This lecture presents the Basel part of the exhibition series Eco-Visionaries. Art, New Media and Ecology after the Anthropocene, of which Yvonne Volkart is a co-curator. The exhibition is related to her research project Ecodata – Ecomedia – Ecoaesthetics which investigates new media, technologies, and techno-scientific methods (registering, collecting and interpreting data) in the arts in view of understanding their role and significance for the perception and awareness of “the ecological.”
Assuming that there is no escape of technology in our technosphere, the belief in technologies as tools for information and help is widespread in both technophile and critical discourses of the Anthropocene. Many artists use technologies like sensors and methods like Big Data to get in touch with what has been unknown for a long time. They try to “translate” earthbound signals into human perception, in order to deliver information and establish new relations between non-humans and humans. But what exactly do ecomedia and ecodata deliver/narrate? How do they affect us? Drawing on the Basel part of the group exhibition Eco-Visionaries, as well as on a further aesthetic projects and theories of media-ecology, this lecture discusses how ecomedia might enable (or not) participation and transversal thinking. What does the current euphoric take to the non-human imply, if we want to overcome the paralysis of the Anthropocene? At which point do come the people into play?
Dr Yvonne Volkart (Switzerland) is a lecturer in art and media theory and researcher at the IAeP, Academy of Art and Design, FHNW Basel. Since 2017, she has led the SNFS research project Ecodata–Ecomedia–Ecoaesthetics. The Role and Significance of New Media, Technologies and Technoscientific Methods in the Arts for the Perception and Awareness of the Ecological for which she co-curated the exhibition Eco-Visionaries in collaboration with Karin Ohlenschläger (LABoral, Gijon) and Sabine Himmelsbach (HeK, Basel). Her main concerns are the intertwining of aesthetic theory and practice, the critical discussion of media/art as well as questions of ecology, gardening and landscape, the Anthropocene, eco-techno-feminism, body, and materiality, (digital) waste, Big Data, and history—always from the perspective of the arts. Completed research projects include: Times of Waste (2015–2018) and RhyCycling. Aesthetics of Sustainability in the Basel Border Area (2011-12), both funded by SNFS and led by Flavia Caviezel. From 2003-05 Volkart led Cyborg Bodies for the internet platform Mediaartnet (ZHdK/ZKM Karlsruhe). From 2009 to 2012 she was a curator, together with Anke Hoffmann, at Shedhalle Zürich. She writes regularly for Springerin.
This programme is part of Nature and Urbanity: Acts of Life, a critical research residency and presentation project that seeks to explore the relationship between environments and humankind in times of rapid urbanisation and digitalisation. The project is transdisciplinary in nature and lends itself to discussions between fields of art, philosophy, sociology, urbanism, and technology. Acts of Life is a collaboration of NTU CCA Singapore and MCAD Manila, commissioned by the Goethe-Institut Singapore and Manila.
For more information, please visit: https://www.goethe.de/prj/aol/en/index.html
Image of Dr Yvonne Volkart.