eARTh – Creativity & Sustainability
The XIth Florence Biennale aims at contributing to envision a future in which creativity and sustainability are inspiring principles of an artistic and cultural ‘ecosystem’ within a world that is respectful of nature and life forms on Earth. In this perspective cultural diversity and biodiversity do not exist in separate and parallel realms, but are part of a kind of co-evolutionary process that needs to be preserved and nurtured.
Artists as well as creative and cultural industries, including therein museums, art galleries, artist-run societies, schools, publishers, and other organisations, can play a key role in the realisation of such a process, which entails many aspects – from education and talent and skills development to equality issues, from cross-disciplinarity and cross-culturalism to the value of all cultural identities and local traditions and, not least, the preservation of world heritage, whether cultural or natural, through programs of conservation and sustainable development.
Since two decades the Florence Biennale has gathered artists from around the world in the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’ to participate to a contemporary art event that every two years has been attended not only by those who make art, but also by hundreds of people who teach, learn, promote, market, collect or otherwise consume, and enjoy art. The sponsors that have allowed many artists to participate to this international contemporary art exhibition shows that the work of an
artist can harness with that of organisations from different countries engaged in a wide range of activities – from the production of eco-friendly materials to land reclaiming and recycling projects, from the sustainable growth of organic produces to fair trade and manufacturing processes respectful of human rights. Such a synergy ultimately means integrating creative, societal, environmental, and economic needs within a conceptual framework envisioning art and culture as resources for innovative approaches aimed at pursuing sustainable development goals in harmony with nature.
Indeed, art can play an active role in the mainstream sustainable growth debate fostered by the UNESCO, particularly during the International Congress ‘Culture: Key to Sustainable Development’ held in Hangzhou (China) in 2013. Also to mention are some contributions provided by foremost institutions, for instance the sustainable innovation projects from the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ programme developed at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in recent years, which has been welcomed in various sectors, from architecture and design to construction and industry. Besides, the 2015 Report ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ from the University of Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value has drawn attention, amongst other aspects, to digital media since they have ‘increased levels of participation in informal cultural and creative activities, created new networks and forms of interaction, transformed the production and distribution of established art forms
and allowed new art forms to emerge’.
The XIth Florence Biennale, which will be held at the Fortezza da Basso, this time in the light and spacious venue at the ground floor, includes digital art in their prize categories, along with Video Art, Photography, Installation Art, Performance Art as well as Painting, Drawing & Calligraphy, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Ceramic Art, Textile & Fiber Art, and Jewellery Art. Along with the artworks of participating artists with different cultural backgrounds and at different career stages, special projects by a few guest artists of honour will be showcased in this fascinating venue, which also offers non-conventional exhibition spaces for site-specific installations. Special events will also be set up to present the guest artists who will be receiving the ‘Lorenzo il Magnifico’ Lifetime Achievement Award for having entwined creativity and sustainability as principles inspiring their work. All this will give breath of life to EARTH, the theme of the XIth Florence Biennale, our vision of art as a plurality of creative endeavours in harmony with nature and life forms on this planet.
This short presentation virtually offers the ‘seeds of a plant’ that is germinating at this stage, and will flourish from 6 to 15 October 2017. More details and news about the forthcoming edition of the Florence Biennale are going to be disclosed as the whole project progresses, creatively and sustainably.
Dr. Melanie Zefferino