This new series of Blast Creative Network talks brings together artists and researchers with similar interests in conversation with each other, to discuss issues pertinent to their practice. These talks are informal and attendees are welcome to participate with questions throughout the evening.
In this talk, artists Jessica El Mal and Zsofia Szonja Illes will present from their practice and discuss the connection between community-engaged art, ecology, and the forming of more-than-human (nature, animals) communities. We are in a climate crisis, and it is now more urgent than ever that we work together to imagine and put into place alternative futures, where all beings can thrive and co-exist. What would a city that considers its non-human inhabitants as part of the community look like? How can we move forward from a place of love and care, for each other, for the environment?
You can also join us for an online reading group in connection to this event, that explores these questions further in a friendly and informal setting! You can book onto the reading group here.
Image from Forest of Cultures © Jessica El Mal
Blast Creative Network offers artists in Sandwell and the Black Country a free, rolling programme of talks, workshops, reading groups, discussions and social events, and is a space for mutual support, learning and knowledge sharing.
About the speakers
Jessica El Mal engages in a multidisciplinary practice through social interaction, critical and historical research and speculative future imaginaries. Often centred around collaboration, co-curation and collective knowledge systems, her projects usually include research, workshops and artwork intended to have a lasting effect.
She founded Nature is Ours: Forest of Cultures, an online artsite platforming non-western voices inspired by Grizedale Forest in response to the lack of representation of people of colour in the UK’s green spaces and climate justice concerns. This artwork is a testament to the love and connection we all find in nature, in spite of the structural inequalities which can make them inaccessible.
Zsofia Szonja Illes is multidisciplinary designer with a socially engaged practice. Her work deals with land engagement and placemaking and aims to find ways to mobilize alternative voices and (more-than-human) perspectives and experiences of the landscape. Through sound and sensory mapping she is exploring ways in which notions such as ‘having a voice’ can go beyond the metaphorical to create placemaking processes where a plurality of voices are represented.
She is currently working on her PhD at MOME (Budapest) and an MRes research project with a Highlands and Islands Innovation Scholarship on ‘Multispecies Placemaking’ at the Glasgow School of Art. She is a guest lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art.