BKS: April 22, Seminar, Transnational Mud: Swamps, Earth, and Transnational Trees


BKS: April 22, Seminar, Transnational Mud: Swamps, Earth, and Transnational Trees

Every day, we connect to digital technologies with an intensity where many no longer consider a divide between our online and offline existence. In an ongoing pandemic, online interfaces have effectively replaced physical access to art, objects, and human interaction. The lived impact of our digi-physical symbiosis now rapidly manifests; from the subtle physical changes we experience in our bodies to the global effects of energy consumption by digital technologies. On April 22, 2021, the ongoing artistic research project Digital Materialities will present The New Mud, the first of four symposia in which we invite artists and researchers to think collectively from and about the materials on whose foundations we build our supposedly immaterial digital life. This session, centered on mud, is organized by Rikke Luther, guest researcher on the project and a former ph.d-researcher at the Academy.


Nastier weather, prompted by the climate changes that energy consumption fuel, creates new, unpredictable, muds. Older and more stable habitats are threatened. In 2021, Nature: Geoscience published a new study on the effect of climate breakdown on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or, in short AMOC.[1] The AMOC, which regulates the circulation of northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers and a southward flow of colder, deep waters of the Atlantic, is at its weakest in a thousand years. As a consequence, increased heatwaves in Europe and storms on the eastern seaboard of north America will increase mud flows in some areas while in others, mud will harden and effect the tree cover and vegetation vital to the carbon cycle.


To predict future patterns, researchers glean proxy data from ancient sedimentary muds and ice-cores from Greenland, as if the past returns to reclaim control over an unpredictable future. Nations may be defined by their laws, but ecosystems and muds do not obey laws or boundaries. To learn from them, a new way of thinking is needed.


In this one-day Zoom-event, four artists and collectives will present on-going work in allied fields cross-referencing the theme of mud, allowing them to explore the emerging places of fragility and isolation, of melting and transformation, of dark imagination and darker fact.



Date:                  22 April 2021

Location:           https://kunstakademiet.zoom.us/j/68137444818?pwd=NnRGQXp5Zjc1bk5YcEFUeFZld2ZoUT09

Time.                  11:00 – 17:00

Access:              Passcode 728751





Session 1 11-12.30


Introduction: Rikke Luther


Presentations: Lise Autogena and Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas

Audience Q&A



Lunch 12.30-13.30



Session 2 13.30-15.00


Presentations: Rikke Luther and Pia Rönicke


Audience Q&A





Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas are artists, educators, and co-founders of the Urbonas Studio, an interdisciplinary research practice that facilitates exchange amongst diverse nodes of knowledge production and artistic practice in pursuit of projects that transform civic spaces and collective imaginaries. Nomeda is Research Affiliate at MIT and Gediminas Associate Professor at MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology.  Gediminas and Nomeda will discuss pedagogy of theSwamp School, initiated at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, and the ideas pertinent to the book Swamps and the New Imagination, Sternberg, MIT Press, 2021.


Pia Rönicke is an artist, researcher, and former associate professor at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, and currently attached to Lund University & Malmö Art Academy. Röncike will talk about her current project Drifting Woods, Deserted Forest.

Lise Autogena is an artist and professor of Cross-Disciplinary Study at Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom. Her film Kuannersuit/Kvanefjeld (2017) was made with long-term collaborator Joshua Portway. Lise will talk about the film and the new research platform for scientists, artists, and others, she is establishing in Narsaq, Greenland.

Rikke Luther is an artist and lecturer, based at the Laboratory for Arts Research, The Royal Danish Art Academy in Copenhagen. She has worked in groups, co-founding Learning Site and N55 but has worked solo since 2015. Her current work examines the rapidly shifting political and environmental landscapes that result from assuming away the earth dynamics of natural resources and commercialising them.  Luther’s recent doctoral work Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post-Democracy was based at the Royal Danish Academy, University of Copenhagen, and at the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology, where she was an affiliate.


Digital Materialities is Maibritt Borgen, Karen Harsbo, Malene Bang, Rikke Luther and Oskar Kolliander. The researchproject is generously funded by the Ministry of Culture, KUV-puljen.