magic as political practice

Exhibition Sensitive topographies Wallonie Bruxelles Center brings together six photographers who rethink the way we live in the city and bring us closer to the environment until February 12. Each uses magic as a political weapon to construct a new narrative of reality to imagine the afterlife.
The exhibition presents photo stories by Téo Becher & Solal Israel, Bertrand Cavalier, Lucas Castel & Mathilde Mahoudeau and Alice Pallot. Sensitive topographies enroll in the program Trouble party#Cosmogonies speculative, Offered by Wallonie Bruxelles Center in Paris. The event aims to give voice to artists who speak new worlds. Delving into realistic utopias, questioning our relationship with the environment, and promoting different narratives that can transform reality—what American philosopher Starhawk defines as “political magic.” According to the ecofeminist author, the thought and practice of magic, understood as a series of community rituals, allows for political change. By channeling our collective energies, we can seize utopias to break out of the immobilizing pessimism of our age. In the Anthropocene and Capitalocene, these photographers look at the question of habitation and commonality. Confronted with the destruction of nature, the destruction of ecosystems by extractivist industrial methods, and facing ecocides, the exhibition invites us to answer an important question: what kind of people do we want to be? Will we passively accept the fate that capitalism has in store for our generation, or will we succeed in changing reality with the power of new stories and dreams?

© Alice Pallot

Open paths to re-enchant the world

In the 1970s and 1980s, Starhawk fought with her ecofeminist sisters to get the American government to stop destroying nature in favor of, among other things, the construction of nuclear power plants. In his masterpiece dream the dark the philosopher recounted the victorious struggle to sabotage the construction of the Diablo Canyon power plant. Demonstrators managed to dissuade the authorities by peacefully occupying the territory and using community rituals such as the spiral dance, fueled by neopagan beliefs. One example among many others of the magical experience of politics.

Photographers of the exhibition in the Anthropocene era, where dystopia is the only story Sensitive topographies proposes to rehabilitate utopia as an active projection of a new world. Far from being a plan, this concept is important for the formation of a general vision and the construction of new social structures. Thus, these artists invite us to look around delicately, to reveal hidden realities. We explore Belgium’s Lommel desert, a dirty but resilient landscape, painted by Alice Pallot. Bertrand Cavalier reveals the fragile beauty of the devastated villages of the Pyrenees, reflecting on the duration and remains of the disastrous city. Finally, Téo Becher and Solal Israel reveal phantasmagorical visions of nature by capturing the memories of people struck by lightning. “By revealing the scope and uncertainties of our living environment, by evoking possible forms of sustainability, by emphasizing the relationship of interdependence between landscape and human activity rather than confrontation, and with their poetic images of attitude, their connection to the present, the exhibiting photographers explore possible ways to re-enchant the world.” contributes to the opening, the formation of more favorable futures for life, the renewal of alliances and cooperation between living beings.Ariane Skoda, curator of the event, concludes.

© left Alice Pallot, right. Bertrand Cavalier

© Lucas Castel & Mathilde Mahudeau

© Theo Bécher & Solal Israel

Opening image: © Alice Pallot

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