At the closing weekend of the 2019 Venice Biennale editors Marina Velez and Rosanna Greaves launched the latest publication ROAR (now available for one week at the pre-publication price then at the usual price of £15). There was a fantastic turnout at the Ivory Coast Pavilion despite the floods.

ROAR is a new publication edited by Rosanna Greaves and Marina Velez. This 270-page curated book-work explores how artistic and aesthetic strategies address notions of sustainability. ROAR invited a selection of artists, curators, writers and academics to respond to broad issues around sustainability, such as the Anthropocene, ecology, land and borders, human and non-human relationships, notions of work, energy and time, and the creation and distribution of knowledge.

Contributors are: Maria Rebbeca Ballestra with Camilla Boemio / Fiona Parry / Kai Lossgott / Angelika Boeck and Uli Aigner / Michael Hrebeniak / Lisa Wilkens / Marina Velez / Rosanna Greaves and Tom Greaves / Kelcy Davenport, Nawrast Sabah, Abd Alwahab, Sally Stenton and Sarah Strachan / Stefano Cagol with M.I Franklin, Luba Kuzovnikova, Alessandro Castiglioni and Iara Boubnova. 

The title of the book, ROAR, refers to both a primordial expression and a voice that demands, and deserves to be heard. The title encapsulates the essential questions of the book: what happens when nature, landscape, animals and humans are deprived of their own voice?  Nature and landscapes talk to us non-verbally, but only if we listen. Animals and other non-humans use language, although we often fail to hear or understand. Some humans are also disenfranchised and lack a voice. But together, their ROAR of frustration and horror is increasingly making itself heard.

This is a curated artists book: a space for curation, practice, critically-engaged art commissions and scholarly essays. The striking visual design of ROAR (by Klara Foldys of Foldys Designs) actively considers the space of the page and its potential for bringing together academic writing, image and text. This is an integrated research, promoting collaboration and cross-disciplinary discussion and creative experiment. Overlapping, linked, mapped and layered images and text use the page to explorations of the complexity of sustainability: What are the indicators that point out when labour turns to exploitation? At what point does the survival of one species mean the extinction of another? How can we tell the history of those who have no voice? How can energy be used as a positive and transgressive metaphor that infiltrates and crosses borders? 

The conversation has only just begun, but climate change, pollution, and the increasingly strident year-zero scenarios and doomsday science underline an inescapable urgency.

There is no time for rhetoric detours or for spins of the mind and procrastinations of the soul. ROAR is an urgent, raw, poetic and multi-faceted contribution to this complex and troubled conversation.

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Designed by Klara Foldys

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