Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) – Core Exhibition
Featured Exhibition at the 2021 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival
Artists: Alana Bartol, Ileana Hernandez Camacho, Tsēmā Igharas
Curator: Valérie Frappier
In a 2013 interview with Naomi Klein, Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explains that extractivism is not just the physical process of extracting natural resources, specifically on Indigenous lands, but that it is also a mindset. Simpson defines the term in the following way: “The act of extraction removes all of the relationships that give whatever is being extracted meaning. Extracting is taking. Actually, extracting is stealing—it is taking without consent, without thought, care or even knowledge of the impacts that extraction has on the other living things in that environment.”* Later in the interview, Simpson then turns to the alternative of an extractive mindset, which she describes as being centered in relationships. “The alternative is deep reciprocity. It’s respect, it’s relationship, it’s responsibility, and it’s local.”
Working from Simpson’s definitions as a starting point, this exhibition considers how extractivism operates as a physical process underpinned by a pervasive colonial-capitalist mindset towards land use. By intersecting strands of ecology, geology, and performance theory, Groundwork seeks to grapple with the psychology of extractivism and foregrounds embodied performance as a method to bring focus to its alternatives. Within the scope of Canada’s geography, artists Alana Bartol, Ileana Hernandez Camacho and Tsēmā Igharas employ site-specific performance to question and imagine beyond the colonial-capitalist structures that largely shape humanity’s relationship with the environment.