EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW! ETF! the dialogue between art, science, movements and politics
The boundaries between art, research and invention become blurred in the experimental arrange-ments of the artists, their inventions and interventions, their architectural and aesthetic reflections. Many of the artistic positions use science and technology for their emergence, while others criticise precisely these. The works revolve around the big and the existential questions of our present times- and all of them provoke and request individual action.
A whole series of works can be interpreted as ARTivism, activism with artistic means.
In Chile, taking up local scientific expertise led to a close cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies| IASS (now RIFS) and the University of Valparaíso. Urgent problems of the country were negotiated: Lithium mining, deforestation for quinoa exports, privatisation of water, excessive coal mining. For this ETF! won the Chilean Art Critics’ Prize as the best international exhibition of 2017.
But the most moving experience was the impact of ETF! in Ethiopia. The great photographic work by Ursula Schulz-Dornburg gave an insight into the 66,000 varieties of wheat in the seed bank of St. Petersburg. This work inspired and convinced scholars in Addis Ababa to show the treasures of their local seed bank at ETF! For the very first time, the public there learned about the precious diversity of varieties of the dwarf millet “Teff (Tef)” which the institute meticulously guards and defends against European and American patent requests. “A testament to our changing planet. Truly a must-see”, wrote the Ethiopian newspaper “The Reporter”.
The dramatic changes in our living conditions require the cooperation of the various social forces. It is about preserving, visualising, consciously shaping life, about the active engagement of human beings with their own and the surrounding nature.
We need new ways of thinking, moving and organising to be able to tackle the challenges of our present. This requires permeability and alliances between the arts, sciences, activism and participatory processes. And cooperation projects with an economy that is willing to change.
ETF! shows the relevance of artistic questions for the genuinely cultural challenges of global dislocation and relies on the transformative power of art, on its imaginative capacity as one of its inexhaustible resources. For the radical transformation, we need the permeability of artistic, scientific and the knowledges of social movements; this requires leaving the silos of art, culture and science, which stand disconnected next to the other silos. We need to think bigger in terms of cultural policy. And we need visions for a sustainable life that can be combined with sensuality, the desire and passion of one’s own actions.
The exhibition demonstrates the urgency and the necessity of expanding perceptions with the cultural-political goal to create a fund for aesthetics and sustainability. Berlin as a driving force? Everything necessary for this is available in this city, it just needs to be linked, for this we need vessels that enable and cultivate cooperation, we need a fund for aesthetics and sustainability.