Press Release

Convened by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht together with artist Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth is a project that inquires into the practice of ethically sharing the earth’ usufruct. Unfolding in three eponymous chapters, it consists of an exhibition with artworks by Arsanios; a publication on BAK’ online publishing forum Prospections, which functions as a public research and learning curriculum brought to life together with a federation of reading groups in Rotterdam, London, and Berlin; and a convention with artists, as well as other thinkers and social actors, gathering to share and learn on usufruct as a way of undoing property from the regimes of privatization that perpetually usurp the earth’ resources for the interests of a select few.



International exhibitions

International upcoming exhibitions

Usufructuaries of earth

BAK, Utrecht (The Netherlands)

07.03 - 02.06.2024




If indeed, within bourgeois justifications of property, the notion of usufruct is based on a connection between use and ownership—nd thus the understanding that they who “wn”or are granted use of a land will utilize it for capital gain or productivity—sufructuaries of earth proposes instead to reclaim its radical potential that grounds earth’ life over capital’. By learning with the existing practices of transgenerational using of earth while protecting it from exhaustion, depletion, and destruction, the project puts the question of individuated possession and unequal distribution of resources both into question and under pressure. Imagining and practicing usufructuaries as communal assemblages, Usufructuaries of earth echo Frantz Fanon’ call upon the wretched of the earth to rise up against imperialism and create a new, affirmative world that departs from the hypocrisies and violence of settler colonialism, neocolonialism, and capitalist exploitation.

Chapter one of the project—he exhibition with works by Arsanios—ncludes the work Falling is not collapsing, falling is extending (2016) and four films from the ongoing series entitled Who is Afraid of Ideology?, which began in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017. In dialogue with the film installations are works of various media—apestries, prints, drawings, archival material, and landfill models—hat foreground the artist’ ongoing inquiry into property and, in turn, the subversion of property regimes through shared practices of use. The second chapter includes a “low”reader on BAK’ online publishing forum Prospections that undergirds the project as an usufructuary of knowledges and turning the project’ research into a collective resource. These texts are both read and further assembled through a federated structure of reading groups in Rotterdam, London, and Berlin. This process leads to the convention to take place at BAK on 24 and 25 May 2024—hapter three of Usufructuaries of earth—rought to life to narrate, learn, and unpack the histories and potentials of usufruct in workshops and common discussions.

Summoned with an intense sense of urgency—iven that the world is drenched in wars and climate catastrophe, both of which are about greed for land while destroying earth’ generous offer—sufructuaries of earth calls on forms, tactics, and shared practices of “se”to think through, imagine, and embody a livable life in common with the earth. It seeks to throw regimes of private property—nd the financial and colonial logics that sustain them—nder pressure and into question by practicing forms of life that are driven by relational ethics of reciprocity and by nurturing for all.

Usufructuaries of earth has been conceptualized by Marwa Arsanios and BAK’ curator for research and publications Wietske Maas, in conversation with respective contributors to the project’ three chapters and the BAK team.

Exhibition 07 March - 02 June 2024. BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Pauwstraat 13a - 3512 TG Utrecht (The Netherlands). T +31 30 231 6125. Hours : Wednesday-Friday from 12.00 to 18.00





Usufructuaries of earth, BAK, Utrecht, The Netherlands

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2024 All Rights Reserved

Design: Sean van den Steenhoven. [2] Design: Marwan Kaabour, featuring Marwa Arsanios, Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part 4: Reverse Shot (stills), 2022. Video.

Design: Sean van den Steenhoven. [2] Design: Marwan Kaabour, featuring Marwa Arsanios, Who is Afraid of Ideology? Part 4: Reverse Shot (stills), 2022. Video.