Episode 2: Into the Soil
Climate Frequencies is a new series of the BALTIC Podcast that listens to the climate emergency and its reverberations through the ears of artists, thinkers and activists.
We begin deep in the molten core of the earth, tunnel through the rock formations under our feet before burrowing up to the soil and land, through forests, and out to the oceans ascending to our final episode into the air we breathe.
In this episode, musician and artist Natalie Sharp thinks about the soil crisis, land ownership, our relationship with the land and how communities are fighting against extractivist companies and governments not only for land access and ownership, but for their ancestral relationship to the soil itself.
Artist Jade Montserrat discusses her work Clay, Peat and Cage (2015) and talks to creative climate-justice activist Suzanne Dhaliwal about access to land and how local communities can fight back against extractivist regimes. Artist Emily Hesse explores our connection and relationship with land, sharing her text Inhabit.
Presented by Natalie Sharp. Produced and sound designed by Femi Oriogun-Williams and exec produced by Alannah Chance for Reduced Listening.
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Guests in order of appearance
Jade Montserrat is an artist based in Whitby, England. She was the recipient of the Stuart Hall Foundation Scholarship supporting her PhD (via MPhil) at IBAR, UCLan, (Race and Representation in Northern Britain in the context of the Black Atlantic: A Creative Practice Project) and the development of her work from her Black diasporic perspective in the North of England. She was also awarded one of two Jerwood Student Drawing Prizes in 2017 for No Need for Clothing, a documentary photograph of a drawing installation at Cooper Gallery DJCAD by Jacquetta Clark. Jade’s Rainbow Tribe project – a combination of historical and contemporary manifestations of Black Culture from the perspective of the Black Diaspora is central to the ways she is producing a body of work, including No Need For Clothing and its iterations, as well as her performance work Revue. Jade was commissioned to present Revue as a 24 hour live performance at SPILL Festival of Performance, October 2018, a solo exhibition at The Bluecoat, Liverpool, (2019) which toured to Humber Street Gallery (2019) and was commissioned by Art on the Underground to create the 2018 Winter Night Tube cover. Iniva and Manchester Art Gallery have commissioned Jade as the first artist for the Future Collect project (2020). As of 2021, Jade participated in a group exhibition titled An Infinity of Traces at Lisson Gallery, and opened a solo exhibition titled In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens at Bosse & Baum, both in London.
Suzanne Dhaliwal is a Climate Justice Creative, Campaigner, Researcher, Lecturer in Environmental Justice and Trainer in Creative Strategies for Decolonisation.Voted one of London's most influential people in Environment 2018 by the Evening Standard. In 2009 she co-founded the UK Tar Sands Network, which challenged BP and Shell investments in the Canadian tar sands in solidarity with frontline Indigenous communities, spurring the internationalisation of the fossil fuel divestment movement. She continues to serve as director and campaigner for the organisation. Suzanne has led campaigns and artistic interventions to challenge fossil fuel investments in the Arctic and Nigeria that violate the rights of Indigenous peoples, and of those seeking justice in the wake of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster. Her corporate and financial campaigning spans over a decade. In 2017 she spearheaded a European coalition to challenge the insurance industry on their underwriting of highly polluting coal and tar sands projects. Suzanne worked alongside the Ogoni people and British-Nigerian artist Sokari Douglas-Camp to send a life-size bus sculpture to Nigeria for the 20th anniversary of the execution of the Ogoni 9 and Ken Saro-Wiwa. She was part of the Art Not Oil coalition, challenging BP and Shell's corporate sponsorship in the arts. She went on to complete a Master of Arts in Social Sculpture in Oxford, to develop creative strategies to address the lack of representation and on-going white supremacy in the UK climate justice movement.
Emily Hesse is an interdisciplinary visual artist who works in a variety of mediums, all that predominately include the land she is standing upon. Her work questions and aggravates social and political power dynamics on both a micro/macrocosmic scale, through revolutionary thinking, philosophy, regional folk histories, collective action and the use of land and its associated materials as a physical form of protest. Deeply rooted in the social structures of her landscape itself, Hesse utilises aesthetics as a tool for subversion, to reveal the silenced historical narratives of the underground in order to think speculatively toward an inter-matter commons of the future.