Community
Sustainability: How to rethink this word in relation to the arts. The ecological, social, economic and cultural capacity.

Is the word Sustainability a label? Can contemporary artistic production be approached under an idea that helps to think an ecological, social, economic and cultural change? Art is interaction, when the public sees a sample or a work by an artist, that opening towards new points of view can make a difference, it can change the world. Sensitivity can generate new looks.

From the PAN editorial team in collaboration with the Paco Urondo University Cultural Center belonging to the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA), we propose to raise these questions and rethink new terms, ideas and actions through a cycle of interviews with contemporary artists and agents. We will also be working together with the  Centro Universitario Tilcara (Jujuy), also belonging to the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA) with the idea of articulating these actions in a federal way, meetings that revalue the heritage and the territory of our country in its entirety.

© Proyecto Biosfera, Joaquín Fargas

Background of the term

Sustainability is “ubiquitous” today, generally associated with the economic and the political. The progressive ideas and post-Second World War reconstruction that characterized the 1960s led to a series of industrial and ecological catastrophes. The international community’s awareness of this overexploitation of resources took place in 1987 with the Brundtland Report “Our Common Future” when the Prime Minister of Norway defined sustainable development as “that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations ”. With this vast definition, the term was born and later, in the ’90s, it was specified at the Rio de Janeiro summit. From that moment on, sustainability was a benchmark for development, becoming the challenge to be achieved by national, regional and local governments around the world. The main notions covered are climate change, resource depletion, waste, air pollution, loss of biodiversity and lack of social equity.

Our point of view in relation to Sustainability currently encompasses four fundamental pillars: economic, environmental, social and cultural. **

In ecology, sustainability or sustainability describes how biological systems remain productive over time. It refers to the balance of a species with the resources of its environment. By extension, it is applied to the exploitation of a resource below its renewal limit.

In other words “in the long term there will be no development possible if it is not economically efficient, socially equitable and ecologically tolerable”.

© Kinetic Garden / Christiaan Zwanikken (NL). Credit: (Cheryl Schurgers

How to think about ecology from philosophy?

Timothy Morton * argues that ecology is above human. The environmental crisis forces us to stop thinking that man continues to be the measure of all things.

The British philosopher proposes to remove nature from the ecological question since it is historically conceived from an anthropomorphic conception. Nature is characterized by being static, constant, by always being there. On the contrary, ecological relationships suppose a fragile, unstable contingency, a dynamic and symbiotic system.

Consequently, Morton proposes a new idea of ecology: dark ecology, ecological action has nothing to do with beautifying things since when we understand that the human scale is just one among others, the concept of beauty acquires a touch of wonder or rarity , or even disgust.

© © DARV_ Abandoned Land / Lee Jung In (KR/AT) Mihaela Kavdanska (BG/RO/AT) Violeta Ivanova (BG/AT) Florian Weinrich (AT). Credit: vog.photo

What does this have to do with Art?

Cultural projects are not born from a vacuum, they leave our society and leave a visible impact in the future. According to Morton, art literally transforms social space, it is a way of occupying – of inhabiting – social space.

In Art we can trace links with sustainability in different aspects of a work: in its concept, in the materials it uses, in the different phases of the project (preparation, exhibition and disposal). This covers both small projects such as a single work, or large ones such as Fairs and Festivals.

It is essential that cultural institutions commit themselves in this regard, including the application of eco-responsible measures in the production of temporary exhibitions in museums (in the conception, assembly and disassembly).

As curators, we cannot avoid the question of the transport of works and their modes of manufacture. We can speak of eco-art when the background and the form are coherent. Sometimes the most ecological practices are not claimed as such but appear in the folds. This issue is closely linked to the human and social dimension.

We believe that it is important that there is a certain evaluation process in every project or cultural institution: to be a learning organization, to use strengths and weaknesses to improve and grow. “The more it is evaluated, the better results will be obtained” hence the importance of measuring cultural impact.

Of course, all this implies a significant human and financial investment. This depends on the goodwill and awareness of cultural agents and staff. A common motivation must be generated to change work habits. On the other hand, eco-labeled materials, being new and little diffused, are more expensive than the classics produced on a large scale. However, sometimes a purchase must be considered as a deferred cost rather than an immediate cost (for example, LED lamps, for room lighting, are more expensive but are sustainable due to their longer duration and lower energy consumption).

Many times the theme of the exhibition is the engine that leads to awareness of ecological criteria. But when the show is not about ecology, agents feel less involved.

On the other hand, solutions must be found that harmonize the preventive conservation of works with ecology. In this sense, the relative humidity (50%) and temperature (18º) parameters required so far are being revised and made more flexible without considering the season and geographic location. The Getty Los Angeles Conservation Institute encourages mechanical room climate management with energy-efficient fans and dehumidifiers.

At PAN, we are interested in emphasizing the notion of time: recycling to manage the end of life of the materials used in an exhibition gives time to the ephemeral and thus harmonizes with sustainable development: in this way, sustainability and the temporary cease to be in conflict.

We recognize the difficulties of carrying out all this but in terms of sustainability it is key to highlight the initiatives of some to inspire others.

In other words, showing that sustainable development criteria are already being applied in many institutions and that they are being outlined in others is a way of pointing out a possible course for the future.

In the coming weeks we will dialogue with  artists and cultural agents in an exchange of voices. Some of them are:

Patricia Hakim, Ivana Adaime Makac, Francisco Paredes, Emilia Romero, Clara Ponce, Joaquín Fargas, Valeria Conte Mac Donell, Dina StastaPaz Perey y Andrea Juan, among others.

Hope you join us in this space of thought and in our networks (@ Comunidadpan.arte) to continue building together new ways of conceiving the Art of the Future.

*Annett Baumast para Goethe Institute

** Roc Jimenez de Cisneros. “Timothy Morton: Una ecología sin naturaleza”. Centre de cultura contemporània de Barcelona. 2016.

*** Pierrete Besse, “Le développement durable dans la production des expositions temporaires”. École du Louvre. 2012.

Joaquín Fargas, Rabdomante. @EliaGasparolo

Is the word Sustainability or Sustainability a label? Can contemporary artistic production be approached under an idea that helps to think an ecological, social, economic and cultural change? Art is interaction, when the public sees a sample or a work by an artist, that opening towards new points of view can make a difference, it can change the world. Sensitivity can generate new looks.

From the PAN editorial team in collaboration with the Paco Urondo University Cultural Center belonging to the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (UBA), we propose to raise these questions and rethink new terms, ideas and actions through a cycle of interviews with contemporary artists and agents. We will also be working together with the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum “Dr. Eduardo Casanova de Tilcara (Jujuy) with the idea of ??articulating these actions in a federal way, meetings that revalue the heritage and the territory of our country in its entirety.

© Proyecto Biosfera, Joaquín Fargas

Background of the term

Sustainability is a term “ubiquitous” today, generally associated with the economic and the political. The progressive ideas and post-Second World War reconstruction that characterized the 1960s led to a series of industrial and ecological catastrophes. The international community’s awareness of this overexploitation of resources took place in 1987 with the Brundtland Report “Our Common Future” when the Prime Minister of Norway defined sustainable development as “that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of of future generations ”. With this vast definition the term was born and later, in the ’90s, it was specified at the Rio de Janeiro summit. From that moment on, sustainability was a benchmark for development, becoming the challenge to be achieved by national, regional and local governments around the world. The main notions covered are climate change, resource depletion, waste, air pollution, loss of biodiversity and lack of social equity.

Our point of view in relation to Sustainability currently encompasses four fundamental pillars: economic, environmental, social and cultural.

In ecology, sustainability or sustainability describes how biological systems remain productive over time. It refers to the balance of a species with the resources of its environment. By extension, it is applied to the exploitation of a resource below its renewal limit.

In other words “in the long term there will be no development possible if it is not economically efficient, socially equitable and ecologically tolerable”.

© Kinetic Garden / Christiaan Zwanikken (NL). Credit: (Cheryl Schurgers

How to think about ecology from philosophy?

Timothy Morton * argues that ecology is above human. The environmental crisis forces us to stop thinking that man continues to be the measure of all things.

The British philosopher proposes to remove nature from the ecological question since it is historically conceived from an anthropomorphic conception. Nature is characterized by being static, constant, by always being there. On the contrary, ecological relationships suppose a fragile, unstable contingency, a dynamic and symbiotic system.

Consequently, Morton proposes a new idea of ecology: dark ecology, ecological action has nothing to do with beautifying things since when we understand that the human scale is just one among others, the concept of beauty acquires a touch of wonder or rarity , or even disgust.

© © DARV_ Abandoned Land / Lee Jung In (KR/AT) Mihaela Kavdanska (BG/RO/AT) Violeta Ivanova (BG/AT) Florian Weinrich (AT). Credit: vog.photo

What does this have to do with Art?

Cultural projects are not born from a vacuum, they leave our society and leave a visible impact in the future. According to Morton, art literally transforms social space, it is a way of occupying – of inhabiting – social space.

In Art we can trace links with sustainability in different aspects of a work: in its concept, in the materials it uses, in the different phases of the project (preparation, exhibition and disposal). This covers both small projects such as a single work, or large ones such as Fairs and Festivals.

It is essential that cultural institutions commit themselves in this regard, including the application of eco-responsible measures in the production of temporary exhibitions in museums (in the conception, assembly and disassembly).

As curators, we cannot avoid the question of the transport of works and their modes of manufacture. We can speak of eco-art when the background and the form are coherent. Sometimes the most ecological practices are not claimed as such but appear in the folds. This issue is closely linked to the human and social dimension.

We believe that it is important that there is a certain evaluation process in every project or cultural institution: to be a learning organization, to use strengths and weaknesses to improve and grow. “The more it is evaluated, the better results will be obtained” hence the importance of measuring cultural impact.

Of course, all this implies a significant human and financial investment. This depends on the goodwill and awareness of cultural agents and staff. A common motivation must be generated to change work habits. On the other hand, eco-labeled materials, being new and little diffused, are more expensive than the classics produced on a large scale. However, sometimes a purchase must be considered as a deferred cost rather than an immediate cost (for example, LED lamps, for room lighting, are more expensive but are sustainable due to their longer duration and lower energy consumption).

Many times the theme of the exhibition is the engine that leads to awareness of ecological criteria. But when the show is not about ecology, agents feel less involved.

On the other hand, solutions must be found that harmonize the preventive conservation of works with ecology. In this sense, the relative humidity (50%) and temperature (18º) parameters required so far are being revised and made more flexible without considering the season and geographic location. The Getty Los Angeles Conservation Institute encourages mechanical room climate management with energy-efficient fans and dehumidifiers.

At PAN, we are interested in emphasizing the notion of time: recycling to manage the end of life of the materials used in an exhibition gives time to the ephemeral and thus harmonizes with sustainable development: in this way, sustainability and the temporary cease to be in conflict.

We recognize the difficulties of carrying out all this but in terms of sustainability it is key to highlight the initiatives of some to inspire others.

In other words, showing that sustainable development criteria are already being applied in many institutions and that they are being outlined in others is a way of pointing out a possible course for the future.

In the coming weeks we will dialogue with the following artists and cultural agents in an exchange of voices:

Francisco Paredes, Patricia Hakim, Ivana Adaime Makac, Emilia Romero, Clara Ponce, Joaquín Fargas, Valeria Conte Mac Donell and more.

* Roc Jimenez de Cisneros. “Timothy Morton: An Ecology Without Nature”. Center of contemporary culture of Barcelona. 2016.

Joaquín Fargas, Rabdomante. @EliaGasparolo

Next:
Between crafts and QR codes: a sustainable awareness that unites tradition and future