The Law on Trial
Oil Tank Culture Park, T4, Seoul, South-Korea
When the law is unjust, we must put the law on trial. This is the central thesis of The Law on Trial situated in the fossil ruins of the the Oil Tank Culture Park, Seoul. In an installation consisting of towers of oil barrels and images of animals that have been made extinct from the colonial period to the present, a new legal framework is presented in the form of The Intergenerational Climate Crimes Act to prosecute climate crimes committed by states and corporations alike.
The first waves of mass extinctions amongst animals and plant life as well as the human communities and cultures that thrived with them, manifested first during the colonial period. Colonialism turned living worlds into property, into commodities, and was backed by the law in doing so. In this light, the climate crisis is a colonial crisis, that has been ongoing for the past 500 years—aided and abetted by dominant legal systems and imaginaries. The images of animals made extinct that are central to the The Law on Trial, are evidence of that long history of climate criminality that continues to define our present and the possibility of liveable futures. Their presence is also a call to recognize them not as products or commodities, but as non-human ancestors with whom we share a common struggle across times, which is why each is termed "comrade" in a different, sometimes made-extinct language.
Situating The Law on Trial in the Oil Tank Culture Park, a former oil depot, brings D’Souza and Staal’s work to the site of the crime: fossil capitalism, and the fossil elites that have benefited from it. Building their installation from the remnants of the fossil industry that created the tank, such as defunct oil barrels, proposes to build on the ruins of extractive systems a new proposition: The Intergenerational Climate Crimes Act - a new legal imaginary that centers on intergenerationality, interdependency and regeneration across the human and non-human world. A vision not of the law, but of justice, in which humans, animals and plants gather as comrades to regenerate the world anew.
The Law on Trial is part of D'Souza and Staal's longterm collaboration Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes (CICC).
Radha D'Souza and Jonas Staal
Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal (artists); Juhyun Cho (curator); Jiyoung Kim (exhibition and program coordinator); Annie Park (project coordinator); Seoyoung Jeon (coordination in the communication), Nadine Gouders (production coordination); Paul Kuipers (architect); Dinara Vasilevskaia and Hayoung Lim (graphic design); HyunJun Kim (installation construction); Hyosup Jung (photographer)
Drifting Curriculum and Arts Council Korea (ARKO)
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Framer Framed, Amsterdam