This follow up to the collaborative exhibition CIDRA DA LUZ ESCOVAL MANSO MENDES ROMÃO SENA, AR Sólido, Lisbon, Sep–Oct 2015, enhances individual practices, while work is developed around zones of affinities, personal and continuously shared, zones that co-exist autonomously rather constituting an identity pole. An ethos of a togetherness that does not efface a oneness.
Insubordinated by a single topic or narrative, we are confronted by disparate ways of telling stories – more complex arcs of temporality, awkward relations and interruptions, productive contaminations, multi-species entanglement and mutual interdependence – implicit in the juxtaposition between the rhinoceros and the pineapple in the title. Both words are symbols of the global trade that informed the last five centuries of colonial and industrial expansion, and the accelerated disappearance of biodiversity worldwide (either by extinction or due to agribusiness monocultural practices) resulting from the prevailing techno-economical model.
In the months preceding to this exhibition, the Portuguese government licensed a total of 15 concession areas for oil and shale gas prospection and extraction to different oil companies – both in land by fracking, and in the ocean by deep offshore drilling. These areas extend from the Peniche Basin and virtually all of Estremadura, through the Alentejo and Sagres Basins, to the Algarve in almost its entirety. According to Thomas Golembeski, spokesperson for Kosmos Energy, this “is one of the last unexplored regions on earth with a genuine resource potential.” (1)
Confronted with the urgency of the climate crisis we’re experiencing, and the unbridled level at which greenhouse gases continue to be spewed into the atmosphere – since the first international conferences for emissions mitigation took place in 1988, emissions have risen 61%! – this decision proves, not only the shortsightedness and collusion of political and economic power, but also the twisted and suicidal tendencies of an industry and economic model that hopelessly bind us to the extinction of life on earth as we know it. We are approaching the moment when, if by 2020 greenhouse gases emissions are not reduced, we will hardly cap temperature rise at 2º Celsius in average – and this objective already entails the partial melting of polar icecaps, sea level rising, ocean acidification and other unpredictable effects thereof.
Defending the “drill, baby, drill” model implies an obsession with perforating and penetrating the earth, through a form of domination and exploitation that is strictly economistic, where complex ecosystems are reduced to “natural resources” without recognising them any other rights or relations. This is made clearly visible as deep-sea licensed areas have been code-named after various marine animals, all of which are recognised as important constituents of our culture, and possibly the main victims of the environmental consequences that such extractivist practices bring forth.
Besides the ludicrous fact that the list of licensed areas for deep-sea oil drilling reads like the menu of a seafood platter to be devoured shamelessly – the “business as usual” absurdity of extractivist policies that perpetuate our energy dependency on the burning of fossil fuels – this makes it extremely urgent to confront ourselves as a community with the ongoing climate crisis, and the way that it is inextricably intertwined with this past decade’s financial and economic crises.
This collaboration invites us to learn how to think and tell stories in a way that repopulates our imagination as a community, raise questions where certainties appear to exist, and resist the anaesthesia that is brought about, most of the time, by entrenching positions (2)
1 Cit. in Tiago Figueiredo Silva, “Petróleo em Portugal. Ouro negro pode tornar o país no novo Eldorado?”, Dinheiro Vivo, 10.10.2015, http://www.dinheirovivo.pt/economia/petroleo-em-portugal-ouro-negro-pode-tornar-o-pais-no-novo-eldorado/
2 Isabelle Stengers “Penser à partir du ravage écologique” in Émilie Hache (ed.), De l’univers clos au monde infini, Paris: Éditions Dehors, 2013.
Exhibiting artists: Ana Manso, André Romão, Bruno Cidra, Gonçalo Sena, Joana Escoval, Margarida Mendes and Nuno da Luz.
Photos by Bruno Lopes
Múrias Centeno, January 16 - February 20