MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is delighted to announce that Camille Georgeson-Usher and Himali Singh Soin will join guest curator Stefanie Hessler and MOMENTA’s curatorial assistant Maude Johnson to form the curatorial team for its 17th edition, which will take place in September and October 2021.
Together, the curatorial team will share their expertise to develop the artistic program around the theme Sensing Nature/Quand la nature ressent. MOMENTA chose to initiate this formula that puts the collective before the individual in order to integrate and recount diverse perspectives and experiences.
Camille Georgeson-Usher is a Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene / Scottish scholar, artist, and arts administrator from Galiano Island, BC, which is the land of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. She is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies department at Queen’s University where she is writing on ontologies of gathering and how protocols from different nations intersect in urban centres. She is interested in looking at the many ways in which peoples move together in urban space, relationalities and intimacies with the everyday, and acts of mark making through the example of public art practices as types of gathering from an Indigenous perspective.
“This year we have been tested in so many ways we were not prepared for. At a time of so much uncertainty we have talked about care, intimacy, truth, and relationalities with each other, with the lands we walk across, and with plant and animal communities that we share this world with. We have talked about how small we are as humans within the universe and how to leave less traces of ourselves. Sensing Nature to me, presents an opportunity to intermix ourselves into a world that doesn’t exist yet and to let it wash over us; a future world that folds us into a tender imaginary.”
Himali Singh Soin
Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences, entanglements, deep voids, debris, leakages, alienation, distance and intimacy. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss, and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the healing power of performance and the radicality of love. Her speculations are performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. Soin’s art has been shown at Khoj (Delhi), Somerset House, Mimosa House, and Serpentine Gallery (London), Gropius Bau and the HKW (Berlin), Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (Zurich), Anchorage Museum (Alaska) and will be presented in the next Shanghai Biennale. Soin is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and was the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award last year.
“This time feels like the earth, normally tilted on its axis, is losing its balance. It feels light because the extraneous stuff of our lives has suddenly shed; it feels heavy with the weight of our collective pain. It feels like parts of us are healing while other, interconnected meridians, are ill. I say it “feels like” because it has maybe brought us closer to an embodied way of knowing and being, of sensing. MOMENTA will, we hope, exude this energy of listening to ourselves and therefore to the other, and provoke gestures towards small kindnesses, local community building, and transnational planetary thinking.”
The 2021 edition of MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, titled Sensing Nature, proposes nature as a maker of images representing itself. Today, many depictions of nature are testimonials and elegies to the loss of biodiversity, the climate, and the myth of progress. They provide messy evidence of anthropogenic climate change, devotedly supported by capitalism and colonialism. Images are important in communicating this moment of planetary urgency. At the same time, images of presuppose the possibility of defining and speaking on behalf of an Other constructed as passive—be that nature, womxn, indigenous peoples, people of colour, queer communities, among others. To retire such narratives and conjure alternatives in art and beyond, different imaginaries are urgently needed.
MOMENTA 2021 will be attuned to the time of geology, the textures of a coral, the perspective of a swallow, in order to fathom different futures. The exhibitions will probe the image as something more-than-visual, be it sound, taste, or smell. In doing so, the biennale hopes to calibrate visitors’ senses to the possibilities granted by speculative fictions in nature and through art. Sensing Nature longs for responsivity with planetary ecologies not as something to be represented, but as something that we are part of and “become with.”