29—30 JANUARY 2021
To celebrate the Verbier Art Summit’s fifth anniversary on 29 and 30 January 2021, the Summit launches a new virtual platform and invites leading artists and thinkers from all over the world to deepen debate on:
OUR CULTURED LANDSCAPE AND ITS ECOLOGICAL IMPACT
The virtual platform provides an opportunity for all those with a love for art, innovation and ecology to participate for free, joining the international movement for driving social change through art. This is a time of great change and the Summit gladly offers a central role for artists and innovative thinkers to enable transformation and inspire action on the ecological crisis.
The 2021 Summit speakers are invited by Jean-Paul Felley, the Summit’s Academic Director and Director of the EDHEA, the Valais School of Art, and include the Swiss artist Claudia Comte, Professor Tom Battin and cultural leaders Hedy Graber and Madeleine Schuppli. These interdisciplinary speakers will offer their different perspectives on a resource hungry epoch and reflect on how we can find a new way forward.
In the work of artist Claudia Comte, the natural environment has always been a common theme, whereby the forest in particular has played an instinctive creative role. More recently, her interest in the ocean and marine life became a recurring subject. Her talk will be complemented by an illustration on transitions in the ‘unseen life’ in rivers by Tom Battin, Professor of Environmental Sciences at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), whose laboratory works on the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of stream ecosystems in mountain regions worldwide. Further ideas on innovation and society will be shared by Hedy Graber, head of the Cultural and Social Directorate at the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, who support sustainable social projects across Switzerland, and Madeleine Schuppli, head of Visual Arts at the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, who support Swiss arts and culture at home and abroad fostering cultural exchange.
The 2021 Summit will feature new and existing TALKS by Summit speakers such as Olafur Eliasson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Joan Jonas and Claudia Comte focussing on knowledge sharing around the social issues discussed at the previous Summits: (de)Growth (2017), the Digital Age (2018), Multiple Truths (2019) and Ecology (2020).
As part of the expanded digital offering, five new DEBATES from all over the world, will continue the Resource Hungry discussion started at the 2020 Summit earlier this year. The debates are conceived by our Strategic Director Beatrix Ruf and are moderated by the former partnering museum directors coming from: New York, São Paulo, Beijing and London.
The international debate series will kick-off from New York with a session moderated by Jessica Morgan, the Summit’s 2020 partnering museum director of the Dia Art Foundation, who selected the Resource Hungry theme. The debates include speakers such as the artists Andrea Bowers, Carolina Caycedo, Naine Terena and Clare Twomey, architect Philippe Rahm, philosopher Djamila Ribeiro, professor Timothy LeCain, director of the EPFL-ECAL Lab Nicolas Henchoz, museum directors Daniel Birnbaum, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Jessica Morgan, Philip Tinari and Jochen Volz, as well as ecological change-makers such as Alison Tickell, the founder of Julie’s Bicycle, a London based charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability. Each debate will be concurrently live-streamed on social media and will include a live Q&A session on the 2021 Summit days: 29 and 30 January.
Olafur Eliasson at the 2018 Summit. Photo by Frederik Jacobovits.
Rirkrit Tiravanija at the 2019 Summit. Photo by Alpimages.
Jochen Volz and Naine Terena at the 2019 Summit. Photo by Frederik Jacobovits.
Jessica Morgan reflects back on the theme Resource Hungry, stating: “It took a virus to halt aspects of our culture that were destroying the environment. Now is the moment to reflect on how we can evolve in response to the questions posed at the 2020 Verbier Art Summit:
Can we learn from the light touch and holistic thinking of indigenous cultures that have cared for the land for generations?
Can we reassess the spaces, habits, structures, and systems of culture to find new ways to operate and new ways to experience?
Can we rethink our values?”
Jessica Morgan at the 2020 Summit. Photo by Alpimages.
The virtual Summit will also showcase ART AND ECOLOGICAL INSPIRATION by the Summit partners and international Members: art works, talks, performances, podcasts, books and workshops. The aim is to encourage all participants to take ACTION: “Repair our relationship to the land, by shifting away from endless resource extraction” and “begin to repair our relationships with one another in the process”, as the Canadian author Naomi Klein described so powerfully in her book On Fire. The Burning Case for a Green New Deal (2019).
If you are interested in learning more about the Summit’s theme, the accompanying publication Resource Hungry: Our Cultured Landscape and its Ecological Impact edited by Jessica Morgan and Dorothea von Hantelmann, designed by Irma Boom and distributed by Koenig Books London, is now available to purchase in specialty art book stores, museum shops and online.
ABOUT THE 2021 SPEAKERS