art & sustainability

The title of textur no. 3 is relatively straightforward. Perhaps, in order to capture the multifaceted approaches of the artists and authors who contributed to the issue, it could even be more accurately described as ‘art & sustainabilities’. A minor adjustment, though not an entirely necessary one, as what unfolds in this issue is the inextricability of the different approaches to sustainability discussed — environmental, economic, social, etc. It’s an entanglement that has been further amplified by current global events. 

In thinking about this, a good place to begin to discuss the content of this issue (though not in the order in which it is presented) is through the work of the SEA Foundation, based in Tilburg, Netherlands. A text written by Michaela Davidova, visual artist and assistant curator at the organization, outlines discourse on sustainability, the limitations and possibilities of its definitions, and the SEA Foundation’s current research and projects in this area.  

Stepping into the parafictional, Anna Souter not only offers a narrative on changing relationships of humans to technology, their environment, each other, and other living beings, but also opens up further forms of hybridity and collectivity. In the auto-theory text ‘Perishable Conglomerates’, India Boxall explores collective refusal in art gestures as an act of hope against ‘the imperial-white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy’ (as quoted from bell hooks within the text). Within this context, India points out that artists’ work towards sustainability in some areas — i.e., environmental and social — may often be supplanted by the existential need to sustain themselves, economically. 

These parallel, yet sometimes conflicting, needs to sustain and to remain active also lead us to the topic of exhaustion, which is explored by Sarah Heuberger. Sarah’s thought proposal puts forth the possibility of appropriating exhaustion towards a more sustainable mode of maintaining intensity in our lives. While Enos Nyamor, in his episodic, diaristic contribution, discusses waste and excess framed by his thoughts on cultural surplus in the information age. 

Throughout the issue, we can see biodegradable processes at work, breaking down, metamorphosing, shifting into poetic explorations in both words and images. In Harry Grundy’s photographic performance, melting, softening, reshaping is visualized as an act of brutal force in the hands of humans. Whereas Andrea Garcia, via a verbal exercise, poems, and diary entries, articulates the porousness of bodies and the borders between them — whether they be human, plant, or landscape. Working with biodegradable materials directly, Hannah Fletcher shares recipes for developing analogue photographs in a sustainable darkroom. 

The topic of sustainability is delved into, mined for its varied meanings, which assert their coexistence in the process.

-Sarie & Juli