Leading cultures of transition through arts practice.
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DOUGLAS, A. 2016. Leading cultures of transition through arts practice. Keynote presented at the Art and ecology seminar, 28-30 November 2016, Valencia, Spain.
In this third keynote I want to rise a little to the surface while rising to the challenge that both speakers have offered the arts. All three presentations share in common the importance of the stories we tell ourselves. These stories influence and shape how we act in the world. Some stories, like that of inhabiting Starship Enterprise (and the energy on which it depends), may be pathological, literally killing us by consuming the resources on which all life on earth is dependent. Research, too, may be a story we tell ourselves, one based largely within a positivist paradigm that is not only extremely powerful, but also a significant contributor to climate change through its economist drive. What we have created through positivism is a culture of expectation in which problems of the present and future are imagined in two opposite ways: 1 problems can be resolved through technology or 2. problems are not resolvable (by implication technologically) in a future in which collapse is most likely. Both of these scenarios suggest that the future is one way or another in our control/or out of our control. What happens if we imagine the future by suspending expectation, disbelief letting go of the notion of 'control' /or 'no control', instituting a culture of hope. I believe that by suspending disbelief, we can work with stories to address complexity. We can raise questions, imagine new possibilities and develop new experiences based on these possibilities. In this way we start to inhabit the gap between belief and understanding and in the gap raise the possibility of a different world.