Nadim Samman by Trevor Good

Nadim Samman
As We Used to Float / Iroojrilik


Curator Nadim Samman gives a performative lecture that takes to the psychology and aesthetic of the sea, drawing on his explorer’s path through art as co-founder of the Antarctic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 1st Antarctic Biennale in 2017. His work has carried him from Moscow to Marrakech to Lima, uncovering the secrets of remote art and the mutual exchange that evolves from that act. 

Straddling the genres of travelogue and critical essay, As We Used to Float: Within Bikini Atoll (2018, co-written with artist Julian Charrière), explores Bikini Atoll as a space of fantasy and trauma. Toggling between a personal account of a sea journey, above and below water, and a critical investigation of postcolonial geography, the book develops broader reflections on place and subjectivity. These spring from a series of narrative immersions, variously, taking on the psychological and aesthetic parameters of ultra-deep scuba diving, the abject poetics of sea craft and the stakes of subaquatic image-making. As We Used to Float is a sea-story for our time. This performative lecture combines reading from the book with a screening of Julian Charrière’s video work, Iroojrilik (2018).

Nadim Samman by Trevor Good

Nadim Samman is a curator and art historian based in Berlin. He read Philosophy at University College London before receiving his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art. He co-founded the 1st Antarctic Biennale in 2017 and the Antarctic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015. In 2016 he curated the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, and in 2012, the 4th Marrakech Biennale (with Carson Chan). Other major projects include Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition (a unique site-specific exhibition on the remote Pacific island of Isla del Coco) and Rare Earth (at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna). In 2019 he won the International Awards for Art Criticism’s first prize.


Nadim Samman. Photo by Trevor Good.

Magical Thinking: Towards a Future Worth Living – Conference Day 2

at De Brakke Grond
Sun 23 Feb 15:00 — 18:00

This conference proposes the idea of magical thinking’ – a belief that thoughts and actions can influence the world – as a provocation. In current dystopian scenarios of the future life on Earth, from environment to democracy, imagining a future worth living might reduce anxiety that paralyses action and create openness to a more inclusive way of thinking. The question that needs answering is what is a future worth living (and for whom), and which tactics could get us there. How do we get from climate emergency and catastrophic populism, fuelled by extractive capitalism, to a world of social/​ecological justice and multispecies equality? With focus on artistic research and strategies of visibility and mobilisation that art holds, this forum wishes to open critical discussions and propose possible ways to the future worth living.

Unlearning the Environmental Knowledge

Unlearning the perspective of Anthropos’ when thinking about the environment activates different ways of understanding earthly surroundings. New modes of transdisciplinarity are summoned to engage in thinking with more-than-human agents in order to uncover narratives about the climate crisis. From the 1815 volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora to the US’ nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll – the beginning of the new era in the history of Earth, the Anthropocene – an artist, a curator and a theorist in this block present on a series of encounters with volcanoes, seas, jungles, rocks and other interconnected planetary species and technologies. 

This panel will be moderated by Mirna Belina.

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