[Versión en Español mas abajo}
Exactly one year ago and out of the blue, I was invited to project some of my landscape photos along with the work of 8 other (male) photographers: Andreas Gursky, Alec Soth, Ben Johnson, Brad Sloan, Christopher Manzione, Emmet Gowin, Michael Wesely and Peter Duong within the context of the Resilience Frontiers, a 'disruptive brainstorming conference’ on the future of resilience to climate change where 100 people were invited by the UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) during the Korea Adaptation Week 2019 to brainstorm on resilience and the future of humanity. As I was living in Seoul at the time and the conference was taking place next door in Songdo, Incheon, I decided to invite myself and witness the event, unsure if I'd be allowed to and if I'd even fit in among all those 'visionary thinkers and thought leaders'. Laureline Krichewsky, the coordinator, was kind enough to introduce me to some amazing artists and cool people in the room like Gaston Meskens and Silke Van Cleuvenbergen, from the New Humanism project, the Belgian visual artist Maxime Simon, who made new artwork during the whole conference, inspired by the themes and brainstorming that went on in the room, and *BONUS*: there were 2 other Venezuelans in the room besides yours truly! : Dr. Jose Eliel Camargo Molina, a physicist living in Sweden and Lorena Medina, a filmmaker living in Barcelona. Needless to say, I felt like I'd found my crowd and we ended up creating a panel discussion about the role of art in such a context. It was all very spontaneous and improvised and still such a great exercise to ask ourselves the following questions:
1. How can art/artists contribute to giving a new perspective to the discussion on climate change?
2. What are the diserable futures for art in 2030 and beyond?
3. Ways to democratize art.
5. How the artistic practice can relate to climate change?
6. How to use social media or other strategies to reach more people who are not already aware of climate change.
7. How can we create a positive mindset through art?
8. Using art to create consciousness to a wider audience.
9. What do we do to maintain creativity within our art practice?
10. The link between creativity and innovative thinking.
11. How artists can become a part of the process of problem-solving.
Of course, no definite answers were found. If anything, this was the beginning of an individual and hopefully a collective process as well. It was most certainly a mind-stretching exercise and I liked that it happened outside of the art world. I also met some amazing people like the Finnish environmental activist Tero Mustonen, environmental activist from Chad Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Global Food reformist Marc Buckley and Daniel Beckmann, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodshed, a food marketing app and logistics platform in the US.
It was exciting yet filled me with mixed feelings to listen to people talk about possible and desirable futures, “moonshots” and Sustainable Development Goals (adopted by all UN Member States back in 2015 to be attained hopefully by 2030...?) and to think about the possible future of the planet in 2030 and beyond when so many injustices/atrocities are still taking place and when politics determines everything, not only in my agonizing home country of Venezuela but in every single country on the planet. To think that we already have the tools to make this world better but we’re far from there.