Land, Besitz und Commons

© Gisela Erlacher

Abdelrahman Elbashir, Planting a Stone, 2021, (Aktion während der Eröffnung)

Abdelrahman Elbashir, Planting a Stone, 2021, (Aktion während der Eröffnung)

Milica Tomić (1)
Flowers (Not) Worthy of Paradise, 2021
Installation with pots and plants

Semmering is more than just a backdrop. When we look at the landscape, we see overlapping motifs. The nature surrounding Semmering is sublime, rich in history, resembling a postcard. In her work Flowers (Not) Worthy of Paradise, Milica Tomić explores the relationship between those who came and those who left. Who was forced to leave, and whose land was occupied? The installation revolves around gardens as a form of resistance against colonial barbarism and enforced acculturation. Tomić directs our gaze beyond Semmering toward the world.
At the invitation of Milica Tomic, Abdelrahman Elbashir performed “Planting a Stone during the opening of the exhibition Land, Property and Commons: he buried a boundary stone in a meadow. The background of Elbashir’s performance is his research about the materialized emergence of the political from the agricultural landscape in contemporary Sudan through histories of relational systems in the context of the British occupational rule. The act performed on Semmering draws attention to the 1953 British film "They Planted a Stone," and its depiction of "the arrival of the first European man the local people have ever seen plants a marker stone.' That moment marked the beginning of a new epoch of rapid change, that transformed the Gezira plain in central Sudan with the largest irrigated agricultural scheme in Africa. The performance was an instrument to read the history of Semmering as a history of human intervention in a landscape, and moments of arrival that marks the beginnings of its transformation through elements dispersed on it. A. Elbashir’s work will be exhibited in the “Annenstrasse 53” in Graz as a part of the central exhibition in Semmering.
At the invitation of Milica Tomic, Anastasiia Kutsova prepared a contribution on aspects of the Ukrainian post-Soviet reality of communal gardens (ZHKH), which are embedded in the socialist housing complexes as "social forms“.

Tomić directs our gaze beyond Semmering toward the world. This was also explored by two of Tomić’s MA students from the TU Graz (Graz University of Technology) in their coursework: Anastasiia Kutsova shows how several aspects of post-soviet reality can be found in Ukrainian communal gardens (ZHKH) that are embedded in social structures, while Abdelrahman Elbahir’s research of agriculture in today’s Sudan unearths remnants of its colonial past. Elbahir’s work can be seen during the summer
months in the project space »Annenstraße 53« in Graz in connection with the Semmering project.

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