Preview: 15 MAY, 18:00 - 21:00

Artist talk: 17 MAY, 15.30 - 17.00

16 MAY – 17 MAY  

12:00 - 21:00

Testbed1 

entrance at Doodle Bar

60 Druid Street

SE1 2EZ

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A collection of boundless landscapes, The Atacama Desert is also known as the driest place on our planet. Formed of extra-terrestrial environments, arid grounds and infinitely clear skies, The Atacama holds a unique ability to challenge the perception of those who encounter it. 


Empowering, humbling,

 

living and feeling part of this sublime environment enables one to notice our individuality within nature.

 

This vulnerable body in the bounds of untamed earth. 

She cracks our skin dry and creeps her dust into our lungs. 

 

And yet, nothing is as it seems. 

 

The earth seems sharp, strong, hostile even. 

 

Seemingly indestructible and yet , placing a hand on its scorched soil, it crumbles to dust. The earth is subtle, unlike us or other animals, it remains somewhat silent, even when in pain.

 

A treasury of mineral resources , The Atacama has attracted mining industries for decades. Today, as the population increases, the demand for resources grows. 

 

We believe that we are shifting to more electrical- ‘ecological’- power sources,  

however, in reality these intense rhythms of extraction have allowed the creation of additional grounds for lithium mining. In turn this allows highly exploitative, water demanding industries to abuse the earth to its core without regulation.

 

Despite this, a rich ecosystem survives.

 

This is as a result of the knowledge of indigenous communities who fight to protect our planet. 

 

The community of Coyo lives in an Oasis, which they cultivate.  On protected land, they not only maintain the ecosystem but also study new, more respectful ways of using the earth’s resources. 

 

Today’s high demand is met with innovative thinking, as well as a true consciousness and gratefulness for the Earth.  We can only consume with steadiness.

 

‘The Driest Place on Earth’ is an exhibition of parallels. Contrasting environments, temperatures and bodies meet on the same earth.  The work searches the space that exists between the sourcing and consumption of our products. It is in that space that the disconnection between individuals and the Earth becomes most apparent. 

 

There is something unreachable, untranslatable about the desert. Rather than observed and documented, it is to be felt.

 

Like the desert, this work aspires to be more than solely observed. It forges a space, where one can mediate on our role within the anthropocene. Where each viewer can feel and respond to their relationship with the earth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

       

          

Artist and Curator 

Elise Guillaume with the support of La Wayaka Current and the community of Coyo, was privileged to reside three weeks in the Atacama desert to research and develop the work which has led to this exhibition. Deeply concerned with the current state of the environment, she explores industries which exploit Nature- such as the mining or the fishing industry. Her process involves visiting, sometimes infiltrating sites for research and development. As a young woman, she notices similarities between the treatment of Nature and women, leading her to explore this strong relationship between body and Nature. Through photography and audiovisual mediums, she finds links in between these places to create contrasting narratives. Elise is a 2018 graduate from Goldsmiths University and has exhibited internationally. She was selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2019 where her work is currently exhibited at the York Art Gallery until 14/7/2019. 

Hattie Godfrey is a London based artist, curator and writer.  Having watched Elise's work shape and grow whilst studying art alongside her at Goldsmiths, Hattie recognised  a mutual drive to create work that reflects on the earth as an organism, a body, as well as question the psychological relationship between our own bodies and the earth's.  Concerned with environmental sustainability, artist wellbeing and the use of film as collage, Hattie and Elise forged a strong friendship which now serves as the basis for an exciting working relationship.

Hattie's own work spans performance, installation, film and writing. It endeavours to create a visual language for describing episodes of personal and collective psychological and physical trauma. Each work is like a diagram, unpacking a single moment until it is fully understood or fully exhausted.  Days are spent illustrating the link between the way her father takes his tie off and his succeeding mood. A small book is written about why the presence of canapés make her anxious. What emerges is a surreal yet detailed catalog of human experience and emotion. Of illness, of folly, of family and of humiliation. She recently exhibited 'Who Knows Why Prawns Go Barefoot' at De Pimlico Project, is currently writing a feature film about adolescent cows and is doing a masters in Psychology in September 2019. 

© 2019 Hattie Godfrey