CATPC - Outside the White Cube
CATPC: Ced'Art Tomasola, Mattieu Kasiama, Le Cercle d'art de travailleurs plantation congolaise, Janke Brands, Institute for Human Activities
Historically, plantations have funded the building of many Euroamerican museums. Art was an opportunity for plantation shareholders to whitewash the violence of the plantation system. To this day, plantations in the global south are closely linked to art production. Rainforests are cut down and replaced by monocultures, leaving depleted landscapes and impoverished populations. Value extracted from these plantations is reinvested in museums in New York, Dakar and elsewhere, leaving plantation workers empty-handed. Instead of combatting inequality, art reinforces it. The wager of the sister institutions Congolese Plantation Workers Art Collective (CATPC) and the Institute for Human Activities is that art can indeed combat inequality. Rather than (critically) rehearsing the problem, they put art's capacity to better use. Art's incapacity to attract capital, visibility and legitimization is put to strategic purposes. By reversing the usual supply chains of Contemporary Art, Congolese plantation workers have begun buying back their own land, hectare by hectare. This isn't art that points to inequality. It is art that serves to build inclusive, ecological post-plantations.