CCA  Center for Contemporary Art and Ecology 

02 December 2023 – 11 February 2024



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For the final chapter of the NATURECULTURES year-programma at RADIUS, artists Diana Al-Halabi and Hilda Moucharrafieh collaborate in an exhibition that explores the intricate relationship between the political manipulation of food resources with famine, displacement, migration, and ecological devastation. In THE POLITICS OF THE ARMED LIFEBOAT, the artists situate Europe’s international relations with the Global South as the armed lifeboat, whereby the availability, distribution, and control of food become tools of subjugation of nations and populations by means of crisis, scarcity, and catastrophes. How much is this eurocentric armed lifeboat interested in the ethics of humanitarianism, and to what extent is our moral compass threatened by a globalised free market? What role do international aid and humanitarian efforts have in creating food insecurity and dependency, and how are these practices connected to a (neo) colonial mentality?

In 2023, more than 345 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity, according to the World Food Program report. Climate change, wars, and economic inflation can all be direct preconditions of famine. However, famine has also been historically used as an excuse for colonial, neo-colonial, and capitalist transformations to take place. Departing from food as one of the most common human experiences, Diana Al-Halabi and Hilda Moucharrafieh navigate the oppression of peoples through famine, whilst holding a critique of neo-colonial and capitalist practices that are sailing populations towards imminent global food insecurities.

The exhibition is scored with a soundscape by Diane Mahín, presenting sounds of the human digestive system. Abdominal sounds have been part of her work for various reasons, but mainly due to their relationship to life and death. In a living human body, putrefying bacteria break down excessive proteins in the intestines. After death, these same bacteria break down the lifeless human body. While putrefaction is only one of the many processes of digestion, it evokes questions about similarities between the sonic reality of decomposition and digestion.

Note from the artists:
While we were preparing for this exhibition, we caught ourselves witnessing the Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The works in this exhibition have the taste of our attention dictated by the news we receive from our loved ones in Gaza. This is an interrupted exhibition, like every focus in the world must be interrupted because colonialism did not end. We stand by Palestine, and we call for you to learn its history under settler colonialism from 1948 up until our day.

Download exhibition brochure

THE POLITICS OF THE ARMED LIFEBOAT has been made possible the support of the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Municipality of Delft, FONDS21, Mondriaan Fund. We thank them all kindly for their support!