A labour of love
Textile, cardboard, sound
Sound installation in collaboration with Chlorys and Sofia Zadar
Location: Garrison Command
A labour of love (2023) is an artistic project whose research framework follows the work of women in post-socialist rural societies and their contribution to the process of social reproduction in these societies. Targeting a local geo-historical context, the project links domestic and agricultural work, elaborating on a materialist view of women's subordinate position as family members and workers. From class membership and the nuclear structure of the family to the contradictory relationship with the land and the environment, the installation A labour of love attempts to capture several aspects of women's process of socialisation and affirmation of their subjectivity.
At the same time, Anca Bucur's project brings into question the kinship that the historical definition of land and woman has facilitated. This connection has been justified by subsuming their nature and defining it as a common framework of existence, as opposed to culture. Today, their connection continues to manifest itself in the mechanisms by which their production is appropriated as a commodity and integrated into the process of labour reproduction.
The installation A labour of love also attempts to deconstruct both the idyllic, pastoral image and the image of underdevelopment and regression that public policies and discourses project onto the rural agricultural world. While they camouflage the power relationship between urban and rural, they also reduce the rural world to a homogeneous world, stuck in an imaginary time of the past, denying its contemporaneity. The large-scale reinforcement of the capitalist economy has increasingly penetrated the countryside, nurturing a peripheral status where social inequalities meet invasive agro-industrial practices.
Working with textiles that, in her childhood, women used to make out of old clothes or from the household linen to use later as cloths inside the household or in different agricultural jobs such as weeding vegetables, vines or flowers, Anca Bucur produces three textile juxtapositions of these jobs, accompanied by a wooden structure and a sound installation, which try to capture a specific political context. The title of the installation thus opens up questions: How much of women's work in agricultural societies continues to be kept invisible precisely because it is defined from the perspective of love and care as a natural duty and gender-specific responsibility? To what extent does their relationship to the land continue to be preserved as an expression of a unity of identity, but also as a manifestation of a similar contradiction?
Part of the materials used in the installation belonged to: Victoria Bucur, Elena Bucur, Stelica Săvulescu, Stancai Săvulescu, Ana Cocorăscu, Mioarei Ciorâcă, Loria Bucur.
Textiles, recycled aluminium, ceramics, video, 9:55 min
Location: Ștefania Palace
Corporeal Red is an artistic research project spanning approximately three years about the bauxite mining and aluminium production industry, focusing on the artificial bauxite waste lake located near the waters of the Danube Delta in Romania. Known as the main raw material for aluminium production, bauxite is brought to Romania from Sierra Leone. It is among the world's most mined minerals, especially in the resource-rich territories of the Global South, thanks to its extensive use in almost every economic sector, from military equipment to aircraft and car manufacturing to the food industry. Its refining residues are one of the most abundant industrial wastes worldwide and are known as sludge or red mud.
Using video-textiles, textiles and objects made of recycled aluminium and ceramics, Corporeal Red proposes a critical approach to the landscape of ruin and its social ecologies which it attempts to frame both in the regional context of eastern Europe and in a transnational context of the capitalist system. Proposing to bring into the sphere of visibility not only the ruin but also the precariousness of local geographies, Corporeal Red questions the history of the formation of hierarchical relations of the global political economy and how they influence the choice and establishment of areas of exploitation, production and settlement. In the wake of this universalising logic of commodification, land becomes the main resource for the accumulation of profit. But since it is the essential infrastructure of life, its economic conditioning and deprivation of agency also extend to the human and non-human sociologies that inhabit it and with which it is in a co-dependent relationship.
Corporeal Red seeks to encompass an understanding of the land beyond the industrial framework that the extractive context refers to and to shift the discussion towards agro-ecologies that are affected by the red slurry continue to develop in proximity to such scenarios. What kind of plants survive around toxic waste? How do they respond to alkaline chemical contamination? What about the soil itself? How do the viscera of a local soil respond to the refining waste of an ore from another continent? And more importantly, how do they respond? The project is also part of the artist's wider eco-feminist and decolonial research into the connection between the land, corporeality and the labour of social reproduction and how these intersect.
Location: Garrison Command
Fractured Locus proposes a recontextualization of feminist philosopher Maria Lugones' eponymous concept within the framework of so-called illegal global migration. Formulated as an epistemological tool to describe the oppression-resistance dynamics that colonial difference activates, Fractured Locus foregrounds the complex interplay between capital, race and gender against the backdrop of a naturalisation process. Fractured Locus depicts Romania's border with Serbia and Hungary, part of the Western Balkan Route, which migrants from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones transit on their way to Western Europe. Attempting to disrupt both the legacy of the colonial imagination and current struggles for territorial occupation through military occupation, Fractured Locus interrogates the migrants' prescribed illegal status and dominant understanding of the border as one of the most important coordinates on which both nationalism and an essentialist definition of identity are built.
Anca Bucur is a visual artist and writer. She completed her studies in 2018 at the University of Bucharest, with a background in literature and cultural studies. Her artistic practice is based on research and encompasses different registers and media, including objects, video essays, poetry and performance. Lately, she has focused on investigating the socio-economic materiality of the land and the body in relation to local spaces and histories. She is interested in the epistemological and political potential of artwork. Anca Bucur is the author of several texts published in collective volumes and editor at frACTalia publishing house, where she curates the Compost collection. She works and lives in Bucharest.