This AV Festival curated exhibition focuses on the raw material of metal as an agent of global power and financial control, in response to Middlesbrough’s role in the development of a global iron and steel industry. It includes works by leading international artists Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Simon Starling, Anja Kirschner & David Panos, Walead Beshty and Hito Steyerl. An accompanying installation by Rossella Biscotti & Kevin van Braak is at Platform A Gallery.
AV Festival 14: Extraction explores the raw materials that create our experience of the world, from their origins deep inside the ground, to their extraction, transformation and global exploitation. www.avfestival.co.uk
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: An Italian Film (Africa Addio)
An Italian Film (Africa Addio), 2012, confronts the contemporary and historic exploitation of copper in the Katanga region of Congo, a region repeatedly ravaged since its colonisation by the Belgian King Leopold II in the nineteenth century. Belgian entrepreneurs looted small copper crosses historically used as currency, and shipped them to Europe to be melted down and sold. Abonnenc has re-enacted this historical process by subjecting several copper crosses to a process of recasting at a foundry in Yorkshire.
Simon Starling: Gold Toned Okapi
In Gold Toned Okapi, 2007, Starling worked with an image of the okapi, an ancient relative of the giraffe, originally produced in 1913 by the scientist Herbert Lang in North East Congo, an area infamous for its unregulated gold mines and illegal trading. The gold toner used to fix Starling’s images was produced using gold manufactured by a Swiss refiner, traced back to traders in the Congo. Starling’s gold tainted photographs conflate different geographical points and moments in history, offering a subtle comment on international trade. UK Premiere.
Anja Kirschner & David Panos: Ultimate Substance
Ultimate Substance, 2012, departs from the hypothesis that the introduction of coinage in the ancient Greek world effected a profound cognitive shift that was key to the emergence of western philosophic, scientific and dramatic traditions. Filmed in and around the Numismatic Museum in Athens and in Lavriotiki, a mining district which was the source of wealth of the classical city-state, the video and accompanying installation point to the division between the sensual and the abstract that has persisted into our present.