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Conferences 2013

Sustainable art – facing the need for regeneration, responsibility and relations

The International Conference

Sustainable art – facing the need for regeneration, responsibility and relations

Institute of Art History, University of Wroclaw,
Szewska Street 36, 50-139 Wrocław, POLAND
November, 20-21, 2013


This conference offers an opportunity for scholars, Ph.D. students and artists to meet in Wroclaw and exchange ideas on the recently coined sustainable art – the ideas it brings, the horizons it expands and the troubles it causes. The notion of sustainable development has its roots in the “World Summit” conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. From then on, sustainable development has become a part of the global debate. There are three major grounds for discussing the ideas of sustainability: social, economic and ecological. In this context we want to ask about “sustainable art” – its condition and practices.

Can the concepts - as various as non-productivity, environmental concerns, recycling, energy exchange, affective approach to history or political sanations after the oppression of the colonizers - constitute the new artistic practices under the banner of sustainability? Is sustainable art created both by Tino Seghal (who refuses the work its physical form) and Allora & Calzadilla (who draw attention to the geographic variability in Puerto Rico), Roman Ondak ( who levels the tension between the inside and outside of the national pavilion at the Venice Biennale), Pawel Althamer (who founded the garden and organizes tours for his neighbors), Marina Abramović (simply because of her presence) as well as the designers of furniture made from trash?

Is sustainable art creating relational forms? And all this together is maybe a new utopia – a dream about the regeneration of mutual relations, non-violence or competition, taking the responsibility for the fate of the "others" and creating a brave new world? Is sustainable art an idealistic project, an affective initiative or rather a hard necessity? Or perhaps, the idea of avoiding destruction can only lead to statements deprived of energy, inspiration, and anger, so important nowadays and in the past, also in the avant-garde art? Or still, on the contrary, we can now better understand past, for instance, such essays as Maurice Maeterlinck’s Intelligence of flowers (1907) because we are keen readers of Bruno Latour and share his passion to “compose” a new world?

Since in the Polish language the word “sustainable” does not exist, in order to express its meaning we have to describe it intricately – as existing of something thanks to the support or maintenance. Due to the fact that we have to explain what sustainable exactly is, we group together the artists and the works that would never be found close to each other otherwise. Are these collectives the new challenging classifications expanding our horizons or mere global clichés erasing our specific tradition? What is lost in translation?

Sustainable art is already expressed by the entries in English and Spanish Wikipedia. Will we be able to add something to these entries, to go beyond mere admiration and cast a critical look at the new practices? Welcome to the discussion!


Conferences on contemporary art, with the participation of the art historians, anthropologists and artists have been organized at the Institute of Art History, University of Wroclaw since 2010. Invariably, we have collaborated with the BWA Awangarda gallery in Wroclaw and therefore our meeting is an important event featuring an exhibition and interviews with the participating artists.

From 2012, the co-organizer of the conferences is the Polish Institute of World Art Studies in Warsaw and with its support we took the initiative of publishing books. In the current year we are publishing Trickster Strategies in the Artists' and Curatorial Practice.

All conferences are also discussed in the online magazine called "Opposite" opposite.uni.wroc.pl/konferencja/2012.htm which is under construction.


Please submit the proposals of your presentations with short abstracts at sustainable.wroclaw@gmail.com by 30 June 2013.


You may choose from the following sections of debates:

  1. Social participation
  2. Dignity and egalitarianism
  3. Responsibility and moderation
  4. Regeneration and relations
  5. Integrity of the environment (local towards global)

Organizers:
Anna Markowska, Ph.D., Prof. of University of Wroclaw (anna.markowska@gmail.com)
Magdalena Worłowska, M.A. (anna.markowska@gmail.com)


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