The term “extractivism” simultaneously evokes a physical process as well as a mindset, implying a forceful removal and subsequent severing of relations. By intersecting strands of ecology, geology, and performance theory, Groundwork examines how land-based actions can challenge the colonial-capitalist framework of extractivism.
Within the scope of Canada’s geography, the three artists featured in this exhibition use performance as a way to imagine beyond the current structures that regulate humanity’s relationship with the environment. With the aim of destabilizing the logics and visualities of the Anthropocene, Groundwork highlights the performative strategies of camouflage: practices that critically probe the politics surrounding land and the constructed binary between the human and non-human. In considering human-centred discourses of the environment, the artists together unsettle extractivism as the status quo through an embodied ethics of remediation. This reciprocal approach is articulated through the deep attunement they foster with their environments—gesturing towards an alternate future created in relation with the non-human. Featuring lens-based documentation of the artists’ site-specific interventions, displayed alongside performance remnants including garments and tools, the works manifest as dispatches from each location.