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Talk | “Terragouging” with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson | Yeo Workshop | 21 Sept 2019

A talk between Maryanto whose practice, based in process and research, with an interest in environment, landscapes, can dovetail with interests of Matthew Schenider-Mayerson , Professor Assistant Professor of Social Sciences (Environmental Studies) at Yale-NUS College. Discussion topics include trends in climate change awareness movements, as well as how artists mediate the concepts and tackle hardships of the human environment using aesthetics and ultimately, optimism.

Maryanto’s research interest stems from his early encounters during his childhood with foreign corporations extracting resources from natural landscapes, leading to urbanization and the displacement of many Indonesians. Maryanto’s landscape works are a powerful critique of the exploitation of nature by mankind for resources, inspired by various locations he has visited. From his homeland in Yogyakarta to his residencies in Korea and the Netherlands, the artist conducts research by immersing himself at these various locations that inspired him to create his works. Each work becomes a narrative of what the artist has learnt through his interactions with the locals who passed down stories and myths about the particular location, or his own personal observations and encounters.


The artist will be sharing some photographic images and stories of the landscapes he has encountered during his residencies in Korea and Indonesia, as well as how he works at his studio back home as a kick-off point before delving into deeper discussions with Schneider-Mayerson about these landscapes and their respective research approaches to climate change. Some questions that the talk will be addressing are: how does the artist plan to expand his research and continue to find research points from, given that he has been painting about the environment for several years? How can he present an alternative paradigm to the mainstream media, corporate sustainability programmes or environmentalists in viewing these problems?

Maryanto and Schneider-Mayerson have previously collaborated on the latter’s book An Ecotopian Lexicon, that presents thirty novel terms that do not yet exist in the English language to envision ways of responding to the environmental challenges of our current generation. The artist contributed created an art work Terragouging (2018), in response to the “loanword” “terragouge” that is meant to be used as a verb to describe the effects of resource extraction, industrial farming, and urbanisation by humans on the Earth, transforming its natural environment. In this talk, they will be revisiting the term and discuss pressing issues about human impact on the environment in relation to Maryanto’s works and research at various residencies, and how it can raise the audience’s awareness to these issues. 

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About Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

Matthew Scneider-Mayerson is Assistant Professor of Social Sciences (Environmental Studies) at Yale-NUS College, where he teaches about environmental politics, energy, climate change, and environmental research. His research combines sociology, media studies, and literary criticism to explore the cultural, social and political dimensions of climate change, with a focus on climate justice. He is the author of Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture and co-editor of An Ecotopian Lexicon. He is also the founder of the “Fossilized in Houston” climate-art campaign, and is currently engaged in research projects on reproductive choices in the age of climate change; climate fiction; empirical ecocriticism; sea-level rise in Southeast Asia; and the environmental dimensions of life in Singapore.

Date: 20/09/2019