ART CLIMATE TRANSITION
ACT is a European cooperation project on ecology, climate change and social transition. In an era of climate breakdown, mass extinction and growing inequalities we join our forces in a project on hope: connecting broad perspectives with specific, localised possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we ACT.
from september 2019 to august 2023
ACT: Art, Climate, Transition appears as a third evolutionary phase of Imagine 2020, which started in 2010 as a cooperation of arts organisations, raising awareness in the cultural field on climate change. Confronted with the ongoing climate crisis, sheer imagination is not enough. ACT is urgent and topical in addressing ecology and climate change, deeply rooted and entwined in a political economy that favours inequality and exhaustion. There is no sustainable transition without climate justice.
ACT implemented 397 actions and events in the field of contemporary arts, ecology and a fair transition including: coproductions, exhibitions, festivals, knowledge sharing, performances, publishing, and participatory projects with local communities.+ Keep Reading
To address the current pressing ecological and social issues, we need to combine a significant European exchange with the specificities of local contexts. Transnational mobility is a priority, in this double movement of taking the time to develop roots locally and to exchange internationally. We need to redefine our ethical awareness and ecological understanding of interaction between species, humans and their political and natural environments – through capacity building - training & education.
ACT was structured around a mobility strategy, strengthening connections between local and European contexts. The diversity of our localities holds great potential for deep learning. We developed initiatives supporting artists to meet in several places, at different moments and in varying formats, to stimulate mutual learning. These formats were organised in 7 work packages: rooting & circulating, spaces & means, commissions, coproductions, agenda events, communicating and learning to impact.
ACT implemented 397 actions and events in the field of contemporary arts, ecology and a fair transition including: coproductions, exhibitions, festivals, knowledge sharing, performances, publishing, and participatory projects with local communities. 88% of the activities produced new art works. ACT engaged with 964 artists and 571 CCP (Cultural and Creative Professionals) from 63 different countries, thus contributing to the professional development of the European cultural sector, fostering expertise around arts and ecology.- Resume
PARTNERS AND STORY
Artsadmin, London United Kingdom
Bunker, Ljubljana Slovenia
COAL, Paris France
Commongrounds / Arie Lengkeek, Rotterdam The Netherlands
Culturgest, Lisbon Portugal
Domino, Zagreb Croatia
Kaaitheater, Brussels Belgium
Kampnagel, Hamburg Germany
Lokomotiva, Skopje North Macedonia
New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Riga Latvia
The Change Management Research Group, The Hague The Netherlands
Theater Rotterdam, Rotterdam The Netherlands
ACT was developed with a multidisciplinary approach - performing and visual arts, discourse programmes, community-based activities, among others.
The rooting & circulating WP (work package) included activities engaging with specific qualities, geographies, values and realities of our localities, while also feeding European exchange. This WP included main items of our shared work. With Collection Europe, collegially selected arts projects were brought to life. Relay lectures conceived and organised in a collaborative manner between partners of ACT. A series of 4 international Summer Labs for artists working around a specific theme, in close interaction with local communities and civil society organisations.+ Keep Reading
The spaces & means WP included activities claiming places for ‘cultures of othering’ or ‘futuring’, by showcasing artistic work in festivals and local programmes. The commissioned work asked for a clear thesis, which was artistically addressed. The process was developed over a longer period of time and the results were publicly presented on different occasions. ACT partners promoted internationally new creations of artists, through coproductions, also by involving committed external partners. The agenda WP connected the arts to the times and places of public and international debate. In our shared agenda we decided to define two major moments to join forces and seek to inspire and influence. The shared communications strategy supported the local visibility and legibility of the European project, the facilitation of shared knowledge, mutual learning, shared productions, and two campaigns related to the agenda-events. The objective of the research element within ACT was to build actionable knowledge for artists and art organisations on how to create impact through the arts.
ACT promoted: 17 artistic residencies, 49 communication activities, 68 coproductions, 22 exhibitions, 16 festivals, 50 knowledge sharing events (conferences, workshops, labs), 12 networking activities, 34 participatory projects, 91 performances, 3 publications, and 18 research-related works. In 4 years, ACT reached out to over 1 million people across Europe, who engaged with the project as audience members, visitors and participants. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the partners developed online tools to connect with online audiences. Over 1.2 million people reached out to ACT’s public events through online channels.
Issues related to the ecological crisis have been receiving ample attention from ACT partners for a long time. Being part of ACT created opportunities to enrich those programmes and strengthen their visibility. Creative Europe support helped to bring these topics to the forefront of the local and national agendas. By being part of ACT, partners partook in an exchange of experiences on a transnational level, deepening their expertise and knowledge beyond local contexts. The European co-financing also allowed for a stronger presentation of international voices on local stages and exhibitions. Reversely, partners were able to promote local artists internationally.
ACT amplified environmental issues through the arts, main-streaming certain questions and making them part of a broad public debate. After many years of investment on the work of Imagine2020 and ACT, these issues have become more and more relevant in the creative sector. The ACT project supported different generations of artists to grow in an international environment. ACT aimed for a more sustainable model of making, producing, and presenting art and by the principle of financial solidarity surrounding it. The impact of the project is about creating space for the development of art with potential to be a ground for discussion, knowledge production, sustainability and innovation.- Resume
A GLIMPSE OF
Marseille Agenda Event 2021
As part of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the European cooperation network ACT – Art Climate Transition, of which COAL, French referent in the field of art and ecology, is a member and Planète Émergences, a key player in the field of art in the public space in Marseille, has inaugurated a monumental mural at the L’Écomotive Café, in front of the Marseille Saint Charles train station. This project is part of Les Murs d’Audubon.
Together, ACT, COAL and Planète Emergences have chosen both the extraordinary wall in front of the Marseille central train station to work with the Greek artist Fikos. Fikos takes us back to the cultural origins of the Phocaean city and more broadly to Europe by combining the technique of Byzantine wall painting and contemporary street art. He has managed to appropriate and renew this art of composition dear to Audubon, by mixing birds from Europe and the Mediterranean and original drawings by Audubon himself.
For years to come this mural will welcome visitors who arrive at Marseille Saint Charles train station. It will remain a citizen and creative symbol in the face of the massive erosion of biodiversity and in particular the dramatic decline of bird species.
London Agenda Event 2023
On the 28th/29th June 2023 Artsadmin and Art, Climate, Transition (ACT) co-hosted an international symposium exploring the intersections between contemporary performance, democratic participation, and environmental justice. The two-day symposium was based at Toynbee Studios in London and sat alongside What Shall We Build Here festival.
The symposium took an expanded understanding of political discourse and knowledge dissemination. To get to grips with the big themes we are looking at, and to move the conversation forwards, we need many modes of communication. Therefore the two days of the symposium included an eclectic mix of panel discussions, workshops, walks, performances, talks, keynote lectures, meals & meditations.+ Keep Reading
Part of the programme was a very topical panel in which ACT invited fellow artistic networks and collaboration projects to exchange with us on European Collaborations and Environmental Justice. How do we maintain connection internationally whilst acknowledging the environmental impact of travel? How can we ensure a more equitable mobility alongside our sustainability goals? This panel discussion explored these questions through a showcase of initiatives and projects that are addressing them from across Europe (and beyond). It included presentations from Ása Richardsdóttir from IETM, Yohann Floch from On the Move - on their reports on artistic and cultural mobility, Carolina Mano Marques from ACT - Art, Climate Transition, Kris Nelson from LIFT on ‘concept touring’ - a commissioning programme for artists to develop concepts for international touring projects with little or no human travel, Farah Ahmed from Julie’s Bicycle on their mobilizing efforts including the climate justice perspective, and Mariachiara Esposito from the European Commission, who reflected on the new Green Deal and the Creative Europe programme.- Resume
In the scope of the ACT Symposium, a publication was commissioned about the ACT: Art, Climate, Transition project. This publication is licenced under creative commons and is available for download here.
YOUR BIRDS, OUR BIRDS
The Your Birds, Our Birds campaign was launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseillein September 2021. To spread the impact of this initiative across europe, ACT kicked off the campaignby inviting all network partners to engage their local communities of artists, scientists and civic organizations to submit murals of threatened birds. Inspired by the mural byartist Fikos in Marseille, which was created by ACT through the partner COAL for the IUCN World Conservation Congress, network partners have been developing their local mural projects.
LEARNING TO IMPACT
As ACT juxtaposes Art, Climate and Transition, we cannot avoid to think about ‘impact’. In bringing these three words together, the people and organisations behind ACT have committed themselves to explore what art has to offer in facing the climate crises.
But what in all fairness, can be expected of art? Can art help us better articulate or understand the causes, effects, and the challenges climate change poses? Can art propose alternative ways of being in the world, can it inspire us to find our way out of the crises, or to live with them? Or should art work in different directions: voicing the pain and anger of those affected by climate change, for instance, or perhaps help us mourn our climate losses? The ACT work package ‘learning to impact’, led by Jacco van Uden and Arie Lengkeek, dedicated itself to questions like these.+ Keep Reading
In the Learning to Impact work package of ACT, we have tried to find out how the word is being used in the ‘domain’ of art, climate, and transition – if at all. To this end, we organized a series of mutually enforcing events:
- A series of webinars with experts familiarizing the ACT network partners and other stakeholders with the world of impact (both theoretical/historical and current practices).
- Workshops with the ACT network partners to explore the relevance of impact thinking on the level of (art) institutions.
- A series of interviews with selected (ACT) artists to reflect on impact at the level of artistic practices Articles - ACT.
- A workshop /presentation at the biannual Art of Management and Organization Conference in Liverpool, UK (2022)
- A series of live broadcasted reflective interviews on the topic during the Art, Climate, Transition Symposium in London, UK (2023) Impact Radio Hour - ACT.
- A mural on Impact The Wall Talks, created by Kristine Densley and Natalie Oakley, 28/29 june 2023, Toynbee Studios, London, UK (2023) The Wall Talks - ACT.
While there is lot to be said – and has been said – about the role art plays in acting against climate change, ACT also allowed us to continuously reflect on the nature of impact. While impact has been presented as the reasonable alternative to oversimplifying concepts to describe where activities may lead to, this concept too faces the real risk of being overstretched. Demanding it to be bolder, more specific, more certain about ‘how things work’- Resume
A series of four Summer Labs forms a cherished heart in the shared for-mats of ACT. Each year, every partner invited an artist to participate in the Summer Lab.The Summer Labs were organised as a shortand intense period of artistic exchange and encounter with the local context and ecologies.
Summer Lab #1
Zagreb, 29 june-3 july 2021
Summer Lab #2
Urban Ecologies - trees in the city
Ljubljana, 23-28 august 2021
Summer Lab #3
Riga, 13-17 june 2022
Summer Lab #4
Negative public spaces
Skopje, 4-9 june 2023
Every edition was organised by a different partner; connecting the artistic exchange to issues and ecologies that are particular to their cities and landscapes. Each Summer Lab thus welcomed 9 artists from all over Europe, complemented with a 10th artist who participated as an independent observant. These observants were selected and invited by the editors of the ACT, and were asked to produce a critical reflection, based on the Summer Lab’s programme, participating artists and its social and ecological context. These texts were published on the ACT website and are included in the ACT publication.- Resume
As a network, we sensed a strong need to facilitate ‘artist-activists’, who develop community processes resulting in objects that are charged with meaning, specificity, even conflict. For that purpose, we’ve created Collection Europe, a series shared by the ACT partners around 4 artists: Ama Josephine Budge, the Berru collective, David Weber-Krebs, and the Škart collective.
Ama Josephine Budge
The Apocalypse Reading Room
London / Hamburg
The Apocalypse Reading Room is an installation by speculative writer and artist Ama Josephine Budge: an on-site library, a world of talking stories in the face of environmental and social transformation, a gathering of all the books we might need to change the end of the world. This project started in 2020 with a digital version developed online, promoted by Artsadmin. It was settled at Toynbee Studios in the summer of 2021, and within the Hamburg Performative Book Fair in the spring 2023.
Porto / Clermont-Ferrand
Transforming Energy is an installation that investigates the potential of oceans in responding to the current energy crisis. This work by the Berru collective combines living and non-living structures, creating synergies between the biological and technological worlds, in order to attempt to understand the complexity of such structures and speculate about their potential to create self-sustainable systems. Two ACT Relay Lectures followed-up to this work (in the summer and automn 2022), involving researchers and the Berru collective, in the two cities. This event was organised in the scope of the Season Portugal-France 2022.
David Weber Krebs
and then the doors opened again
Brussels / Skopje / Riga / Rotterdam
and then the doors opened again is a collective act of imagination about the possible futures of theatre written from the moment of the Covid-19 lockdown, which first led to a book published in 2020. From March 2021, David Weber-Krebs and Simone Basani engaged with spectators in different countries to think further about spectatorship in and after pandemic times. New speculations, reflections and narrations have been produced through a series of collective workshops, individual talks and walks in Brussels, Skopje, in different places in Latvia, and in Rotterdam.
Ljubljana / Zagreb
Nonpractical Women is a collective process that combines creative writing with almost stereotypical handicrafts of older generations, pushed to fringes of society. Together with participantes from local retirement homes, the Škart collective, prepared two exhibitions - Ljubljana (2021) and in Zagreb (2023) - offering sharp verses and harsh socially critical views, embroidered and drawn in napkins.
ACT FINAL EVENT
- Ljubljana 2023
When the project started, it was 4 years sincethe Paris COP 21. Now, we’re 8 years further and the emergency seems even more pressing. On a European level, the agenda on a just transition and a New Green Dealhas taken shape, including also the arts sector as an agent for change. When we started, we deemed it relevant to explore ourselves as well and how we, and the artists we work with, understand and speak about the role art and creative production can play in the vast and urgent transition towards a just and sustainable society. At the same time, we could see this impact right before our very eyes in the projects we embarked on: when school children were invited to participatein our birdmural project, short circuiting their school to other communities across Europe. Or when the residents of an elderlyhome organised themselves as ‘stubborn pensioners’, creating artworks for inclusionand diversity not as abstract policy terms, but as the weavings of relations and dependencies in real life.
ACT EVENTS - CULTURGEST
6–11 Jan 2020 Anthropocene Campus Lisbon Parallax
3–4 Mar 2020 Things founded in silence
27 Mar – 23 Jul 2020 Daniel Christian Wahl Economy and Regenerative Cultures
28 Oct 2020 Antônio Bispo dos Santos The difficult art of confluence
24–26 Sep 2020 Marlene Monteiro Freitas Evil – Divine Inebriation
7 Oct 2020 Silvia Federici Women, Witch-Hunting and Primitive Accumulation
16–17 Oct 2020 Christos Papadopoulos Ion
18 Nov 2020 Mental Storm Silence
17 Jun 2021 Cinema and Ecological Reason Teresa Castro
14 Apr 2021 Energy Nightmares: from Chernobyl to a climate emergency Michael Marder
6 Apr – 27 Jun 2021 Gabriela Albergaria Nature Abhors a Straight Line
21–30 Jun 2021 OPEN CALL SUMMER LAB LJUBLJANA 2021
13 Oct 2021 BRUNO LATOUR and FRÉDÉRIQUE AÏT-TOUATI Moving Earths
25–27 Mar 2022 Marco Martins Wild
9 Mar 2022 COLONIAL BOTANY, DECOLONIAL BOTANY Helena Elias, Teresa Mendes Flores, Margarida Medeiros, Luís Mendonça de Carvalho
8 Mar 2022 VIBRATING IN THE WORLD Séverine Kodjo-Grandvaux
29 Mar 2022 Hacking the mask Alexander Gerner, Charles Fréger, Dieter Mersch e Marco Martins
1 Jul – 4 Sep 2022 BERRU Transforming energy
22 Feb – 18 Mar 2022 OPEN CALL YOUNG ARTISTS SUMMER LAB LATVIA 2022
26–27 Nov 2022 MARLENE MONTEIRO FREITAS & DANÇANDO COM A DIFERENÇA Ôss
10–12 Nov 2022 Sun & Sea RUGILĖ BARZDŽIUKAITĖ, VAIVA GRAINYTĖ E LINA LAPELYTĖ
28–30 Sep 2022 Mala Voadora Universal Declaration of Human Rights
16 Feb – 17 Mar 2023 OPEN CALL YOUNG ARTISTS SUMMER LAB SKOPJE 2023
3 Sep 2022 BERRU: SOUND OCEAN Berru, Clara Amorim, Olivier Adam
25 May 2023 Philippe Descola As Formas do Visível
19 May 2023 Eliza Levy, Rita Natálio Compor Mundos
15 Apr 2023 Lia Rodrigues Encantado
27 Jun – 2 Jul 2023 Os Possessos Manifestos para Depois do Fim do Mundo
14 Apr 2023 A talk with Lia Rodrigues
14 May – 8 Oct 2022 Gabriela Albergaria Nature Abhors a Straight Line
11–12 Nov 2023 Milo Rau / NTGent & MST Antigone in the Amazon
13 Apr 2023 Lia Rodrigues Fúria
Catarina Medina, Carolina Mano Marques
DESIGN E WEBSITE
Studio Maria João Macedo & Queo