Video series: Presentations, discussions

Extractivist Memories

With Patricia Domínguez, Neville Rowley, Andreas Siekmann, Ndongo Samba Sylla, moderated by Bernd Scherer

Wed, Dec 15, 2021

In German and English

Free of charge

What links the Renaissance to the Anthropocene? What foundations of today’s neoliberal economic order and its worldviews stem from the 15th and 16th centuries? What role did and do artistic practices play in dealings with politics of extractivism?

During the Renaissance, scientific and technological progress, economic expansion and the canonization of culture emerging in northern Italian cities such as Florence transformed the European worldview. The belief arose that humans could tame nature and had the right to appropriate it bit by bit. The Europeans’ expansionist urge unfolded globally. With colonization, they also accessed resources in other parts of the world, exploited people and landscapes. This thinking also shapes the present: the exploitative extractivism of past centuries is now exacerbated by neoliberal structures of accumulation and exponential growth. Human appropriation of the planet is measurable in geological dimensions in the Anthropocene.

Extractivist Memories examines how these value systems are articulated in art and economics: from the Renaissance to the Anthropocene, from materialism to neoliberalism and from extractivism to racism.

Activist and artist Patricia Domínguez addresses relations between humans and nature and postcolonial social structures of inequality, seeking possibilities for healing and reconciliation.

Neville Rowley, curator of early Italian art at the Gemäldegalerie and Skulpturensammlung in Berlin, explores how these developments in Renaissance art production and visual language can be interpreted from today’s perspective.

Artist Andreas Siekmann talks about his interpretation of a column designed by Albrecht Dürer in 1525 as a Monument to the Vanquished Peasants in response to the so-called Peasants’ Wars. Siekmann’s version of the column stood as an installation in the mirror pond in front of HKW from May to October 2021.

Development economist Ndongo Samba Sylla examines the economic and sociopolitical structures of colonialism that, starting in the Renaissance, manifest themselves in financial systems to this day.

With Patricia Domínguez, Neville Rowley, Andreas Siekmann, Ndongo Samba Sylla, moderated by Bernd Scherer