Book presentation & film screening
Oliver Ressler: Barricading the Ice Sheets


Book presentation & film screening
Oliver Ressler, Barricading the Ice Sheets (vol. 27 of n.b.k. Ausstellungen). Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, 2023.

The artist in conversation with Reinhard Braun

26.9.2023, 6pm
Exhibition space Camera Austria
in German language
Free admission

Oliver Ressler: Barricading the Ice Sheets


Since the mid-1990s, Oliver Ressler has been pursuing and documenting activistic movements across the world in areas related to social issues, work, the environment, and the climate. Indeed, he starts from the premise that documenting a movement contributes to its development, and that there is no such thing as a neutral point of view. Evoking the method of participatory action research, he works together with the activists, rather than observing them from the outside. From 2019 to 2023 he carried out—with the support of Lisbeth Kovačič—the research project Barricading the Ice Sheets, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF: AR 526). The main project focus is placed on climate justice movements and on forms of collective organizing.
An exhibition by the same name was shown in 2021–23 at Camera Austria and various other venues, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (HR), n.b.k. – Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (DE), Tallinn Art Hall (EE), LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón (ES), and The Showroom, London (GB). In early 2020, the publication Barricading the Ice Sheets: Artists and Climate Action in the Age of Irreversible Decision was released by Edition Camera Austria, accompanying a symposium conceived as part of the project and hosted by Camera Austria. Now, with the project coming to a close, another book has been published, which provides extensive documentation of the project activity.

We would like to take this opportunity to speak with Oliver Ressler about issues related to mobilization and repression, the role of art in the context of activism, but also about the forms of representation that global movements take. Three years after the project was initiated, we are now also reexamining the very questions that made Barricading the Ice Sheets a pivotal project for Camera Austria in the year 2020: What role do art organizations play in the scope of climate justice movements? How can art organizations maintain their exhibition spaces as political spaces, as spaces of politicization? In the context of the discussion, Oliver Ressler’s most recent film, Ancestral Future Rising (2023), will be shown: ““For as long as we let capital hothouse / Surplus value on a superheated planet / Business as usual will go on . . . .” . . . .”