Digesting Life Systems: Session 1 - Following the Water

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This is the first evening session of Digesting Life Systems, a series of 'readings' and discussions on the launch of Enzyme #2 Magazine.

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In this session, we will unpack the contributions by artists Bonnie Ora Sherk and Linda Jane James to Enzyme #2.

Taking a lead from water, a key protagonist in their work, we will discuss how streams and brooks interact with the environment, shaping the world of humans and more-than-humans alike.

Bonnie Ora Sherk will walk us through her investigation of watersheds, presenting images and stories around her site-specific, landscape-based work. In her illustrated talk, she will also expand on her long-term project A Living Library, as well as the tool kit that she conceived for Enzyme.

Linda Jane James invites us to join her for a visual journey to the Welsh coast, which served as inspiration for her magazine project. Reflecting on the liquids that leave their imprint on rocks and stones, she will speak about natural and artificial waterways, trickle-down effects and climate change. Join us for a mixed-media exploration of water systems, liquidity and the malleability of life.

Moderation by Jorgge Menna Barreto & Sarah Kristin Happersberger

By joining the event, you will automatically be entered into a raffle to receive a FREE copy of Enzyme # 2 Life Systems magazine, there are 5 per each session to win.

About Enzyme #2 Life Systems

 The publication, Enzyme #2: Life Systems (2021), anchors on Jorgge Menna Barreto’s research-based practice focusing on how our environment is shaped by what we eat and how we live. 

Enzyme Magazine was created in 2020 by artists Joélson Buggilla and Jorgge Menna Barreto as a periodical that is also a durational art work. 

The first issue was launched at Jan van Eyck Academie (NL) and was dedicated to finding possible relations among the surfaces of the page, the table and the earth. Thinking of the periodical as part of an intellectual work of digestion, the artists proposed a second issue as their project for Liverpool Biennial and invited curator Sarah Kristin Happersberger to join them as co-editor.

Artists Abbie Bradshaw, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Cos Ahmet, Linda Jane James and Newton Harrison, as well as LJMU Art students, collaborated on the challenge of turning Enzyme #2 into Life Systems, the title for this issue. 

About Bonnie Ora Sherk

Bonnie Ora Sherk (b. New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA), lives and works in New York and San Francisco, USA. She is known as a pioneering ecological artist, landscape architect and educator. Forming a new planetary genre of art that she calls FUNCSHUIONAL ART, her artworks, as the name implies, integrate styles and methodologies of western, eastern, northern, southern cultures and global indigenous cultures. Her landscape-based artworks, called A LIVING LIBRARY (A.L.L.), transform both the environment and consciousness of people, and are meant to be developed globally with interconnected BRANCHES. In 2000, she was named a Laureate of the Smithsonian Institution, nominated by Steve Jobs, of Apple Inc. Sherk’s works have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries, including the Venice Biennale, Italy (2017), Parco Arte Vivente, Italy (2018, 2015), Van Abbe Museum, Netherlands (2016, 2014), and MOMA PS1, USA (2015). Both her current work and her 1970s ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE SCULPTURES feature in numerous publications and journals, worldwide.

About Linda Jane James

Linda Jane James (b. 1965, Dorset, UK) lives in Wales. Trained as a chartered accountant before transitioning to fine art, Linda’s practice examines what it means to ‘give an account’ or ‘hold to account’. She works at the intersection between art, accounting and the environment. Linda takes her immediate surroundings as a starting point for gathering fragments of sound, image and text, bringing together human and other-than-human voices in order to shed light on business, social and environmental relationships. She is currently studying for an MA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores School of Art and Design.

About Jorgge Menna Barreto

Jorgge Menna Barreto, Ph.D. (b. 1970, Araçatuba, Brazil) is an artist and educator whose practice and research has been dedicated to site-specific art for over 20 years. Menna Barreto approaches site-specificity from a critical and South American perspective, having taught, lectured, and written extensively on the subject; he has participated in multiple art residencies, projects and exhibitions worldwide. In 2016, he took part in the 32nd São Paulo Biennial with his award-winning project Restauro: a restaurant set up to work with a complex system of environmental restoration in collaboration with settlements of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST); the project travelled to the Serpentine Galleries in 2017. In 2020, as a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Netherlands, he launched a periodical called Enzyme in collaboration with his partner Joélson Buggilla. In Geneva, Switzerland, he has collaborated on the MFA in Socially Engaged Art at HEAD - Haute École d’Arts Appliqués, where he is working on a collaboration focused on ecopedagogy. Since 2015, Menna Barreto has been a professor at the Art Department of Rio de Janeiro State University and is now Assistant Professor at the Art Department of UCSC.

About Sarah Kristin Happersberger

Sarah Kristin Happersberger (b. Heppenheim, Germany) is a researcher and curator based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She has a background in art history and specializes in time-based art, socially engaged art and collaborative practices. Amongst others, she has organized exhibitions and projects for ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE), Arnolfini, Bristol (UK) and Liverpool Biennial (UK). Sarah is currently working on her PhD thesis, which discusses how women artists negotiated the notion of ‘togetherness’ in collaborative artworks that were produced in the context of the 1970s and 80s women’s movements. She has designed and taught courses on socially engaged art, feminisms and activist practices in museums, and published essays on performance art, public art and artist books.

About Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art. Taking over unexpected and public spaces, historic sites and art galleries, the Biennial has been transforming the city through art for over two decades. The 11th edition, The Stomach and the Port, explores notions of the body and ways of connecting with the world. 50 international artists and two collectives are taking part in this year’s Biennial. A dynamic programme of free exhibitions, performances, screenings and fringe events unfolds over the 12 weeks, shining a light on the city’s vibrant cultural scene.


Participants are expected to adhere to our online event Code of Conduct. We will be kind, respectful and patient towards each other in a positive and supportive environment. Abusive actions or language will not be tolerated.

As this is an online event Liverpool Biennial is not able to assess any safety hazards for participants remotely. We are not able to take any responsibility associated to your safety.

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Organiser Liverpool Biennial

Organiser of Digesting Life Systems: Session 1 - Following the Water

Liverpool Biennial presents the UK biennial of contemporary art. It takes place every two years across the city in public spaces, unused buildings, galleries and online. The Biennial is underpinned by a programme of research, education, residencies and commissions. Founded in 1998, Liverpool Biennial has commissioned over 340 new artworks and presented work by over 480 artists from around the world. 


Liverpool Biennial: The Stomach and the Port
20 March – 6 June 2021

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