Ac/kademie #7: Long Hanging Fruits: Myths and Matter of the Oil Palm Complex

Sean Kuhnke

Long Hanging Fruits: Myths and Matter of the Oil Palm Complex is a collective presentation by Jan van Eyck participant Elia Nurvista, Michelle Lai, Sina Ribak, and Yoeri Guépin that weaves together stories around and between palm oil across the globe as an attempt to understand the multilayered processes surrounding this global commodity.

Join on 4 May 2022 at 16:00 CEST in Jan van Eyck’s Auditorium or online via Zoom, YouTube or Vimeo.

Palm oil may be seen as a hyperobject; the transmorphiguration of palm oil into a colourless, odourless raw material makes it a substance found in almost all of our daily products and consumables. Not having a fixed form or shape, to trace palm oil from its origins through the various objects it takes the form of, is a massive undertaking. Similarly, it seems impossible to grasp the manifold layers that define the global expansion of the oil palm complex for the past two centuries, covering earth’s tropical belts with vast swathes of oil palm plantations, accelerating the pace of climate change, resulting in cataclysmic environmental consequences for both human and other-than-human entities.

Elia Nurvista (Indonesia)
is an artist exploring a wide range of art mediums with an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on the discourse on food. Through food, she intends to scrutinize power, social, and economic inequality in this world. She is participating in Jan van Eyck Academie residency program 2021-2022.

Michelle Lai (Netherlands / Singapore)
is an ecological practitioner looking at issues related to the local agricultural and food system in Singapore and Southeast Asia at large. She explores community-driven innovation and engagement practices, forming symbiotic relationships through everyday participation, research, and dialogue.

Sina Ribak (Germany)
is an independent researcher exploring bioeconomy, land use, soil, biodiversity, and solidarity from a critical more-than-human and nature cultures perspective. In her practice of co-embracing natures, she is looking for kinship from a diversity of fields to work towards social and ecological justice.

Yoeri Guépin (Netherlands)
is an artist, researcher and gardener. Past projects involve working with archives and collections in (botanical) gardens, museums and scientific institutes. His latest projects focus on the loss of biological/cultural diversity as a result of industrial agriculture and the city as potential habitat for endangered plant species.

Ac/kademie is a project built on a series of artist–led conversations between the Jan van Eyck and the Rijksakademie participants. Organized in collaboration with the Rijksakademie, the Saastamoinen Foundation and the Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts in Finland, the talks bring artists-in-residence into conversation about their practices and working processes. Read more about the project here.