Tate Modern Talk

Shapes of Decay: A Discussion about Art and Ecology

​Joan Jonas Delay Delay 1972 © Joan Jonas

​Joan Jonas Delay Delay 1972 © Joan Jonas

Explore how contemporary artists and writers are exploring environmental issues

Inspired by Joan Jonas, whose work has engaged with ecological concerns throughout her career, this panel discussion considers new ways of thinking about our relationship with climate change. How are notions of disaster and decay shaping artistic practice? What are the aesthetic and ethical challenges faced in documenting these issues? How might individuals respond to local and global changes in climate?

The evening features presentations from the writer and historian of science Daisy Hildyard and the artist and researcher Susan Schuppli. The discussion will be chaired by Jennifer Higgie, editorial director of frieze, and will include an opportunity for questions and contributions from the audience.​


Jennifer Higgie is the editorial director of frieze. Over the past year, her writing has appeared in frieze and Frieze Masters, and is included in the anthology Good-Bye Europe: Writers and Artists Say Farewell (Orion, 2017). Her first children’s book, There’s Not One (2017) is published by Scribe. She is currently adapting her novel Bedlam – which is based on the life of the artist Richard Dadd – for the screen. She is also the editor of The Artist’s Joke (MIT / Whitechapel Press, 2007).

Daisy Hildyard is a writer based in North Yorkshire. She has a PhD on seventeenth-century natural-philosophical literature, and currently holds a Leverhulme research fellowship at the University of Northumbria. Her first novel Hunters in the Snow won the Somerset Maugham award and a ‘5 under 35’ honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. An essay on climate change, The Second Body, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in November.

Susan Schuppli is an artist and researcher whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters. Commissioned works include Trace Evidence, Arts Catalyst, & Bildmuseet and Atmospheric Feedback Loops, a Vertical Cinema project for Sonic Acts. Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include Clouds/Forests, Moscow Biennale, Image of War, Bonniers Kunsthall, Ex-Ante, Artspace, SculptureCenter, New York and Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne. She has published widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the forthcoming book, Material Witness (MIT Press). In 2016 she received the ICP Infinity Award for Critical Writing & Research. Schuppli is Reader and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London and was previously Senior Research Fellow on the Forensic Architecture project.

This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD​​

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

24 April 2018 at 18.30–20.00

Supported by

The J Isaacs Charitable Trust