FLEETING TERRITORIES

We are living in an age of a “great transition”, a liminal stage, paved with planetary causal crises, when conflicts are often answered with risk mitigation in order to sustain long standing linear narratives like economic growth. This transition generates new (more permeable and fragile) spatial concepts and new planetary challenges—this is the working hypothesis of the multipart project Fleeting Territories, which investigates temporalities and processes of spatialization where we can speak of these moments of transition. How and where can society’s vulnerabilities be identified in territorial strategies? Where are the spatial counterparts? Where are the limits of the paradigm of capital and where is local, activist knowledge necessary?

                    

Since 2015 Grammar of Urgencies has been working on the project series Fleeting Territories, which has appeared in different forms and with methodological approaches: Fleeting Territories. An Exercise (2016, 2017) together with artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber; Fleeting Territories. Exhibition (2017); Fleeting Territories. Mapping Malta (2018) together with artists Sabine Bitter, Helmut Weber and researcher Jonatan Habib Engqvist; Fleeting Territories. A Revue. (2019-2020; Debatable Land(s). Exhibition (2020) with Margerita Pule/Unfinished Art Space and Greta Muscat Azzopardi.

 

For us “territory” represents a concept in which transformation processes can be inscribed - processes that we are confronted by in ever-faster intervals and, in a certain sense, already exhibit many declensions of fleetingness. While “fleeting” is often associated with danger, crisis, or something a system must be preserved or protected from, territory—as an artefact and product of overlapping interests—seems to afford legitimization for actions that counteract the fleeting. In the combination of “fleeting” and “territory”, for us spatial coordinates are not viewed simply as stable or even fixed values, rather they aid in the identification of visible and invisible changes in cities, landscapes and human interconnectivity. Rights, law, politics, economy, but also emotions play a central role in the appropriation of territories within wayward factors such as climate change, neocolonialism, utopias, and mythologies. Which materialities and regimes of spatial, site-specific, and landscape concepts can be inferred? Which artistic tools can be employed to measure them?