How the art world can do beyond sustainability to thrive ability

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The 26th United Nation Climate Change conference has just come to an end in Glasgow and here for the first time the cultural sector has been considered a priority and as the engine of sustainable development and resilience: hope is not enough anymore to face the climate crisis and Still/Moving are here to remind it. The British art collective composed by Laura Hopes, Martin Hampton and Léonie Hampton aims to create social and ecological change through questioning established modes of thinking and behaviour and this year in Glasgow created a giant installation that says “NO NEW WORLDS” in front of the main COP26 delegate zone.
The sculpture is 70m long and made of 3000 energy efficient LED bulbs, it was commissioned for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing and aims to underline the links between climate change and the ongoing process of colonization.

No New Worlds, Still/Moving. Courtesy of the artists.

The Climate Fringe is the festival that takes place every year on the occasion of the COP conference and this year Olafour Eliasson contributed with 2 different artworks: the first one is “Grace of the Sun” made together with the artist Robert Montgomery, it’s a solar powered light poem that calls on global leaders to invest in renewables; the second one is the documentary made with the South African activist Kumi Naidoo about how the art world together with the activism can achieve climate goals.

Grace of the Sun, Eliasson and Montgomery. Courtesy of the artists.

Another art organization committed to the climate action is the Climate Heritage Network that this year in Glasgow launched its first manifesto “Accelerating Climate Action through the Power of Arts, Culture and Heritage” signed by over 2000 arts and cultural organizations asking for integration between governments and culture professionals, to fight together the climate change.
The art sector is extremely involved in the climate change, erosion of monuments is only one of the possible consequences, and for this reason the whole sector is trying to find solutions and behaviors that could help. The green paper drawn up by Climate Heritage Network with Europa Nostra and ICOMOS shows the chances of rethinking the disposition of cultural heritage as an alternative for overbuilding and land exploitation and reflects on the resources offered by the cultural sites as an observatory for climate changes.
The latest installation by the environmental artist Agnes Denes is a site-specific flag in the Venice lagoon and represents the call to action in response to the crisis of human and planetary health, the artist is part of the non-profit organization Healing Arts that strives to response to the pandemic and climate change.

The future is fragile, handle with care, Agnes Denes. Courtesy of Culturunners.

There is still a lot to do in order to face the climate change, but many art organizations are contributing to the cause and when they are not or not enough, the professionals take care of it. This is the case of British Museum that received a letter from archaeologists and heritage professionals asking to end its sponsorship arrangement with the British Petroleum company because of their fake policies and bad behavior. However, the museum stated that the British Petroleum is a long-standing corporate partner that economically support their mission and they are grateful to.

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