A series of commissions exploring risk and its social, ecological and economic relations. Read more
Exploring the development of the University’s research forest – a small area of woodland left largely untouched since World War Two – Reeves-Evison became fascinated by the manner in which ecologists use the language of economics to refer to supposedly ‘natural’ processes. Strategies used by trees to ensure the growth of future generations are referred to in terms of cost, investment, risk and reward. This language is mirrored in a broader current of financialization taking place in the field of conservation, where nature is increasingly transformed into ‘natural capital’ and individual organisms are valued economically for the services they provide to humans. This is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, attempts to quantify the many ways we depend upon ecosystems allows us to see them as more than resources for capital or sinks for its waste; but on the other they become subject to a logic hostile to their flourishing.
To explore this, Seed Casino initiates discussion about risk, reward, and the financialization of nature by setting up a temporary casino, where participants will be invited to ‘gamble’ with seeds. This will appear for one day only, Covid-19 pending, in the University’s research forest. Here, risk is positioned not simply as an innate part of the natural world but as a method for conceptualising and producing particular futures. Through conversation and gaming, it opens up a space for alternative ways of conceptualising ecological futures.
Theo Reeves-Evison is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birmingham School of Art, working on a project entitled ‘Speculative Natures: Contemporary Art and Interventionist Ecology’. This investigates how processes of speculation and storytelling have the capacity to organise environmental activities around imagined futures. He organised a series of ‘Study Sessions’ exploring the issue at Nottingham Contemporary in 2019; is the editor, together with Jon K. Shaw of Fiction as Method (Sternberg, 2017); and has published in magazines and journals including Frieze, Paragrana and Parallax. In 2018 he edited a special issue of the journal Third Text with Mark Rainey on ‘ethico-aesthetic repairs,’ and his monograph After Transgression: Ethics of Contemporary Art is to be published in 2020 by Bloomsbury