The World in Which We Occur is an event series co-led by Margarida Mendes and Jennifer Teets, taking place live over the telephone, and formulated around questions addressed by speakers across the world. Embarking on modern day issues rooted in the history of materiality and flux as well as pertinent politically enmeshed scientific affairs shaping our world today, the series’ premise is one of interrogation and epistemic search.
The World in Which We Occur is loosely inspired by, and set in the legacy of hybrids that have emerged out of artist James Lee Byars’ 1969 performance work World Question Centre in the art historical canon. The World in Which We Occur underlines the necessity for inquiry over an assertiveness of responses. “Could you offer us a question that you feel is pertinent in regards to your own evolution of knowledge?” asks Byars at the end of the line. It unveils both incentives and/or queries so as to generate further questions to build upon and aims to open up other areas of knowledge and speculation stemming from the core exercise of explicating one’s relationship within the current state of nature, in an era of erratic climatic behaviours. As a curation of voices, each session departs from an assisted dialing room set in an auditorium and is shared with an audience of listeners. The sessions are outsourced in the form of a growing archive.
The speakers recorded in previous sessions include Ravi Agarwal, Nabil Ahmed, Kai Bosworth, João Camargo, Carolina Caycedo, Cormac Cullinan, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Peter Fend, Fran Gallardo, Lori Gruen, Joyeeta Gupta, Clive Hamilton, Stefan Helmreich, Paul N. Edwards, Pedro Neves Marques, Stuart McLean, Barbara Orland, Joana Rafael, Rory Rowan, Jenna Sutela, Paulo Tavares, Anna Tsing, Etienne Turpin, Mi You.
XII Baltic Triennial, CAC Vilnius
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon
Fotograf Festival, Tranzit Display, Prague
The hosts of The World in Which We Occur met in the streets of Paris in 2014. Ever since, they have dialogued on the overlap of science, art, and philosophy with a strong penchant towards climate change politics, critical epistemological subjects, social justice, and new understandings of the body and political subjectivity.
Jennifer Teets is a curator, writer, researcher and performer, living and working in Paris. She is known for her research on cheese, mud, and terra sigillata – their transitioning towards materiality and entity and their ability to become something else when put in an exhibition or an essay. Her research and writing combines inquiry, sciences studies, philosophy, and fiction-critique, and performs as an interrogative springboard for her curatorial practice. Together with artist/philosopher Lorenzo Cirrincione she curates Elusive Earths, an ongoing in situ work, process, and dialogue that looks to the elusiveness of rare clays, soils, and earths with forgotten origins. Over time this research has involved different forms of replication, extraction, and multiplication of processes and their distribution as “clay narratives.” Elusive Earths III recently exhibited at Parallel, Oaxaca in 2016.
Margarida Mendes is an educator, curator and activist living and working in Lisbon. In 2009, she founded the project space The Barber Shop in Lisbon, where she hosts a programme of seminars and residencies dedicated to artistic and philosophical research. Exploring the overlap between cybernetics, philosophy, sciences, and experimental film, her personal research investigates the dynamic transformations of materialism and their impact on societal structures and cultural production. She is interested in exploring alternative modes of education and political resilience through her collaborative practice, programming, and activism. In 2016 she was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale and curated Matter Fictions at Museu Berardo, Lisbon. In 2017 she is launching a new experimental learning platform at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid, La Escuelita.
The World in Which We Occur, XII Baltic Triennial, CAC, Vilnius, 2015. Photo credit: Andrej Vasilenko. Drawings by Zin Taylor.
The World in Which We Occur logo designed by Nuno da Luz. Website designed and developed by Pedro Neves Marques.