Artists Wesam Al Asali, FRAUD and Nastassja Simensky come together to bring a critical framing to the concept of preservation. Embracing different methodologies and spanning diverse contexts – from the Syrian conflict, to pre and postindustrial England – their practices shed light on issues of accountability, agency, power and ownership.
Seed Casino was a pop-up casino designed to initiate discussions about risk, reward, and the financialization of nature. Taking place in Loughborough University's Barefoot Orchard on Saturday 30th October 2021, participants were invited to ‘gamble’ with seeds. Through this, risk was positioned not simply as an innate part of the natural world but as a method for conceptualising and producing particular futures.
The work drew on Reeves-Evison's interest in the use of economistic language to refer to ‘natural’ processes. Strategies used by trees to ensure the growth of future generations are discussed 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; on the other they become subject to a logic hostile to their flourishing.
Theo Reeves-Evison is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birmingham School of Art, where his research focuses on the critical imbrications of art, ecology and speculation. He is the editor, together with Jon K. Shaw, of Fiction as Method (Sternberg, 2017); and has published in magazines and journals such as Frieze, Parallax and New Formations. In 2018 he edited a special issue of the journal Third Text on the theme of ‘ethico-aesthetic repairs’ with Mark Rainey, and his monograph Ethics of Contemporary Art: In The Shadow of Transgression was published in 2020 by Bloomsbury Academic Press. He has made invited presentations and chaired discussions at institutions such as the Southbank Centre, Nottingham Contemporary, MACBA, and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie’s Studium Generale.
Produced by David Bell for Radar
Production support: Laura Purseglove
Risk Related academic lead: Ksenia Chmutina
Marketing: Rachel Fitzpatrick and Josie Parr
Conceptual Support: Jonathan Millett
With thanks to: Jo Shields, Rachel Senior, Adam Slater; Dominic Eades,Nick Slater and Jess Fletcher; Loughborough University Environmental Humanities Group; Loughborough University Institute of Advanced Studies