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21 Oct 2020

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas: Swamp Intelligence at Bratislava

Šepeta swamp, 2018 © Swamp School, photo: Norbert Tukaj

Swamp Intelligence


Curated by: Lýdia Pribišová 24. 9. – 6. 11. 2020 Open: Tuesday – Thursday: 2-6 p.m.; Friday: 2-7 p.m.

Ivana Rumanova

Beskydská 12
811 05 Bratislava

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Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas: Swamp Intelligence

Curated by: Lýdia Pribišová

Today, revalorising the swamp over solid ground as well as exploring its complex web of interactions appears to be far from the romantic clichés of 'Noble Savage' and 'Back to Nature'. We cannot get back to the marshes, as there is no objectively fixed environment to return to. Instinctive and natural behaviour cannot undo our civilization, but rather provokes conflict and discontent with(in) ourselves derived from social and cultural repression. In a time marked by radical instability and threats of war and environmental collapse, the Swamp Research project sheds light on the vital urgency of human cohabitation with other forms of life. The swamp offers ideal conditions to test the idea of sympoiesis— creating and coming together in order to find a new ethos of coexistence, and to recognize the poetic power of the ecologies surrounding us.

So how do swamps foster our thinking? In fact, swamps are interactions of several networks, combining heterogeneous forces and multiple layers into complex biosystems acting as a brain that exceeds predefined bodily limits and infiltrates our living environments. Among other things, they primarily point out two fundamental moments: mutual conditioning between the 'individual' and its 'milieu and the intertwining of fabricated and natural elements.

A problematic space also becomes the perfect place to reflect on problematic divisions. On what basis is ownership or territory defined? Which occupants of a place are agents and which are witnesses? Where can a new language be found, and what new aesthetic can it offer? What is the relationship between matter and imagination? What is tomorrow? Perhaps today we must celebrate the long-maligned swamp!

Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators, and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice for the transformation of civic spaces and collective imaginaries. Their work frequently involves collective activities contributing to cross-disciplinary exchange: network and participatory technologies; sensorial media and public space; environmental remediation design and spatial organisation; and alternative planning integration.

Gediminas Urbonas is a professor and head of the MIT programme in Art Culture and Technology, Cambridge, MA; Nomeda Urbonas is a PhD researcher at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. They live and work in Cambridge, MA and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Exhibition events:

Discussion on swamps with ecologists
October 14, 2020 at 6 p.m.
Participants: Andrea Froncová, Ján Kadlečík, Ján Topercer
Moderated by: Lýdia Pribišová

Cyclo Tour with Ivor Švihran around the Šúr wetlands
October 17, 2020, meeting at at 2 p.m.

Visitors are kindly asked to follow the actual antipandemic measures while visiting the exhibition.

ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit. Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council and Nadácia mesta Bratislavy and the Lithuanian Council for Culture.