Sustainability understood procedurally is not the elusive perfect solution to the global Polycrisis of unsustainable development, but an emergent property of societal negotiations, resulting from imaginaries, imaginations and conversations of desirable futures, and informed by multiple dimensions of uncertain knowledge. Transdisciplinary work engaged in such a search process – shaping hopeful engagement against the odds, can best integrate artistic and arts-based learning and knowing when it is inspired by the ontological and epistemological leads of Edgar Morin’s method of “Generalized Complexity” and Basarab Nicolescu’s “Axiomatics of Transdisciplinarity”. This transdisciplinarity is a collaborative practice of qualitative complexity venturing beyond the comfort of a dominant “Social Imaginary of Control+ cisdisciplinary Knowledge” (SICcK). Its partakers operate creatively and critically on the grounds of everyday life, seeking convivial responses to the ongoing Polycrisis.
The lecture will highlight the need to critically investigate the dominant and alternative social imaginaries of “sustainability”, with a creative imagination informed by ecological thinking. The lecture will both discuss how artistic processes have a crucial power of queering across levels of reality, and relate some properties of artistic processes to a bottom-up wisdom that may emerge in local configurations that we may call Spaces of Possibility & Spaces of Potentiality (SoPPs) – as a counterbalance to SICcK-ridden narratives of e.g. so-called smart cities.
Along the lecture, various artists will be invoked as exemplary initiators of SoPPs, from canonical pioneers of ecological art and intervention art to current transdisciplinary artists engaged in local and online contexts.
The lecture will take place under the Angewandte COVID regulations: https://www.dieangewandte.at/covid19
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Sacha Kagan is a habilitated member of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (Germany), where he worked as Research Associate from 2005 to 2018. He was the founding coordinator of the international network "Cultura21: Cultural Fieldworks for Sustainability" from 2006 to 2016, board member of the Research Network “Sociology of the Arts” at the European Sociological Association (ESA) from 2011 to 2019 (Coordinator 2015-2017), and received the "Basarab Nicolescu Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering Award" 2018 from the Academy for Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies (ATLAS). Kagan, whose research foci are on the arts, culture, urban development, and lately also on queer sexual cultures, in relation to the cultural dimension of sustainability, intervened at over 130 events in 33 countries, authored over 70 publications, directed three documentary films, and contributed in various roles to a dozen arts projects.