Evolving Futures: Owning our Mess

Due date: 13. December 2020
Open Call for Artists
based in Austria and/or with easy access to Klosterneuburg, NÖ
The challenging and disruptive times in 2020 made questions on how to bounce forward into novel, sustainable and interconnected futures more than urgent. Owning our mess, instead of being owned by our mess, asks how to ignite individual awareness, empowerment, and creative action in navigating the real-life environmental and societal challenges of our contemporary world. Wicked problems are immersed in complex networks of tensions and contradictions such as local and global interconnectedness and dependencies, which make decision-making processes challenging. Multi-dimensional approaches are needed for the evolution of our societies. Art-science collaborations are increasingly tapped as tools for mediating conflicts as they animate the articulation of environmental, social and cultural values, create visions and imaginative future scenarios and draw on embodied experiences as a generator for change.
The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg and the think tank artEC/Oindustry are thus embarking in an interdisciplinary collaboration that mobilizes the arts and the sciences to contribute to regenerative and transformative approaches to the evolution of life on earth. The ClimArtLab, funded by StartClim2020, sets the stage for a highly experimental space, where we broaden art-science approaches and ask:
How can we as individuals and society step away from fear, be conscious and responsible of our ‘mess’ and find pro-environmental and -societal agency?
In other words, how can art-science interventions generate intrinsic motivation and creative self-action for change?
In a 2-phases workshop we will bring together perspectives from evolutionary and sustainability sciences and from the arts. First, we will engage with differences and similarities of their approaches to sustainability challenges as messes and wicked problems and to ideas of change, evolution, and transformation. Learning from each other, we will explore tangible and intangible, locutionary and illocutionary, constative and performative aspects of art-science relationships. This will imply knowledge production, terminologies, tensions within complexity discourses and differences in approaches to solution-oriented action. Following a nexus thinking approach, we will discuss interdisciplinary challenges along the so-called Water-Energy-Food Nexus (WEF) with a focus on plastics and its alternatives. We will engage with questions of plastics’ lifecycle across multiple scales, from global scenarios to the local setting of Klosterneuburg. Our explorations will serve as the basis for the second phase of the workshop: the co-design of the general structure for experimental art-science interventions with society. The latter will be co-created by artists and scientists in the following months. We will consciously integrate the responsible material use, consumption and waste management in our art-science practices. Our experiments will be exhibited and tested with societal participation in June 2021.