Renzo Martens' Institute for Human Activities was selected to participate in the 6th edition of the Artes Mundi biennial in Cardiff, Wales (24.10.2014 – 22.02.2015). The IHA is thus nominated for the Artes Mundi award, Britain’s biggest international contemporary art prize. The winner will be announced on January 22, 2015 during an awards ceremony in Cardiff.
From November 22 to February 22 the Institute for Human Activities is part of the exhibition Confessions of the Imperfect, curated by Alistair Hudson and Steven ten Thije at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. The Institute for Human Activities will also tour to V2_ in 2015, details forthcoming.
At its upcoming exhibitions, the IHA will show a series of sculptures. Coinciding with the inaugural meeting of the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League, plantation workers such as Djonga Bismar, Mbuku Kipala, and others embarked on the production of elaborate self-portraits.
From IHA’s settlement in exile, these sculptures have been scanned and digitally exported to Europe. V2_ was a key production partner, working with designer Joris van Tubergen to develop 3D printed versions of the sculptures from the scans. These 3D prints were used to create molds used by the award-winning Dutch Pastry Team to cast these self-portraits in the very cocoa that League members have produced for global markets for the last century.
At Artes Mundi and the Van Abbemuseum, their chocolates will be for sale, – but with added content: feelings, ideas, convictions. For the very first time, the sculptures will generate revenue for Congolese plantation workers through a more lucrative post-Fordist, affective economy. As these plantation workers cannot live off plantation labour, they will now live off artistic engagement with plantation labour. The self-portraits are made possible by Barry Callebaut, the leading Franco - Belgian chocolate producer.
On 21 November 2014, De Volkskrant published an article on this project: Niet kunnen leven van de cacao, maar wel van de chocolade.