Broken Ground is a collaborative project between Leiden University (The Netherlands) and Nuku Studio. The main contributors to this research are Nuku’s Nii Obodai and Dennis Akuoku-Frimpong, and Mark Westmoreland, a visual anthropologist with an interest in experimental methodologies, particularly at the intersection of art and ethnography.
The collaborators join efforts in order to combine their respective areas of expertise and explore the benefits (and challenges) of collaborating across disciplinary lines. As such, they aim to open new frameworks for re-conceptualising relationships with land resources.
Inspired by the idea of “landscapes of extraction,” they call their project Broken Ground to gesture to both the wounded history of these places as well as the aspirations made possible by transforming the material world. While originating from research on mining and the literal process of breaking open the earth to extract resources buried below, they find this notion suggestive of other labor processes like farming, herding, and fishing, but also more troubled forms of resource extraction like slavery, colonialism, and capitalism.
They thus aspired to address the Ghanaian terrain in ways that would generate totally different ways of looking at, listening to, and thinking about landscapes. Collaboration between artists, academics and people inhabiting the landscapes allow them to both open up their eyes and prick up their ears. The images and stories that they collect are not just intended to produce new forms of knowledge, but to generate important and lasting conversations with the people who inhabit these landscapes.