The term overview effect was coined by Frank White in 1987 to describe the cognitive shift reported by a number of astronauts having looked back from Space to Earth. The question is it only from such a distant point of view of the planet we occupy, as the “crew of the Spaceship Earth” to use Buckminster Fuller’s metaphor, that we can first realize that this “spaceship” is slowly running out of “fuel” and that the crew is in need of “oxygen”?
This project seeks to explore the complexity of the ecological problematics and the inseparable links between them and issues like corporate imperialism, indigenous sovereignty, gender, different kinds of extractivisms and the importance of decolonising not just history but also our concept of nature in order to reshape an inclusive mindset akin to a post-anthropocentric world.
The goal is to rethink the issue of environmental justice and propose an approach to art one possible way to a better future and to building an awareness that opens a path for a new eco-aesthetics approach.
The curatorial strategy explores alternative exhibition-making formats and responds to the rhizomatic idea of ECO_LABS where six realms represent distinct sub-themes, all of them interconnected:
1 – GENDER, RACE AND THE COLONIAL TRACE
2 – WATERTOPIAS
3 – THERE IS NO EDGE!
4 – LEARNING FROM INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
5 – BEYOND ANTHROPOCENTRISM
6 – BACK TO THE FUTURE
Each ECO_LAB will take on the role of a think-thank for art, action and knowledge production related to the sub-themes we derived from the overall concept, within the whole methodological approach to the development of the exhibition. The ECO_LABS will thus create a dynamic and revolving structure that builds on the transversality used as key way of thinking and also establish a trans-disciplinary approach from different disciplines such as arts, humanities and social sciences.
We strongly believe that art must contribute to the public debate on the politics of sustainability, developing creative proposals that put forward alternative forms of working with the environment fairly and sustainably, with the goal of seeking alternatives that will help to bring about a paradigm shift and to collaborate towards a more habitable, fair and sustainable future.
Our goal is to develop an exhibition that speaks of ecology in content and form. To this end, and with the purpose of making sure that the project is consistent with this approach, the curatorial proposal has been deliberately driven by the ways of doing, with the goal of opening a door to a search for more ethical ways of consuming. A number of guidelines were established in order to take care of the carbon footprint of the whole show like avoiding pollutants, petrol-derived materials and shipping of the artworks by air, in favour of local production, biodegradable materials and repurposed and recycled materials. A waste plan and a general plan to reduce energy were also made in the museum. But, being aware of the impossibility to make a total sustainable exhibition and embracing all the contradictions that came along the way, we are planning to offset emissions at the end of the project.
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the project has taken shape in two stages. The first part and the launch of Overview Effect was held on October 2nd 2020. It comprised a group of outdoor installations in the sculpture park of the Museum, a mural, site-specific interventions in different urban and rural areas, performances, artist’s workshops, artistic projects on Instagram, and the production of a personalized stamp with artist’s motif, among others. This phase continued with panel discussions with local experts, activists and environmental organizations and initiatives, as well as a series of lectures that were held online.
The second part, is an exhibition throughout the 5 floors of the Museum, with 60 artists, artistic duos or collectives, that will be held at the main building of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade from June 19th to September 20th, 2021.
Ravi Agarwal / Maria Thereza Alves / Vasco Araújo / Amy Balkin / Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan / Luna Bengoechea Peña / Ursula Biemann / Tania Candiani / Juanli Carrión / Carolina Caycedo / Tomas Colbengtson / Dušan Čavić & Dušan Šaponja / Cian Dayrit / Ex-Artists’ Collective (Anikó Loránt – Tamás Kaszás) / Dirk Fleischmann / Nina Galić / Regina José Galindo / Asunción Molinos Gordo / Kitti Gosztola / Lungiswa Gqunta / Tue Greenfort / Michaela Grill / Igor Grubić / Christina Hemauer & Roman Keller / Markus Hiesleitner / IC-98 / Ingela Ihrman / The Institute of Queer Ecology / ISUMA / Anne Duk Hee Jordan / Kinga Kiełczyńska / Jacob Kirkegaard / Elena Lavellés / Diana Lelonek / Ernst Logar / Tea Mäkipää / Mary Mattingly / Nemanja Milenković / Anna Moreno / Amor Muñoz / Kevin Michael Murphy / Michael Najjar / Branislav Nikolić / mirko nikolić / Nils Norman / Fernando Palma / PSJM (Cynthia Viera & Pablo San José) / Marjetica Potrč / Minna Rainio & Mark Roberts / Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle / Vera Stevanović / Robertina Šebjanič & Gjino Šutić / Škart / Thomas Thwaites / Adrienn Újházi / Marie Velardi / Mariëlle Videler / Tanja Vujinović / Juan Zamora / Bo Zheng
In addition to this and in order to work from a global perspective that may encompass a planetary vision, the project involves a transnational network of collaborators and partners that will further explore the themes and problems that are the main agenda of this initiative. Therefore, several organizations and museums such as Pori Art Museum; Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Las Palmas; MUCA-Roma and Casa del Lago UNAM, Mexico City; Pilchuck, Seattle; ARTPORT_making waves, Frankfurt; ARTSail, Miami; Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Bozidar Jakac Art Museum, Kostanjevica na Krki, amongst others will join the network, focusing on local problematics and equipping the project with the capacity of re-imagining a new integral ecological consciousness.
Going beyond the binary relations of utopias and dystopias, the project may help visualize the multiplicity of possible scenarios, as art’s capacity to produce new knowledge, alternatives and experience of the world might envision that change of the paradigm. This change will only be possible through a posthuman point of view where transdisciplinarity, multispecies coexistence and post-anthropocentrism will lead the way for the new post fossil capitalism era.
Programme on the opening day:
3 PM Panel discussion: Forms of extinction: Land, Water and Biodiversity.
Conversation with the artists Vasco Araújo, Juanli Carrión, Markus Hiesleitner, Elena Lavellés, and ŠKART, moderated by curators Blanca de la Torre and Zoran Erić.
A panel discussion will explore different forms of extinction as a consequence of introducing neoliberal policies and exploitation systems in global economies. These problematics will be analysed paying attention to the politics of land use, the “water wars” and the increasing loss of biodiversity.
4.30 pm Panel discussion: Back to the Future: Alternatives, Possibilities and Speculative scenarios.
Conversation with the artists Kinga Kiełczyńska, Anna Moreno, Michael Najjar, Robertina Šebjanič, and Juan Zamora, moderated by curators Blanca de la Torre and Zoran Erić.
A panel discussion that reflects on the power of artistic practices to visualize future alternatives in times of environmental collapse. Navigating from dystopia and utopia through the works of these artists, the construction of new narratives is more needed than ever to rethink the world that we want to inhabit in the upcoming years.
6 pm Jacob Kirkegaard sound performance in front of the Museum
With the support of:
The Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Open Society Foundation Serbia, Telenor Foundation, ERSTE Foundation, Danish Arts Foundation, Acción Cultural Española, (AC/E), Pro Helvetia, Mondriaan Fonds, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Iaspis, City Council of Madrid, CanariasCrea, Österreichisches Kulturforum Belgrade, Goethe-Institut Belgrade, Embassy of Switzerland in the Republic of Serbia, Canada Council for the Arts, ifa, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Instituto Cervantes de Belgrado. Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Belgrade, Collegium Hungaricum Belgrád, Embassy of Portugal in Serbia, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Belgrade, Embassy of Spain in Serbia, Embassy of Canada, Belgrade, Romanian Cultural Institute – Vienna.
project and curatorial direction: Blanca de la Torre and Zoran Erić
assistant curator: Dušan Savić
production: Dragana Jovović
design: Katarina Popović, Andrej Dolinka (project logo)