Bringing together four artists working with ideas around agriculture, trade and the politics of produce, Haerfest comes to Derry on Thursday, August 27.
Taking its name from the Old English word for the harvest season, Haerfest works draws on historical and contemporary narratives around inequalities within the international “free market” that produce both scarcity and glut, and consider the environmental and social impacts of changing farming methods and scales of production. The exhibition includes film, photography, textiles and audio works.
Kevin Gaffney is currently studying for his PhD at Ulster University. His film ‘A Numbness in the Mouth’ takes place in the near-future on a self-sustaining, militarised island where climate change has benefited agricultural production. An enforced ration system shows a surplus of flour and, in order to retain economic balance between supply and demand, each citizen is requested to consume more than five pounds of flour per day resulting in absurd and increasingly horrific outcomes.
Sonya Schönberger is a Berlin-based German artist whose practice combines her studies in social anthropology and experimental media design in her artistic practice. Following her research into the impact of the Kenyan cut flower industry, she has developed a body of work, Kenyan Roses for the Kingdom. This project combines photography and documentary to discuss the geopolitical background story of the cut-roses and their colonial entanglement from the time of the British Empire until today.
Asunción Molinos Gordo divides her time between Cairo, Egypt and her hometown of Guzmán, Spain. Her practice is centred around the social and cultural changes that are taking place within the rural context, “always looking at what we are leaving behind in the rush of progress”. Ghost Agriculture (Unlimited Resource Farming) uses source material from satellite images of the delta and riverbanks of the Nile showing the thousands of small, rectangular plots of land cultivated by 4 million fellahin (Egyptian peasants) supplying the food demands of the nation. By contrast, large circles, roughly 25 times larger, appear in the reclaimed desert land, cultivated by a handful of private companies in partnership with the central government for the international export market.
Åsa Sonjasdotter is a Swedish artist who has devoted her practice to the potato. The potato and breeding present two entangled narratives, beginning at early colonialism and capitalism. Åsa presents different perspectives on these historical spacetimes and works across narrative formats, with many long-form projects. CCA is presenting a special screening of a new film work by the artist.
The exhibition will be held at Centre for Contemporary Art Derry (CCA) from August 27 August to October 12. There will also be a Public Programme of events running alongside the exhibition.