Marit Mihklepp, artist-in-residency at Maison Malina, in collaboration with Meredith Root-Bernstein.
Organised by Leonardo/OLATS in Paris.
11th – 25th April 2022
Marit Mihklepp is an Estonian artist, currently based in The Netherlands. She holds a MA degree of ArtScience (Royal Academy of Art, The Hague) and a BA degree of Textile Design (Estonian Academy of Arts). Her practice is driven by the aim to bring more-than-human perspectives on an equal level with human experience.
In collaboration with Meredith Root-Bernstein, Mikhlepp's aim during the two-week residency was to explore the mound, heaps and piles of Paris and their complements, pits, holes and depressions. Mounds and heaps are "treasure boxes" for archaeologists, but also for ethnobiologists and conservation specialists. Between "archive" and "instrument of life evolution", these piles and heaps were at the heart of their collaboration. They disseminated their research process at Alone or in Mound? a LASER event in Paris, in April 2022.
Mounds, heaps, and piles, and their complements, pits, holes and depressions, are the most primordial form of technique or technology. Accumulations make possible new materialities, affordances, and interactions. The making of concentrations in space is a condition for the evolution of life, and all of ecology can be described as moving and reshuffling piles of things. The mound, heap, or pile, is also an epistemological object: it is an archive.
During the residency, Marit Mihklepp and Meredith Root-Bernstein approached these ‘large piles of something’ both with field work practices from both ecological and artistic perspectives: We start with finding and mapping specific mounds, writing field notes, perhaps making our own mound. In the process we will be asking questions: what kind of knowledge are you an archive of? What kind of movements are you holding? How did you get here? How would you make me part of you?
Meredith Root-Bernstein is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist with a PhD in Ecology and several years' experience working with human geographers and anthropologists. Ethnobiologist, ecologist, conservation scientist, and CNRS researcher at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, her research focuses on conservation and restoration of anthropogenic mediterranean-climate socio-ecological systems.
Images courtesy of artists and by Annick Bureaud