Conceptual Thoughts on Establishing a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability

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Publication Series Education and Culture, Volume 10

Conceptual Thoughts on Establishing a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability

February 1, 2012


The proposal to establish a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability is not new. In 2007, the proposal was written, but not published. Its emergence was closely linked to the search for donors to prepare and finance the exhibition examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability. After three years of working tirelessly to promote the link between aesthetics and sustainability, the exhibition finally opened in the fall of 2010 in Berlin. Since then, it has been travelling throughout Germany, Europe, and the world: 

Since the emergence of the idea for the Fund, several things have changed. In the summer of 2011, a survival art festival was held at Haus der Kulturen der Welt entitled Über Lebenskunst ( Preparation of the festival and, then, related projects – for instance, a series of lively survival art projects – were made possible due to the largesse of the Bundeskulturstiftung. SurVIVart – Arts for the Right to a Good Life by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung ( was inspired by this project as were books such as Wachsen – Über das Geistige in der Nachhaltigkeit by Hildegard Kurt and Art and Sustainability by Sacha Kagan.

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and its many partners invite participants to join us at the conference radius of art. Creative politicization of the public sphere – Cultural potential forces for social transformation at the Foundation’s headquarters in Berlin on February 8 and 9, 2012. Conceptual Thoughts on Establishing a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability is presented in both English and German to facilitate discussion with an international audience. Such discussion is intended to help build the broad alliances for aesthetics and sustainability that are necessary to identify innovative solutions beyond the existing structures of decision making and funding. Ten imperatives sum up the challenges that we face in developing a fundamental understanding for the necessity of such a fund1 and to prepare the field for further development:

  • Democratize: continuing crises demonstrate that we cannot leave the world in the hands of experts. We all need to get involved, each and every one of us!
  • Think and act: in new contexts with expanded horizons for social transformation and paradigm shifts!
  • Liberate: our imagination, on all levels!
  • Conceptual Thoughts on Establishing a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability
  • Spawn: new forms of organization and movement!
  • Become fluid: artists should develop into role models as avantgarde and antiexperts of “fluid modernism,” in which there are no longer any certainties; instead, positions should be revisited over and over!
  • Listen, observe, publicize: this means making the invisible visible!
  • Charge: the concept of sustainability, which has been overused in policymaking and scholarship, needs to be charged with new power. This can only be achieved by proactively linking aesthetics and sustainability!
  • Perceive: aesthetics is the sum of all our perceptions for understanding complex systems. It is not an exclusive realm of art, but should be (re)claimed by each and every one of us!
  • Combine and link: We need to overcome our rigid modes of thinking – including the silos and hierarchies of thought – in order to combine various fields of action and perspectives. Otherwise, most important and dynamic issues will fall through the cracks of our standard patterns of institutional and intellectual organization and fail to attract the proper support!
  • Admit: that alongside the social, the economic, and the ecological, the cultural is the fourth dimension relating to the emergence of cultures of sustainability. Although we recognize this, there have been very few experiments with this dimension that can spawn further actions and practice!

Conclusion: Art is no longer only a means or a medium. It is also a mirror image of our search for paths towards a post-fossil fuel age, towards a new era of human development based on an aesthetic of sustainability.

Conceptual Thoughts on Establishing a Fund for Aesthetics and Sustainability
Editor Heinrich Böll Foundation
Place of publication Berlin
Date of publication February 2012
Pages 56
ISBN 978-3-86928-075-2
Service charge Free of charge

Product details
Date of Publication
February 1, 2012
Heinrich Böll Foundation
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
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