The first comprehensive monograph about Icelandic artist Ruri has just been published Ruri_Book-1

“For me art is philosophy. My works are concerned with the connections between man, the earth, and the universe; between the existence of mankind and the inestimable age of the universe; human perceptions.” RÚRÍ

Animal Ecologies Symposium


8th of October 2011
UCL, London

The symposium proposes an exploration of artistic practices involved with animals and environments.  In the recent re-surfacing of the animal in contemporary art, emphasis has been given to mammals, mainly because of the most immediate relational opportunities that these animals offer to us.  However, a number of very interesting artists has been recently trying to bridge the abyss between ‘us’ and more ‘taxonomically remote’ creatures through the use of art and science as active interfaces.  This new focus reveals the interconnectedness between humans, amphibians, reptiles and insects, and the environments in which we all live.  Through a multidisciplinary approach, the symposium aims at facilitating a dialogue between artists, scientists and academics interested in informing wider audiences through visual communication.

Speakers Include: Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey / Ron Broglio / Maja and Reuben Fowkes /Rikke Hansen / London Fieldworks / Joyce Salisbury / Linda Williams

For tickets are further details see:

the concept of (un) sustainability

A new book promises to explore how modernity has ‘degenerated into a culture of unsustainability’

Sacha Kagan. Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2011.

The publication proposes an understanding of ‘culture(s) of sustainability’, ‘aesthetics of sustainability’ and ‘art and sustainability’,  based on an in-depth theoretical elaboration and a critical discussion of several artists.

From Stockholm to Copenhagen via Rio: Art and Ecology in the Wake of the Global Summits

Talk at Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz on 2 September 2010

The pattern of world environmental summits has been one of raised hopes for global action in tackling ecological crisis, followed by disillusionment as dominant political and economic interests reassert themselves to block radical change. Contemporary art’s recent enthusiasm for environmental questions, which peaked during the media hype preceding the Copenhagen Summit, has an instructive prehistory in the interconnection of art and ecology in the 1970s, with the 1972 Stockholm conference slogan ‘only one earth’ a powerful rallying call for artistic collaborations. In their talk at Muzeum Sztuki, art and sustainability theorists Maja and Reuben Fowkes explore the lessons of art’s engagement with ecology, from the first understanding of the crisis of human environment in the early 70s, to the global perspective ushered in by the end of the Cold War, with the popularisation of the idea of sustainable development at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the crystallisation of the debate between technocratic and radical approaches at the ill-fated Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009.

See  website

Art, Post-Fordism and Eco-Critique

International Symposium at CEU Budapest 19-20 March 2010

The 2010 Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art brings together artists, philosophers, environmental scientists and activists to explore the conundrum of capitalism’s remarkable ability to absorb criticism and adapt to new circumstances. According to post-Fordist theory, in the wake of the social upheaval of May 1968 capitalism was able to recuperate radical desires for freedom, creativity and personal liberation through the adoption of the principles of flexibility, horizontality and autonomy, and the shift from industrialism to immaterial labour.

Today, the energy and idealism of the environmental movement is arguably in a similar danger of being transformed into the motor of a green capitalist resurgence that threatens to rescue neo-liberal globalisation from the economic downturn. This symposium asks whether environmentalism is in fact now facing its own ‘post-Fordist moment’, in which the language and values of ecology are at risk of being turned into an ideology of bureaucratic control and a technocratic justification for sustainable growth. It also raises the question of whether the environmental movement has anything to learn from the strategies of resistance proposed by the theorists of immaterial labour and the exploration of these issues by contemporary artists.

In the wake of the debacle of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the question arises whether there might be more to ecological crisis than mitigating the threat posed by climate change to the current global economic system, and whether the danger posed by the depletion of natural resources and the destruction of bio-diversity deserves to be a greater priority. The symposium will try to locate a sense of eco-criticality in the approaches of contemporary artists, and also consider the implications of an ecologically-nuanced, post-Fordist critique for the international art world.

The symposium on Art, Post-Fordism and Ecological Critique is the fifth in an annual series of events organised at Central European University by Maja and Reuben Fowkes of, the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Centre for Arts and Culture at CEU. This year’s programme will include an afternoon of presentations and critical conversations in the main auditorium of Central European University on Friday 19 March, and a workshop event with symposium participants on the following day.

A small number of additional places are available for the workshop upon application.

Confirmed speakers include: Stephen Wright (art theorist, Paris), Igor Stokfiszewski (curator/critic/playwright, Warsaw), Branka Cvjeticanin (multimedia artist, Zagreb), Petra Feriancova (contemporary artist, Bratislava) and Ralo Mayer (artist, Vienna).

For more details see:
Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art: Art, Post-Fordism and Eco-Critique