Panel Discussion: Photography, Colonialism and the Politics of Planting
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Taking leave from the works in Corinne Silva’s solo exhibition, Garden State, this panel discussion with Brenna Bhandar, Jennifer Gabrys, Uriel Orlow, chaired by Shela Sheikh, will explore the act of gardening as a tool for the assertion of power, control and identity. Moving from the specificity of the Israeli colonization and occupation of the Palestine Territories to geopolitics on a global scale, the panel will probe issues such as classification, modernization, indigeneity, homeland, land rights and dispossession from the point of view of history, visual cultures, postcolonialism, law, geography, environmental studies and landscaping/urbanism.
Panelists will address the place of gardening – and, more broadly, cultivation and planting – within both the historical phenomenon of colonialism and ongoing, contemporary structures of coloniality. Furthermore, the panel will explore the roles that various technologies, including photography and acoustics, play in the registration, revelation and contestation of such colonising and discriminatory practices.
Brenna Bhandar is Senior Lecturer in Law at SOAS, University of London. She is co-editor of Plastic Materialities: Politics, Legality and Metamorphosis in the Work of Catherine Malabou (Duke University Press, 2015). She has published widely in the fields of indigenous rights, property law, and critical legal theory.
Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, ‘Citizen Sensing and Environmental Practice: Assessing Participatory Engagements with Environments through Sensor Technologies.’ She is author of a study on electronic waste, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan, 2011); and a forthcoming study on environmental sensing, Program Earth: Environment as Experiment in Sensing Technology (University of Minnesota Press). She has previously worked in landscape architecture and urban design (1996–2002), and she initiated and convened the MA in Design and Environment at Goldsmiths (2007–2012). Her work can be found at citizensense.net and jennifergabrys.net.
Uriel Orlow is a London based artist with a mixed background. Solo exhibitions in 2015 include John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, Depo, Istanbul and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. Orlow’s work was presented at recent survey exhibitions Edinburgh Art Festival, Recent British Artists Film and Video at Tate Britain, London, EVA International Limerick (all 2014), Bergen Assembly (2013), Manifesta 9 (2012); the 54th Venice Biennale and 8th Mercosul Biennial, Brazil (both 2011). Orlow is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art London, senior research fellow at University of Westminster, and also teaches at the University of the Arts, Zurich and University of the Arts Geneva.
Shela Sheikh is a lecturer at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, where she convenes the MA Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy. Prior to this she was Research Fellow and Publications Coordinator on the ERC-funded Forensic Architecture project, based in the Centre for Research Architecture, and lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures (also Goldsmiths). Recent editorial projects include photography in Palestine/Israel. She is working on a book on testimony, martyrdom and deconstruction.
© Image Credit: Uriel Orlow, from the series Double Vision (Native Plants), 2013-14