GardenShip and State




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Museum London



Peer reviewed



GardenShip and State is an artistic research project conceived at the intersection of environmental critique, decolonial theory, and artistic practice. It is motivated by timely questions: How can widespread environmental issues be approached democratically, to address complex and often competing claims by differing communities? Can art broaden awareness and stimulate individual and collective agency in the face of urgent environmental and colonial problems? GardenShip examines urgent issues confronting us, particularly climate change and global warming, and the measures states and non-state actors can, or should, take to resolve them. These important issues are of global concern because local actions and global effects are intertwined, as evidenced by the deleterious effects of environmental degradation on the lives of colonized peoples.

The GardenShip project is guided by two important objectives: to address the complex entanglement of socio-cultural and ecological issues, particularly in relation to climate change and global warming, by using art's imaginative and participatory methods; and to examine the effectiveness of art-as-research in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

Three important topics shape the conceptual framework guiding the research: 1) The notion that we are living in the Anthropocene (in a period of human-induced climate change). 2) The necessity that decolonial critiques and practices must be used to expand our responses to the Anthropocene. 3) The idea that artistic practice is creative research that produces and mobilizes knowledge and understanding. GardenShip is a logical extension of projects led by artists Jeff Thomas, Patrick Mahon and the project’s other collaborators that used contemporary art to address the impact of colonialism and environmental problems. A fundamental premise of the project’s first objective is that artists make innovative contributions to research, using imaginative and experiential means. By suggesting different ways of conceiving important issues (creating so-called “imaginative propositions”), art can elicit unforeseen questions. Since questions drive research, art will play a fundamental role in GardenShip, both in the form of artworks as the outcome of research, and in conversations between scholars and artists where art is the catalyst. GardenShip’s second objective, the reflexive examination of art's effectiveness, will provide valuable information to others who wish to use art to make research widely available.




Kasumovic, M. (2021) GardenShip and State. [Exhibition]. Museum London, Ontario. October 2021 - January 2022.


Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design