“ARTiculating Sustainability: Resilience in the Climate Crisis?” a symposium organized by IKT Miami in partnership with IKT, the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, will be hosted by Pérez Art Museum Miami on April 14, 2019 from 11am to 2pm. This is the main public event of the association’s annual Congress, which is being held in the United States for the first time in its 45-year history. Approximately 100-150 international curators and art professionals are expected to participate, along with local curators, art professionals, artists, and residents.
The symposium brings together diverse artists, curators, and writers to consider the role that art and visual culture can play in changing public perception of the pressing climate change issues.
“The aim of the Symposium is to explore how artists address issues of resiliency and sustainability in relation to the environment,” remarks Susan Caraballo, the organizer of the Symposium, who will give a welcome address and present the closing remarks. “As a curator and producer living in Miami, ground zero for sea level rise, I am constantly confronted with denial of the current climate chaos. This is the issue of our time and art can play a significant role in effecting change and sparking activism. To quote Erin Espelie, co-director of the Nature, Environment, Science & Technology Studio for the Arts at the University of Colorado, in a recent New York Times article, art spaces and museums can bring ‘people together outside political affiliation and into a different environment that allows for more empathy.’”
The opening remarks will be presented by artist Xavier Cortada, who also serves as the Chair for Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Cortada’s practice is oriented toward social engagement and the environment, and he often collaborates with scientists. Currently, he is working with scientists at Hubbard Brook LTER on a water cycle visualization project driven by real-time data collected at a watershed in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
The keynote address will be given by T.J. Demos, an art historian, critic, and curator who is internationally recognized for his study of how artists and activists negotiate crises associated with globalization, including biopolitical conflicts around ecology, sustainability, and climate change. Drawing from ideas presented in his book Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016), Demos will investigate how the concern for the current ecological crisis has entered the field of contemporary art. He uses a creative range of critical resources to consider the intersection of economic, socio-political, and environmental crises. Demos is currently a Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies.
Three Miami-based artists working with topics related to these issues will introduce their work in short presentations, that reveal the spectrum of creative resilience in South Florida. The three participants are Cara Despain, Felice Grodin, and Misael Soto. Landscape, especially the iconic deserts of the western US where she is originally from, plays a significant role in Despain’s work that incorporates drawings, sculpture, and video. She seeks to illustrate and unearth relationships between environmental issues such as resource extraction and sea level rise. Grodin is an Italian-born artist whose work focuses on developing speculative strategies for modeling our present conditions and making meaningful imprints upon them. Grodin is also part of the collective, Alliance for the Southern Triangle (A.S.T.), that uses art to conceive possible futures that are both reactive and propositional to the shifting set of legal, economic, cultural and environmental forces. Puerto Rican-born Soto is currently the Art in Public Life Resident Artist with Oolite Arts and the City of Miami Beach. Soto’s creative practice involves time-based and ephemeral work which interrogates and disrupts space, systems, and frameworks.
A closing conversation will feature T.J. Demos, along with Lydia Platón Lazaro, an independent scholar and cultural producer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Allison Schifani, Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities at the University of Miami and author of the upcoming book, Catastrophe City: Speculative Urban Practice and Play in the 21st Century Americas; and Meryl Shriver-Rice, Director of the Master’s program in Environment, Culture, & Media at the University of Miami. Stephanie Wakefield, an urban geographer whose work explores resilient urbanism as both technical phenomenon and potential catalyst of new life in the Anthropocene, will moderate the conversation. Wakefield is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University.
Ambient art experiences expanding on the subject of the symposium will include Felice Grodin’s Invasive Species project at PAMM; Laurencia Strauss’s The Bubble Pops, an interactive installation that connects memory and possible futures; appearances of The Climate Crusader, AKA Alexander Zastera; and more.
The lead sponsor for the IKT Miami Congress is John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with support from the Miami Beach Visitors and Convention Authority, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and Cultural Affairs Council and Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miami Downtown Development Authority, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, and Oolite Arts. Institutional partners include The Wolfsonian-FIU, The Bass Museum of Art, Rubell Family Collection, The de la Cruz Collection, and Piero Atchugarry Gallery. Media partners are Cultured Magazine and Fresh Art International.
IKT is the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, a network of that brings together curators from across the world, to meet, share knowledge, exchange ideas and broaden their professional relationships. Founded in 1973, IKT’s early members included prominent curators such as Eberhard Roters, Eddy de Wilde and Harald Szeemann. The organization’s mission is to stimulate and extend debate concerning curating and also to offer opportunities to find partners for the co-production of exhibitions, publications, events, and special initiatives. IKT represents the professional interests of over 700 curators and artistic directors of non-profit exhibition spaces and museums as well as freelance curators from Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. By holding its 2019 annual Congress in Miami, IKT hopes to expand its network across the United States, as well as to Central America, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
About the Symposium
When: Sunday, April 14, 2019, 11am–2pm.
Where: Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132.
Admission: The symposium is free with RSVP. General museum admission: Free for Members. $16 Adults; $12 Youth (ages 7-18), Students (with ID) and Seniors (62+ with ID).