Land Also Moves, Association for Decentering Landscapes (ADL), 3:16, 2016
ADL is made up of: Rouzbeh Akhbari, Felix Kalmenson, and Ash Moniz
This performance revolves around a commissioned mural depicting bulldozers flattening sand dunes in preparation for laying new urban grids. The mural is painted on a derelict water pumping station adjacent to tree plantations near the 6th ring road. The planted tree rows in the foreground and background function as a theatrical stage that situate the “actors” that pass along the road behind the building. The signifiers that are mobilized as actors for this stage are all directly referencing the material resources that contributed to the creation of structures and infrastructures of the recently developed township of Hongsibu in the early 2000’s.
These symbols include structural elements that are emblems of development in the area, such as solar panels, concrete water tubing, and resettlement houses. The corn, grapes and watermelon are also coupled with these to reference the main crops of the Hongsibu valley, which are cultivated both as a food source and cash crops in the case of grapes for Ningxia’s booming wine industry.
Lastly, a sign that reads “Museum for Wasteland Reclamation” is left beneath the mural that is gradually revealed towards the end of the video. This illuminating sign is a prop that is simultaneously presented with the video in the gallery and helps contextualize the entire performance as a critical reading of museological impulses to historicize narratives of rapid urbanization in contrast to slow dune encroachment.
Association for Decentering Landscapes: Rouzbeh Akhbari, Felix Kalmenson and Ash Moniz:
Rouzbeh Akhbari is an Iranian installation and video artist whose practice is research-driven, often interventionist in approach and situated at the intersections of postcolonial theory, political economies and critical architecture. He has recently co-authored a chapter on Casablanca’s urbanism for the Unsettling Colonial Modernity published by Cambridge Scholars. His work has been exhibited locally and internationally at Si Shang Art Museum (Beijing), University of Toronto Art Museum, la Fabrique Culturelle des Abattoirs (Casablanca), Le Cube (Rabbat), Birch Contemporary (Toronto), 8-eleven (Toronto) Justina M. Barnicke (Toronto), Art Mur (Montreal) and Art Museum of Nanjing University (Nanjing). He holds an MVS degree from University of Toronto’s School of Architecture, Landscape and Design. http://www.rouzbehakhbari.com/
Felix Kalmenson is a Russian-born artist, with a practice in installation and video. His work is concerned with the mediation of histories and contemporary narratives by political, institutional and corporate bodies examining how innovations in the field of communication and technology serve to redefine publicness, sovereignty and power. Kalmenson has exhibited internationally including; ACAC (Aomori, Japan), Success (Perth), Museum Abteiberg (Germany), Minsheng Art Museum (Shanghai), AGO (Toronto), ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics (Berlin), Aaran Gallery (Tehran), Le Cube (Rabat), La Fabrique Culturelle des Anciens Abattoirs (Casablanca), Centro Negra (Blanca, Spain), The New Gallery (Calgary), and Pari Nadimi Gallery (Toronto). Recent residencies include Rupert (Vilnius), National Center for Contemporary Art (St. Petersburg), and Spaces (Cleveland). https://www.felixkalmenson.com/
Ash Moniz (1992) is a multi-disciplinary artist based between Cairo and Beijing. His work uses public interventions and performative reconfigurations to navigate through the overlapping mechanics, geographies, and abstractions of the circulation of goods, and situations. Moniz has shown with galleries and museums internationally, such as Kunsthal Aarhus (Aarhus), A307 Space (Beijing), Minsheng Museum (Shanghai), Birch Contemporary (Toronto), Le Cube (Rabat), Pari Nadimi Gallery (Toronto). Moniz holds a BFA from OCAD University (Toronto, 2014), had participated in the Mass Alexandria Independent Studio Program in 2016, and is a member of the artist collective ADL [Association for Decentering Landscapes]. He was the assistant curator of the AMNUA Museum in Nanjing in 2013/14, and was the director of the Boxes| Zones Quarters mobile residency/exhibition in Morocco, 2014.
Cold Cuts Video Festival 2018