08.11.2022 Wilderness / While we were dancing

Grand Hall, Jozef Kollár Gallery

Artists: Peter Barényi, Pali Hovanec, Tomáš Rafa, Martin Špirec, Gabriela Zigová
Curator: Diana Klepoch Majdáková
Opening: 18.11.2022 at 18.00
Duration of the exhibition: 19.11.2022 – 30.4.2023
Venue: Grand Hall, Jozef Kollár Gallery, Banská Štiavnica
Main organizer: ArtAktiv (CSO)
Co-organizer: Slovak Mining Museum
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The climate crisis brings out a number of questions without straightforward and satisfying answers. Everything that concerns it, a human being tends to evaluate primarily in connection with his own life. We have all (within the popular psychological theory of the stages of grief) gone through -or are currently going through- the stages of denial, anger, depression and bargaining. But have we already crossed the line to the state of reconciliation? And is there still hope for us hidden in it?

It turns out that the biggest obstacle to saving the planet for humans are humans themselves. Our behavior, unwillingness to give up our own achievements, comfort and illusions about ourselves and society. Our home is the world, planet Earth - more precisely, how we perceive and experience it. Our oeikos is essentially a human illusion of the world and its arrangement, therefore our oeikology (ecology) is primarily a science about us. About what we consider to be nature, naturalness, where the boundaries of civilization lie for us and where the wilderness begins. We examine what scares us about it, what reassures us, as long as we are still sure of our steps and where we are already losing ground under our feet. Wilderness is always the other, the different. In the human world of concepts, wilderness is found beyond the walls of our homes, beyond the borders of safety, where we no longer (or yet) know it. Wilderness is chaotic, unknown, untamed, uncontrollable, excessive, incomprehensible, indescribable. That which is dangerous. But if this is really so, then why is the ecosystem collapsing due to human activity of attempts to control nature and the irreversible use of its resources? Why is our culture, warmth, comfort, speed, clothing, food, or solid and safe dwelling the cause of planetary chaos? As if everything was turning against us. But what if the real threat - the real wilderness - is hidden within ourselves? In our approach to animals, plants, water and air, inability to deny excess, irrational denial of facts and eternal cognitive dissonance (why don't we protect nature, on which we essentially depend?).

Wilderness
The exhibition and discussion program of the NASUTI 2022 festival has the theme WILD. We are looking for its boundaries, definitions, possibilities for its preservation (the natural one), but also for its control (the human one). Because the true wilderness is not beyond our comfort zone, it is located right at its core. The wilderness that we observe together does not lie in wait for us deep in the mountains or in the sea, it is found in man, in his relationships, inverted values, confused concepts, causes mixed with effects, information noises, rewritten histories and reluctance to look to the future. We try to use art to reflect these phenomena and, in joint discussions, to outline a path by which life on the planet can be navigated through the wilderness of civilization to safer waters.

We deal with the topic of anthropocentrism, its origin and the question of the strength of the arguments for its defense, tribal identities and the resulting social upheavals, information overload and related confusion and successful disinformation campaigns, the history of man and his reason, but also wild entertainment as a tool to release suppressed emotions and thoughts , subconsciously hidden but also consciously hidden nature of man. We want to look for points where we as humanity are still capable of consensus, to identify and classify the errors in which we live, we will try to break down (or at least disrupt) the barriers that separate us from each other and make mutual understanding impossible. Because only self-reflection and a consensual effort to improve the situation can lead us through a threat that humanity has never faced before.

Exhibition Wilderness / While we were dancing
The main hero of our story is human being and their inner experience of the threat of a climate disaster. We watch as humanity succumbs to the displacement of ecological problems, which resembles the proverbial music on the Titanic, giving us the hope of fools until the last moment. And it is up to us whether we reject it as mere selfishness and hedonism or embrace it as the only survival strategy of our species. The joint spatial installation of projections and objects by Petr Barényi, Pavel Hovanec and Gabriela Zigová is an immersion in life for the present moment, a celebration of the celebrations and (pseudo-)wilderness that our civilized life offers us (and alternately prohibits).

Today, we observe how great hopes and faith in the democratizing and uplifting possibilities of the Internet have turned into a nightmare of information chaos and humanity's descent deeper and deeper into uncertainty, strife and collective madness. Tomáš Rafa's video projection is a mosaic-like portrait of homo-sapiens in a situation where he lets this social-psychological phenomenon run its course. The climate crisis is subject to one of the strongest and longest-running disinformation campaigns in history. This is also why humanity's reaction is too lukewarm and too delayed. At the end of the exhibition, Martin Špirec's pseudo-museum anthropological installation looks for a point in human history where things went wrong, when man separated himself from the wild and lost his relevance to his natural environment.

Text by Diana Klepoch Majdáková

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