RADIUS
CCA  Center for Contemporary Art and Ecology 

08 May 2022 – 12 February 2023

Year Program 2022

UNDERLAND

Book Tickets

RADIUS commences its first year of existence with an exhibition program consisting of four chapters. Partially modelled after the eponymous novel by Robert MacFarlane, the Underland exhibition cycle is an exploration of subterranean spaces as observed through art, literature, mythology, science, ecology, memory, and the physical landscape. We descend into RADIUS’ subterranean exhibition spaces, through the surface of the Earth’s biofilm, to make an observation about what takes place underneath man-made layers of concrete, tarmac and the constructed artificiality of our surroundings, to examine our relationship to darkness, life and death beneath ground level. 

In four chapters, Underland invites you to join on a series of journeys through “deep-time”—a vast geological time—along water sources and caverns, composite layers of soil, mines and drilling sites for unearthing minerals and fossils, fungal and root networks, and storage and hiding places providing shelter and protection within the increasingly unstable environment of the Anthropocene, the current era in which humankind dominates. The basis for considering the Anthropocene as our current geological epoch rests on the claim that the historically accumulated, planetary environmental effects of an expanding human population, technological innovation, and economic development have become inseparable from the Earth’s geological processes.

The compounded crises of capitalism, sociopolitical unrest, environmental catastrophe, and technological transformation is becoming increasingly pressing and tangible, both on a local level and on a planetary scale. In addition, the struggle for social emancipation and the role of colonialism and racism are inextricably linked to the current ecological depression, re-drawing attention to the fragility of Earth and life itself. The gravity of the situation is such that it is no longer possible to place ourselves outside the ecological breakdown equation. As the underground journey at RADIUS begins, the obscured depths of the underland are blazed with open-hearted encounters across deep time that reveal pathways to weather the Anthropocene. 

The Underland exhibition cycle is developed to provide a sense of grounding for the art center in its early beginnings, but predominantly serves as a public conversation starter for a continuous program around ecology and climate concerns, as facilitated through current artistic practices. Not dissimilar from science, art has the capacity to raise perception and consciousness for those elements, processes and dimensions that bypass our human sensorial capacities altogether. Both engaged in developing languages to inform an understanding and gain traction with our speculative present, we believe that art as a field must extend and apply itself without invitation, to trigger responses where none have been called for, and to confront what we take for granted. Moving through critical zones, the artists in Underland seek to unearth and undermine a singular human-centred perspective as to register more reality thanks to multiple templates, for which pluralism is understood not as a plurality of perspectives on one reality, but as a multiplicity of agencies that register numerous realities.

From fieldwork-taking to patchwork-making, Underland is envisioned as a space for synthetic thinking, science fact and fiction, forging new bonds between human and non-human forms of agency. From thinking and acting in a human-centered vacuum, to a life continuum.


PROGRAM

EMOTIONS ARE OCEANS
Bringing Water to Life in the Encroaching Desert
Underland Chapter 1
8 May — 26 June 2022

CLIMATE OF CONCERN
Burning Out in the Age of Fossil Expressionism
Underland Chapter 2
9 July — 11 September 2022

ENTANGLED LIFE
The Forest as Neural Network
Underland Chapter 3
24 September — 27 November 2022

CALM BEFORE THE STORM
A Shelter in the Anthropocene
Underland Chapter 4
11 December 2022 — 12 February 2023

UNDERLAND is curated by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk, with assistance from Sergi Pera Rusca.

UNDERLAND is made possible with support from Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Mondriaan Fund, Municipality of Delft, FONDS21, The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Stichting Stokroos, BNG Cultuurfonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting Zabawas, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Outset Netherlands, Institut français des Pays-Bas, OCA (Office for Contemporary Art Norway), FRAME Contemporary Art Finland, Danish Arts Foundation, Ekoplaza, Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland, CE Delft.