Think global, act local – Cycle of guest curators Lauranne Germond & Loïc Fel, (COAL)
Featuring : Julian Charrière (Switzerland), François Génot (France), Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni (France), Tue Greenfort (Danemark), Hanna Husberg (Finland), Toril Johanessen (Norway), Gianni Motti (Switzerland/Italy) and Anaïs Tondeur (France).
CEAAC is situated at the crossroads between a European scale and a local presence in a region with a strong individuality, between universalist thinking and the particularity of each context. This characteristic echoes the theme of sustainable renewal of our economic and social organization:
Think global, act local is the generic title of the new series of three exhibitions at CEAAC devised by Lauranne Germond and Loïc Fel (COAL), guest curators at CEAAC for the 2015 – 2016 season.
The maxim “Think global, act local”, usually attributed to René Dubos (a French agronomist, biologist and expert in ecology), was pronounced in 1972 for the first United Nations Conference on Environment. This precept of action primarily represents an ethical stance that is not new, but the application context of which deserved this reformulation.
It is not new because it could be seen as a paraphrase of the categorical imperative prescribed by the philosopher Immanuel Kant “Handle nur nach derjenigen Maxime, durch die of zugleich kannst wollen, dass sie ein Gesetz allgemeines werde” (Act only according to those maxims which you would wish should become universal laws). It applies today in a fundamentally new context in that it becomes a practical maxim in the strict sense: the universal is not here an idea in law but in a globalized world where ecology has shown that everything in the biosphere is linked, the universal is a fact.
Our local actions have global implications as well. The full implementation of the precept is nonetheless terribly demanding. It would require a deep review of our imagination to be able to put the individual in the context of a globalized world with which we interact.
“Think global, act local” is a posture which artists have seized upon, inspired by the fact that art, since Aristotle, has the ability to express the universality of an idea through the uniqueness of a work. This idea, presented differently depending on the period, has innervated the history of art and structured criticism to the point of appearing to be an evaluation criterion of artistic quality. An idea which, with the extent of the environmental crisis and its social and economic implications, renews formal language to include the place of the artist in society.
But although artists have developed the ability to connect the particular to the universal, they are able, in their practice, to implement this emerging ethics of thinking at the universal level of the whole and act locally, in terms of their territories, their periods and their direct relations.
Furthermore, the evolution of our societies cannot be implemented without basis in our representations and our culture, the very one that artists are changing.
Representing complexity is the first formal challenge of this new realm of imagination. The exhibition “Systemic”, the first in the Think global, act local cycle (to be followed by Open Source and Ultralocal) is based on a set of visual and conceptual links that evokes the complexity and interdependence of our systems. Our entry into the Anthropocene * era, a period in which humanity, as explained by the chemist Paul Crutzen, became the prime geological power involves phenomena beyond our temporal and spatial perception. It is characterized by systems thinking, a way of reading the world that focuses on the links between things rather than the objects themselves. Systemic crises in the financial markets and not the real economy, remind us how the Anthropocene arises from an abstraction which is an operational abstraction. So anything which constitutes a system (immunology, ecology, society) raises problems of representation, perception and form which artists seize on to show us our world in all its complexity. They manage to reveal the poetic aspect, providing a sensory experience of this new way of thinking about the world.