les presses du réel

Veilleurs du monde 3

Martine Michard
(excerpt, p. 13)

It was back in 2009. It has taken almost two years for the plan behind this book to materialise. Over this time, environmental questions have crept up the agenda, making the questions raised by the WORLDWATCHERS artists still more topical. But why, in the delightful valley of the Lot, where life flows on practically untroubled, should one worry oneself about environmental risks that loom much more threateningly elsewhere? Why fret about anxious-making ecological questions in our relatively comfortable home? And why should art be socially committed when its primary purpose is with purely aesthetic concerns?
Above and beyond all the dogma and the theory, in today's context the theme of ecology is bound to inform much of our thinking. Anchored in a bucolic landscape from which art emerged tens of thousands of years ago, and yet plugged into the contemporary arts scene, we cannot but be receptive to present-day global problems. Our thinking is motivated both by natural curiosity and by an urge to express solidarity. The question of art and its raison d'être infuse each and every project: concerned with landscape, with humankind, or with forms of representation generally, each piece forms part of the ceaseless ebb and flow of ideas, of the dynamic, active dimension of thought.
Thus, turning away from romanticism and nostalgia that create images of nature solely to magnify its beauty, today landscape is no longer just an object of contemplation, pure fusion or ecstasy. It is an object of discussion and strategy, a platform for action. Nature and the planet now seem precarious, perishable. To make our own the signs, the topography, the typology of the environment so as to extract their potential for polemic and transgression, and thus renew our way of seeing our common inheritance: such is our ambition and such too is the challenge proposed by our artistic policy.
On the initiative of WORLDWATCHERS, the artists of Art Orienté Objet have in the past already posed similar questions in other locations under other latitudes. In the village of Saint-Cirq- Lapopie, they chose to partake in the intellectual and artistic enterprise of a strand of ecological thinking (understood as a “science of the conditions of existence”) and joined forces with artists Amy Balkin, Gilles Bruni, Seamus Farrell, Romain Pellas, and Akira Sunrise.


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