08.09.2023–28.01.2024: Rijksmuseum Twente, Enschede, NL
In the exhibition “Terra Libera”, ancient and contemporary works of art show how (Western) society has appropriated and cultivated the land over the past centuries. In this, making the land useful and productive for the benefit of man himself plays a leading role, right up to the present day. But how did this come about and what is the underlying worldview? Many of the big issues of our time converge on the countryside: the climate crisis, nitrogen crisis, drought, loss of biodiversity, (sustainable) food supply, energy transition, and resource extraction.
The exhibition Extraction part of Terra Libera:
The global economy thrives on raw materials we extract from the earth such as oil, gas, and coal. These are our natural resources, which we eagerly consume, but whose extraction leaves deep marks on the landscape. These marks are inescapable to those connected to the site of extraction. But far more often this connection is lacking, as we make use of the land somewhere else. The negative consequences of gas extraction in Groningen were not felt by many Dutch people for a long time, let alone the damage done with the extraction of cobalt in Africa for our phones on a daily basis.
The exhibition Extractivism is about resource extraction and its consequences. What does this mean for the landscape and natural environment, and for the people who live there? Is facing the consequences the first step towards a new connection with the land? But does that solve the problem? Will it be possible to make other choices in system based on the monetization of natural resources? And what about all those rare earths that are now so badly needed for the windmills and batteries that are supposed to make the world more sustainable?