‘Karoo Disclosure’, a collaborative art installation that investigates the highly contentious issue of fracking, opens at the Iziko South African Museum on Saturday, August 29. The exhibition explores notions of heritage, culture, ownership, and legitimacy in the context of external economic and political drivers that threaten to change the landscape and the lives of communities in unforeseen ways.
“The Karoo has always been a feature of the exhibitions in the Iziko South African Museums, the Quagga foal on display perhaps being the most symbolic representation of fragility of this region. Iziko encourages exhibitions like Karoo Disclosure that stimulate debate about important issues,” says Hamish Robertson, Director Natural History Collections at Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The exhibition comes at a pivotal time in South Africa when national government has given the green light for fracking prospecting to begin in the Karoo with the explicit intention to exploit its reserves. The opening of ‘Karoo Disclosure’ will feature a discussion panel on the issue of fracking led by experts in Anthropology, Climate-Change, Art and Natural Science including: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) energy expert, Saliem Fakir; UCT Anthropology Professor Lesley Green; UCT Art Professor Virginnia MacKenny, Curator of Karoo Palaeontology at Iziko, Roger Smith and Art theorist, Andrew Lamprecht.
‘Karoo Disclosure’ is an example of “how artists tackle issues of the environment in their practice with a particular emphasis on care for the land,” says Professor Virginia MacKenny who will be exploring environmental concerns in artists’ work in her presentation.
“In the United States, fracking has brought to a head questions about the reliability of scientific evidence in the knowledge economy. The spectre of permanent damage to Earth systems in a time of climate change, forces us to confront the myth that we can repair the planetary damage we wreak in the name of economic progress.
It is neither reasonable nor rational to claim that ‘better engineering’ or ‘better environmental regulation’ can be relied upon to minimise the effects of permanent damage to land, and to fossil water sources,” states speaker and Anthropologist Prof Lesley Green, who will expand on her recent papers.
Speaker and Energy Scientist at WWF, Saliem Fakir’s recent research report looks into, “The question we have to ask is; do we really need fracking and even if we frack, is there a good relation between energy security, access and jobs?”
The film, ‘Karoo Disclosure’, which was selected for the Karoo Indy Film Festival and shown at That Art Fair, is the focal point of the exhibition. Photographic works as well as objects, artefacts, rocks, fossils, animals and insects from the Iziko Natural History Collections found in the Karoo area will also be showcased. The exhibition will be on display at the Iziko South African Museum until Sunday, November 15.
The collaborating artists include: Deborah Weber, Damien Schumann, Elgin Rust, Gina Waldman, Margaret Stone, Maxim Starcke, Lisa Bauer, Michelle Liao, Tom Glenn, Peet van Heerden, Hendrik Dudumashe and Paula Kingwill.
* For more information, visit www.iziko.org.za.