AHC x Astrid Noacks Atelier: Talk: Rikke Luther & Karina Sand

Rikke Luther: Image from the GROFS1 ekspedition (GLOBE Institute, Section for Geobiology), Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, 2023

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    Rikke Luther

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On Thursday, 9 November, Astrid Noack’s Atelier invited you to the conversation ‘Death and Life in Mud, a Split-Second over 2 Million Years’ between Rikke Luther and geochemist Karina Krarup Sand (GLOBE Institute, Geogenetics).

The conversation revolved around the processes between what we define as organic and inorganic; between organic molecules and mineral surfaces and the significance for life in muddy environments with fragmented 2-million-year-old e-DNA everywhere. What happens when the sea divides new landscapes with land and river erosions, and when oceans of material are transformed and moved from melted areas?

The conversation took place in connection with Rikke Luther’s exhibition and project Mud in the Earth System, which was on show at Astrid Noack’s Atelier between 3 November until 3 December 2023.

You can listen to the conversation right here:


Mud in the Earth System is Rikke Luther’s exhibition at Astrid Noack’s Atelier (ANA), which is part of Rikke Luther’s post.doc. project and also part of Rikke Luther’s participation in NAARCA – a Scottish-Nordic collaboration, which AHC is a partner in – that works to create long-term collaborations on research, institutional changes, and public education with a focus on climate action.

Mud in the Earth System follows up on and further develops Rikke Luther’s The New Mud, which was shown in ANA in 2021. In the first exhibition, Luther highlighted through a series of research-based works how new unpredictable weather caused by climate change – related to human activities – creates new unpredictable mud. In this second exhibition, Luther continues her extended investigations of mud movements.

The exhibition includes new textiles, stills, and research material from Luther’s ongoing work in relation to the practice-based artistic research project The Ocean-Lands: Mud Within the Earth System. It also includes a work from the earlier project Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post Democracy (2017- 2021). The new work, which examines mud in Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, and the sea landscape from a Gotland perspective, focuses on the social and political, on acceleration, and the effects mud movements have in the landscape – in the geosphere and biosphere.

For millennia, static mud has enabled cultural exchanges across legal boundaries. Rising global temperatures are now resulting in their movement. Melting glaciers and ice caps result in mud. Old mud flats and swamps reclaim space as human settlement declines. Permafrost melts and sinks, landslides occur, lakes recede, and their lakebeds collapse. Swelling mud slides towards the seas and helps to facilitate the increasingly distorted circulations of the Earth system.

As part of a more comprehensive attempt to establish a new ethical and aesthetic public language that can communicate the crisis in the Earth system, the exhibition thus explores the socio-organizational effects of moving mud and the bio-communicative effects of mud in transformation.


AHC is artistic host institution for Rikke Luther’s practice based post doc research project on Ocean-Lands: Mud in the Earth System in which she examines the new ‘mud-scapes’ in Iceland, Greenland, and Denmark, focusing on the social, political, and bio-chemical effects, of their motion.

For millennia, static muds facilitated cultural exchanges across legal boundaries. Warming global temperatures result in their motion. Melting glaciers and inland ice result in mud. Ancient mud-flats and swamps reclaim space as human occupation recedes. Permafrost melts and sinks; land slips; lakes recede, and their beds collapse. Swelling muds slide toward the oceans, helping to facilitate the increasingly garbled circulations of the Earth System.

The project explores ‘The Social-Organisational Effects of Ocean-Land Muds in Motion’ and ‘The Bio-Communicative Effects of the Ocean-Land Muds in Transition’, as part of the larger attempt to build a new ethical and aesthetic public language capable of communicating the crisis within the Earth System.

Luther’s post doc is academically hosted at the Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society (ROCS) and Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, both University of Copenhagen. Her collaboration with AHC will result in a publication on ocean lands and moving muds in 2024.

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