Maarten Vanden Eynde

On-Trade-Off is an artistic trajectory initiated by the artists' initiatives Picha (DRC) and Enough Room for Space (BE). Together with a public program, the exhibition On-Trade-Off: La contrepartie shows works by Sammy Baloji, Marjolijn Dijkman, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Musasa, Jean Katambayi, Georges Senga and Daddy Tshikaya. The starting point for the research project On-Trade-Off is the raw material lithium. A naturally occurring element (number three on the periodic table), lithium is currently considered to be ‘the new black gold’ because of its crucial role in the global transition towards a ‘green and fossil fuel free economy’. Focusing on this one chemical element (Li3) allows the project to zoom in on particular social, ecological, economic and political phenomena that characterize the production processes currently experiencing rapid growth.These phenomena show striking similarities with production chains as we have known them since the start of triangular trade in the 16th century: inhumane labour in the exploitation and extraction processes; a perpetuated economic imbalance to maintain economic growth; uninformed end consumers who are unaware of both the devastating production chain behind the goods they have purchased and their afterlife in the sense that a recycling scheme is lacking. For this exhibition, Centre Culturel Jean Cocteau is working together with Cargo in Context in Amsterdam, The Netherlands to co-produce some of the works. The exhibition is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Paris, France.

Research in process
The project is designed as a collaborative research by a (still growing) group of visual artists and will result in a series of new (collaborative) art works, reflective texts and (educational) working materials. While each of the participants approaches On-Trade-Off from his or her own artistic interests and medium, their works will sprout from collectively developed knowledge and research material around the subject, to be used as open source / shared materials, introducing a more sustainable method of (art) production.

On-Trade-Off offers a platform for transdisciplinary knowledge, that thanks to its holistic approach, will help to better understand the processes that shape(d) our current world. To elaborate this narrative and create long-term spin-offs, the project will seek the collaboration with a multitude of people and organizations from different backgrounds: visual artists, cultural producers, local communities, NGOs, filmmakers, thinkers, activists, computer engineers, designers either living in the location and connected to the world, or people engaged in this complex and global issue of environmental change. In the course of three years (2019-2021), On-Trade-Off will be developed and presented in various places, formats and contexts, each presentation focusing on different parts of the storyline.

Involved: Sammy Baloji (BE/DRC), Jean-Pierre Bekolo (FR/CM), Alexis Destoop (AU/BE), Marjolijn Dijkman (BE/NL), Gulda El Magambo (DRC), Femke Herregraven (NL), Jean Katambayi (DRC), Frank Mukunday (DRC) & Trésor Tshibangu (DRC), Musasa (DRC), Georges Senga (NL/DRC), Daddy Tshikaya (DRC), Maarten Vanden Eynde (BE)

Financial support: Contour Biennale 9; Digital Earth Fellowship (Hivos Fund); Cargo in Context; Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF); Thami Mnyele Foundation; De Brakke Grond, Mondriaan Fund, Z33, and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Paris, France.

Presentations of On-Trade-Off: Picha, Lubumbashi, DRC (2018 - 2019); 9th Contour Biennale, Mechelen, BE (2019); Gallery Imane Farès, Paris, FR (2019); La Colonie, Paris, FR (2019); Enough Room for Space, BE (2019); Cargo in Context, Amsterdam, NL (2019); De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, NL (2019); 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, DRC (2019).

Involved producers: arp: / Katrien Reist and Julia Reist

Curator On-Trade-Off film programs: Rosa Spaliviero