Photo: Tom Hegen, Toxic Water series, Germany, 2018
The research direction titled Zazemlennya (Grounding), proposed by IZOLYATSIA at the end of 2019, takes as its starting point the concept of the Anthropocene, suggested at the beginning of 2000s by a number of scientists, but quickly appropriated by various fields of humanities, including contemporary art.
The Anthropocene describes the geological epoch in which we currently find ourselves and in which humanity is defined as a crucial geological force that significantly impacts the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere of the planet. Despite its scientific origins the term is often criticized for being unscientific, and at the same time a number of alternative terms have emerged in response, including Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene and Noösphere. The last on this list, pre-dates its competitors, having been conceptualized in the 1930s by renowned mineralogist and gechemist Vladimir Vernadsky.
Entering this ongoing discussion, IZOLYATSIA, through its own research as well as through a number of interdisciplinary collaborations, aims to promote and adapt the concept of the Anthropocene to the critical discourse in Ukraine, in particular in the field of contemporary art, in keeping with the previous disciplinary focus of the institution. The potential of the lens proposed by Anthropocene seems unquestionable, urgent and absolutely timely given the scale and speed of climate change. Against this background, politically and ideologically irreconcilable differences seem to recede and become subordinate to the more general logic of the common threat to human existence.
There is also additional impetus for the pursuit of this direction, including Ukraine’s apparent limited awareness of the topic, both among the general public and academia, which is partly a question of interest but also a question of access. This is evident in the dearth of translated works despite a large body of texts generated in recent decades in international discourse, as well as a lack of systematic academic research and only sporadic interest in the topic expressed in the arts.
Zazemlennya (Grounding) does not aim to fill all of these gaps, but offers an open, interdisciplinary platform for research, discussion, and collaboration involving various stakeholders.
The foundation is currently conducting research and projects related to Zazemlennya (Grounding), including:
• reading through the main body of texts on the topic (summaries of short excerpts of some key texts have been published on the fund's website);
• identifying and engaging potential partners to create joint projects;
• investigation and analysis of art practices that deal with this topic in Ukraine and abroad, soon to be published in a series of reports prepared by the staff of the foundation;
• thematic programming for Art Wednesday from May to July 2020;
• production of the Ukrainian language podcast Zazemlennya (Grounding), which consists of conversations with leading Ukrainian experts working on the Anthropocene theme;
• and most importantly the formulation of four thematic clusters, which will later become the main areas of work of the foundation within the Zazemlennya (Grounding) program: Re-terraforming, Earthworks, Cohabitation and Sustenance.
IZOLYATSIA kindly invites everyone interested to get acquainted with our work in the framework of Zazemlennya (Grounding) and help us develop our vision!