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Photo: Felicia Honkasalo
Crossroads – New Views on Art and Environment is a collection of statements and scenarios produced by artists and thinkers whose work responds to some of the key questions of today: How are we to live and work in an era of ecological crisis? How are we to be more present and empathetic in our everyday actions? How are we to shed light on the often overlooked? How are we to be realists, and yet inspire hope?
Crossroads is a kaleidoscopic view of artistic practices that respond to the complex, at times contradictory entity that we choose to call “environment”. Crossroads seems like a fitting metaphor for a time when we are becoming aware of the burdensome effects of production, consumption and travel on both our most immediate surroundings and ecosystems at large. At the same time, we are spectators, participants in, and victims of a large-scale, planetary-level turmoil that impacts not only the conditions in which we live, but those of future generations as well.
When entering into a conversation on art and environment¬, it is necessary to surrender to a certain degree of uncertainty. To the best of our capabilities, we have to approach and understand the world anew, or at least try to approach the world as we think we know it from a fresh perspective. Instead of navigating from within fixed structures, we are getting used to liminal, liquid ways of dealing with information and data. Elasticity in thinking, in processing information, and in being in the world is required; new modes of communication have to be devised, too.
Crossroads calls for a transdisciplinary exploration that does not confine art within gallery walls, but celebrates its potential for assisting us in our myriad ways of being in the world. Art allows us to sense time and space differently: as cyclical instead of linear, as rhizomatic instead of isolated, and as chaotic and messy instead of seemingly sterile. The term “environment” holds within it mutated manifestations of the nature that we engage with directly on a daily basis in our habitats and via media, as much as it does the less-charted depths of the Earth and its coveted material resources that enable our contemporary means of communication and technology, as well as global trade more generally.
Each contribution to this book is a passage, a signpost, a coordinate: an opportunity to see differently the environments that we inhabit. Connect the dots. Take the path less taken.
The book is published by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and The Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki.
Crossroads – New Views on Art and Environment
Texts: Johannes Heldén, Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan, Hanna Johansson, Eero Yli-Vakkuri
Featuring work by: Agnes Denes, Alma Heikkilä, Andrea Zittel, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Eva and Franco Mattes, Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen, Jussi Kivi, Mustarinda, Nancy Holt, Rindon Johnson
Publisher: Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and The Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki
Editor: Ilari Laamanen
Designer: Johanna Lundberg
Published in: 2019
Dimensions and cover: 120 x 240mm, paperback