Last weekend’s symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art, the 5th annual collaboration between Translocal and the Dept of Environmental Science and Policy and Centre for Arts and Culture at Central European University, was a fascinating meeting of minds.
The event consisted of a series of critical conversations on issues of Art, Post-Fordism and Eco-Critique at the university, between environmental scientist Ruben Mnatsakanian and Croatian artist Branka Cvjeticanin, Polish playwright and member of Krytyka PolitycznaIgor Stokfiszewski and Hungarina artist Csaba Nemes and Paris-based theorist Stephen Wright and Austrian artist Ralo Mayer with an introduction to Art, Ecology and post-Fordism given by Maja and Reuben Fowkes of Translocal, and additional moderation from environmental philosopher Alan Watt.
On day two, the critical conversationalists were joined by Hungarian artist Tamas Kaszas and CEU students Lauren Othon-Buckley and Marianna Szczygielska for a trip to a mystery destination in the Hungarian puszta for discussion in depth of the issues at the heart of the symposium. The workshop was a great success, the setting providing plenty of inspiration for considering the effects of post-Fordism on all our professions and potential resistance strategies in art and life, and was documented for the future.
Sustainability and Contemporary Art:
Art, Post-Fordism and Eco-Critique
International Symposium at Central European University Budapest
19-20 March 2010
Ralo Mayer, Multiplex Fiction, 2008
This symposium focuses on the intersections between globalisation, ecology and contemporary art and examines the relevance of post-Fordist theory for both environmentalism and artistic practice.
The symposium is organised as a series of critical conversations between speakers from the fields of art, philosophy and environmental science that respond to urgent questions such as:
What is the way forward after the failure of the Copenhagen Summit and in the face of growing public scepticism about the science of climate change?
How has the spread of flexible post-Fordist practices effected the way artists, cultural producers, academics and environmentalists work?
How might artists develop ways to critique capitalism with an awareness of ecology and the complexity of globalisation?
With Stephen Wright (art theorist, Paris), Igor Stokfiszewski (curator/critic/playwright, Warsaw), Branka Cvjeticanin (multimedia artist, Zagreb), Ralo Mayer (artist, Vienna), Maja and Reuben Fowkes (Translocal.org), Ruben Mnatsakanian and Alan Watt (CEU Department of Environmental Science and Policy).
This 12 day `theory-practice´ program runs annually in the summer. It actively engages participants in an introductory exploration of social sculpture and aesthetic questions relevant to the shaping of an ecological and socially just future. It looks back to Goethe, Schiller, the Bauhaus and Joseph Beuys and forward to developing new forms of social sculpture / connective practive appropriate to the challenges of the 21st century.