Open Call: Kelp Congress

The Kelp Congress at LIAF 2019 between September 20 – 22in Svolvær is an event consisting of three parallel workshops that will lead into a weekend public programme. These workshops will harness the recent discourse surrounding seaweed within contexts such as energy, nutrition, agriculture, and medicine, and will shift the focus onto lesser explored artistic and cultural dimensions related to kelp and other macroalgae.

Navigated by artists in collaboration with the LIAF curators, the three distinct workshop approaches will each explore collaborative rather than extractivist approaches towards ‘working and thinking through kelp’, performing as catalysts for a critical yet playful conversation about seaweed as an ‘urgent commodity’ along the coasts of the Nordic countries and beyond.

Kelp Curing, navigated by Sarah Blissett, will consist of collective foraging, walking, writing, storytelling and movement practices connected to seaweed and the intertidal zone. Participants will be encouraged to explore ‘Curing’ (in relation to notions of Care, Healing and Curation) as both a method and a concept for encountering seaweed and other generative processes connected to ocean ecologies. Experiments in drying/smoking/fermentation will take place as well as the creation and sharing of original stories/poetic texts/recipes embedded in the local intertidal setting. These practices will score an investigation into kelp-related lifeforms/habitats, the Carbon Cycle in intertidal encounters, and enmeshed processes of digestion, composition, and decomposition.

Sarah Blissett (UK) is an artist and PhD researcher at the University of Roehampton, London. Her research explores how working-with algae in performance practice reveals interwoven human and nonhuman ecologies, disrupting anthropocentric narratives of production and consumption.

Kelp Diagram Collective, navigated by Sabine Popp, will focus on subsurface observation, correspondence, and encounter with ‘the other’ in artistic and scientific processes. After a two-day field study of underwater kelp forests in collaboration with a diver and marine biologist, and through hands-on exploration of low-impact harvesting methods, a collective workspace will be set up to serve as a centre for material work and exchange. With a focus on two specific species of kelp: Laminaria hyperborea and Laminaria digitata, participants will adopt multiple positions through methods of immersion, imagination, visionary touch, and the use of analytical tools in a series of exercises on collective thinking-by-doing to sensitise for moments of perceived agency.

Sabine Popp (DE/NO) is an artist and research fellow in the Art Academy of the Faculty of Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. Her research project examines performativity of algae, objects, and bodies in instances of observation in scientific research, industrial production, and artistic encounter.

Coast, Line, navigated by Futurefarmers + Guests, is a Multispecies Ethnography workshop that will use improvisation to consider the biopower of nonhumans and the ways in which they sense and shape their worlds. Grounded in Futurefarmers’ engagement with the village of Digermulen on the Lofoten islands, participants of this workshop will undergo a reverse experiment in which the human becomes marine in an attempt to think towards the potentials for cohabitation and cross-species kinship. Focus will be placed on the politics of seaweed as a “newly promised bio-economy”, and with performative investigations in public settings, participants will explore the ephemeral movements and forgotten histories and politics of the sea. Here, “lines” will be considered in relation to writing, theatre, mapping, weaving, coding, rules, and legislation.

Amy Franceschini (US) & Lode Vranken (BE) are co-founders of Futurefarmers, an international constellation of artists, activists, researchers, farmers and architects who work together to propose alternatives to the social, political and environmental organisation of space.

Who can apply?
Artists, scientists, activists, writers, film-makers, researchers, and those working within arts and culture organisations. The Kelp Congress is grounded within a Nordic context, but the call is open to all nationalities.

Food, accommodation, and local transportation will be provided. Travel to and from Lofoten is not included.

How to Apply:
If you are interested in participating, please submit an Application Form.
We aim to contact all applicants by mid-May.

Thursday 2 May, 2019

The Kelp Congress is organised as part of LIAF 2019, in collaboration with Mustarinda, The Department of Seaweed, Posthumanities Hub, ArtLab Gnesta, Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, and co-produced with Annette Wolfsberger. LIAF 2019 is curated by Hilde Methi, Neal Cahoon, Karolin Tampere, and Torill Østby Haaland.

Contact & Further Information:

Photo: Trygve Luktvasslimo