With the ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT, HKW seeks to strengthen transdisciplinary debates and studies on the multifarious implications of the Anthropocene hypothesis for cultures of knowledge. If humankind has actually become the dominant biogeophysical force effecting changes on planetary scale, how can the arts, sciences and humanities contribute to a critical awareness, understanding and responsible co-shaping of these transformations?
The collaboratively produced ANTHROPOCENE CURRICULUM takes up these challenges posed by the Anthropocene Age: since fall 2013, 27 international university teachers from the sciences, environmental studies, the humanities, and social sciences, art, and architecture have discussed new teaching content, approaches, and methods.
Together with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin and other renowned partners, Haus der Kulturen der Welt has developed an ANTHROPOCENE CURRICULUM that seeks to explore paths for a crossdisciplinary culture of knowledge and education in an experimental and exemplary way. How can we compile a body of “earthbound knowledge,” what forms of transmission are appropriate?
An exemplary model course will for the first time be implemented and put into teaching practice at the temporary ANTHROPOCENE CAMPUS from November 14-22, 2014.
100 international doctoral students and post-docs along with actors working in the fields of arts, culture, politics, and society can contribute their perspectives and expertise. The ANTHROPOCENE CAMPUS offers a transdisciplinary platform for participants from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, academic and professional contexts. One important result of the intense encounters and events at the campus will be a coursebook. The online platform anthropocene-curriculum.org will offer all project participants and initiators a long-term context for discussion.
Until May 7, 2014 doctoral students and post-docs from the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering, design, and art and research-oriented actors from the arts, culture, politics, and societyes (think-tanks, NGOs, etc.) can apply to participate in the campus.
“Wow, I wish I knew someone dealing with climate change. How is it that no artists are working with the most compelling issue that affects all of us?”
Jane Tsong said this to Robby Herbst when he asked her if she would direct him to an Los Angeles-based artist addressing the topic in May 2013.
“Climate change poses some tough problems for artists: as a concept, it has long seemed too big, too grim, too abstract, too political and too far away. Efforts to portray it quickly become too preachy, too scientific, too shaming. Few can make a living from making people feel bad about themselves and doomed about the world.”
An anonymous reporter wrote this in the Economist on 20 July 2013. The Economist writer sees a new trend where cultural meditations on climate change are becoming more popular, and mentions three recent examples of this:
• New York’s Museum of Modern Art has had a summer-long arts festival, ‘Expo 1: New York’, that attempts to address climate change and the ecological challenges of the 21st century. The exhibitions of the festival will be on view until 2 September 2013.
• In January 2013, Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt began what it calls ‘The Anthropocene Project’ — a two-year culture programme that considers the human impact on the natural world.
• In October 2013, Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, one of the largest in North America, will host ‘Carbon 14’ — an art exhibition and four-month programme of plays, talks and seminars about climate change.
Touch and disturb
The exhibitions, shows and festival ‘Expo 1: New York’ at Museum of Modern Art features the short film ‘The Drowning Room’, an installation by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson called ‘Your Waste of Time’, a ‘Rain Room’ by the London-based group Random International which is a room of falling water for visitors to walk through, and an exhibition of a group of large photographs of the American frontier by Ansel Adams.
Anchoring the exhibition/show/festival at Museum of Modern Art is ‘Dark Optimism’. “The name, coined by online publication Triple Canopy, encapsulates the sentiment of being on the edge of apocalypse, tempered with the hope of technological innovation. Featuring work from 35 artists, including Joseph Beuys, Adrián Villar Rojas, Meg Webster, Agnes Denes, and Anna Betbeze, a selection of landscapes by Ansel Adams, and a group exhibition curated by Josh Kline preoccupied with the human body and technology, Dark Optimism seeks to reconcile the failure of Modernism’s ideals with humanity’s capacity for an improved future,” wrote Colleen Kelsey in Interview Magazine.
The Economist interviewed Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1, the contemporary wing of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, who explained:
“After Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 — which destroyed New York’s coastline, ruined many art galleries and left locals feeling vulnerable — the show’s environmental concerns became more urgent.” At a time when climate is vanishing from the political agenda, Klaus Biesenbach believes art can “touch and disturb” in ways that charts and articles cannot.
Can artists do better?
“Climate change is one area where the communication of uncertainty has landed scientists in dangerous territory. Can artists do better?,” asks art and science blogger Johanna Kieniewicz, who herself is a ‘bridge-crosser’ between the two worlds holding a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science as well as a foundation degree in fine art.
In her blog ‘Plos – where art and science meet’, she concluded in a blogpost on 25 July 2013, titled ‘Art of Uncertainty’:
“Artists are not going to solve scientists’ problem of communicating uncertainty pertaining to climate change. This is something that scientists themselves need to do, perhaps with help from sociologists and innovative designers. But in so doing, scientists must recognise that in the communication of uncertainty, they must not just win minds, but also hearts. This does not necessarily come naturally. I suspect that there is a great opportunity for artists who are interested in collaborating with scientists to engage in this area.”
Art contest: CoolClimate Luis Hestres wrote on 1sky.org:
The folks at the Creative Visions, Crosscurrents and Quixote Foundations realize that art has the potential to move and inspire people the way facts and figures, necessary as they are, simply can’t. After all, there’s a reason why a copy of Picasso’s Guernica is hanging at the U.N. building instead of a fact sheet about casualties during the Spanish Civil War.
That’s why they’ve launched the CoolClimate Art Contest, which has been running since 12 July and closes on 6 September 2013:
The contest seeks to generate iconic images that address the impact of climate change and spurs participation in the climate change debate. Create a work that encompasses the questions above and explores our relationship with the climate — from clean energy jobs to pollution-free oceans — the subject choice is yours.
ArtNews – 13 November 2012: A Climate Change in the Art World? The art community is digging out, drying off, counting its losses, helping its neighbors–and starting to prepare for the hurricanes of the future. By Robin Cembalest
Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.
The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.
Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society. Go toThis post comes to you from Culture|Futures
Perspectives for a sustainable way of living – “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” and in the city of Berlin, 17th to 21st August, 2011.
Once again, Berlin is going to be the host of a very interesting festival. “Über Lebenskunst” (German play on words: “about the art of living” or “The Art of Survival”) will attract people interested in culture, looking at things from the perspective of sustainability. Conferences, workshops, installations, performances, concerts, films, excursions, discussions and readings will make the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” an exciting place of diversity. The idea is to experience a sustainable lifestyle not as something boring and dull, but to look at sustainability from the art & culture perspective. Berlin is not only the host place but will be integrated in the form of talks with local politicians and a tour to innovative sustainable projects. For example, a fitness club which generates electricity and feeds it into the Berlin electricity net. If that doesn’t sound innovative, what does?
Needless to say, the project is trying to use “[…] the fewest possible resources, producing the least amount of emissions and remaining as climate neutral as possible.”
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21