“Ecologising Museums”

“Ecologising Museums”

L’Internationale Online

(1) Ursula Biemann, Subatlantic (still), 2015. Courtesy the artist. (2) Liberate Tate, Time Piece, 2015. Photo: Martin LeSanto-Smith. Courtesy Liberate Tate.

November 25, 2015
“Ecologising Museums”

April 2016


L’Internationale Online is a publishing platform for research, resources and discussion, launched in September 2014. The platform is the joint initiative of the museum confederation L’Internationale and KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent, operating within the framework of the five-year programme “The Uses of Art—The Legacy of 1848 and 1989“.

Ecologising Museums
Taking the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, COP21, as a cornerstone, L’Internationale Online will publish a series of articles reflecting on the issue from the perspective of art and cultural institutions. These articles will culminate in a new e-publication in April 2016 titled Ecologising Museums.

Ecologising societies requires holistic, collective effort. Our unbalanced use of natural resources is the result of a culture that exploits nature to sustain an unsustainable lifestyle. Green technologies alone won’t bridge the gap—we need to ecologise the wider cultural picture to face this challenge.

At the same time, recent ghastly attacks in Ankara, Beirut, Paris and elsewhere demonstrate that comprehensive and collective action on issues of global significance, including climate change, are necessary. Much of today’s extremist violence is linked to instability in regions such as the Middle East, and this malevolence is greatly augmented by intensifying extreme weather patterns emerging as a result of climate change. For the world to escape an ever-increasing spiral of violence, ecological balance needs to be restored.

Cultural institutions can play a significant role in supporting these cultural changes. Museums help us understand our past and, through it, the futures we can imagine. Artists are vital proponents in helping us see the invisible consequences of our current behaviour; to advocate for a greener culture, however, public institutions need to ecologise on all fronts—from the programme to the lightbulbs, from staff awareness to the composition of their funds. With the articles published in Ecologising Museums, L’Internationale aspires to contribute to this change, and create a Charter, with a series of experts in different fields, for museums to further engage with and act on issues of climate change.

Contributors to Ecologising Museums include Ursula Biemann, Fiona R. Cameron, Mel Evans and Kevin Smith (from Liberate Tate collective), Pablo Suarez and more. Clémence Seurat will be blogging during the events accompanying the COP21 conference in Paris.

L’Internationale’s thematic issues include Representation Under Attack (May 2015) and Decolonising Museums (October 2015). Both are available online.

L’Internationale climate change public programme
Parallel to the COP21 conference, two L’Internationale members also present a public programme to raise awareness and stimulate debate.

SALT presents a week-long series of screenings, and an NGO fair.

Van Abbemuseum presents two screenings in the late-Thursday night programme, to be held on December 3 and December 10.

L’Internationale Online: research, resources, opinions
The platform is divided into four research fields: “Politics of Life and Death,” “Decolonising Practices,” “Real Democracy,” and “Alter Institutionality.”

Thematic issues and EPUB publications related to the overall programme “The Uses of Art” are published in the Resources section of L’Internationale Online. Since May 2015, the first publication produced by the confederation, L’Internationale. Post-War Avant-Gardes Between 1956 and 1986, edited by Christian Hölle and published by springerin in 2013, has been available online.

The Opinions section acts as the discussion platform on the site. The invited bloggers from July until December 2015 are Gigi Argyropoulou and Vivian Ziherl.

L’Internationale projects currently running: How Did We Get Here, SALT

The members of the editorial board are Nick Aikens, Diana Franssen and Steven ten Thije (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Başak Çaka and November Paynter (SALT, Istanbul), Alicia Pinteño and Carlos Prieto del Campo (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid), Nav Haq (M HKA, Antwerp), Sònia López (MACBA, Barcelona), Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez (KASK / School of Arts of University College, Ghent), and Adela Železnik (Moderna galerija, Ljubljana). The website is designed by Project Projects.


Contact and subscriptions
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Managing Editor L’Internationale Online
KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent
Jozef Kluyskensstraat 2
9000 Ghent
[email protected]



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