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Why make art when the sky is falling ?

Updated: Dec 29, 2019


We are living through apocalyptic times


We are living through what can best be described as apocalyptic times. The world as we know it has begun a terrifying, unpredictable unravelling and we are not adequately prepared to face the repercussions. 


The ongoing anthropogenic climate and ecological crisis poses the greatest existential threat to humans ever encountered by our species. With rising temperatures, sea levels, melting ice and thousands of plant and animal species being driven to extinction (to name a few of the disastrous consequences), we are entering an era of the planet’s history that we have never seen before. 


If we do not bring the giant corporate machinery that is marching us towards our very own extinction to a grinding halt within a decade’s time, we will see a civilizational collapse so devastating, we do not yet have the imagination or the language to fully comprehend it. The science is unanimous on this: we have to act now. To keep global heating within 1.5 degrees. To protect what precious little wilderness we still have, to restore the majestic carbon sinks of our planet best as we can.


In order to do this, we need resilient societies, united in their collective beliefs and actions, collaborating on both a local and global scale. We need communities full of heart so we can begin to heal what is broken within us and what we have broken in the world.



Youth strikers  in central London, protesting the government's lack of action on climate change. Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz.


How can the arts help?


We believe the best way to respond to the crisis is to embody the change the world desperately needs to see. This is the time to show up, in whatever way possible. We cannot merely rely on change coming from the ‘top’; it needs to happen everywhere and in all conceivable ways. 


Artists, in particular, are experts at out of the box thinking - innovatively using materials, coming up with new models of collaboration, transforming culture through radical acts of imagination, and above all, staying committed to speaking the truth, especially at critical moments in human history.


Through art, we can perform necessary acts of transforming our world. We can create a more sustainable model for our societies, we can rebuild spaces so that they are connected to, not alienated from the natural world, and we can inject fierce resilience, hope and love for our planet into our cultures. Where facts and figures often scare people from taking action, art makes room for people to emotionally relate to a phenomenon as unthinkable as climate crisis and ecological collapse.



Sun and Sea (Marina), a powerful opera-performance that builds micro-stories into a larger narrative of planetary-scale, anthropogenic climate change. The setting of a beach in the middle of summer sets the tone for the undramatic, distanced ways in which we experience the crisis. Photo by Andrea Avezzù.


Wildbiyoo: sowing seeds for radical change


Wildbiyoo is dedicating January 2020 to the arts. We want progressive thinkers and creatives from around the world to join us in reckoning with the greatest existential crisis of our times. The mission of the month is to investigate how creatives can facilitate new dialogue, inspire social and political transformations and reimagine our relationship to nature in response to climate breakdown.  With an art residency program made up of both self-directed and guided residencies, workshops & debate forums, unmatched opportunities for collaborations, play, experimentation and adventure, artists in residence become part of a thriving community of changemakers standing up for the Planet.


Though we have the tendency to look for a single, grand “solution” to the planetary crises, the truth is there is no silver bullet. Hope lies in myriad little solutions - and yes, some have bigger impacts than others. We need diverse minds partaking in “big picture thinking”, and we need creative new strategies for building civic intelligence in a falsely fragmented world.


No place is better suited to delve into these ideas than Khaama Kethna Holistic Wellbeing Retreat Centre, a 12 acre ecovillage and healing centre in South Goa, nestled in the Malabar Coast moist forest at the foothills of the Western Ghats. One of the world's few and fragile biodiversity hotspots, the area is replete with inspiring examples of nature adapting and collaborating to thrive in a truly unique part of the world. 



Swiss art curator Klaus Littmann has planted 300 trees in a football stadium in Austria as a "memorial" to the environment in the Anthropocene era. Photo by Unimo.


Wildbiyoo is our month-long interdisciplinary Art Residency and Eco-Festival, through which we hope to build on a growing awareness within the wider community in Kankon on the climate and ecological emergency, and to join forces with a resilient community that is actively changing the narrative on what it means to be human in our bewildering times.



Written by Francesca Cotta



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