About ecology and sustainability in art institutions (with Nada Schroer)
25 June 2020


Place: Online (Zoom)
In English

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Although you would like to be happy about the beautiful spring weather, the yellow meadows and dry leaves on the ground are cause for concern. The effects of climate change, species extinction and environmental disasters are difficult to overlook. This leads many of us to acknowledge the need for structural change. But back in everyday life, it is difficult to draw conclusions from the pessimistic insights. Instead, there is a dynamic of dismay and helplessness, procrastination and finally repression. Social psychology calls the uncomfortable emotional state that follows from this, a cognitive dissonance.

A slight feeling of malaise has now also leaked to the art world. Political and philosophical debates on the topics of climate and ecology are very popular with curators and artists - this is shown not least in exhibition titles, annual programs and biennial slogans - but unfortunately there is a lack of powerful ideas concerning how the art world could operate according to the principles of climate justice and sustainability. In response, the Temporary Gallery would like to organize regular meetings on these topics, which will deal with theoretical as well as practical questions related to the organization and curating of art exhibitions.

The central question of the first one is how we can develop individual and collective visions for a climate-friendly system change in the art world. What storylines are needed for sustainable institutions? What could curatorial formats look like that not only address climate change but also take ecological form?

The meeting opens up space for a collective search for vision. What should happen? How could it be implemented? What can I do to help achieve the vision? In a progressive brainstorming session inspired by the writings of Joanna Macy we will collectively move from dreaming to planning.

Moderated by Nada Schroer and Aneta Rostkowska.

Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone, Active Hope. How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy, New World Library, 2012, German version: Hoffnung durch Handeln. Dem Chaos standhalten, ohne verrückt zu werden, Junfermann Verlag, 2014. Plasticity of the Planet: On Environmental Challenge for Art and Its Institutions, ed. Magdalena Ziółkowska, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Mousse Publishing, 2019.

The Curatorial Unknown is a series of meetings dedicated to curatorial practice initiated by Temporary Gallery. Centre for Contemporary Art in Cologne and prepared in collaboration with a group of curators and institutions from Cologne and the region. The meetings are open to everyone interested in curating.


: Milena Bonilla, „Mellilotus officinalis“, part of the artwork „Spring starts as a murmur (Utopia)“, 2019
( presented in the exhibition “Floraphilia. Revolution of plants”, until 20.09.2020)