Contingency PlansClose

Contingency Plans: Or, Living With Unstable Grounds
University of Hong Kong / Shanghai Study Centre
March 29 – August 1
Opening Reception – March 29, 3.30pm

Curators: Adam Bobbette, Daan Roggeveen
Exhibition Design

Contingency Plans: or, Living with Unstable Grounds considers how the unexpected forces of the earth shape landscapes and ourselves. This unorthodox exhibition draws on understudied cases from overlooked places. Through 19 case studies assembled by over 20 contributors, and exhibiting more than 200 objects, our long held assumptions about nature and culture are overturned. Urgent new concepts are created that navigate the complex entanglements between ourselves and the instabilities of the ground.

Each case study is based on an unexpected terrestrial event. Examples include: a landslide in Hong Kong, persistent desertification in China, volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, the seepage of mining waste in West Papua, and the gradual accumulation of the surface of the earth in the UK. As each event unfolds, it entangles social systems. This is because the instabilities of the earth are inseparable from the social processes which reshape them. Tracing them, as the cases in Contingency Plans do, shows us how new realities have been – and continue to be – fabricated.

Contingency shapes the ground while intervening and interrupting the systems we are threaded through. This exhibition is a tool-kit for how to live with the uncertainty that pushes upon us from all directions, not least the uncertain future of the Earth itself.

This research based exhibition features content that ranges from amateur cell phone videos to fine art photography. All material is treated equally as stories of entanglements: government reports are interpreted with the same intensity as a post-card and aerial photograph.

Contingency Plans: Or, Living with Unstable Grounds is an international research platform that includes an exhibition, round-table, public lectures, exhibition catalogue and book. It is based on case studies contributed by artists, journalists, photographers, activists and scholars from around the world.

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