Marvels & Catastrophes
– artist group collaborates with the Listen-project and the Symbiosis-project
Marvels & Catastrophes is an interdisciplinary artist collective that was launched in 2018 as an act of defiance, in the hope of creating an alternative set of creative strategies capable of addressing the increasing disastrous effects of climate change. The premise was, and remains, simple: there is a body of unassailable science, concerning human agency and climate change, that clearly is not gaining the kind of broad consensus that is urgently needed to bring humanity together in common cause. Marvels and Catastrophes was established to examine not just the science, but to go further by exploring how earlier historic precedents and generational narratives worked to bind together populations and their cultures in the past. History shows that science and myth have always coexisted. Convincing the world population to work together on such a grand scale needs more than communicating the science. We also need to invent ways to fuel our imagination to act in concert. Our strategy then is to imagine, toy, and develop ideas, designs and concepts that can pull us out of this most difficult quagmire.
Unfortunately, we are now in the second year of the Covid19 global pandemic, where it would seem that the tragic evidence of what unchecked human activity can bring about on itself is undeniable. And yet conspiracy theories, false science, unregulated capital, bad politics and a shockingly weak social contract continues to undermine collective action. Marvels and Catastrophes, as a work collective, hopes to counter these widely held myths with a more critically constructive set of propositions that would work on more positive outcomes. The virus, a symbol of when the last vestiges of the wild encroached upon and overrun by human negligence, can also be a sort of diagram for resistance.
/Peter Lang, founder of Marvels & Catastrophes
The group Marvels & Catastrophes are participants in and contributors to the Listen project, but their work will also be represented in the the Symbiosis-exhibition. Through the artist group, Listen is integrated into the Symbios project, which creates synergies between the two processes.
Ana Barata Martins (Lisbon) is a visual artist based in Stockholm whose practice is focused in essay-films, site-specific installations, textile printings and field research. The main interests that inform her work are diverse such as post-colonial social phenomena, local folklore and vernacular knowledge, and the concept of the herbarium as a method to rethink narratives and behaviours that romanticise nature.
Cristina Ferreira (Lisbon) lives and works in Poznań, Poland and has a B.A in painting by the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon and M.F.A in Painting by the University of Fine Arts of Poznań. She works on the themes of displacement and alienation mainly through performances, installations and participatory projects. She has performed in both theatre and museum contexts.
The film Calyx, by Ana Barata Martins and Christina Ferreira, work in progress 2021.
In the video work Calyx, Ana Barata Martins and Christina Ferreira, by the practice of making and preserving an herbarium is visually explored through the language of earlier experimental collage films. The herbarium as a practice can be a powerful method to rethink narratives that romanticize nature. This work pays an homage to the ones that process confined solitude through collecting plants and reflecting how much they can teach humans about resilience.
Sofia Larsson is a landscape architect based in Stockholm. In the expansion of her professional role she uses artistic and conceptual methods to explore materializations of power and values in the built environment.
Demolition Desires (2020) by Sofia Larsson delves into the psychology of demolition. Apart from seemingly objective driving forces like housing shortage and property value, demolition is subject to highly personal preferences embedded within the planning process. Through maps showing the demolition executed between the 1960s and today in Stockholm and Skellefteå, juxtaposed to a series of dreamy collages, the work aims at exploring the different feelings, ideas and values that motivates these actions, as well as exhibiting their consequences. (Audio: Erik Hatzipetros)
Åsa Agerstam is a designer and interior architect based in Stockholm. Agerstam understands her work as objects with their own dramaturgy. She often works with systems of thoughts or a family of objects rather than within singularities and has an ongoing love affair with materiality.
In her work ”Thank you for any comfort you have to offer” Åsa Agerstam deals with her own experience of feeling that her own body is invaded and in need of comfort. During a healing process, thoughts of cutting and stitching recurred, and a research project began. To deal with these thoughts, she studied anatomical images of skin and watched Youtube tutorials where different suture techniques were demonstrated. Doing the same, sewing stitches and tying knots became a craft ritual and a coping strategy.
Vesna Salamon is a Croatian artist based in Stockholm and Zagreb, whose work bridges the realms of environmental science and cultural history. The focus of her work also addresses environmental issues by hinting at the danger of the human impact on nature. Her objects are communicating with contemporary issues such as pollution, consummation and Anthropocene and showing both the strength and fragility of humanity.
Vesna Salamon: Phantom Pain (2020), installation photo/detail. Neon, bricks, photoprojection, styrofoam, sand, pigment.
In Phantom Pain Vesna Salamon portraits the city of Zagreb and through it displays its complicated infrastructural layers and the state of the society comprising it, the pieces of the collective which become nothing more than mere cracks and ruins exposed by the clash of natural impulses that are above human control.
Jérôme Malpel / Iris Lacoudre / Grégoire Deberdt / Antoine Plouzen Morvan
Three architects and a filmmaker get together to explore the narratives of architecture. They formed an artistic collective in Paris after studying and working in various countries (Japan, India, Brasil, Argentina, Sweden). By combining the practices of architecture and documentary filmmaking, the group is portraying the way our lives shape the spaces we live in.
This work started as a research project on domestic spaces in the city of Cergy-Pontoise and the rural park of Vexin outside of Paris. Interviews were made with people observing their surroundings through the windows of their home. When the covid-19 pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, the work took another turn. As France went into a severe lockdown, the subject of this investigation became a living reality for many: when locked inside, how do we see the world from the same static point? How does the window become inhabited? The interviews raise the question of how to reflect on difficult times in order to find alternative viewpoints for coming pandemics and life-threatening disasters. “Windows” becomes a time capsule from a special moment in our lives, defined by motionlessness.
Andres Villarreal is a Swedish-Colombian artist, filmmaker and writer who lives and works between Stockholm and Berlin. Villarreal's practice often explores the relationship between representation and production of reality; and deals with questions relating to time, narration and memory. The work,using film, photography, installation and text, is often situated in the borderland between fact and fiction.
Dealing with the lockdown in New York City, the artwork builds on deep contrasts between the banality and tranquility of empty streets, rarefied happenings, and the contrasting news reports regarding the ongoing covid pandemic, as well as the sudden outburst of massive Black Lives Matter protests, occupations and political actions that were to spread from street to street in the city, ultimately dominating city life completely. There are contrasting messages and images, with the ordinary scenes and the puzzlement from overseas family and friends who witnessed the events via media from afar. Villarreal draws out the uneasy relationship between the city in the midst of a covid crisis, and the deepening sense of gloom and doom as a form of perceptualized tragedy. The work stresses both the importance of lived subjective experience as well as hard objective facts.
Alexander Paulsson (PhD.) is based in Malmo, Sweden and teaches and writes about political economy, the politics of ecology, and the making and consequences of science and technology. Being trained in the fields of history, politics and business, Paulsson combines the study of the urban environment, administrative devices and ecological processes with the history of economic and political concepts.
Gustav Karlsson is a planning architect based in Stockholm. He's the founder of Scapeous arkitekter, a spatial planning studio exploring the borderlands of perceived spatial transition.
Ivö Beyond - The Island as Method (Documents, texts, slide show, sound and video.
2020-2021) is a project exploring how a small island surrounded by a small lake in the region of Skåne can be valorized as a lost utopia, with living characteristics that go beyond current ideas and understandings of how one can design for “sustainable” lifestyles. Drawing upon the notion of the post-antropocene, the project takes an eclectic and geological view of spatial transformations and excavates in what ways it is possible to rewire current planning ideals that despite their good intentions, are taking us closer and closer into disaster. The project therefore attempts to instigate a debate on what an island is, both as a living entity and idea, and what implications this has for understanding how spatial transformations are coupled to the ongoing climate disaster.
Gerda Persson is an architect, living and working in Stockholm. For Marvels and Catastrophes, Persson researches the old industrial area of Lövholmen, a piece of land that tells a story of the massive and constant human activity of reshaping our environment.
Gröndalsträdgården's historical museum by Gerda Persson, 2021
Gröndalsträdgården's historical museum by Gerda Persson is a temporary museum that tells the story of a place spanning 220 years. Time and space are scaled down and the period 1800-2021 takes place in models between 15 May and 6 June 2021. A day in the model corresponds to ten years in reality and one cm in the model corresponds to 365 cm in reality.
Bo Pilo is an interior architect based in Stockholm. Pilo obtained his Master Degree in interior architecture and furniture design at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 2014. Together with architect Gerda Persson, Pilo founded the architectural office Persson Pilo Arkitektkontor in 2020.
A Thousand Billion New Trees, Work in progress 2021
In A Thousand Billion New Trees Bo Pilo explore the fantastical sides of landscape imagery and its counter relationship to domesticity. By drawing parallels between the years 2020 and 2021 – a period of repetitive introspection coupled with an increased presence of landscape imagery in art, news and advertisement, with two early 20th century tone poems: Symphonia Domestica (1903) and the succeeding Eine Alpensinfonie (1915) by Richard Strauss Bo is creating a visual and musical timeline that describes the past year but also a stalemate in the visual language of crisis.
Florence Taché is an architect based in Paris. Her work investigates possible frictions between architecture and contemporary environmental uncertainties. Current research explores how shifting paradigms and narratives in our relationship with nature are questioning the ways in which we design and inhabit our built environments.
10 Million Ways of Being Alive is a film about how lockdown forced an alternative perspective that we as humans have almost entirely lost sight of, that is of the animal world inhabiting the spaces that were recently seemingly devoted to only human activities. Stuck from inside their domestic spaces, humans have made the shocking discovery that our world is also their world. We come out of lockdown still wanting to hear birdsongs. Just how do pandemics and disasters make us reevaluate the way we understand ourselves not as unique beings, but as a union of countless consciousnesses?
Dates & Locations
May 25 - June 6 2021, Marvels & Catastrophes are invited to Färgfabriken's Open Studio-program, as part of the Listen-project.
NOTE: Special opening hours
May 25–27, Tuesday – Thursday at 11–4 pm
May 28, Friday at 11–8 pm
May 29–30, Saturday – Sunday at 11– 5 pm
June 1–3, Tuesday – Thursday at 11– 4 pm
June 4, Friday, at 11–8 pm
June 5–6, Saturday – Sunday at 11– 4 pm
No pre-booking necessary, but you might have to wait shortly to enter if there are many visitors before you.
Admission is free!
We comply by current restrictions in regards to the pandemic.
Representatives from the group will collaborate with and exhibit works at Skellefteå Konsthall within the project Listen during spring 2021.
In autumn 2021 representatives from the group will exhibit at Virserums Konsthall within the project Listen.
In autumn 2021 they will also be represented in the exhibition Symbiosis at Färgfabriken.
Essä av Peter Lang
The lexicon of marvels and disasters, R-lab @Färgfabriken in 2018