The seminar is developed in the context of the Collective Practices postmaster. It will be held at Massia, a user-created informal residency space in Estonia encouraging all sorts of differences in resources, capacities, interests, backgrounds and knowledge, and online. Please register latest 9 February by writing to email@example.com.
In her talk, Stefanie Hessler will discuss the research and the process behind Sex Ecologies, a collaborative exhibition and book developed by Kunsthall Trondheim and The Seed Box, with a public program curated by RAW Material Company. Sex Ecologies explores gender, sex, and sexuality in the context of ecology. The project is founded in the belief that environmental and social justice go hand in hand. Through a transdisciplinary approach, the exhibition critiques understandings of nature, gender, sexuality, and race that attempt to objectify and naturalize them. For example, “laws against nature” used to criminalize queer sexuality, and in many places still do. These norms are justified through evolutionary narratives exclusively permitting heterosexual reproduction. Everything that does not fit this norm is considered unhealthy, polluted, or “degenerate.” These norms have proven detrimental to humans and to the thing we call nature alike.
Sex Ecologies presents newly commissioned works by nine artists made specifically for the exhibition. The artists participated in regular online meetings to workshop their artworks with the exhibition curators and with each other. The process was accompanied by an advisory board for cross-pollination composed of researchers from disciplines like gender studies, environmental humanities, communications, and Indigenous studies. Sex Ecologies highlights the emancipatory role of pleasure and affect beyond the human in our current ecological era, where nature is far from natural. It includes the biological, the technological, the social, and the political. In Sex Ecologies, desire, eros, and care dance with flesh, worms, and spirits.
Stefanie Hessler is a curator, writer, and editor. Her work focuses on ecologies from intersectional feminist and queer perspectives. She is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway since 2019 where she recently co-organized the exhibition “Sex Ecologies” with The Seed Box based in transdisciplinary research and newly commissioned works, and edited the accompanying compendium on queer ecologies, sexuality, and care in more-than-human worlds (The MIT Press, 2021). Between 2020–22 Hessler is a visiting research scholar at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media at Westminster University in London, UK. She is the author of Prospecting Ocean (TBA21–Academy and The MIT Press, 2019), and has edited books like Frida Orupabo (2021, Sternberg Press); Jenna Sutela (Kunsthall Trondheim, Serpentine Galleries, and Koenig Books); Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science (The MIT Press, 2018); and Life Itself (Koenig Books and Moderna Museet, 2016).
Hessler was the chief curator of the 17th MOMENTA Biennale titled “Sensing Nature” in Montreal, Canada (2021). Other recent curatorial projects include “Frida Orupabo: How did you feel when you come out of the wilderness” (2021) and “Jenna Sutela: NO NO NSE NSE” at Kunsthall Trondheim (2020); “Down to Earth” (with Thomas Oberender, Tino Sehgal, Frédérique Aït-Touati, and others) at the Berliner Festspiele / Gropius Bau in Berlin (2020); “Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Tomás Saraceno: More-than-humans” at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (2019); “Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land II” at TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Space in Venice (2019); the 6th Athens Biennale (2018); and the symposium “Practices of Attention” at the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (with D. Graham Burnett, 2018).