[NetBehaviour] What would happen if art institutions would work with energy budgets?

Joana Moll freeautomatisms at posteo.net
Fri Oct 1 19:47:03 CEST 2021

Hi Max,

Thanks for the really interesting insights! Lots of things to think about :)

Very best regards,


On 30.09.21 19:09, Max Herman via NetBehaviour wrote:
> Hi Joana,
> This project sounds really interesting!  There is something missing
> from or overlooked in the now-standard model of a building in which
> special objects exist that are visited by viewers in a kind of
> circulatory way.  Clearly there were and still are obvious reasons for
> such a quasi-Newtonian idea of aesthetic space, time, energy, and
> matter, so to speak.  Yet there can also be unfortunate error and
> omission when the conventional model is overtaxed during times of
> crisis or urgent adaptation.
> I like the idea of "liquid authorship" mentioned at the Centre's site
> and the practice of guilds or artistic groups collaborating to create
> activity in four-month increments.  These practices would seem to slow
> down to a perceptible scale what races so rapidly in electronic
> culture without proclaiming an unhelpful and counterfactual state of
> stasis.  Combining diverse disciplines also makes reality somehow more
> manifest. 
> As to reducing energy use in order to make its usage visible, felt,
> and conscious, I think that is also a great way to call attention to
> the very fundamental flows (resources, emissions, costs, customs,
> habit) that merge into what we think of as /de rigeur/ indoor
> climate.  The Centre itself seems to thus operate something like a
> weathervane perhaps, the old-fashioned (and often artistic) measuring
> instrument placed atop buildings in former times and still very much
> in use.  The concept seems to draw what is so easily ignored or
> invisible into the "frame" of activity so to speak, very tangibly, and
> in so doing also project the "internal" aesthetic activity into the
> outer and external environment.  Both of these changes to the
> perception of place and structure in artistic creation seem to suspend
> strict control or engineered determinacy in favor of awareness -- the
> precondition of any kind of choice at all, aesthetic or otherwise. 
> There is a balanced, minimal tension and subtle sense of stillness
> within motion, almost like bodily proprioception, in this which is
> often the main stratum of art.
> My own recent emphasis on a single painting might seem very divergent
> from such themes, but I see the /Mona Lisa/ actually quite closely
> parallel in many ways.  Of course due to the physical fragility and
> unreproducible character of the painting as an object it has to be
> kept indoors, out of the elements, in a relatively fixed location
> nonetheless large enough for millions of people to move past it almost
> continuously.  Yet I do not believe that its content means to
> unquestioningly praise such a state of affairs, or shows or advocates
> a static or Newtonian kind of aesthetic space, especially seen in the
> flow of historical time -- i.e. relative to what it was surrounded by,
> what informed its production, and what followed after it (both by
> designed intent and unforeseeable chance).  It almost seeks by its
> strangeness to rather articulate convention as a choice, a thing in
> motion, almost as iodine or barium sulfate accentuate structures in an
> X-ray.  Many of the beliefs and "structures" which Leonardo saw as
> incorrectly defined as fixed are arguably portrayed in the ML as in
> motion, and the phenomena thought in his time to be static or
> essential are portrayed as in flux, change, and metamorphosis.  Also,
> the individual viewer's perception and physical embodiment as viewer
> is brought in or mirrored, in a continuous "moving stillness," due in
> part to the visceral link imposed by the direct eye contact which is
> still a bit disconcerting after five centuries.  
> It is standard interpretation nowadays to interpret the sitter as
> "part of nature," with human hair and veins, lungs and skeleton,
> mirroring rivers, geology, seas and atmosphere.  This is the ancient
> microcosm/macrocosm template, but Leonardo went an order of magnitude
> beyond such a staid equivalency which sadly even modern commentary
> often reiterates.  He did this by introducing the element of Art
> (which includes all of the arts and all of the sciences, all
> technology, engineering, etc.) as an equal third element into the
> duality of Humanity and Nature.  In doing this he added a dimension
> that we now take for granted, but we forget its interwovenness with
> the other two in our headlong quest for more and ever more "powerful"
> tech.  This is why I think it is so important to see Art in the
> largest sense as also portrayed, as at least an equal and fully
> interconnected sphere, in the portrait by way of not just the fact of
> its artifice as a painted, "built" object but in the flowing and
> naturalized, yet clearly technological phenomena of the bridge and the
> garment.  The sitter, /Esperienza/, becomes a living and lived
> phenomenon which integrates Art, Nature, and Humanity in mutually
> defined and influenced processes which flow in concrete time and
> space; and by our own identification with the sitter the viewer is
> also placed in a similar role.  Perhaps in a sense Art as such is in
> the ML, if I understand the theme sufficiently, in both senses:
> "/exposar no exposar-se/ and /exposar-se no exposar/."  
> To highlight this model of unaccustomed relation of elements for us
> Leonardo declared quite plainly that Experience /(Esperienza) /can be
> personified as "the interpreter between formative nature and the human
> race", i.e. an observational and perceptual reality, as well as "the
> common mother of all the sciences and arts which suggests a more
> active, imaginative, and constructing form of method.  
> In any case, I think your project sounds excellent and appreciate your
> sharing it here!
> Very best regards,
> Max
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Joana Moll via NetBehaviour
> <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Sent:* Thursday, September 30, 2021 4:52 AM
> *To:* Netbehaviour NEW <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Joana Moll <freeautomatisms at posteo.net>
> *Subject:* [NetBehaviour] What would happen if art institutions would
> work with energy budgets?
> Dear all, (apologies for cross-posting)
> I'm happy to announce *16/2017*, a new project that forces "Centre
> d’Arts Santa Mònica", a major art center in Barcelona, to cut its
> energy use by 50% during 4 months. Or in other words: to radically
> limit the use of air conditioning, lights and flights among other
> variables.
> 16/2017 is named after a law approved by the government of Catalonia
> in 2017, which, among other things, obliges the government to work
> with carbon budgets in order to halve its Co2 emissions by 2030, as
> stated in the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, the Catalan government
> is substantially delaying the application of these measures, or in
> other words, the law is currently not being applied. Therefore, the
> artist has proposed to the Centre d’Arts Santa Mònica to reduce its
> energy expenditure by 50% during the four months-long exhibition
> "Exposar · No exposar-se · Exposar-se · No exposar" . Thus, the museum
> will have to define a self-energy regulation mechanism to avoid
> exceeding the budget during the length of the exhibition. Or in other
> words, all the actors involved in the exhibition project will have to
> negotiate new methods of social interaction to stick to the energy
> budget.
> To achieve this goal, we have set up weekly meetings to negotiate and
> define the energy budget of the exhibition, and correct its possible
> deviations. These meetings are open to the public, the members of the
> management team of the museum, and all those agents involved with the
> exhibition. The piece is also built around a mural graph that will be
> filled in according to the weekly meetings and their agreements. This
> graph will indicate the energy expenditure agreed during the weekly
> negotiations, such as how many hours the building’s air conditioning
> will work or the number of hours that the exhibition lights will be
> turned on, among other variables.
> In a context of climate emergency, where the scarcity of resources
> will intensify in the coming decades, elaborating proposals capable of
> articulating human activities around limited energy resources, is a
> necessary exercise to favor new cultural rituals which are more
> consistent with our contemporary climatic conditions.
> Full PR here: https://janavirgin.com/PR/16_2017_premsa_en.pdf
> <https://janavirgin.com/PR/16_2017_premsa_en.pdf>
> Exhibition site:
> https://artssantamonica.gencat.cat/en/detall/Exposar-No-exposar-se-Exposar-se-No-exposar
> <https://artssantamonica.gencat.cat/en/detall/Exposar-No-exposar-se-Exposar-se-No-exposar>
> Best wishes,
> Joana Moll
> -- 
> Joana Moll
> https://www.janavirgin.com/ <https://www.janavirgin.com/>
> ----------------------------
> Critical Interface Politics
> https://crit.hangar.org/ <https://crit.hangar.org/>
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Institute for the Advancement of Popular Automatisms
> http://ifapa.me/ <http://ifapa.me/>
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Joana Moll

Critical Interface Politics

Institute for the Advancement of Popular Automatisms

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