Oscar Santillan, A Hymn, 2013.

Date: Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Time: 19:00 – 20:30
Venue: Delfina Foundation

Free-thinking is a small series of events as part of Delfina Foundation’s autumn programme that explores the relationship between autonomy and various aspects of daily life.

Continuing Delfina Foundation’s ongoing interest in The Politics of Food, we have invited our current resident curator Prajna Desai, farmer and director of the Sustainable Food Trust Patrick Holden, and art historian and cultural critic T.J. Demos to present their current research as a position – or polemic – in regards to what autonomy means today.


Prajna Desai obtained a Ph.D. in History of Art from Yale University in 2009. Her current work focus on food emerges in the Dharavi Food Project for Dharavi Biennale 2015. Prajna is interested in examining the aesthetics and personal impetus of food practices as alternative ways of reading history and cultural taboos on pleasure and female sexuality. Primarily a writer, she joins her own research with first-hand collaborative workshops in writing that bridge art criticism, fiction, and philosophy.  She has written for FriezeArt in AmericaAperture, and tcj.com. In her role as a curator, she is drawn to projects that enable the art economy to educate and expand beyond the gallery space and visual practice.  Prajna is currently based in Mumbai.

Patrick Holden is founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust whose mission is to promote international cooperation between all those involved in sustainable food production. Previously he was director of the Soil Association. Holden studied biodynamic agriculture and started a community dairy farm in West Wales in 1973.  It is now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, with a herd of 75 Ayrshire cows – the milk from which is made into an award winning cheddar-style cheese by his son. He received a CBE for services to organic farming in 2005. Other positions include Patron of the Biodynamic Agricultural Association.

T.J. Demos is a critic and Reader in the Department of Art History, University College London. He writes on contemporary art and politics, and is the author, most recently, of The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013), and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg, 2013). In 2013, he guest edited a special issue of Third Text (no. 120) on the subject of “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology,” and is currently at work on a book on the same theme for Sternberg Press, which will appear in 2015. He is also currently working on co-curating Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, for Nottingham Contemporary (opening in January 2015), and Spectres: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, a screening series of artist films at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid (November-December 2014). In early 2015, Demos will take up a new professorship at University of California, Santa Cruz in its History of Art and Visual Culture Department.