Fresh perspectives! Art – Culture – Science – in dialogue with sustainable development policy

UBA announces recipients of "Artist in Residence" programme on the Isle of Vilm

two Pictures: Coast of Vilm and small land with housesClick to enlarge
Impressions of Vilm
Source: Ralf Grunewald

Up to now there have been very few theoretical or practical approaches to the cultural aspects of sustainability. The German Environment Agency (UBA) is launching a dialogue between art, culture and sustainable development policy through the “Fresh perspectives!” (working title) research project. The aim of the project is to develop new formats for communicating a culture of sustainability which is in line with the goals of Germany’s National Sustainability Strategy and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations. The project will highlight the overlap between cultural discourse, art in practice and sustainable development policy.

At the beginning of the year the research project announced a new artist-in-residence programme. The jury panel comprising Claudia Banz, Katja Blomberg, Cord Riechelmann and Manos Tsangaris has selected the following artists as recipients of the 2017 first grant: 

Art: Nadine Baldow, Andreas Greiner 
Literature: Sabine Scho 
Music: artist duo "Kombüse" (Paulette Penje and Niklas Seidl)  

The grant holders will spend a six-week work stay in summer 2017 at the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA) on the Isle of Vilm near Rügen. The isle is a core area of the Southeast-Rügen Biosphere Reserve and an example of undisturbed nature. 

The results of the project will be shown to the public in 2019 in an exhibition and accompanying publication. 

Jury statements on the grant holders 

Dr. Claudia Banz on Andreas Greiner 

"Andreas Greiner works consistently at the interface art and natural science. His interdisciplinary approach is a very convincing example of a new visual culture of sustainability. His imagery ranges from 3D printing, to installation to photography. Greiner uses art to act as a mirror and catalyst to draw attention to environmental problems and also immediately engage the onlooker. He seeks to draw special attention to issues which are often overlooked. During his residence on the Isle of Vilm, he will engage in an intensive exchange with natural scientists on site in order to take stock of local transgenic structures and thus provide an unusual perspective on man's interference with nature." 

Dr. Katja Blomberg on Nadine Baldow 

"Nadine Baldow’s installations examine current environmental, landscape and nature issues in specific locations. Her colourful shapes are vivid, space-filling pieces of rank growth shaped by a hybrid mix of plastic waste and the result of natural deposition and growth processes. The artist has already done two residencies in the natural surroundings of the Himalayas and a natural reserve in Czechia where was able to observe the conflict between modern lifestyles and nature up close and express it in a critical poetic manner. On Vilm she will be focusing on her new surroundings and produce work based on her observations and exchange with the local population.“ 

Cord Riechelmann on Sabine Scho 

"Sabine Scho's books "Tiere in der Architektur"“ and "The origin of senses" take the example of zoos and museums of natural history to put into words and images that synesthesia is nowhere to be found between mankind and animals. Rather she concentrates on what distinguishes the senses of snakes from those of humans, which cannot be reconciled by any metaphor. The Isle of Vilm, where some areas are off limits to visitors, is an apt background for the artist's new project 'The origin of values' to examine what such areas are worth to mankind." 

Prof. Manos Tsangaris on the artist duo "Kombüse" 

"The "Schwere Koffer" [Heavy suitcase] concept by the artist duo is remarkable in its targeted focus on the topic of sustainable development as announced in the call for tenders. The artists' starting point is their own everyday experiences which have been imbued since childhood with virtually unachievable ecological standards, where the best of intentions are doomed to fail and instead one engages in moral action to compensate this lack and acts of mundane self-deception. To illustrate this the duo will attempt to achieve a radical reduction of their personal CO2 emissions. The mechanisms and consequences of their failures will be examined and illustrated in the project. The jury is impressed by the two artists' commitment and looking forward to seeing the results." 

Grant recipient profiles 

Nadine Baldow   *1990, lives and studies in Dresden, currently studying sculpture and space design at HfBK Dresden. Artist in Residence in India and Czechia in 2015-2017.   

Andreas Greiner *1979, lives and works as a visual artist in Berlin, focusing on time-based, living and digital sculptures. Studied at Berlin University of the Arts in 2007-2013, studied medicine in Budapest and Berlin in 2003-2006.   

Sabine Scho *1970, lives and works as a writer/performer in Berlin,  2015 “The origin of senses. An intervention“, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, previously lived in São Paulo for many years; studied German language and literature and philosophy in Münster.   

Artist duo “Kombüse“ (Paulette Penje and Niklas Seidl): 

Paulette Penje *1984, lives and works as a painter and video performance artist in Berlin, studied at the New York School of Visual Arts and Academy of Art Berlin in 2015-2016, named master student of Prof. Georg Winter at Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar (HBK Saar) in 2014, studied free art at HBK Saar in 2008-2014. 

Niklas Seidl *1983, lives and works as a composer/cellist in Cologne, founder and director of 'hand werk' sextet, Cologne, and the 'leise dröhnung' duo, Frankfurt/Main. Member of 'mosaik', 'aisthesis' and 'chromson' ensembles, studied composition in Leipzig and Cologne in 2007-12, studied cello and baroque cello in Leipzig and Vienna in 2003-2009. 

Jury profile

Claudia Banz is an art and design historian and curator. She studied art history, Romance languages and literature and classical archaeology. She has worked as curator at various museums including the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin, the Museum Folkwang Essen and Centraal Museum Utrecht. Since 2011 she has managed the 'art and design after 1800' collection at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. 

Katja Blomberg is an art historian, writer and curator. She is familiar with the art scenes in Japan and Great Britain thanks to many years of residence abroad; she has served as press officer for the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art in Vienna. Director of "Haus am Waldsee" (contemporary international art) in Berlin since 2005. 

Cord Riechelmann is a Berlin-based columnist and urban nature reporter for the Berlin column of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He writes for various magazines including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Author of Bestiarium, Wilde Tiere in der Großstadt and Krähen. Ein Porträt. 

Manos Tsangaris is a composer, drummer and installation artist. Appointed Professor of Composition at the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden in 2009. Designated artistic director of the Munich Biennale for new music theatre since 2012, co-director (with Daniel Ott) since 2016. He founded the International Institute for Artistic Investigation in 2009.

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