This freewheeling conversation between Artist Sahjan Kooner and Architect and Academic Anthony Acciavatti will explore the relationships between histories of architecture, ecologies, and environmental and social relations in North Indian Villages and more.
The conversation will be hosted by Elisabeth Del Prete, Senior Curator at UP Projects who are one of the co-commissioners of dankEconogy1_ALIENVillage.
Anthony Acciavatti works at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and the history of science and technology. He is interested in experimental forms of scholarship, pedagogy, and design afforded by humanistic inquiry. He is the author of Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (Applied Research & Design, 2015), which is the first comprehensive mapping and environmental history of the Ganges River Basin in over half a century. He spent a decade hiking, driving, and boating across the Ganges to map it and to understand the historical conflicts over water for drinking, agriculture, and industry. Combining fieldwork with archival research, the book is an atlas of the enterprise to transform the Ganges into the most hyper-engineered landscape in the world. In 2016 Ganges Water Machine was awarded the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize.
Along with the book, Acciavatti designed his own instruments to map the choreography of soils, cities, and agriculture across the Ganges River basin. In 2023 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London acquired these instruments, along with his drawings and photographs, for the permanent collection. His work has been exhibited at the Milan Triennial, biennials in Venice, Seoul, Rotterdam, Quito, as well as at the Nehru Science Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, and Columbia University.
Building on nearly two decades worth of research, Acciavatti currently leads Ganges Lab at Collaborative Earth. Composed of a trans-disciplinary group of scientists, engineers, and designers, the lab is developing new forms of civic infrastructure that integrates the rhythms of the monsoons with urban growth and agricultural production.
He is currently Diana Balmori Assistant Professor at Yale University. Find out more about Anthony HERE
Elisabeth Del Prete (she/her) is an Italian/British curator with over 12 years’ experience working in the contemporary art field in a variety of roles. As Senior Curator (Learning and Live Research) at UP Projects in London, Elisabeth oversees the public programmes and leads on Constellations, the annual development programme for socially engaged artists and curators in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and Flat Time House. She also leads the 2024-26 public art commission with a number of national partners and collaborates with Eastside Projects on ALIENVillage by Sahjan Kooner co-commissioned by UP Projects. In 2019 Elisabeth was co-curator of the 12th Kaunas Biennial in Lithuania, and her curatorial projects have appeared in art organisations including Barbican, Flat Time House, ICA, Art Night, Emalin Gallery, Christie’s, Wright, South London Gallery, Cubitt, Suprainfinit Gallery and Royal College of Art (RCA). Elisabeth has spoken at a number of UK-based art organisations including CCA Brighton, Chisenhale Studios, SPACE Studios and Plus Tate. She holds a BA in History of Art from Goldsmiths (2008), an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from RCA (2017) and participated in the Clore Leadership Pulse programme in 2021.
Sahjan Kooner is an amalgamation of inherited worlds and speculative futures. Using video and installation, they create expansive worlds that explore the traces of love, hope and imagination that make our lives possible, along with examining a debris of questions around the technological, social, and racialised structures that augment life. They live and work in Wolverhampton.
Sahjan has been working with Eastside Projects as an Incidental Artist across the last 18 months developing this multi-stranded project through workshops and collaborations with artists, their mom, technologists, bioscientists, school children, communities with Punjabi heritage, ceramicists and Eastside Projects.