Art, writing and big issues

Update, 23 Nov: Copenhagen Museum hosted a panel debate on architecture, art and urban nature yesterday, no coverage traced. Speakers included Camilla Berner of the Oversete Nyheder installation at Kongens Nytorv, a simple idea which may/not have been effective in situ. The summer’s growth was cleared at the beginning of September – and it’s good to know that the square will one day be restored to its previous state. But when? I can barely remember it as a funtioning square without a fence.

On Sunday some blocks of Greenlandic ice were dumped on Rådhuspladsen by go-to artist Olafur Eliasson (see comments, Classic Copenhagen), Klimakunst sees five artists installed in Østerbro’s Klimakvarter during October, while the Free Word Centre’s Weather Stations project is developing a literary response to climate change. I tend to the sceptic, like group working it’s one of those things where the intention seems more effective than the execution, although there’s money in it, folkens…

Two recent events explored the theme. 23 October saw Pynt eller politik: kan kunst og arkitektur fremme den grønne omstilling? (Storify | YouTube). Watching the stream the debate on engagement stuck out, with participants highlighting the need for new forms of communication, perhaps reducing the dystopian angle on climate change in favour of something more positive. More idealistic was a call for more of the aesthetic, which in turn would emphasise the ethical in society and education (this works better på dansk), more solutions and positive stories, less of the victim, endless facts and figures – current discourse is too functional and economically driven. What is needed is collective action rather than passive individuals, a lifestyle and value system change away from consumption. After that the second debate, on investment, touching on the ethics of nudging, seemed old fashioned.

Kudos for the streaming and a decent Storify, but maybe the event could have tried out something a bit more innovative than people giving presos. And just wondering, are Danes really bæredygtige or bare dygtige? (Broadly, good at sustainable lifestyles or good at doing what they are told…we create society or vice versa.) I don’t have a problem finally! sorting my household waste, but I don’t really feel it’s going to make a huge difference towards CPH’s climate goals, which don’t inspire, but rather feel childishly idealistic.

28-29 October saw Environmental entanglements: art, technology and natures (spot the Rennie Mackintosh font), organised by ITU’s Energy Futures squad (new on on Twitter; my bolding below):

This symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of internationally acclaimed artists and academics in order to investigate how the arts, humanities and social sciences are responding to an increasing awareness of the complex environmental entanglements we are living in. In four themed sessions, the speakers explore alternative imaginaries and creative materializations of environmental issues. The symposium aims to foster lively cross-disciplinary conversations about the role of arts and humanities in articulating the political, scientific, social and aesthetic implications of environmental change.

It is becoming clear that a major part of the environmental problems are caused by the way our (mostly western) infrastructures are designed and that the resistance to changing existing infrastructures are often related to aesthetic issues (eg NIMBYism) and to a lack of creativity when it comes to re-imagining the very nature of these infrastructures. Therefore a growing number of artists have taken up engineering and architectural challenges as they propose ideas for spectacular and functional infrastructural constructions. In this session we will discuss what it is artists and designers can do differential than engineers and architects when it comes to re-imagining environmental infrastructures.

From the programme the following were of interest:

Incidentally, once again this wasn’t as well done as one might expect – time to revitalise event amplification – and curation?

Which is where this sort of thing comes in.

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