100 McCaul Street
Symposium | 1-2 March 2019
Resisting Extractivism, Performing Opposition
100 McCaul St.
*OCAD University is an accessible space.
Please note: all events are FREE and open to the public, but require an RSVP for refreshments by Friday 15 February.
The Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas, York University’s Graduate Program in Theatre and Performance Studiesand Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, and OCAD University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & School of Interdisciplinary Studies, with the support of the Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories and Criticism and Curatorial Practice graduate programs and Art and Social Change student volunteers, welcome you to the Resisting Extractivism, Performing Opposition symposium, taking place at OCAD University, 1-2 March 2019.
This interdisciplinary symposium invites activists, scholars, artists, community organizers, and cultural workers to explore collective strategies of embodied and performed resistance to extractivism. While extractivism commonly refers the logic of reducing nature to commodities, and the resultant hyper-exploitation of the mining, oil, and gas industries, we can also think of extractivism as an ideology fundamental to colonialism and capitalism at their most endemic. Resisting Extractivism, Performing Opposition asks: How is (anti)extractivism performed? How have mining-impacted communities and solidarity groups alike mobilized their dissent through creative interventions? How can we, as scholars and artists, perform research that does not similarly extract community/Indigenous knowledge for our own cultural capital? How can we ethically and productively engage communities as co-researchers and collaborators without succumbing to an exploitative model of knowledge and labour extraction?
Resisting Extractivism, Performing Opposition explores extractivism as a vital issue that concerns all Canadians: resource extraction informs Canadian domestic and foreign policy, mandatory investments, and is inherent in how we conceptualize Canadian identities, mythologies, and exceptionalism. Canada’s place in the Americas is inherently tied to extractivism, and we will explore this through creative and innovative research methods, mobilized in conversations across disciplines that reach publics outside of the academy, convening artistic, activist, and scholarly communities.
The symposium begins on Friday evening 1 March 2019 from 5-7 pm with the opening of the exhibition Educate, Advocate, Agitate: The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network’s Creative Interventions. The exhibition documents the Toronto-based grassroots mining justice group’s performative actions and creative interventions, and a recent collaboration with JODVID (Jóvenes Organizados en Defensa de la Vida/Youth Organized in Defense of Life), a youth group based in Mataquescuintla, Guatemala that uses performance and creative tactics to resist Canadian-owned Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine on their territory. The exhibition is realized through the curatorial support of Valerie Frappier, an MFA student in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice graduate program at OCAD University.
Following the gallery opening, at 7:30 pm, we will present Beyond the Extractive Zone, a film screening and discussion co-programmed with the re:assemblage collective and presented with the support of OCAD’s Culture Shifts, that explore anti-extractivism from Indigenous perspectives.
Kiruna – Rymdvägen (Liselotte Wajstedt, Sweden, 2013, 52 minutes, documentary)
The town Kiruna is to be moved. The mining activities underground threaten its foundation. Houses will be moved, or torn down, and new quarters will be built on another site. The director grew up on the Company Site and is in a hurry to catch up with her past, for soon its physical reminders will be gone.
The Case of Gran Colombia Gold – Crude Gold
(Monica Gutierrez, Colombia/Canada, 2014, 10 minutes, documentary)
To Stop Being a Threat and To Become a Promise(Carolina Caycedo, Colombia/UK, 2017, 8 minutes, two channel documentary)
On Saturday 2 March 2019 we open the symposium at 9:30 am with the Indigenous Environmental Justice project. Based at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, IEJ works to develop a distinctive environmental justice framework that is informed by Indigenous knowledge systems, laws, concepts of justice and the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples.
At 10am we welcome Macarena Gómez-Barris, author of The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Duke University Press, 2017) and the founder and Director of the Global South Center at Pratt Institute. Gómez-Barris will present a keynote address, “Living and Dying in Extractive Zones,”considering the spaces of ruin in the aftermath of extractive capitalism through discussion of three sites within the Americas, and asking: How does mining, hydroelectricity, oil extraction, tourism, and monoculture disproportionately impact Indigenous territories in the Americas? How do social ecologies find alternative sources of living within the space of catastrophic death? What forms of refusal and social and decolonial praxis find solutions?
The keynote is followed by lunch at 11:30am catered by NishDish (RSVP required) and two panel sessions from 12:30-4:30 pm.
The first panel (12:30-2pm), “Animating Objects, Performing Justice,” features Toronto-based Argentine visual artist Dana Prieto, artist and organizer Maggie Flynn, and Winnipeg-based writer, filmmaker, photographer and professor Warren Cariou, who will share their respective visual art and performance practices. It is moderated by MISN member Merle Davis (PhD candidate, Anthropology, University of Minnesota).
The second panel (2:30-4pm), “Legal Discourse as Performative Resistance,” features Anishinaabe actor and playwright Shandra Spears Bombay, Marion de Vries, playwright of The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich, and Isabel Dávila of JCAP (the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project). It is moderated by Sydney Lang, MISN member and law student at McGill University.
The symposium concludes with a keynote address at 4:30 pm by Kirsty Robertson, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Museum Studies at Western University (London, ON) and author of the forthcoming Tear Gas Epiphanies: Protest, Culture, Museums (McGill-Queen’s University Press, Spring 2019). Robertson will present, “When the Land Comes First: Oil, Museums, and (Missing) Protest,” a talk that considers demonstrations and performative activist responses to sponsorships from fossil fuel companies at museums and other cultural institutions—and the lack thereof in the Canadian context.
For more information, please contact:
Zoë Heyn-Jones, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas