On the occasion of Mika Rottenberg’s forthcoming installation ‘Rottenbar’ at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, we are pleased to host ‘Nature Thinking’ curated by Art Switch, featuring a conversation with Mika Rottenberg and Director of the Swiss Institute Stefanie Hessler on the materiality and structures of sustainable art practices and institutions.
Through the lens of Rottenberg’s latest body of work, the conversation will explore what the future of the art world could look like if we rethink the systems of artistic production and the institutions that fuel it. By centering circularity and partnering with community organizations, the artist studio can become a place of change, breaking with the capitalist cycles of material consumption, and questioning the separation between natural and artificial materials. Simultaneously the art world can respond to these shifts and center environmental consciousness by embracing the idea of institutions as gardens, as ecosystems of social and sustainable structure. This conversation will consider how nature and artistic creation can be in symbiosis when aligned on a similar pace, materiality and circularity.
This event is part of Art Switch’s 2023 event series ‘Nature Thinking’ taking place between 21 – 27 October 2023 in New York, made possible with the support of Teiger Foundation
This event is free, however, reservations are recommended.
About Mika Rottenberg
New York-based artist Mika Rottenberg is devoted to a rigorous practice that combines film, architectural installation and sculpture to explore ideas of labor and the production of value in our contemporary hyper-capitalist world.
Using traditions of both cinema and sculpture, she seeks out locations around the world where specific systems of production and commerce are in place, such as a pearl factory in China, and a Calexico border town. Through the editing process, and with footage from sets built in her studio, Rottenberg connects seemingly disparate places and things to create elaborate and subversive visual narratives. By weaving fact and fiction together, she highlights the inherent beauty and absurdity of our contemporary existence.
Each of Rottenberg’s video works is situated within a theatrical installation, made up of objects from the lush and bizarre parallel worlds in her videos. Sacks of pearls, deflated pool toys, plastic flowers and sizzling frying pans seem to open a portal into the realm of the work. Her multidimensional film projects are often accompanied by standalone sculptural works, connected by allegory.
Rottenberg’s latest feature length film, REMOTE (2022), co-created with Mahyad Tousi, was commissioned by Artangel, United Kingdom; the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and premiered at Tate modern and the New York Film Festival in 2022.
About Stefanie Hessler
Stefanie Hessler is a curator, writer, editor and current Director of Swiss Institute (SI), an independent non-profit contemporary art institution in New York. At SI, she and the team are centering environmental consciousness in all facets of the institution, ranging from changes that reduce the organization's carbon footprint to its artistic programming, with the understanding that this process is imperfect but urgent. Previously, as the Director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway, Hessler co-led the critically acclaimed research-based exhibition, Sex Ecologies, and edited the accompanying compendium on queer ecologies, sexuality and care in more-than-human worlds (with Seed Box and MIT Press, 2021).
Hessler has been a visiting research scholar at Westminster University in London, curator of TBA21–Academy in Vienna and London and guest professor in art theory at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Selected projects as an independent curator include the 17th MOMENTA Biennale, Sensing Nature, Montreal (chief curator); Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land II, Ocean Space, Venice; the symposium Practices of Attention, 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (co-curator); the 6th Athens Biennale (co-curator); and Tidalectics, TBA21–Augarten, Vienna. Hessler is the author of Prospecting Ocean (The MIT Press, 2019), and has edited over a dozen volumes including Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science (The MIT Press, 2018) and Life Itself (Moderna Museet and Koenig Books, 2016). Hessler is a founding member of the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) New York, currently serves on the advisory board of the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), and forms a part of the On Seeing Editorial Collective between The MIT Press and the Brown University Library.
About Art Switch
Art Switch is a NYC/Amsterdam-based nonprofit started in 2019 to mediate and accelerate a climate conscious shift in the arts. Art Switch functions as a knowledge center organizing conferences, programming, and exhibitions on a global scale. By bringing together art professionals and academics, Art Switch stimulates resource sharing, networking, and publishing to collectively define the climate-forward strategies of tomorrow’s arts sector.
Art Switch is a founding member of Partners for Arts Climate Targets (PACT), an international coalition of organizations within the visual arts, engaged in collaborative efforts to accelerate the sector’s broad adoption of collective climate action.