[Renewable] read Article2010 conference reflections by moderators

Rasa Smite rasa at rixc.lv
Thu Nov 11 12:59:33 EET 2010

Hello again,

iolab has published online reports on their Article 2010 conference

Read the reflections of the conference by the 
moderators Raitis Smits and Erich Berger:

they also have published all the presentations on Vimeo:



REPORTS FROM THE CONFERENCE: Criticism on consumption
Article Biennale 2010, Stavanger, September 14-15

DAY 1 / Moderated by Raitis Smits

IN RESPONSE - report
By Raitis Smits / rixc.lv

How can art address questions about climate 
change, sustainable living and ecology to general 
public and how do these themes, if it is possible 
at all to address them as themes, change the 
language of art and aesthetics.
Can art help shift our mindset from consumer 
attitude towards building an awareness of a more 
sustainable development and what would the 
criteria be for discussing such kind of art?

We have experienced the early net culture which 
brought various models of gift economy and 
sharing culture into discussions and which 
implemented some of those models also in practice.
There have also been very practical attempts to 
create artists' own infrastructures run by them 
and having roots in DIY and open source culture.

These forms of art and creativity can be analyzed 
and studied in different contexts beginning with 
social and up to scientific and technological. 
Furthermore, in many cases the only key to the 
work is to experience it in various contexts.
Another significant aspect is the processual 
character of net culture and artworks based in 
this culture. In other words, the early 
conceptualist' idea of making no artifacts has 
been identified as a one of the criteria also in 
network based art and culture.

Today we can look at art that deals with climate 
issues and sustainability as a continuation of 
the practice of early new media art and network 
culture. Also, it seeks a deeper engagement with 
scientific practices and ways of how science 
determines our reality.

If we look at climate change or the issue of 
climate it is difficult to evaluate or even to 
notice these changes in our everyday life. 
Scientific community offers deeper climate 
studies and comparison of data collected over 
time by various kinds of observation equipment. 
If we consider technology as our extensions, how 
does this help us to actually gain a deeper 
understanding of the world and how capable are we 
to interpret the data received by our technology?
I see these questions being addressed in 
Andrea'ss Poli work "Ground Truth" - the research 
and exploration project on meteorology and people 
observing the weather.

Relationship between man and environment, the 
limits of our insight of the environment we live 
in and technology as the determining factor in 
perceiving our environment - these are one of the 
most fundamental questions in works by Terike 

Creating cultural awareness of particular 
environmental issue that would lead on to 
concrete action is what artists and designer 
Karolina Sobecka proposes with her work "Amateur 
Human". Absurd and playful design objects in the 
form of a smoke cloud get attached to the car 
exhaust pipe and with the help of iPhone 
application changes the color from green to red 
according to the co2 emission exhausted by car.

Through different forms of art it becomes 
possible to confront us with the new way of 
looking at climate and sustainability issues. 
What new metaphors are there and is there a place 
for ambiguity and humor in the so called climate 

Leaving his tools for creating art behind, 
particularly his photo camera Simon Hoegsberg 
puts himself in a situation of direct engagement 
with by-passers in his action "Free Advice About 
Everything +Coffee". In my opinion the project is 
about balance, balance between our everyday 
reality, various desires and deeper questions 
concerning self-development.
Various design projects by Interactive Institute 
presented by Tina Finnas provides us with new 
tools for changing our energy consumption 
behavior. Objects like "Flower Lamp" and "Energy 
Aware Clock" are designed with intent to raise 
awareness of everyday energy consumption with the 
help of visualizing energy usage.

Sustainable architecture and new ways of 
designing family houses was presented by 
architect Ane Dahl from company Helen & Hard. 
Among various design and engineering approaches 
for reducing energy consumption and making homes 
more sustainable the most innovative way to 
reduce the relatively high costs was the idea of 
a family using the house for many generations.

I believe there is a significant difference 
between an artist who engages in social processes 
and the artist as an outsider in the age of 
modernity. How big of a role does the artist take 
as the creator of visions and what is the role of 
technology in this process and how does this 
impact society on a larger scale by using climate 
art projects and can we expect a change of 
Today art can no longer remain isolated as a form 
of representation. It must rather become 
integrated in processes where various disciplines 
overlap and intercross.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

DAY 2 / Moderated by Erich Berger

By Erich Berger

The second day of the conference continued in the 
good and discursive spirit of the first day. It 
was themed Process / In action and collected 
presentations of artist, researcher and activists 
coming from very different directions dealing 
with issues like the global environmental crises, 
the consumerist attitudes of our society and the 
dubious approaches of global powers. As the 
curators put it Something is not quite right, 
Biennial´s title, refers to a uneasiness which 
according to them is fuelled by climate change, 
consumerist attitudes and threatening facts about 
the future of our planet. Additionally this 
uneasiness is also a result from a gap resulting 
from, as individual, not being able to experience 
these threats as real. The time span of climate 
change is a good example. On the other hand, it 
is difficult for an average person to follow the 
science on which base the alarm bells are rang. 
There is disappointment in politics which seems 
not being able to act and there is a constant 
bombardment of sensationalist media which for 
whatever reason permanently evoke another new 
global crisis. It is difficult to keep facts and 
propaganda apart, especially when there is lack 
of trustworthy and comprehensible reference. 
Communication, distribution of knowledge and 
networks of trust are needed to overcome this 
uneasiness. In general I was glad that the title 
of this years Article Biennial and its conference 
did not follow a trend of festivals which we can 
see reflected in catchy screaming titles. Instead 
of jumping on the disaster train the conference 
took a short cut to practitioners which do not 
wait and see what happens but act, without much 
agitation but with determination. What a lot of 
these practitioners have in common is that they 
take people serious instead of patronizing them 
and give them knowledge, tools and possibilities 
to start to intervene themselves. Besides 
creating awareness they create an actual culture 
of responsibility.
Though saying about themselves that their work is 
not political http://uebermorgen.com `s method of 
creating thrill media stunts is able to reach far 
into the political and economical mainstream 
media. For their actions, they help themselves 
with whatever seems (un)appropriate; nothing is 
save when its useful, the least of all art 
history. They presented their new project 
www.dotoildot.com commissioned by the Article 
Unfortunately their kindred spirits of the Yes 
Men www.theyesmen.org have not been able to 
attend but would have certainly enjoyed and 
enriched the day.
Tapio Mäkelä http://marin.cc presented his ideas 
around Ecolocatedness. He defines this as an art 
and science practice of situated information 
design. For him communication and action are 
entangled as he is emphasizing the importance of 
turning the invisible into the tangible to be 
able to construct response-able situations.
Sophie Jerram 
http://www.nowfuture.org.nz/dialouges presented 
New Zealand based art projects and initiatives 
addressing climate change.
Ulla Taipale http://www.capsula.org.es introduced 
the Herbologies/Foraging Network. Her curatorial 
work is fresh and interesting as she engages 
deeply into fieldwork and the production phase of 
the art works themselves.
Scott Kellogg http://rhizomecollective.org 
presented hands on solutions for urban 
sustainable city living and how to reinvent the 
urban environment. He gently reminded us that it 
is time now to start to act as long as we have 
cheap energies at hand as well as that the term 
sustainability is meanwhile on the list of words 
with the most miss use.
Michel Bauwens http://www.p2pfoundation.net 
showed new business models and an analysis of 
possible models with the example of free software 
The closing discussion centred around practical 
questions on sustainable business and living and 
which role art can play to support to establish a 
response-able culture. I had two fine days in 
Stavanger and enjoyed the vital conference very 
much. It was perhaps its manageable size which 
allowed for a quality interaction with speakers 
and audience.

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