Lecture (9/9) – Alice Smits researches the way in which the relation between nature and culture – which lies at the basis of our vision of how people position themselves – is given form in contemporary art that deals with land. In the face of an urgent ecological crisis one of our most challenging tasks is to redefine and reimagine our relationships to the land we inhabit and which supports us. One of the starting points of this research is the essay The Three Ecologies by Félix Guattari, in which he tries to find new social and aesthetic practices of self in relation to the other: ‘The ecological crisis is a political, cultural and social one, calling for an eco-sophy as well as an eco-art, as a political, social and cultural revolution able to reorient the objectives of production, the forms of organization, the ways of being together’. Rethinking nature-culture relations does not only define nature in different ways but also repositions the human in a completely different way, pointing to new ways of knowing and being in the world. In this lecture, she will explore through various artistic practices in which new relations between human and nature are being shaped and imagined.
Alice Smits is an art historian and freelance curator and critic. She curated exhibitions in New York and Amsterdam including Avoiding Objects(Apex Art, NY), Elsewhere (HereArt, NY), Hotel NY (PS1, NY), Going Places, Crafting Space, A Snare for the Eye and Thresholding (Smart Project Space, Amsterdam). From 2004–2012 she was the co-director of the Amakula Kampala International Film Festival in Uganda.2013 she is the initiator and director of ofZone2Source, an exhibition platform for art, nature, and technology in and outside a glass pavilion in the Amstelpark, Amsterdam where she invites artists to develop projects that rethink nature-culture relations. She is a researcher at the Lectorate of Art and Public Space (LAPS)at the Rietveld Academy on land art in/and the Anthropocene. She regularly publishes articles for Metropolis M and other media. Furthermore, she is a guitarist in the improvisation band Oorbeek.