Anetta Mona Chisa

Anja Lückenkemper in dialogue with Anetta Mona Chisa

 

 

 

Anja Lückenkemper: Did you always have a general interest in nature and ecology, and if so, what are the main areas of your interest – and does this interest inform your artistic practice?

 

Anetta Mona Chisa: Science in general challenges and informs my artistic practice. Most scientific branches are closely interconnected, so my interest in chemistry, geology, botany, cosmology overarches into nature, future, past and ecology. I see my projects as charts that allow people to see themselves as interconnected – not only with everything on the Earth but to the cosmos. Ultimately, my artistic practice is about the ecology of perception, the ecology of understanding that all of us are always in the process of shifting.

Anja Lückenkemper: What role do scientific research and science-based news play in your daily life and, if applicable, in your artistic thinking – either generally or for this project?

Anetta Mona Chisa: I like to curate scientific facts with the aim to depict and define new imaginaries. I like to think of new stories for familiar objects and of new bodies for shapeless or invisible materials. 

Anja Lückenkemper: How has the experience of a different landscape during your residency (or the installation period) shaped your awareness and interest?

Anetta Mona Chisa: The experience of the arctic landscape was very intense. The fauna and flora of the Tromsoya island brought in a distinct rhythm, noise, taste, smell and visual stimuli. The main question was triggered by the omnipresence of a plant called locally „Tromso palm”, which, I learn, is in fact Caucasian hogweed (known by the scientific names Heracleum persicum, Heracleum giganteum, Heracleum mantegazzianum), native to Iran, Iraq and Turkey. By researching on this plant and its ubiquity in the arctic landscape I learned that rather than merely passive observers of history, plants act as agents, mediating both interpersonal relations and relations between people and their environment, knowledge, markets and politics, or other spheres. 

Anja Lückenkemper: Our earth is in a continuous state of ecological crises: do you believe art can potentially play a role in “solving” our global issues, e.g. by expanding the dimensions of scientific research – or do you see the function/potential of art elsewhere?

Anetta Mona Chisa: First of all, it is difficult to think how art might have a direct, positive effect on today’s global issues, which includes such grand dimensions and involves so many different issues. The chances of art successfully promoting any fresh political principles or triggering a real change in society is close to zero. We associate the term “Anthropocene” with human-caused geological, environmental, and climatic degeneration. We are all worried and feel the same about it. Runaway climate change has become the main subject for activism and militancy today, and the vast majority of contemporary art seems to illustrate this hot issue. However, the majority of post-anthropocentric and ecological art is met by nothing more than a wall of furious agreement. Additionally, there are many other major anthropogenic risks to the natural world and civilization (including some that might be bigger than climate change) which are not so in vogue; therefore, we tend to think and worry about them less, and art reflects on them only marginally. If we take, for instance, nuclear proliferation, destructive biotechnology, artificially-manufactured viruses, potentially hostile artificial intelligence, or cyber-based disinformation, these are imminent dangers. All these threats and the failure to recognize and mitigate them should be understood as a crisis of sensibility. For this reason, art can play a decisive role therein by enriching and transforming our relationship to other people and cultures, to technology, to the environment, to all living beings, and to ourselves. Art is a device for imagination. Its role is to revisit the tools of representation and the symbols of resistance while proposing (aesthetic) immunities that refuse to be evacuated and puzzling speculations that refuse domestication. In this way art has the potential to birth other worlds, temporalities, and lives that do not necessarily correspond to the routines of critical reading but have the potential to change.

 

The project “Blue Sun – Conversation on art, science, and ecology” benefits from a 93960 Euro grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants.

The EEA and Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. There are two overall objectives: reduction of economic and social disparities in Europe, and to
strengthen bilateral relations between the donor countries and 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. The three donor countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The donors have provided €3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014. For the period 2014-2021, the EEA and Norway Grants amount to €2.8 billion. More details are available on: www.eeagrants.org and www.eeagrants.ro