibungu & Imani Robinson, Welcome Note (Quantum Ghost)
Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal
Duke Room (12-5pm Fri-Sun)
A live feed from the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes in Amsterdam, a project by Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal.
Gallery (Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm)
An exhibition by photographer, media artist and researcher Ingrid Pollard
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews Edouard Glissant
Tagore Room (Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm)
A nine-hour film archive of interviews of writer, poet and philosopher Edouard Glissant (1928-2011) by Serpentine Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist. The interviews of Édouard Glissant by Hans Ulrich Obrist have been edited, transcribed, subtitled, chaptered as part of the ongoing research for the Living Archives program at LUMA Arles, for the Hans Ulrich Obrist archive, deposited at LUMA Arles. They have been presented to the public in Arles since the opening of LUMA Arles on 26 June 2021.
Pontin Room (Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm)
Originally curated by Yasmin Canvin in partnership with Fermynwood Contemporary Art in 2018, I Bring my Body to This Place, to Observe the Coming and Going of Life is a sound installation by Jason Singh which explores themes of home, separation and migration for both people and wildlife.
Artist Film Programme
A free programme of films by artists and researchers, part of Sensing the Planet, will take place in the Barn Cinema throughout the 3-day gathering.
The Otolith Group, O Horizon
2018. 4k video, colour, sound. 90 minutes
Barn Cinema, Saturday 30 October, 1pm / Sunday 31 October, 1:15pm
Sensing the Planet programme
Himali Singh Soin, we are opposite like that(2019, 12’26’)
Tabita Rezaire, Deep Down Tidal(2017, 18’44’’)
Manthia Diawara, Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation(2010, 50’)
Barn Cinema, Friday 29 October, 1:15pm and 3pm / Sunday 31 October, 11:30am
Ecologies of Empire programme
Thandi Loewenson, A Taxonomy of Flight (2020, 24’52’’)
Forensic Architecture, If toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down (2021, 35’03’’)
Nabil Ahmed, Radical Meteorology (2013)
SERAFINE1369, Untitled (2021, 10’28’’)
Barn Cinema, Friday 29 October, 11:30am / Sunday 31 October, 3pm
Bristol Decolonising Network
Imani Jacqueline Brown
Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal
Exeter Decolonising Network
Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Hannah Catherine Jones
Jacob V Joyce
Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert
Land in Our Names
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews with Edouard Glissant*
Racial Justice Network
Shifa (Pat Thomas, Rachel Musson and Mark Sanders)
Himali Singh Soin
Matthew J. Smith
The Otolith Group
Mama D Ujuaje
A programme of short courses and workshops leading up to Sensing the Planet. To book, click here
Decolonising the Curriculum
Thursday 28 October
Curriculum is a story we teach children to prepare them for life, work and further study in our society. This course looks at ways to challenge the current narrative, which reproduces assumptions of white supremacy. By first reaching back to processes of academic colonisation and decolonial thought, then exemplifying and discussing current approaches to decolonising the curriculum, we hope to further enable teachers’ decolonising work across subjects and key stages as researchers, community workers and disciplinary experts. With Tryphosa Bennett, Tanisha Hicks-Beresford and Terra Glowach.
Thursday 28 October
Working at the intersections of technology, political engagement and creative practice, Forensic Architecture (FA) has emerged in recent years as an icon of new possibilities for visualising and prosecuting environmental crimes. Nabil Ahmed and Imani Jacqueline Brown, decolonial artists associated with FA, offer participants an intimate and in-depth insight into the approach, methodologies and practices they have engaged within this field, to offer strategies for naming and evidencing ecocide.
Lessons in Liberation: Interspecies Reflection with Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Friday 29 October
A reflective writing intensive with queer black troublemaker, Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Participants will experience a set of writing activities based on Alexis’s research into the survival techniques of underwater mammals, documented in her recent book, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals.
Sunday 31 October
Follow sound artist and nature beatboxer Jason Singh through the beautiful gardens at Dartington, absorbing sound, shifting gradients, temperature and smell to inspire reflection.