Kaldor Public Art Project 34: Asad Raza, Absorption

Kaldor Public Art Project 34: New York artist Asad Raza’s Absorption will take place in the Clothing Store building on the Carriageworks site in Eveleigh, Sydney from 3 to 19 May 2019.

At the heart of the project is a set of metabolic processes and experiments. A group of “cultivators” continually mix materials sourced from the region, including sand, silt, clay, phosphates, lime, spent grain, cuttlebone, legumes, coffee and green waste to create a new soil mixture or neosoil. Testing and monitoring its composition as it changes, the cultivators oversee almost 300 tonnes of material, which fills the ground-floor rooms of the Clothing Store. The project functions as a depot for the arrival, combination, and dispersion of this neosoil, which visitors are invited to take home for their own projects.

Much of Raza’s work has a strong collaborative dimension. During his visits to Australia over the past year, Raza has invited artists to develop initiatives that move the project beyond an individual artist’s vision to a project that evolves and changes throughout its duration. With a focus on dialogue and collaboration, these artist interventions take the form of installations, performances, and experiments.

Kaldor Public Art Project 34: Asad Raza, Absorption, 2019. The Clothing Store, Carriageworks. Photograph: Pedro Greig

For Absorption, Raza invites other artists to use the installation for their own purposes. Daniel Boyd’s work creates a porous light throughout, while Agatha Gothe-Snape’s wearable pieces for the cultivators weave relations. Khaled Sabsabi has buried a grid of turf underneath the soil, meditating on the hidden reality beneath the everyday. Jana Hawkins-Andersen’s clay works are broken up to enrich the soil, and Megan Alice Clune’s sound piece reacts to its changing state. Dean Cross’s work introduces a kilogram of earth from 1000km away, and Brian Fuata’s performative inhabitation ‘haunts’ the space.

Jana Hawkins-Andersen, Swell, 2019, handmade plaster moulds, plaster, clay, copper oxide, iron ore oxide, phosphate, dimensions variable. Clay objects prepared and poured by Cultivators within Kaldor Public Art Project 34: Asad Raza, Absorption. The Clothing Store, Carriageworks. Photograph: Pedro Greig

Developed in collaboration with a team of scientists at the University of Sydney Institute of Agriculture led by soil scientist Alex McBratney, Raza’s project draws together the approaches and ontologies of art and science. The project aims to bring the biological substrate of life into the foreground, as a living mesh of organic, mineral, and opaque aspects. In Absorption, these elements combine in an artistic world that is in dialogue with the processes of decay and new growth.

Absorption features a public program series of choreographic, musical, and pedagogical interventions. This includes a pop concert by Chun Yin Rainbow Chan; a new choreographic piece by Ivey Wawn in collaboration with Ivan Cheng, Daniel Jenatsch, Eugene Choi, and Taree Sansbury; an event hosted by Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation; and a reading hosted by feminist reading group Composting.

Public Programs include:

Common Ground
Asad Raza interviews Professor Alex McBratney
Friday 3 May, 6pm

Composting #32 Substrate
Feminist Reading Group
Tuesday 7 May, 6pm

Surfacing by Ivey Wawn
Performance by Chun Yin Rainbow Chan
Thursday 9 May, 7-8pm
An artist, a farmer and a scientist walk into a bar…
Presented by Kandos School for Cultural Adaptation
Saturday 18 May, 6pm

Soil Take Home
Sunday 19 May, 10am-6pm