'Charging Tesla Crash, a speculation' by Sammy Baloji, Daddy Tshikaya, Jean Katambayi and Marjolijn Dijkman at the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale, DRC, 2019 (Photo: Uriel Urlow)

On Trade Off presentation, Jean Cocteau Cultural centre, Paris, France (2020)

Le Vide by Georges Senga and Earthing Dischange by Marjolijn Dijkman, Cargo in Context, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2019 (Photo: Aatjan Renders)

Maarten Vanden Eynde & Jean Katambayi, presenting at Digitial Earth conference in Dubai, UE (2019)

Kombo ya Sika by Georges Senga and maquette of Tesla Crash by Sammy Baloji, Daddy Tshikaya and Jean Katambayi, On-Trade-Off- Green Gold, Imane Fares Gallery, Paris, France, 2019

'Tesla Crash, a speculation' (maquette) by Sammy Baloji, Daddy Tshikaya and Jean Katambayi, with 'Material Matters', by Musasa and Maarten Vanden Eynde, Contour Biennale, Mechelen, Belgium, 2019 (Photo: Georges Senga)

Musasa explaining Material Matters by Musasa and Maarten Vanden Eynde, Picha residency, Lubumbashi, DRC, 2018 (Photo: Alain Nsenga)

Ongoing since 2018

On-Trade-Off

Experimental research project

Tesla logo & mining hammer (part of research by Georges Senga)


Initiated by:
 Picha (Lubumbashi, DRC) and Enough Room for Space (Brussels, BE)

Involved so far:  Sammy Baloji (2018-2019), Alexis Destoop, Marjolijn Dijkman, Gulda El Magambo, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Femke Herregraven, Jean Katambayi, Dorine Mokha, Musasa, Alain Nsenga, Georges Senga, Daddy Tshikaya (2018-2019), Pamela Tulizo, Maarten Vanden Eynde

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

Upcoming Presentations: Z33 in Hasselt, BE (2022); Framer Framed in Amsterdam, NL (2022-2024)

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Artistic Coordination Picha: Georges Senga, Jean Katambayi
Artistic Coordination ERforS: Marjolijn Dijkman, Maarten Vanden Eynde
Editorial Team: Lotte Arndt, Oulimata Gueye
Involved producers: arp: / Katrien Reist, Julia Reist
Production at Picha: Céline de Laissardière
Logistics at Picha: Gabriele Salmi
Fundraiser: Annette Wolfsberger
Curator film programs: Rosa Spaliviero

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Financial support: Digital Earth Fellowship (Hivos Fund); Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF); Thami Mnyele Foundation; De Brakke Grond, Mondriaan Fund.

On-Trade-Off is an ongoing artistic-research project that reflects on environmental and economic implications of the extraction and processing of Lithium, the main raw material needed for the global production of ‘green energy’.

Focusing on this one naturally occurring element (Li3), allows the project to zoom in on particular social, ecological, economic and political phenomena that characterize the production processes that are currently in full development in the global transition towards a ‘green’ and fossil fuel free economy.

These phenomena show striking similarities with production chains as we have known them since the start of triangular trade in the 16th century: inhumane labor during the exploitation and extraction activities; a perpetuated economic imbalance to maintain economic growth; uninformed end-consumers that are unaware of both the devastating production process that led to their purchased wholesale goods, and their afterlife, in the sense of a lacking recycling scheme.

Exploring and exposing the full production chain around Lithium enables On-Trade-Off to connect the seemingly independent processes of material extraction, transportation and transformation that sustain this recurring misbalance.

Research in process

The project is designed as a collaborative research activity by a (still growing) group of visual artists and critical thinkers that results 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 interest and specialism, looking at different raw materials, the history of electricity, market speculation, or social and economic inequality, their works come about 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. This so-called ‘Banque Collectif’ exists both physically, consisting of books and objects, and digital, as a collection of articles and other source material that are accessible online, bringing to light the undervalued global interdependence and interconnectedness.

On-Trade-Off constructs a platform for transdisciplinary knowledge that, through its holistic and inclusive approach, aims to better understand the processes that shape(d) the world we live in. To enrich this narrative and create long-term spin-offs, collaboration with a multitude of people and organizations from different backgrounds is established, ranging from visual artists, cultural producers, local communities, NGOs, film makers, thinkers, activists, engineers and designers that are engaged in these complex global issues.

On-Trade-Off is developed and presented in various places, formats and contexts, each presentation focusing on different parts of the storyline.

After several meetings in residencies in 2018, a first series of public presentations started within the framework of Contour Biennale 9 in Mechelen (curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez), travelled to la Colonie and galerie Imane Fares in Paris, and afterwards to Cargo in Context and De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale in Lubumbashi, and the Jean-Cocteau Cultural Centre in Paris.

It will continue to Z33 in Hasselt, BE (Feb - Aug 2022) and Framer Framed in Amsterdam, NL (2022-2024). We are currently in dialogue with other international partners.