Opening, November 27, 2014, 6.30 pm
Exhibition, November 28, 2014 – February 14, 2015
Twelve images and one video tell the story of the monopolization of seeds. This work on the progressive privatization of common property began with the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2008 in Norway. Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann examine the problematic nature of this development by drawing on historical investigations on economics and politics and their critical graphic portrayal during the world economic crisis of the 1930s. For the opening of Kunstraum Lakeside in 2005, Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann collaborated with students at the University Klagenfurt to bring up to date sheets 58 and 59 from the “Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft” atlas, which have the title “monopolistic productions by European and non-European countries.” They revised the sheets to account for the current creation of monopolies on intellectual property, patents and copyrights under the conditions of a global economy in which national economies have been superseded by the dominance of multinational corporations. The result is a large-scale work consisting of enamel panels for the Lakeside Park lecture hall, as well as a publication documenting the research done in Klagenfurt on the development of monopolies. For their exhibition in the winter of 2014/15, the artists resumed work on this update ten years later, adding new research that they had begun two years before on the monopolization of seeds. Their work covers developments from the beginnings of the agro-industry during the “Dust Bowl” in the USA in the 1930s to the current impact of seed monopolies on global agriculture. It’s a story of disasters and catastrophes in which those who caused the catastrophes in the first place go on to exploit their dynamics to create new “demands” and productivity regimes. The point of departure for the research was the opening of the Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen in 2008, which claims to preserve the planet’s seed diversity, but is in fact financed by the world’s biggest seed monopolists: Syngenta, Monsanto and Pioneer.
Alice Creischer (b. Germany, 1960) lives and works in Berlin.
Andreas Siekmann (b. Germany, 1961) lives and works in Berlin.
Curated by Christian Kravagna and Hedwig Saxenhuber.