Eco Expanded City is an exhibition-cum-workshop part of the Future Festival, one of the events under the European Capital of Culture 2016 program. In a cycle of shows and events, it explores imagined and real, past, historical and potential relationships among society, art, nature and technology as they are rendered in artistic and design practices, revealing their mutual interpenetrations and interdependences.
Eco Expanded City engages with such issues as information and communication ecology, control of resources, habitat, natural interfaces, mixed media and environments against the nature/culture dichotomy
Eco Expanded City coincides with the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, envisioning an ideal world. The work has given a local habitation and a name to multiple social movements and experiments, exposing at the same time its opposite – the real world, which seems dystopian rather in a confluence of, sometimes mutually contradictory, tendencies promoting the development of very few only.
The exhibition presents art projects spanning between creative engineering/socio-ecological innovation in the service of the eco-city seeking sustainable development, on the one hand, and dystopia, appropriation and misuse of contemporary resources, on the other.
The exhibition does not seek to survey methods serving to sustain modernity, attained partly in the 20th century and then rapidly transcended through a staggering population growth accompanied by depletion of resources and reconfigurations in the distribution of goods, power, sovereignty and subordination. Much less does it seek to review eco-technologies geared to the needs of the ideal city (whose chaotic development was explored in Expanded City in 2009); nor does it seek to stage a direct continuation of The Green Labyrinth, a workshop project we initiated in 2014, though, admittedly, it is fuelled by its social experiences.
Scattered across several venues, the exhibition presents artworks and art actions which interpret human-induced transformations of the world and transformations of the human as a bio-technically mutating species-being subject to information technologies, co-habiting and searching for a space of being in the environment of ever more densely flowing data.
The expositions are accompanied by a series of workshops, communal undertakings and collective outdoor ventures. Without proposing an array of technological solutions to the crisis of modernity, we situate our project in the space where artists, viewers, users and residents meet to negotiate meanings of development, technology and history of civilization in a post-humanist perspective, which envisages a communal context with humans as only one part of a complex structure. We present some possible ways to approach and explore this structure.
— Viola Krajewska
curated by Viola Krajewska and the WRO Art Center team:
together with Yukiko Shikata (chief curator), Junya Yamamine and Koyo Yamashita
– curators of the special Japanese presentation program