International Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art


Sustainability and Contemporary Art Symposium CEU Budapest

This gathering of artists, theorists and environmentalists at Central European University Budapest in March 2006 was the first occasion on which issues of sustainability and contemporary art were tackled in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and transnational context. A number of important future projects grew out of this successful event.

Sustainability has been at the top of the global environmental agenda for more than a decade, but an understanding of ecological responsibility is only now beginning to have a visible impact on society and culture. The symposium will explore the radical and innovatory power of the concept of sustainability, which implies a strategy for integrative development in harmony with nature and a reinvigorated notion of global justice on the basis of shared environmental responsibility.

Our intention is to create a transdisciplinary space for discussion of the fundamental issues bridging the fields of art and environment and an opportunity to be inspired by the response of leading international artists to the challenge of sustainability. Presentations will show how contemporary art might engage with the full implications of sustainability beyond visualising ecological disasters and illustrating environmental campaigns.

The innovative practices featured range from finding ways to foster cultural diversity, exploring new environmental notions such as sustainable pleasure, developing alternative concepts of wealth, and finding out new ecological uses of space. The role of the curator in engaging with environmental issues will also be examined, while aestheticians and environmentalists will offer theoretical perspectives on art and sustainability.

Alexios Antypas (US)
Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon (UK)
Cosmin Costinaş (RO)
Jonathan Dronsfield (UK)
Miklos Erhardt (H)
David Haley (UK)
Newton & Helen Mayer Harrison (USA)
Tamás Kaszás and Viktor Kotun (H)
Hildegard Kurt (GER)
Kristina Leko (CRO)
Edit Molnár (H)
Csaba Nemes (H)
Nils Norman (UK)
Marko Peljhan (SLO)
Renata Poljak (CRO)
Rúrí (IS)
Diane Warburton (UK)

Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art

Oran’s lunch at CEU

Delegates tuck in to rebel caterer Oran’s fabulous vegetarian lunch


Endangered Waters – Ruri

Ruri in Liget Galeria

Ruri’s exhibition at Liget Galeria and her presentation were highlights of the Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art at CEU Budapest. See the gallery link below for documentation of her show, which in addition to photographs on glass included a waterfall video installation.

The Icelandic artist Ruri, in her series of photographic and sound installations Endangered Waters, archives elements of the natural landscape that are threatened with extinction as a consequence of human intervention. She catalogues the qualities of individual waterfalls in Iceland , preserving their unique sounds and appearance, for a future in which they may have ceased to exist. Her work is dedicated to exposing the huge environmental costs of Iceland’s exploitation of hydroelectric power by highlighting the threat to the survival of Iceland’s waterfalls posed by extensive dam building.

Liget Galeria Budapest

28 March – 8 April 2006