Residency | Nature Scribbles and Flesh Reads | Oslo | PRAKSIS | Art Jobs

Nature Scribbles and Flesh Reads






This residency proposes a process of collective research into relationships between body and environment, through an investigation of the impact of chemicals and toxins on human and non-human bodies.

Kajsa Dahlberg writes:
I still vividly remember the childhood sensation of visiting my grandmother’s tiny fabric store in the (then) working class neighborhood of Majorna in Göteborg. I would suffer immediate physical reactions: itchy eyes and throat, nausea and fatigue – plus an emotional conflict between the comfort I felt in the company of my grandmother and the messages coming from my body, telling me, “Get out!” Even as a small child I was able to sense the significance of the shop and its contents as a place that was simultaneously familiar and deviant, even threatening.

This residency sets out to investigate environmental pollution and its unequal effects on all things living and non-living from the perspective of transcorporality – a concept developed by Stacy Alaimo to describe the ways that human and non-human bodies are “intermeshed with the dynamic, material world, which crosses through them, transforms them, and is transformed by them.”

We are all exposed to a material world that is constantly moving in and through our bodies. In this respect the body could be seen as the scientific instrument through which we register our environment. When overexposed, the body autonomously sets boundaries, and in this process, it also describes the world from which it emerges. It is one way of being in touch; of being in a reciprocal relation to the world.

An example: Parallel to the growth of the petrochemical industries since World War II –i.e. the beginning of what has been named the Anthropocene Epoch– more and more people experience bodily reactions to "normal" amounts of environmental toxins. These toxins come from an increased use of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. Synthetic materials such as particle board, plastics, food additives. Chemicals used by the textile industry.

Throughout the course of the residency participants will be invited to question the ways in which their bodies become registers of their environments. Questions guiding this enquiry include: What is the threshold between that which is toxic and that which is not? How do we, the residency group, register the Anthropocene in our bodies and by what normative standards? What is a normal body? In what instances do our intensities and sensitivities become strengths that help us see the world as habitable and animate? What opportunities arise when we have non-normative experiences of the world?

To understand ourselves as trans-corporal subjects for the duration of the residency means not only to put emphasis on the possibilities and limits of our own corporeal selves, but it also entails acknowledging that the marks left across bodies are not equally distributed. They are informed by the conditions under which one works and are connected to the landscapes one inhabits. This opens up questions such as: whose bodies sustain the most extreme impacts of contemporary industrial production? In what ways does pollution extend beyond geopolitical boundaries and how are these ongoing material interactions gendered, racialized and reverberated by massive inequality?

Research Approach
This investigation “moves through” bodies both literally and metaphorically, inviting multi-disciplinary perspectives. Applications are welcomed from potential participants whose approaches may be historical, nonhuman, medical, ecological, legal, geological, personal,  political or otherwise relevant to the residency agenda. Kajsa Dahlberg hopes to bring together a group of collaborators from diverse backgrounds to focus on a process of collective learning, research and the sharing of experience. 

The residency’s key foci will be; on the ways that the interactions of material worlds and bodies become visible; on the variable politics of representation that inflect those processes; on the relationships between the body as instrument, registering the world that surrounds it; and the physical registrations that artists make via images, sound and the reorganisation of matter.

Through the residency, participants will engage with spaces and things, seasides and roadsides and each other, through presentations, readings and talks, physical and imaginative exercises, queerfeminist discourse,affect theory, crip theory, environmental activism and/or much more.

Potential Outcomes
The residency aims to bring together aspects of the residents’ collective research into a publication or another form, to be launched at Index in Stockholm – most likely alongside Dahlberg’s upcoming solo presentation at the gallery (dependent on Covid and/or other contingencies).

Prizes Details: 

What PRAKSIS Provides
This residency is free of charge and offers comfortable accommodation for non-Oslo based residents in central Oslo. Local residents will continue to live at their usual address. The residency community will regularly come together at PRAKSIS and other locations, and at events and meals.

Selected international participants receive a stipend of 3000 NOK (approximately 300 euros) towards additional costs.

Weekly meals encourage discussion, debate and friendship. On weekdays PRAKSIS will provide lunch at PRAKSIS HQ. Dinners for all residents plus invited guests are held weekly.

Oslo has a vibrant and adventurous arts landscape. PRAKSIS will provide residents with information and links to the city’s cultural scene, informing them about exhibitions, talks, performances and other events. PRAKSIS seeks wherever possible to connect participants with relevant organisations and individuals in Oslo, introducing the residency community to Oslo creatives in various spheres, including curators, writers, and artists.

Residents are responsible for their own travel and any further costs.

Three places are available for international residents. Further places may be offered subject to securing support. Approximately four spaces are available to local residents.

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