On cohabiting is a discussion, walk, and a screening event focusing on Chiswick Eyot, a small island on the river Thames. The event is part of the ongoing work by artist Arja Renell and is based on her long term enquiry into the disappearance of the eyot due to Mitten Crab and Himalayan Balsam.
Artistic research, conversations and observations have built up over several years of following the work of various scientific researchers, Old Chiswick Protection Society and Thames 21 who have co-organised restoration works on Chiswick Eyot.
The introduction of the concept of cohabiting is intended as a term around which we can open up room for discussion and thought, where we recognise our position as being part of, not separate. It might enable us, even perhaps to question the questions we are asking ourselves in this time of accelerated environmental change.
The question is not only about understanding the complexity of simultaneously occurring human and ecological activities and their impacts. It is also, perhaps even more importantly, about understanding the role of human involvement as such. Chiswick House Gardens provides a contextual setting for discussing the role of colonialism and global trade in the intentional as well as unintentional spread of many of the species which are now considered alien invasive.
Arja Renell is an artist and an architect based in Helsinki. Her artistic work evolves mainly around ecological and environmental issues. She works with video, installation, events, performance and public sculpture. More on her website here.
Taru Elfving is a curator and writer, whose practice focuses on nurturing transdisciplinary encounters and site-sensitive artistic investigations with a long-term commitment to the critical discourses on ecology and feminism. She is the director and co-founder of CAA (Contemporary Art Archipelago) on the island of Seili in Finland.
Sign up on Eventbrite here. The event is free of charge, and participants can join any or all part of the event (visit, discussion, and screening).
16:00 CHISWICK EYOT (maximum of 20 participants)
Meeting point at the corner of Chiswick Mall and Chiswick Lane South. Visiting the eyot during low tide. Guided walk (at own risk) and discussion on invasive species and human involvement/ responsibility. The eyot is slipppery and muddy, not suitable for those with restricted mobility. Rubber boots recommended!
17:30 CHISWICK HOUSE GARDENS
Meeting point outside the camellia house conservatory. Visiting the Chiswick House Gardens, discussing colonial history and its role in the global spread (intentional and unintentional) of various plant and animal species.
19:00 – 21:00 CHISWICK PIER HOUSE
The Pier House, Corney Reach Way, London W4 2UG
Screening of videoworks by Arja Renell and moderated discussion by curator Taru Elfving on the themes of Cohabiting.
The event is supported by the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland.