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A Feral Commons

The Curatorial

A Feral Commons is the central theme of the Global Co-commission, uniting the three public art commissions.

 

Developed by curator Tairone Bastien, A Feral Commons, draws from Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s notion of the ‘feral’ —natural phenomena resisting human control— inviting artists of the Global Co-commission to produce site-specific artworks that arise from local ecologies.

 

Examining the oft-unrecognised non-human entanglements with humans and their built infrastructures, the artworks can materially contribute to a higher awareness of our environments, unexpected inter-species collaborations, and sustainable public spaces for the future.

 

“Despite efforts to command nature, cities are teaming with rebellious creatures that refuse to be contained or controlled.

 

Each co-commission is based on research and consideration of natural phenomena that resist human control: the undomesticated, the defiant and disobedient, inviting the public to learn with these feral ecologies about resilience, adaptability and strategies for survival in the face of the climate emergency.”

 

– Tairone Bastien, Curator of A Feral Commons

Kingston, Dubai, and Johannesburg are vastly different environments yet are located within a South-South axis, and share certain qualities, having emerged from the shadow of British colonialism in the 1960s. They carry the weight of that inheritance in their built environments: ancient waterways diminished and polluted by industry, landscapes laid bare by resource extraction, and insufficient infrastructure strained by expanding populations, as well as privatised and heavily fortified public spaces.

 

Such are the human projects that enforce a material and spiritual separation from nature, whilst also spurring adaptations and resilience, and generating unpredictable outcomes.

Given the open-ended nature of these public artworks, A Feral Commons is also a discursive framework for a year-long program of local and global conversations, research studies, and events for a variety of publics coordinated between the three cities. As such, the commissions anchor a de-territorialised commons through which the artists, communities, cultural districts, and their individual partners and supporters can share knowledge and resources.

 

A Feral Commons is set to unfold through 2024, the journey will be documented through this website. Follow the full story here.

The Districts

Victoria Yards, Johannesburg, South Africa
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE
Kingston Creative, Kingstno, Jamaica