OUR CULTURED LANDSCAPE AND
ITS ECOLOGICAL IMPACT
"There are small and large gestures we can all make. This is a moment to reflect on doing less, better and for longer."
Video by Crossmark.
Organised in partnership with acclaimed museum director Jessica Morgan, Nathalie de Gunzburg Director of New York’s Dia Art Foundation. The 2020 Verbier Art Summit took place on 31 January – 1 February in Verbier, Switzerland around the theme:
OUR CULTURED LANDSCAPE AND ITS ECOLOGICAL IMPACT
The 2020 Verbier Art Summit asked how to envision a way forward in finding harmony between art, ecology and resources. Jessica Morgan comments on the theme, “How does culture move forward at a time of crisis such as now? It is essential to have artists, designers, architects, engineers and other thinkers be a part of this conversation.”
Photos by Alpimages.
The speakers gathered for an extended dialogue in Verbier, Switzerland, to consider questions raised around resources, land and culture. The framework of the Summit allows for the exploration of a variety of subjects, ranging from the history of land art and work made in and about the land- and urban-scape; the resources consumed by art and institutions; engineering and other man made forms in the environment; real and imagined landscapes and the future of art in the context of an ecological crisis.
Jessica Morgan and the Verbier Art Summit welcomed artists, curators, academics and leading innovators to Verbier, Switzerland for a weekend of innovation:
ALLORA & CALZADILLA
ELVIRA DYANGANI OSE
PROFESSOR ROBERTO FEO & ROSARIO HURTADO
DOROTHEA VON HANTELMANN
ABOUT THE 2020 SPEAKERS
Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land, 2016/2018. Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco, 2019. Photo by FMCAC/Justin Oliphant.
The artist Joan Jonas (US) will open the 2020 Summit by addressing the present dangers of climate change and extinction through her work that combines video, poetry, and research on the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. Further ideas on collective responsibility will be offered by Brazilian philosopher, author and social activist. Djamila Ribeiro (BR) states, “It is not sustainable for one group to dominate the production of knowledge, life, and existence".
Her feminist voice on ethnicity, oppression and inequalities will give a deeper insight into our diverse environment. An investigation into the nature and representation of systems and how these construct our ideas of reality is provided by El Ultimo Grito, the designer and academic duo Rosario Hurtado (ES) of HEAD, Geneva University of Art and Design & Roberto Feo (ES) of Goldsmiths, University of London.
Our cultured landscape is explored by Adrian Lahoud (AU), architect, curator, writer and educator who examines urban spatial forms and large-scale environmental change. He is the Dean of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London, and curator of the first edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial (2019): Rights of Future Generations. He believes it is time to “radically rethink fundamental questions about architecture and its power to create and sustain alternative modes of existence.” This notion is also addressed by the Swiss architect Philippe Rahm: “it is now necessary to redefine the language of our discipline” empowering and exploring a new mode of ‘climatic architecture’ for the future. A further interrogation into contemporary urban life is made by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (FR), a cross-disciplinary artist who creates and reinvents ‘environments’ to study our relationship with urban utopia and architecture.
Given today’s climate crisis, adaptation of our resource hungry society is needed. On the second day of the 2020 Summit, we will explore adaptive solutions through the work of artists such as Andrea Bowers (US), who has built an international reputation for her drawings, videos, and installations, which deal with social issues ranging from women's’ and workers’ rights to climate change and immigration. Art changes minds, which will be further placed in context by Professor of Art and Society Dorothea von Hantelmann (DE), who will explore the pertinent and expanding power of art in global societies. Further insight is shared by Elvira Dyangani Ose (ES), writer, international curator and Director of the Showroom London focusing on new environmental forms produced in public spaces and socially engaged practices.
The work of interdisciplinary artists Jennifer Allora (US) and Guillermo Calzadilla (CU) also provides food for thought. Based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, they collaborate on producing work which combines rich historical backgrounds with contemporary political opinions on landscape and populations. An innovative way to research this is offered in the talk by artist Stefan Kaegi (CH), one of the founders of Rimini Protokoll, expanding the means of the theatre to create new perspectives on reality. His Summit talk will focus on his current projects such as the World Climate Change Conference simulation.
The Summit was concluded with a collective moment led by Julie’s Bicycle, a London based charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability.
Jessica Morgan joined Dia Art Foundation as Director in January 2015 and was named Nathalie de Gunzburg Director in October 2017. At Dia, Morgan is responsible for strengthening and activating all parts of Dia’s multivalent program, including its pioneering Land art projects, site-specific commissions, and collections and programming across its constellation of sites. Since Morgan’s arrival at Dia, the foundation has grown and diversified its collection to include significant works by Mary Corse, Nancy Holt, Robert Morris, Dorothea Rockburne, Kishio Suga, Anne Truitt, and Lee Ufan among others.
Alongside an expanded exhibition program, Morgan has continued Dia’s commitment to site-specific commissions, facilitating major new work by artists including Isabel Lewis, Rita McBride and Joëlle Tuerlinckx, and in 2015 realizing the first Dia commission outside the continental United States since 1982 with Allora & Calzadilla’s Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), situated in Puerto Rico. In 2018, Morgan announced a comprehensive, multi-year campaign, that includes the upgrade, revitalization, and ongoing stewardship of Dia’s key programmatic spaces and artist sites.
Photo by Alpimages
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla
Jennifer Allora (born 1974, Philadelphia) and Guillermo Calzadilla (born 1971, Havana) live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Solo exhibitions have taken place at Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Haus der Kunst, Munich; MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Castello de Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; MAXXI, Rome; Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and many others. Jennifer and Guillermo represented the United States at the 54th Venice Bienniale in 2011. In 2015, they made the site–specific installation Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a Dia Art Foundation commission on the southern coast of Puerto Rico. They are preparing a large solo show at the Menil Foundation in Houston which opens September 2020.
Andrea Bowers is a Los Angeles-based American artist working in a variety of media including video, drawing and installation. Andrea received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1992. Over the last twenty-three years, her work has explored social issues ranging from women’s or worker’s rights to climate change. Her work converges between art and activism and has been exhibited around the world, including museums and galleries in Germany, Greece and Tokyo.
Photo by Alpimages
Elvira Dyangani Ose
Elvira Dyangani Ose is Director of The Showroom, London. She is affiliated to the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada. Previously, she served as Creative Time Senior Curator, Curator of the eighth edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary art, and Curator International Art at Tate Modern. She recently joined Tate Modern Advisory Council. Elvira has published and lectured on modern and contemporary African art and has contributed to art journals such as Nka and Atlántica. She studied a Doctoral Degree in History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, New York; has a MAS in Theory and History of Architecture from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona; and a BA in Art History from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
Photo by Alpimages
Professor Roberto Feo &
Rosario Hurtado & Roberto Feo define their practice as ‘the thing we do in order to understand the world’. El Último Grito produces work that responds to an on–going investigation into the nature and representation of systems, and how these construct our ideas of reality. El Último Grito sees their academic activity as an extension of their public work, bringing their experimental approach into the academic realm. Roberto Feo is Professor of Design Practice at Goldsmiths University, London and Rosario Hurtado co–directs the programme MA Space and Communications at HEAD_Genève. As part of their current academic activity they have created the research unit: Vehicles for Experimental Practice, based in Goldsmiths University London, of which the first outcome is the experimental practice journal Multiplexer.
Photo by Alpimages
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is an experimental artist based in Paris. Since 1990, she has been exploring the different modalities of sensory and cognitive relationships between bodies and spaces, real or fictitious, up to the point of questioning the distance between organic life and work. Metabolizing literary and cinematographic, architectural and musical, scientific and pop references, Dominique creates “chambres” and “interiors”, “gardens”, “attractions” and “planets”, with respect to the multiple meanings that these terms take on in the works of Virginia Woolf or Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Brontë sisters or Thomas Pynchon, Joanna Russ or Philip K. Dick. Haunted by history and future, Dominique’s works become containers where the artist incubates a form of subjectivity that does not yet exist. Through multiple international exhibitions, short films, productions and concerts, Dominique's mutant work contributes to the invention of new technologies of consciousness.
Photo by Giasco Bertoli
Dorothea von Hantelmann
Dorothea von Hantelmann is Professor of Art and Society at Bard College Berlin. Before taking the position at Bard College Berlin, she was documenta Professor at the Art Academy/University of Kassel where she lectured on the history and meaning of documenta. Her main fields of research are contemporary art and theory as well as the history and theory of exhibitions. She is the author of How to Do Things with Art, one of the seminal works on performativity within contemporary art, co-editor of Die Ausstellung. Politik eines Rituals (‘The exhibition. Politics of a Ritual’) and has written extensively on contemporary art. Her current book project is entitled The exhibition: Transformations of a ritual, and it explores exhibitions as ritual spaces in which fundamental values and categories of modern, liberal and market-based societies historically have been, and continue to be, practised and reflected.
Photo by Alpimages
Joan Jonas is a world-renowned artist whose work encompasses a wide range of media including video, performance, installation, sound, text, and sculpture. Joan’s experiments and productions in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theatre. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of rituals, and the authority of objects and gestures. Joan has exhibited, screened, and performed her work at museums, galleries, and in large scale group exhibitions throughout the world. She has recently presented solo exhibitions at Hangar Bicocca, Milan; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the United States Pavilion for the 56th edition of the Venice Biennial; Tate Modern, London; TBA21 Ocean Space at the San Lorenzo Church, Venice; and Serralves Museum, Porto. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize, presented to those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.
Photo by Alpimages
Stefan Kaegi is based in Berlin, produces documentary theatre plays and works in public space in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Stefan has toured across Europe and Asia with two Bulgarian lorry drivers and a truck which was converted into a mobile audience room (Cargo Sofia). He developed Radio Muezzin in Cairo – a project about the call to prayer in this age of technical reproduction. At the moment he adapts Remote X, an audio tour for 50 headphones to cities like Taipei and Tunis, and he tours the interactive installation Nachlass that portrays people who have not much time to live. Stefan co–produces works with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, under the label Rimini Protokoll. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, they give voice to ‘experts' who are not trained actors but have something to tell. Their latest work Utopolis for 48 portable loudspeakers opened in Manchester Festival 2019.
Photo by Alpimages
Adrian Lahoud is an internationally recognised architect, urban designer, and researcher. He has written and lectured extensively on urban spatial forms and large scale environmental change with a focus on the Arab world and Africa. Adrian is the Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, and previously Studio Master in the Projective Cities Master of Philosophy in Architecture and Urban Design Program at the Architectural Association London. Prior to that he was Director of the MA program in Research Architecture and a Research Fellow in the Forensic Architecture ERC project at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Key works include Climate Crimes at The Future Starts Here, V&A Museum, Floating Bodies at Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin and Fallen Cities: Architecture and Reconstruction in The Arab City: Architecture and Representation.
Photo by Alpimages
Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect, principal in the office of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability. His recent work includes the first prize for the Farini competition in Milan in 2019; the 70 hectares Central Park in Taichung, Taiwan, completed in December 2019; the Agora of the French National Radio in Paris; a 2700 m2 Exhibition architecture for the Luma Foundation in Arles, France. He has held professorships at GSD Harvard University, Columbia University and Princeton University. In 2017, his work was exhibited at both the Chicago and Seoul Architecture Biennials.
Photo by Alpimages
Lucy Raven is an artist based in New York. Her work is grounded primarily in animation and moving image installations. She has had exhibitions and screenings internationally, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Serpentine Gallery, London; MoMA and PS 1, New York; Portikus, Frankfurt; the Tate Modern, London; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Her permanent public artwork, Lichtspielhaus, recently opened as part of the new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany (September 2019). She is the cofounder (with Vic Brooks and Evan Calder Williams) of the moving image research and production collective 13BC, whose exhibition Fatal Act was on view at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, Ireland until 7 December 2019. She teaches at Cooper Union School of Art in New York.
Djamila Ribeiro is a public intellectual, writer and philosopher, a social justice activist, and one of the most influential leaders in the Afro-Brazilian women’s rights movement. Djamila holds a Master´s Degree in Political Philosophy by the Federal University of São Paulo. She is a best-selling writer of the books Quem tem medo do Feminismo Negro? (‘Who is afraid of Black Feminism?’ 2018), Lugar de Fala (‘Place of Speech’) and Pequeno Manual Antirracista (‘Little Anti-racist Manual’). Djamila is the lead publisher of the Collection Feminismos Plurais (‘Plural Feminisms’), editor of afrodescendant writers´ works at affordable prices and with a didactical language approach. She is the founder and head of the "Sueli Carneiro Seal", which aims to publish black women from Latin America and the Caribbean. Recently she was awarded a Prince Claus Award for outstanding achievement in the field of culture and development.
Photo by Alpimages
ABOUT THE 2020 CULTURAL PROGRAMME
In addition to the talks programme, the 2020 Verbier Art Summit collaborates each year with several partners to present a cultural programme held at various locations around Verbier.
A collaboration with HEAD – Genève, Haute école d’art et de design, resulted in students from the MA Space & Communication developing alternative formats for public speaking and communication while enlisting their thinking about how to disseminate the speakers’ contributions.
The Summit is also delighted to announce its continued partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), working to protect and assist refugees worldwide. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will join the conversation as climate change, food and water crises as well as migration increasingly affect the development prospects of low income countries. Daniel Maselli, Senior Policy Advisor and Focal Point, will explain why the SDC places special emphasis on these global challenges, focussing specifically on water. An innovation workshop will be provided by Alison Tickell of Julie’s Bicycle, highlighting the important work they did with the Arts Council England, implementing environmental policy and action plans in over 350 art organisations. For some actual mountain inspiration, a guided tour will be organised by the Verbier 3-D Foundation in the Sculpture Park and an on-site artwork will be developed by their current artist in residency Karsten Födinger.
More art can be found at the Verbier Cinema, with a film programme of the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, curated by Andrea Bellini of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève and Andrea Lissoni of Tate Modern in London (future director of Haus der Kunst in Munich). A collaboration with the renowned Verbier Festival offers a talk and live performance of composer Gabriel Prokofiev’s Suite for Global Junk, Import/Export with percussionist Joby Burgess. Their work uses global junk materials to create socially aware music centred on the theme of globalisation.