A collaborative process of mutual learning and co-production
In the Evolving Futures: Owning our Mess a team of scientists and artists embarked in a digitally mediated, mutual learning process over the course of several months. Together, we reflected dynamically upon, discussed, mobilized, and merged own artistic and scientific practices, methods, and theories. Questionnaires and interviews before and after the end of the project as well as documented participatory observations of the collaboration helped to trace the mutual learning and co-design of hybrid arts-science experimental interventions and theoretical constructs.
© Dominika Glogowski
Over the span of the project, our team engaged with differences and similarities in approaches. We learned about each other and how to think together about climate change as a messy, wicked problem through arts and science. We discussed different understandings and ways of thinking about climate, climate change, climate science, climate arts, climate activism. We created a space to openly explore the tangible and intangible, locutionary and illocutionary, constative and performative aspects of art-science relationships. This implied to learn how to inhabit tensions emerging from different terminologies, histories, languages, tools, and materials.
Our team and invited experts looked into the causes and manifestations of climate change and discussed the interconnections between behaviours and climate. Nexus thinking, especially in the form of the Water-Energy-Food nexus, provided a simple way, though non-linear and complexity-based, to discuss the human impact on climate, for instance how water consumption connects to energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Also, the destabilizing impacts of a changing climate on the nexus and on social institutions and constellations were discussed. Then the question was addressed of how a nexus- and complexity-based understanding could be mobilized to generate intrinsic motivations for change. We relied on theories of intrinsic motivation and notions of extended cognition. We tapped those approaches to engage and motivate people through embodied experiences despite the absence of any external rewards. Differences in understanding climate and social change, solutions and actions, interventions, experiments and artistic expressions came together when trying to balance what science can measure, what society can handle, how the arts can trigger embodied experiencing and what each of us could contribute to generating motivation and change.
© Dominika Glogowski
Finally, the co-design and co-creation of the experimental art-science interventions started. The need to develop online formats created unprecedented challenges in artistic participatory approaches. The question arose, how to translate sensorial experiences in our virtual reality and how to generate a sense of commonness in the digital world? We relied on the rapidly emerging online conference formats, video and word creations and sound and stitching techniques to foster experience-based interventions that could combine the analogue and the digital, the real and the virtual. The experimental interventions are exhibited and tested with participation of scientists, artists, and citizens in an online event on May 11, 2021. The theoretical results are developed as a reflection from the interdisciplinary experience.