Limerick, Ireland

Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie

“Milk is a liquid loaded with the capacity to nourish life, but it contains also the clout of eradication. Milk is dogged by attempts to wrestle command over its supply, to ensnare the milk-provider, to extract its milk from it and to reshape that milk as something else, as anything else, even as something so different to itself, it barely registers as milk or milk-derived at all. Milk’s components have now been more strictly identified: casein, whey, lactose and all the strains of these. Each has its own characteristics and multiple uses. Milk’s capacity is to be extendable, to issue in various ways. Milk is ever presented as an emblem of nature, in marketing and advertising, as much as in the work of lactivists, the militant promoters of breastfeeding.”

Jackson and Leslie’s illustrated pamphlet, The Inextinguishable, is the latest coming out of their ongoing collaborative exploration of milk. Their work studies milk as a substance that is both fundamental and subject to the latest biotechnological developments, and as a focal point for intersecting political, colonial, and gender histories.

Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie’s participation forms part of Little did they know, the Guest Programme of the 39th EVA International, curated by Merve Elveren.The Inextinguishable is a new commission supported by the British Council.

Melanie Jackson is a UK based artist working with modes of non-fiction storytelling through assemblages of sculpture, writing and moving image. Recent exhibitions include Deeper in the Pyramid, Banner Repeater, London, Grand Union, Birmingham, and Primary, Nottingham (2018). The latter is a multi-faceted project of sculpture, moving image, performance lectures, and a publication, involving an ongoing writing collaboration with writer Esther Leslie. Previous solo exhibitions include The Urpflanze (Parts 1 and 2) with Flat Time House, The Drawing Room, Art Exchange and John Hansard Gallery, and with Matt’s Gallery, Arnolfini and Chapter. Jackson is represented by Matt’s Gallery and is currently a Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London. Her books include Deeper in the Pyramid (with Melanie Jackson, Banner Repeater, 2018); Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form (Reaktion, 2016); Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage (Unkant, 2014); Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (Reaktion, 2005); and Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde (Verso, 2002).

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