2018 – Keywords for Change

Exhibitions around Keywords for Change are even more ad hoc than previous projects. The Collins Dictionary definition of ad hoc reads:

An ad-hoc activity or organization is done or formed only because a situation has made it necessary and is not planned in advance.”

The “situation” is Climate Change, which has created the overriding urgency to come together and combine skills to minimize its causes and slow down its effects. “What needs to be done, and what (if anything) can artists do?” is a central question at RIA this year. The Capitalism, Colonialism and Climate Change (CCCC) study group tackles these issues through discussions of texts, art works and installations. Anyone can join this group, at any time, whether you are able to attend the meetings on the third Wednesday of the month, or not. There is a separate email list for the CCCC studygroup. If you’d like to join it and receive their updates, lists of resources etc., please email researchinart.ria@gmail.com

Interregnum final - detailEquality – critical engagement – adaptation – commonality – empathy – vibrancy – proposition – new order – manifesto – new world – imagined world – possible world – realistic – restoration – cooperation – collaboration – inclusivity – diversity – belonging- connectivity  – participation – indigenization – interruption – kindness – responsibility – justice – solidarity  – sharing – belonging – interdependency- coalition 

These are some of the many words that we have come across in our recent readings on capitalism, colonialism and climate change, and in news articles and commentary on wars and famines, mass displacements, tyranny and neo-fascism. We live in bizarre and horrendous times, but we must rally around. Amidst the horror and sadness, we’ve have found and collected positive words, keywords for change. These words, and others that will come up, will be our guides in a collective process of thinking, creating and sharing at RIA in 2018.

RIA’s project, Growing up Human, ended in March 2017. We will continue to study the post-human condition, while focusing on the role of artists in the political and ecological instability of the current moment. Discussions around artists’ practices, on topics such as disciplines, institutions, the machinations of the art world, history and methodologies, always arouse a great deal of passion and involvement at RIA. Will it be possible, or is it perhaps even necessary, to focus on such specifics of art-making in order to be sensitive and responsive to the destabilized, crisis-ridden contemporary?

Affected as we all are by news of wars and famines, mass displacements, tyranny and populism, now, perhaps more than ever, artists need to be critical of their own practice and be aware of its relationship to the world they live in.  Perhaps together, looking at all those keywords for change in our own particular ways, we can come a bit closer to an answer to the question of what role art can play in these unstable times, when so much is to be done.