The Alexandra Institute // Cases // RETHINK - Contemporary Art and Climate Change

RETHINK - Contemporary Art and Climate Change

Case

RETHINK - Contemporary Art and Climate Change

Nordic art and culture project on climate changes and contemporary art

The aim was to contribute to a wider public commitment in climate changes through international artists' creative insight.

RETHINK was a large Nordic art and culture project on climate changes and contemporary art. The idea was to use the communicative qualities of art to engage the Danish population in climate discussions.

The Alexandra Institute and the TEKNE network, the Alexandra Institute’s network for digital art and digital experiences, were the initiators of RETHINK. In the project they joined forces with Copenhagen's leading exhibition venues: the National Gallery of Denmark, Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art. The exhibition opened on 31 October 2009 at the mentioned venues, at an online gallery and in selected public spaces in Copenhagen. The exhibition presented works by e.g. Tomas Saraceno (AR), Henrik Håkansson (SE), The Icelandic Love Corporation (IS), Superflex (DK), Eke Ugochukwu Bright (NG) and Olafur Eliasson (IS/DK), and some of the works were new productions.

Afterwards, RETHINK toured the Nordic countries and was shown e.g. at Rogaland Museum of Art in Stavanger, Norway, and at Tensta Konsthall in Stockholm, Sweden. Everywhere, the exhibition attracted much attention from the audience, a large number of international critics, curators and the media because of the high quality of the works and the topicality of the theme.

RETHINK received funding from the Nordic Culture Fund, which also appointed the exhibition “The Nordic Exhibition of the year 2009-2010, as well as from the Branding Denmark Fund, the City of Copenhagen and the Danish Arts Council, expert committee on the visual arts. In addition, the exhibition was part of the official cultural programme for the United Nations’ climate summit, COP15, in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Public commitment

RETHINK aimed at contributing to a wider public commitment in climate changes through international artists' creative insights. The vision behind the project was to use the subjective and immediate qualities of art to engage the Danish population in climate discussions while presenting them for contemporary art of the highest quality. The focal point of the project was a large, ambitious exhibition with about 30 recognised Nordic and international contemporary artists who interpreted and disseminated climate problems in current and innovative ways.

Several of the works were media works of art and a number of the artists collaborated with scientists and disseminated the scientific data in their works. The project also consisted of the following constituent parts: a website with public web debates, production of new works, collaborations between artists and scientists and a seminar/conference. Common for the various parts of the project was that they were available for and invited citizens to activity, e.g. the website opened up for active participation.

Read The Guardian's review of the exhibition.

Start date: 01-05-2008 / End date: 31-12-2010

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