New Media Talk Series #56 | Sarah Maske

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New Media Talk Series #56 | Sarah Maske

Permaculture + Art = Environments of Transition

Monday, April 30, 2018 – 6 pm

New Media Projects

Maria Thereza Alves, Ballast Seed Garden, 2012-2016, © Arnolfini Gallery

Short Abstract

Climate Change, Pollution, Ocean acidification, Extinction, Drought!

These big scary terms are not only big scary terms anymore, we actually see and feel them, in certain areas of the world, already suffer from them. They influence our lives and push them in certain directions. Up until this point, the human species thought it could not be affected long term by external influences at least not as an entire species – But now it begins to dawn on humans that the dualism of “us” and “nature” was only created to make our counterpart usable. We used nature as a resource and changed it without considering that it changes us too.

The changes are talking to us nowadays and we try to listen and understand. That is the reason why art, society, and theory aim at translating what they think to have understood. Scholars like Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway talk about cohabitation of human and non-humans. Stacey Alaimo proposes ‘intra-acting’ as a new approach of having an impact on each other.

Also, Ecological Art is more and more wondering how everything is connected and creates impressions of ecosystems and their changes. They show the status quo of environments of transition. In the form of Participative Environment Artworks, Research Artworks traceable through documentation material as well as Open Air Installations and Performances all referred to as Permaculture Art they let the participant experience the combination of art and ecosystems. The works result in a rather non-hierarchical view of ecosystems, in a network with every actor equally contributing rather than a hierarchical structure with the human species at the top.

This approach is used by Permaculture Design for decades already. The term Permaculture Design was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s and is an ecosystem management method, which aims at creating a sustainable ecosystem.

This lecture sets out to examine how Permaculture Design can be connected to Ecological Art. It aims at understanding how ecological networks are presented in Permaculture as well as in Ecological Art, where the similarities are and why it makes sense to use Permaculture as a lens for complex artworks which work on revealing ecological networks.

Sarah Maske is a doctoral candidate at the University of Potsdam, where she researches processes and networks in Ecological Art. She is a scholar at Brandenburg Center for Media Studies that is kindly supporting her research. Additionally, Maske works as an independent curator and is a member of the board of Grüner Kultur e.V., an interactive association concerning Permaculture and sustainable lifestyle located outside of Berlin. Recently she founded Arta Atelier GbR in Berlin, Germany, together with director Ayat Najafi to promote interdisciplinary projects especially concerning art and ecology. Before that she studied History of Art and Business Administration at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz and worked on numerous exhibitions, e.g. at Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Museum Wiesbaden and ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.