The unfolding ecological catastrophe is one of the most pressing challenges of our times. The devastating consequences of economies based on extraction and exhaustion can be found in dilapidated lands, rivers, seas and oceans, forests, animals, plants and peoples. Some of the violence of the ecological crisis occurs slowly and out of direct sight, gradually altering our environment, climate and bodies. Most of the violence however, has been playing out for centuries already, on a local scale, directly affecting millions of people and their livelihoods.
How do we arrive at a critical and imaginative position with regard to this crisis and its long history that casts dark shadows far beyond the present? Which artistic strategies can be employed by cultural practitioners to engage and intervene? How to connect to the struggles and the movements of people who have been enduring and resisting these neo-colonial forces on a daily basis? How to learn from and with, and embrace alternative visions for this planet, beyond relations of property and extermination?
Through the temporary masters programme Planetary Poetics, hosted in collaboration with Framer Framed and organised in collaboration with Futuros Indígenas (Mexico) and Atelier Picha (DRC), we want to connect different social ecologies across the globe and experiment with new possibilities of collective imagination, creation and intervention.
The two-year masters is divided in four semesters and consists of a programme of individual and group tutorials, a series of collaborative workshops organised with partners in Mexico and the Democratic Republic of Congo and a biweekly programme of guest lectures and artist talks. Classes are usually scheduled on Monday and Tuesday.
Over the course of two years participants of the programme are expected to develop their own individual artistic research projects in conversation with colleagues and (guest) tutors. The projects will be publicly presented on various occasions, including the graduation show.
Through different series of collaborative workshops participants in Amsterdam will enter in conversation and collaboration with cultural practitioners and activists working in different geographies that are at stake. Collectively we will employ different strategies to connect, exchange, and direct the collaboration. The workshops will include individual and group exercises and the contact with the partnering institute and the participants takes place over the internet. Research – artistically, theoretically and historically – will play a crucial role. The acknowledgment of the different positions we embody is of importance here, as one's position might pose different questions or demand different actions. Research methods might take the form of interviews, field trips, staged court cases, documentary filmmaking or experiments with poetic imagination. Outcomes will be publicly presented at Framer Framed and at the partner locations.
An important element of the masters will be the biweekly public programme of guest lectures and artist talks where international thinkers, artists and activists will explore key concepts of the ecological crisis, as well as historical processes that have brought the crisis about. We will go beyond the hegemonic monoculture of Northern epistemologies and include questions of climate justice, land restitution and reparations, reproductive justice and constellations of co-resistance.
Students will work collectively as well as individually around some of the questions the environmental crisis provokes. Together we will explore ways to artistically intervene and respond to the crisis and we will experiment with different self-organised strategies to create networks of solidarity beyond existing power dynamics. Our students have a background in different disciplines, including art, performance, writing, moving image, design, curating and activism. We will take a bottom-up approach to learning, thereby giving space to the different types of knowledge that each of the participants brings to the classroom.