The exhibition Working with Waste by the British artist Lucy Beech grew out of their research-based practice and ongoing exchange with poets, scientists, technologists, historians, and other filmmakers. Alongside Beech’s own films, the exhibition presents works by Riar Rizaldi, James Richards, and Steve Reinke, whom the artist invited to participate as part of the wider scope of their presentation.
Beech’s main medium is film, and the research-based works on show at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art stem from the artist’s interest in the history of technology, environmental science, animal studies, and queer feminisms. Beech constructs narratives by blending hybrid materials into screenplays that exist at the intersection of documentary, fiction, and poetry. The ambitious new films featured in Working with Waste explore medical and technological processes that have wider societal and political connotations and open up the contingencies of concepts like fertility, productivity, sex, nature, and waste.
This recent body of work focuses on contemporary attitudes to waste as a way of thinking about knowledge production and society. The Working with Waste project began as a research group founded by Beech (which Rizaldi and Richards participated in) and has further developed out of their research as an artist fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. There, the artist’s interest in the topic of discard studies began through the study of bodily wastes in scientific practices as resource material for the pharmaceutical industry.
To realize this multi-part exhibition, the Edith-Russ-Haus collaborated with Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof in Hamburg. Each of the three exhibitions foregrounds different aspects of Beech’s collaborative and research-based practice and forms its own focus through the selection of works and their presentation.
Lucy Beech was the 2022 recipient of the Media Art Grant of the Stiftung Niedersachsen at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Stiftung Niedersachsen, and EWE-Stiftung.