Among the Garbage and the Flowers An Art-Science Exhibition focused around the Theme of Figuring Feasible Futures

An image of a tree with black artistic shapes coming out of it. There is grass on the floor and more trees in the background

Art work: Outdoor installation by Jinjoon Lee

This event is part of the TORCH Art, Biodiversity, and Climate Network.

The exhibition Among the Garbage and the Flowers brings together artists and scientists to challenge the imaginary divide between the urban and the wild, between anthropogenic and so-called "natural" landscapes.

The environmental art-science initiative The Flute & the Bowl will explore what natural and cultural forces are shaping our collective future and where to look for hope among the garbage and flowers.

The ethos of the exhibition Among the Garbage and the Flowers remains, first and foremost, in the creative process of the artists and researchers involved. The Flute & the Bowl works through artist-scientist pairs and organizes conferences and creative workshops throughout the year to structure and facilitate the collaboration between artists and researchers of various backgrounds. These meeting points make the work developed by each pair resonate through exchanges, discussions and moments of collective creation.

In collaboration, there is a potential to bring together not only artists and scientists, but also different artistic and scientific disciplines; a necessary approach to address the climate crisis in all its scope. Thus, the artistic disciplines involved in the exhibition Among the Garbage and the Flowers include sculpture, video art, performance, writing, music composition and sound art, while the scientific disciplines involved include biology, environmental sciences, engineering, medicine and chemistry to name but a few. This diversity allows researchers and artists to discover the blind spots in their respective methodologies and epistemologies. It is in the plurality of action and thought that collective solutions to our collective problems can be found.

"This exhibition is above all a questioning of our own paradigms," says Pablo Fernández, co-curator of the exhibition. "We tend to assume that nature is what awaits us outside the city, that the urban and the wild are opposing entities such as cold and hot, day and night. The same is true of culture and nature, or man and the natural world."

For artist and co-curator Anya Gleizer, going beyond our current paradigm is essential to address the ecological emergence: "Faced with the disintegration of wilderness — whether in the collapse of ecosystems or in our own human minds - we must work on a radical reconfiguration of our relationship to the natural world. For this, art can act as a compass. When we use art to question the relationship between our human cultures and the natural world, the boundary that allows this nature-culture binary to persist begins to slip.”

To reconfigure our relationship with nature, it is essential to first connect with our surrounding environment. Artist Lillygol Sedaghat, a multimedia storyteller and explorer for National Geographic, argues that by understanding “how we shape our environment and how our environment shapes us, we can grow to understand our place in the world in a different way, where every decision we make impacts someone, somewhere, or something.”

The group of artists and researchers brought together in this initiative use scientific and artistic methods to question our way of life here and now and to co-create alternative ways to coexist with the world that surrounds us and of which we are a part.

 

Art work: Outdoor installation by Jinjoon Lee