Abandon Normal Devices Festival - the UK's only roaming digital festival - resurfaces for 2021 taking you on an extraordinary journey reponding to the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey, taking place on docklands, on the water and through an expanded online programme of radical and disruptive artworks, film screenings, audioviisual performance, sound installation and talks. The programme follows the flows of shipping, energy and political power structures, from container ports on our doorsteps to the depths of the ocean floor; through ecosystems bound up with industrial chemicals, minerals and microplastics, to their effects on our planet, human and non-human bodies.
THE SEA COLLAPSED INTO THE PLEASURES OF SAND, is a GIF essay by Luiza Prado de O. Martins exploring boundaries, borders and interstices as sites of transition and transformation; liminal spaces where dimensions meet. Historically, in the brackish waters of the Mersey estuary, countless ships launched themselves toward the sea, animated by the Empire’s desire for domination and its insatiable hunger for bodies, human and non-human. Although imperceptible today, the Mersey estuary can be thought of as a birth canal to Modernity. The violence remains etched into this world, sacred waters and sacred lands saturated with the toxic waste of the Empire. This work explores how, in the unstable sites of salt marshes, wetlands, and intertidal zones, forms of queer life can also come into being.
One of three online artworks newly commissioned by ABANDON NORMAL DEVICES for TOXICITY’S REACH along with accompanying body of research, tracing how contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) exert agency over our lives in unexpected and lesser-known ways.
From micro-plastics to fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) are lively and leaky pollutants that contaminate waterways, eroding environmental and public health. Although invisible to the naked eye, micro-polluting chemicals are everywhere.
The River Mersey in Liverpool, England, is a prime example with a complex history of industrial pollution. In the 1970s, if someone had fallen into the river, locals would say that they would die of poisoning before they would drown. Today, despite highly effective clean up attempts tackling obvious ‘point sources’ of pollution, such as effluent and sewage, this renowned waterway has more microplastic in it than in the pacific garbage patch.
Luiza Prado de O. Martins is an artist, writer, and researcher whose work examines themes around fertility, herbal medicine, coloniality, gender, and race. She is part of the curatorial board of transmediale 2021, is a lecturer at the Institute for Art in Context at the University of the Arts Berlin, and an assistant professor and vice-director of the Centre for Other Worlds at the Lusófona University in Lisbon. She is also a founding member of the Decolonising Design collective.