Inger Emilie Solheim
In 2021, 50 contemporary art curators, researchers, and museum professionals from 32 different countries were awarded support to attend the CIMAM 2021 Annual Conference, in-person and online.
For the first time, and thanks to the generous support of The Getty Foundation who sponsored the virtual platform, 27 grantees attended the conference online, while 23 attended onsite.
Launched in 2005, CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program is designed to foster cooperation and cultural exchange between contemporary art curators and museum directors in emerging and developing economies and their counterparts in other regions of the world.
Inger Emilie Solheim's Conference Report
The revealing effect of the pandemic
Thoughts on privileges and a post-capitalist strategy, inspired by the speech of the Argentine sociologist Maristella Svampa during the CIMAM conference 2021 in Lodz and Gdansk, Poland.
by Inger Emilie Solheim
Covid-19 does not discriminate between who it hits. A virus is like a robot, without its own will, only controlled by a genetic code. It does not become desperate if it is fought, nor satisfied if it manages to spread. Despite the indiscriminate conduct of the coronavirus, the pandemic has uncovered structures in society. The virus first spread where rich globetrotters roam. But where prosperous countries were soon able to offer vaccines and proper health care to their citizens, people with poor access to health services suffered serious damage. Covid-19 acted as a contrast bag, and the differences between privileged and less privileged people became more visible.
The connection between the corona crisis and the climate crisis is easy to spot. People in poorer areas, who barely have carbon footprints, have to pay for the Western world's hectic consumption. The structures that make up society are built on decades of neoliberalism and capitalism. This foundation makes us ill-equipped for global crises that require consideration and care, not only for all people, but also for other species. As Maristella Svampa mentions in her talk, deforestation is a global problem. According to "Store Norske Leksikon" (https://snl.no/avskoging), it is estimated that a third of the world's forests are gone, and the biggest problem is in tropical forests in continents such as South America and Africa. Both of these continents have a history of colonization. In contrast, the western country, United States, is a pioneer in forest conservation and a pioneer in the establishment of national parks.
Contemporary artists and thinkers have long talked about the post-anthropocene condition, an expanded state of consciousness. This sustainable notion can be the solution to a more secure future for ours and other species. Through a brain gymnastic exercise, a Copernican turn, man is no longer imagined as the most intelligent species that exists in "gaia". As an example, researchers have discovered that some dolphin and octopus species possess a level of creative intelligence and intuition that we have a hard time understanding. Another example is the ability of trees and plants to communicate with large groups through their roots.
Maristella Svampa mentions recognition of other groups' way of communicating as a cornerstone in further nature management. She talks about incorporating the ideas of indigenous peoples and their ecological worldview. Last but not least, she emphasizes care, as a key word in establishing a sustainable system for the future.