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Art and Ecological Crisis: Planetary Consciousness in Practice

Experimental Reading Room
Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art
Autumn 2015

Mounting evidence of human-caused changes to planetary processes and the natural matter of the Earth, which have escalated in recent decades to an unprecedented level, may also be taken as a renewed opportunity to put an awakening planetary consciousness into practice. The ramifications of climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, air and water degradation, as well as noise and visual pollution, have also accelerated the expansion of ecological thought, capitalist-critical lifestyles and creative practices that propose alternatives. This seminar examines how contemporary art not only comments on current debates around the growth-oriented economy and its effect on the natural world, social inequality and its relation to climate change, the technocratic paradigm and forms of political power, but also decisively contributes to bringing about genuine change. It also offers a forum to explore points of connection between global and planetary consciousness, indigenous knowledge and scientific culture, as well as multi-species and human solidarity.
The seminar is based on reading and analysis of selected texts from a recent flourishing of environmental literature, as well as classical ecological writings, and discussion of the applicability of their insights for contemporary art. Equally, it considers artistic and curatorial case studies that are exemplary in producing integral ecological consciousness and putting planetary ethics into practice.