Turn2 Lab#3 laboratory's Presantation

Climate Crisis / Crisis of Imagination ?

Are we deranged? Is Indian writer Amitav Ghosh right or is he exaggerating in asking this question, and in arguing that future generations may well think so? 

Are we, artists, cultural operators, thinkers, activists and policy makers, living up to our responsibility, or rather constantly showing our imaginative failure in the face of global warming, climate change and the 6th mass extinction? Is it possible to examine and turn around this inability – at the level of art, history and politics - to grasp the scale and violence of climate change? 

Can we collectively imagine and propose other forms of human existence, a task to which artists and cultural operators are not only called, but could also be uniquely suited? Is it possible to dare imagine what these other forms of existence could have as an impact on our artistic creation and cultural production?  And maybe even more importantly, how can these other forms of existence, and of cultural production, be inspired by our contexts in the South, and not be decided about without taking into account our realities and propositions? 

L'Art Rue, in partnership with the TURN2 programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the support of the Goethe Institut Tunis, launches a three-day gathering of curators, artists, thinkers and activists from Africa, the Middle East and Europe who could be putting the cultural and political struggle to save ‘the Earth that we are a part of’ at the heart of their cultural, intellectual and/or civic practice. Bringing them together and allowing them to engage and exchange for three days in a shared space, in a city at the heart of the MENA-region and the Mediterranean at the same time. 

With several objectives: 

•  To create an informal network of cultural and activist practitioners that consider the above-mentioned struggle a common priority for the decade to come;

•  To share and exchange knowledge and pertinent practices;

•  But also to go a step further: to commit to developing a common ‘repertoire/cultural capital/body of imaginary practices, works, gatherings’ that have the ambition, in the years to come, of putting this struggle at the heart of the cultural sectors and civil societies in our respective contexts.  

We want to focus on pre-figurations and practices that are being developed on widely different territories, in very contexts and by a variety of practitioners. What could we plan to do together from this first meeting onwards, knowing the future is a practice? Let’s aim for a call to action(s) coming out of this gathering. Because the climate crisis is not on the way; we are in the middle of it. Our countries and regions are being hit right now, and will undoubtedly be hit the hardest in the years to come.  

Nevertheless, creating a sense of urgency within our societies remains difficult. Other important struggles (social, political) still seem to be higher on the priority list. That is totally understandable. But could the ecological struggle not be a common struggle that unites us all? In order for that change to happen, artists, thinkers, activists have a key-role to play. If our hope is for ‘an ecological coalition to emerge in our region’, we need an imaginary-ecological avant-garde. It is this potential coalition that we want to bring together in Tunis.  

The Tunis-gathering should be seen as a starting-point for a long-term commitment. Not as an end-point, and even less as a one-shot event. 


Practical information

May 29, 30, 31 at L'Art Rue


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