Strange Ecologies #1: ArtFutures
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Neil Cummings

Jill Craigie Cinema, University of Plymouth 18:00 04.12.18

Through an account of a series of projects, artist Neil Cummings will sketch a political economy of art, and suggest creative, economic, ecological and social scenarios that could nurture vibrant artistic practices and prototypes for arts futures.

Neil Cummings was born in Wales and lives in London, he is a professor at Chelsea College of Arts and on the editorial board of Documents of Contemporary Art. As an artist Neil has worked with museums, banks, galleries, archives, auction houses, broadcasters, enthusiasts, places of education and department stores in locations as diverse as London, New York, Geneva, Cairo and Warsaw. He has explored the entanglements of art and capital in 19th century Manchester, linked the Tate and Bank of England through gifts and their subsequent debt, constructed possible futures for museums and impersonated a famous art dealer. These projects, although diverse, have consistently engaged with the cultural forces that designate and exhibit art, and the increasingly devolved experience of art, to its publics.

Strange Ecologies

The School of Art, Design and Architecture (ADA) at the University of Plymouth presents the Strange Ecologies talks series (2018-19), in partnership with The Arts Institute, The Atlantic Project and The Box.

“We need new social and aesthetic practices, new practices of the Self in relation to the other, to the foreign, the strange – a whole programme that seems far removed from current concerns. And yet, ultimately, we will only escape from the major crises of our era through the articulation of:
- A nascent subjectivity
- A constantly mutating socius
- An environment in the process of being reinvented.”

We take this quote from Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies (first published in 1989) as a starting point to explore the interconnected networks of mind, society and the environment now, and in turn to reflect the research strengths of the University in marine studies, cultural heritage and health.

The ADA Public Programme thus explores how transversal eco-aesthetic practices can respond to the damaging effects of integrated world capitalism (e.g. the increase of mental health and stress-related disorders; the rise of right-wing nationalism and fundamentalisms; ecological crisis on a global scale, climate change and natural resource depletion). Invited speakers respond to ecologies in their widest sense: to counter the pervasive atmosphere of inaction, and propose new social and aesthetic imaginaries.