[ISEA2008] Paper: Sabine Himmelsbach – A Medial Perspective to Ecological Concerns: Global Developments/Local Responsibilities


Based on projects from the exhibition Ecomedia. Ecological Strategies in Today’s Art (2007 at the Edith-Russ-Site for Media Art in Oldenburg) the presentation is devoted to the very relevant topic of ecological change, which, among other causes, has been brought about by human interventions in existing ecosystems. Environmental catastrophes and global warming are the results and consequences of a highly civilized and industrialised way of life. Ecological rethinking and long-term action are among the present day’s most important tasks if we want to avoid further damage to the environment and thus to our own living space.

The presentation, based on the exhibition Ecomedia, wants to show what art, and especially media art approaches and strategies are capable of contributing to these questions and problems. Works of art will be presented that deal with the complex field of ecology, with sustainability, with renewable energy, resources, global foodstuff transportation, as well as visionary approaches to solving the problems related to these subject matters. Various aspects of ecology, i.e. the science that examines the interrelation of organisms to each other and to their environment, will be demonstrated and discussed. The ambivalent and often paradoxical relationship between man and nature is at the forefront here, as is the role played by technological developments regarding the environment and how the electronic media can be responsibly used as a means to communicate information about the condition and demands of the ecosystem. In addition, our lifestyle, the wasteful dealings with fossil resources as well as recent social and urban developments will be critically examined and considered.

Works shown and discussed are devoted to the potentials offered by the use of the media to comprehend ecological questions. They draw on the methods and results of scientific research and utilize global communications technologies to actively integrate the viewers into the projects. In a society influenced by medial and electronic networks, artists increasingly provide insights into scientific technological world designs. They create action spaces – globally as well as locally – in accordance with visionary approaches and risk innovative looks at well-known facts and problems.

They invite the public to participate as well as to use technology to do research on social realities.

  • Sabine Himmelsbach, Artistic Director, Edith-Russ Site for Media Art, Oldenburg (Germany)

Full text (PDF) p.  226-228