Sustainability in an Imaginary World

Art and the Question of Agency

; John Robinson

Sustainability in an Imaginary World explores the social agency of art and its connection to complex issues of sustainability.


Over the past decade, interest in art's agency has ballooned as an increasing number of fields turn to the arts with ever-expanding expectations. Les mer
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Sustainability in an Imaginary World explores the social agency of art and its connection to complex issues of sustainability.


Over the past decade, interest in art's agency has ballooned as an increasing number of fields turn to the arts with ever-expanding expectations. Yet just as art is being heralded as a magic bullet of social change, research is beginning to throw cautionary light on such enthusiasm, challenging the linear, prescriptive, instrumental expectations such transdisciplinary interactions often imply. In this, art finds itself at a treacherous crossroads, unable to turn a deaf ear to calls for help from an increasing number of ostensibly non-aesthetic fields, yet in answering such prescriptive urgencies, jeopardizing the very power for which its help was sought in the first place.


This book goes in search of a way forward, proposing a theory of art aiming to preserve the integrity of arts practices within transdisciplinary mandates. This approach is then explored through a series of case studies developed in collaboration with some of Canada's most prominent artists, including internationally renowned nature poet Don McKay; Italian composer and Head of Vancouver New Music, Giorgio Magnanesi; the renowned Electric Company Theatre, led by Kevin Kerr; and finally through a largescale multimedia installation aiming to reimagine the relationship between climate, culture, and human agency.


Sustainability in an Imaginary World will be of great interest to students and scholars of arts-based research fields, sustainability studies, and environmental humanities.

Fakta

Innholdsfortegnelse

Table of Contents


Section 1: Realigning the art-sustainability relationship


Chapter 1 - An Introduction to Sustainability in an Imaginary World


Section 1 - Realigning the art-sustainability relationship


Section 2 - Artists of the Floating World


Section 3 - Sustainability in an Imaginary World


Summary


Chapter 2 - Sustainability as a failure of ontology


What kind of problem is sustainability?


A problem for Modernism or about Modernism?


The Subjects of Sustainability: Information Deficit Models and the Modernist Problem of Personhood


Social Practice


The objects of sustainability and the rise of complexity


Methodological or Ontological redress?


A banishing of science?


Or Modernity?


Flattening Ontology


Procedural Sustainability


Flipping the Predicate


Regenerative Sustainability


The joyful climate crisis?


Conclusion


Chapter 3 - Art as the Attention we Pay


A risky proposition?


Value-add or Trade-off?


Transformative vs. Co-optive?


Two Cautionary Tales


A descriptive swing and a miss: The Mozart Effect


A prescriptive swing and a miss: Art and science communication


Gauging the risk


Why do we think art has agency and where does this instinct typically lead?


A theory of art for transdisciplinary work?


Instauration and the nature of construction


Beings capable of worrying you?


George Steiner and the 'Unmastered Thereness'


Heidegger and the ontological agency of art


world/earth tensions


Tools vs. Art


Indirect, Mediated, and Frustrating


The agency of the work of art


Conclusion: Art as the quality of attention we pay


Chapter 4 - Does It Need to be Good to be Useful? Art, Aesthetic Merit, and Research Design


In search of the full promise of artistic agency?


Tackling a 'meta' problem


Aesthetic Priorities in Transdisciplinary Art Practices


Leavy's resolution


Resistance is fertile?


Aligning descriptive and prescriptive orientations


Misappropriation of Voice?


Aesthetic priorities and democracy?


Amateurs, and aesthetic priorities vs. aesthetic merit.


Artists?


Double Entrepreneurship as our Homeric moment?


Section 2: Artists of the Floating World


Chapter 5 -Artists of the Floating World: An Art-Sustainability Commissioning Strategy


Background


Modifying Modernism? Artists of the Floating World

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