Un-war Space Lab: Drava Reflections == Decoding Drava ==

Un-war Space Lab: Drava Reflections == Decoding Drava ==
8 July–6 August 2022 (extended until 13 August)

You are cordially invited to the opening of the interactive video installation by Un-war Space Lab (Armina Pilav, Damir Ugljen), which will take place on Friday, 8 July 2022, at 7 p.m. at the artKIT Gallery. On Saturday, 9 July, at 7 p.m., we kindly invite you to join us for a shared evening by the river where we will collectively listen to the Drava underwater sounds, read short stories and watch a collection of short films.

Saturday's event location: Ob izvirih, location of the former fish farm


<a stolen river, passing through the turbines of numerous dams in Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia>
= repetitive concrete blocks, loud water turbines, material traces of the river containment, commodification, and instrumentalization…
-- <split water body> = one part is directed and contained in the linear concrete channel from Maribor to Ptuj = disturbed aquatic biodiversity

<underwater noise> and many other unknown impacts on the fish species besides interruption of their reproductive migration flows

<bridges, more concrete and iron> = endangered plants species

<when does the Drava water body meet with the humans?>

= in the underwaters of Drava, bringing the gifts of the Anthropocene = mobile phones, sound speakers, plumbing parts, keys, wallets, documents, car plates, sunglasses, and more.

= in the light bulbs of humans’ houses, power cables and all used and abused electricity produced from the exploitation of the Drava waters…

Still, there are parts along her stream that resist these material codes, there are fish, plants, and humans taking care of Drava while creating some other and more ecological universe.

Can we all imagine that we cannot cross the bridges over the Drava river, can we dissolve the dams on the Drava as we dissolve the pills in the glass of water, can we plant more trees and other plants or simply let the river and wilderness to govern us as other than human species live longer, care in a specific way of entangled ecologies and are capable to reproduce without our control…

== Decoding Drava == is an attempt to step into the complex tensions around its waterbody. It is the result of Drava Reflections, a shared process looking at the exploitations of the river for electricity production or other uses, and their consequences on the Drava water body through her relational ecologies. Drava Reflections brought another and more radical process of imagination to us, the process of Decoding Drava. As a theoretical basis, we explored the work of Ivan Ilich, a thinker and polymath, and Astrida Neimanis, a hydrofeminist, through her thinking about »wet matter«. We observed possibilities of the creation of radical water body relationships that include human and non-human species or interspecies as well as their activities in the Drava waters. The intermedia tools such as XR technologies, the internet, audio, video recordings, polaroid camera, hand drawings, written texts, found objects, and site-specific research on existing flora and fauna are used to reflect on multiple anthropogenic influences. Drava reflections is an interactive and shared process that includes disciplinary knowledge from biologists, botanists, and other scientists as well as everyday knowledge of people living with the Drava river and city of Maribor in Slovenia.

Armina Pilav and Damir Ugljen carried out research work at KIBLA2LAB during the RUK residency. In collaboration with the lab team, they created a project in extended reality that tackles many anthropogenic influences bringing together the past and the present in a speculative future scenario.

Un-war Space Lab is a cross-media research-based practice on material transformations of rivers, land, architecture, and the interspecies society during and after the war; it is led by Armina Pilav, feminist, architect, and researcher in ecologies of war destruction. It works as a fluid collective of researchers and practitioners across the disciplines of landscape architecture, film, archaeology, visual arts, and environmental humanities, to mention a few. Plurennial research on the Neretva River and its inter-species ecologies is developed in collaboration with Damir Ugljen – an archaeologist and independent researcher who explores the cultural significance and ecological consequences of the material transformation of landscapes, with a particular focus on adaptive responses of non-human and human subjects to newly formed conditions.

Armina Pilav is a feminist, architect, and lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield. Her research, practice, and teaching intersect and focus on the politics of re-presentation and re-production of physical, mediated space, bodily experiences in extreme conditions of war destruction, or other disaster conditions. Armina uses cross-media tools, psychospatiality, and radical observations to expose ecologies of transformations of rivers, lands, and related natural forms, architectures, and society. She publishes in magazines, academic journals, and exhibits regularly. The research on the destruction of Sarajevo, Mostar, and the inhabitants' transformation of violence has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2018, 2016), at the Architecture of Shame in Matera (2019), and as an autonomous archive represented with the Un-war Space device (2018–2022). She is developing a research and curatorial program Toxic Lands on human destruction of lands, rivers, and other, non-human species. Armina is the founder of Un-War Space Lab, a member of the Association for Culture and Art Crvena in Sarajevo. She is currently based on Brač Island where she is learning from the Earth and wild plants, their growing media, and their use in everyday life as a cure and as food.

Damir Ugljen is an archaeologist and independent researcher interested in the fields of archaeology, social anthropology, and environmental inquiry. He explores the cultural significance and ecological consequences of the material transformation of landscapes, with a particular focus on adaptive responses of non-human and human subjects to newly formed conditions. His research methods stem from the understanding of embodiment processes as a working method and extend to experimental and critical practices. Currently, Damir is engaged in different research projects related to post-war landscapes. He is a member of Un-war Space Lab and one of the founders of Alternative Library in Mostar.
Instagram: @toxic_lands

Admission is free.

artKIT, Glavni trg 14, Maribor
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The exhibition was made in cooperation with the Maribor Diving Association.
The usage of the archival material was made possible by the Regional Archives Maribor.

Photo: Janez Klenovšek

Photo: Janez Klenovšek

Photo: Janez Klenovšek



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