Walking with Water Public Program

Various Participants - in response to Vladimir Nikolić’s solo exhibition, Serbian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2022
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina – MSUV
Novi Sad, Serbia

The Walking with Water Public Program is a three-day event of talks, workshops, mental and physical encounters. Taking thinking with water and “learning to stay with the trouble,” (Donna Haraway) as its point of departure, the event’s main objective is to raise awareness of our broad array of relations to the earth and all its human and non-human inhabitants in the troubled times in which we live and die. This approach requires a specific relationship to time, which dismisses chronological categories such as the “future” but rather invites us to “be fully present.” Haraway refers to our times as the Chthulucene, which is distinguished from the Capitalocene and the Anthropocene by its character of continuous temporality, a condition that arises from chaos and “resists figuration and dating.” 

This alternative planetary vision challenges terms such as uniqueness and individuality, dichotomies and boundaries, reminding us of the evolutionary “potential for surprising changes” that the fluidity of time and space has in opening new ways of telling stories and facts.

Inspired by water as a site of memory and forgetfulness, the Walking with Water gathering addresses the possibility of imagining different forms of proximities, coexistences, and interrelatedness. It brings together artists, philosophers, writers, and curators around the metaphorical play of life forms, in an unabashed reflection on hidden waters and groundwater, their possible connection to dysfunction and opacity, as well as global and situated socio-political and ecological events.

We will unlock the imagination of our bodies as evolving carrier bags of water (Ursula Le Guin), and we will question what happened with these “bags” in the past, in terms of extraction and distribution of bodies and land. How and why the body had and has to move across the ocean? What traces and memories were left behind, and what does “fluid” mean under neoliberal economic powers? How are slavery and today’s police violence related to one another (Denise Ferreira da Silva)? And, eventually, how do we cultivate and take care of multi-species justice?

Acknowledging the essential contribution of many peers in the field for conceptualizing the Serbian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022, we take this moment of coming together to expand our understanding of interconnectedness, to learn and share with each other. This public moment is also initiated to address a need to communicate and return the discourse around the project to the place and context where it was born, finding ways to share it with local communities. The pandemic’s inequality accelerated the instability in which we live – both with regard to economic means, but also in terms of vaccination access and approvals – and directly reflected who has access to equal participation and on which groun. This public program is our response and contribution to that conversation.

Curated and organized by Biljana Ćirić and Balkan…Projects 

Assistant Curator: simona dvorák

Participants: Biljana Ćirić, Klea Charitou, simona dvorák, Diego Delas and Leonor Serrano Rivas, JJJJJerome Ellis, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Valentinas Klimašauskas, Neva Lukić, Camila Marambio, Manolis Manousakis, María Montero Sierra, Vladimir Nikolić, Andrea Palašti and The Danube Transformation Agency for Agency (DTAFA), Filipa Ramos, Eleni Riga, Xiang Zairong

Format: Presentations, performative gestures, lectures 

Planned Time Frame: From midafternoon till the early evening, with in-between coffee/tea breaks 

The event will be public and free of charge