Art News from Margaret Shiu of BCS #07：Is This a Warning from Heaven?
Is this world we are facing now, with such real mega scale issues, making us feel that they are beyond our experiences, and also beyond our expectations?
First, it was the melting of the ice in Greenland. Then it was the flooding in so many global cities. Then it appeared to be unstoppable, from a man-made situation in the Amazon forest fires, to wild natural firestorms around the hilltop villas in California; followed back to back, there is the all out non stop burning in Australia, where the survival of countless creatures, a series very unique species on that continent, is now at stake. But now! Now we see a Corona Virus Pandemic, mutating from wild life creatures !!!
Did we ever wonder why? Or are we still head in the sand, thinking it's just how the world is evolving in its own pathway, to the next phase of evolution? I am still deeply concerned about the way the World Economic Forum in Davos addresses this topic this year; and the way it echoes the total disappointment of so many NGO delegates at the last COP25 in Madrid, the UN member state meeting on Climate Change. We all witnessed the lack of will of so many state parties to tackle the issues on hand with conviction, withstanding the finger pointing of a teenage Greta Thurnburg, whom I consider as the spokesperson for the next generation.
Seriously can we just start to rethink on the constant national indicator, using growth in GNP as the only measurement of the economic development target? Sustainability of our human race and all species are now at stake! Sustainability of the world is at stake! Is it time to reconsider Degrowth as the way forward!
If you feel uneasy with “De” in Growth, how about try to see other indexes and indicators? Try to see happiness, see worth, true value and meaning of a life well lived? But now we see it’s for real. Now we see self quarantine as a way to stop this epidemic spreading as the only effective way. Now it’s closure of school, work from home, and all forms of travel. Restaurant and entertainment at a standstill. The heavens corderned us into our corners! The only social engagement is family. Now family is back to it's true role, relationships are treasured. So now back to basics to the extremes, this 21C seems today, somehow back to 19C? Paranoia is hitting us right in the face. But, now the sky is blue again. The living creatures move with ease. The Co2 level is dropping faster than ever. But will this last? I think not. We are so accustomed to this easy expansive lifestyle. If only this lasts long enough to let humans change their habits, and let it sink into their mind. That as a human species we are not the only one that matters. We are all equal. We all need to share the same planet to survive.
Let us all share, connect and cocreate a new paradigm of living our lives. let us review the hipster’s ideals of the 60s, and remember we can recreate a new way of living, on the planet earth and live as one, and share in the world together.
This is where we need artists to work with us, to help us imagine a new beginning where people can truly experience it, and see the possibility of managing with less, but enjoying more, by leading them to personally try it. Artists can show us how to enjoy the Art of living to lead the way back to basics?
There is a unique and famous institution that has changed it's operational vision. Look at The Serpentine Gallery, as quoted in the UK media, it is the first contemporary art institution to appoint a curator dedicated to ecology, John Offenbach.
Offenbach is inspired by artist Gustav Metzger, who died in 2017, who said that artists should create works that address the urgent dangers that society faces. He called on the art world to use their agency to get people to wake up to the threat of the destruction of the planet.
Maybe it is time we do the same all over the world. Artists, it is time for us to lead the way to a new paradigm shift. Please other sectors of society welcome artists to join you at the table to cocreate a new way forward.
We have but 10 more years before 2030, to see if we can reach that 2 Degree target of pulling back the world from total disaster, of the projected possibility of a world at 3 degree C above the limits, and spiral into intolerable consequences in our living environment, and engendering our survival possibilities.
This is not a time to be a bystander, but a time to join in the act. So, what is the act that we can do? Everyone can and do in a personal way, and toughen up our will for personal change, every little bit counts, even one less disposable cup is of impact, believe me, it goes a long long way!
As they say JUST DO IT!