Symposium: Art And Future:  Energy, Climate, Cultures

Event Dates:  14-15 October 2016
Event Location:  Dunedin School of Art, Dunedin, New Zealand

Art has always had to do with identity—with kin and class, with gods and demons, and also with aspirations and fears for the future. Instead of leaving the future to fate, Post-Enlightenment Modernity has often cast science and technology as tools to craft a future, a future better than any past, conquering disease and deprivation. Yet the positive outlook of the 1960s has been shaken by an overabundance—of people, of goods, of waste, of environmental destruction. At this moment, when confidence is being eroded by despair as the utopian project is threatened by disaster, it may be an opportunity to assess interlocked themes, the conflicting knowledges and values that give rise to our current alarm and the part art might play in their elucidation and unravelment.

How has art seen the future? Have these visions helped or hindered clear thinking? Can art be a useful tool in sorting the significant from the trivial? Has art a role in making change or is it simply an expressive device for those with time and/or money? Has art agency? These themes will form the focus of this symposium.