PICCOLE INVASIONI MALTHUSIANE

Marguerite Kahrl, Little Malthusian Invasions
curated by Ilaria Bonacossa and Marco Scotini with Anna Lovecchio
Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, in collaboration with PAV – Parco Arte Vivente, Torino

Villa Croce presents Little Malthusian Invasions, a solo show of Marguerite Kahrl that features two bodies of work by the American artist: the ongoing Noble Savages series of drawings, sculptures and videos in addition to a selection of relational objects from Con MOI, a collaborative project developed in the area of the former Olympic village in Turin. For the opening day a performance On nature of matter will take place during which the artist will be constructing a sculpture accompanied by the sound ‘objects’ created by the composer Giuseppe Gavazza.

Marked by a longtime commitment to political activism, the artistic research of Marguerite Kahrl is deeply influenced by the principles of permaculture, a philosophy of land use and design, conceived in the 1970s, which proposes sustainable models of growth based on resilience, complexity, and the self-regulating balance found in natural ecosystems. The ethics of close observation of nature and earth care are embraced by the artist as a radical alternative to the dominant mechanisms of exploitation and consumption that cause waste, excess, and destruction in the contemporary world.

Marguerite Kahrl, ‘NS49B’, (2014), 60 x 46 x 32 cm
Hemp, linen, batting, thread, wood and stuffing.
Marguerite Kahrl, ‘Malthusian Matter, the ecology of little invasions’, NS31b, (2015)
1’30” directed by: Marguerite Kahrl, music by: Giuseppe Gavazza, video: Marco Mion titles: Seungjun Jeong

The subjects of her video series entitled ‘Malthusian Matter, the ecology of little invasions’ are Kahrl’s Noble Savages, soft busts representing grotesque characters, halfway between tender and monstrous, whose iconography is derived from Los Caprichos by Francisco Goya, the renowned series of etchings published in 1799 as a critique to the decline of reason and the widespread corruption at the end of the Enlightenment. The title makes reference to the expression originally coined by the English poet John Dryden (1631-1700) and made famous by J.J. Rousseau (1712-1778) who idealized the “noble savage” in the state of nature as an innately pure and good human being, uncontaminated by civilization.

Except for the recent bronze casts, Kahrl’s sculptures are made with hemp, linen, and cotton, natural elements that are connected to the history and the environment of the Cavanese area where the artist has been living since 2002. The hemp plant has played a major role in the economic development of the region where it has been cultivated to provide textiles, paper, oil, building materials, and animal feed. The distinctive expressive qualities of the hemp fabrics, raw but also soft to the touch and durable, confer an aura of domesticity and resilience to the hand-sewn puppets, playful hybrid creatures placed on slender pedestals that, as Lucy Lippard observes, “illuminate the eternal contradictions of the human condition.”

The exhibition also includes videos, a timeline and relational objects realized within the Con MOI project, an informal group of migrants and Italian citizens engaged with a range of practices, from sharing time and food to activating forms of reciprocal attention, aimed at forging a supportive community. The group is named after the MOI, the former Mercato Ortofrutticolo all’Ingrosso (wholesale fruit and vegetable market), where the prefabricated structures built for the 2006 Winter Olympics are presently occupied by over a thousand refugees from different geographical origins. Thanks to Kahrl and other participants, the Con MOI group addresses the criticalities of such a context by setting in motion relational strategies that promote food-sharing as well as the transformation from the redistribution of material and cultural resources.

Members of Con MOI create self-portraits by transforming donated fabric into hand-sewn sculptures – Mini MOI. 

Care Beyond Crises

Shifting Degrees of Uncertainty

By Design or by Disaster Conference, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.

17 – 19 December 2020 (7×7 format)

Marguerite Kahrl, Co-founder of Permaculture for Refugees

The conference Care Beyond Crisis addressed coping with crises through care. Care as a way of leading beyond crises by means of coping practices and a transformation approach.

Permaculture Design Course for Syrian Refugee women in Turkey, a project of P4R

Climate change, war, and natural disasters mean that people will be forced to flee from their homes and seek sanctuary more than ever. People, materials, and methods are required to convey the means to manage, scale-up applications, and learn to support vulnerable communities and those living in crowded environments. It is to be expected that Informal settlements will be on the rise.

As a group of experienced practitioners, the collective Permaculture for Refugees (P4R) is united in the belief that permaculture can address the systemic relationship between economic collapse, degraded habitats, loss of the relationship between people, and food security. We became convinced that training refugees in permaculture could offer a springboard to gain confidence and access other long-term social and economic integration opportunities.


Food for crowded populations in an uncertain and compromised future

Northern Real Farming Conference
Permaculture for Refugees (P4R)
Panelists: Rowe Morrow and Marguerite Kahrl
Sep 30, 2020, 10:30 am –12:00 pm

The conference focused on just and sustainable farming and food systems in the North of England and Scotland. Run in partnership with @foodfutures and Oxford Real Farming Conference.

Against a background of uncertainty, and possibly cascading disasters, this panel provides a changed perspective for permaculture regenerative practices applicable to a range of variables and contexts.
 Permaculture is often used in rural settings, which don’t reflect the reality for the majority of the world’s population. This is set against an uncertain and rapidly changing world.
Working with refugees, P4R has gained experience in ways of life that are, unfortunately, likely to become common. With mass migration, crowded settlements will become a new norm in urban and rural areas compounded by economic collapse, global warming, and possibly further pandemics.
 Permaculture has the potential through its relevance to local bioregions and knowledge, and, working through principles to meet their needs. Facing an uncertain future requires people, materials, and methods to convey these to vulnerable communities and those living in crowded environments to the point where they can manage and scale up the learning and applications themselves.

Coordinated by @lessuk

Meet, Share, Inspire

International Conference of Good Practices on Refugee Protection, Ankara, Turkey

25th September 2019

Organized by Support to Life (STL), Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH), with support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Marguerite Kahrl taught Syrian refugee women in Turkey and here talks about the follow-up outreach she has been involved in:

This spring, I co-taught a PDC for Syrian Refugee women in Turkey with Rowe Morrow and Francesca Simonetti, in the capacity of Permaculture for Refugees. I returned to Ankara, Turkey later in the year to present the Permaculture for Refugees (P4R) project as a lecturer and panelist for the conference, ‘Meet, Share, Inspire: International Conference of Good Practices on Refugee Protection’.

Particular focus was placed on the PDC course which P4R held for Syrian Refugee women in Cesme, Turkey. Francesca Simonetti and Rafif Jijeh were also participants in the conference, thanks to the support of an American family foundation. Rafif, one of the few refugees present, had the opportunity to take the stage and give her testimony of the course to an audience of government ministers, conference participants, and NGOs supporting best practices.

Members of P4R: Francesca, Rafif, and Marguerite