Mediating
the Ecological
Imperative

SNSF Sinergia 2021 – 2024
© Peter Krieger, *Bilderfahrzeug,* Mexiko-Stadt, 2018.
© Peter Krieger, *Footprints,* Mexiko-Stadt, 2020.
© Peter Krieger, *Ästhetik der Luftverschmutzung,* Mexiko-Stadt 2016.
Mixteca Alta Geopark, Oaxaca, Mexico, View from Yucu ñuun lookout, Photo by visual journalist Alex McDougall, 2021 © Alex McDougall (photo), Courtesy of the artist.
Regina José Galindo, Still from *Tierra*, Ecofeminist performance at Les Moulins France by Regina José Galindo 2013. Video (HD, one-channel, 16:9, color, sound), 34 min., Courtesy of the artist and Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani Milan-Lucca © Regina José Galindo.
Will Wilson, *AIR (Auto-Immune Response),* <br />© Will Wilson
Will Wilson, *AIR (Auto-Immune Response),* <br />© Will Wilson
Mishka Henner, *Kern River Oil Field,* Kern County, California (2013).
Sky Hopinka, *Jáaji Approx.,* 07:39, HD video, stereo, color, 2015.
Sky Hopinka, *Fainting Spells,* 10:45, HD video, stereo, color, 2018.
*Sun & Sea (Marina),* Opera-Performance von Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainyte, Lina Lapelyte an der Biennale Venedig 2019. <br />© Andrej Vasilenko (Foto), Courtesy of the Artists.
Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, *The Sense of Smell (The Five Senses series),* 1617-1618, Oil on panel, Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Gayil Nalls, *World Sensorium,* 1999-2000, World Aromatic Phytogenic Material (100ml at 25 in Amber Borosilicate Bottle), Photo by Bert Brouwenstijn (Displayed in the exhibition *Aromatic Art (Re-)constructed: In Search of Lost Scents* at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2017).
Peter de Cupere, *The Smell of a Stranger,* Exhibited in the 12th Biennial of Havana in 2015, Photo by Frederik Buyckx.
Precious Okoyomon, *Open circle Lived Relation* (Detail), Resistance is an atmosperic condition, 2020, Foto: Diana Pfammater.
Asad Raza, Absorption. *Down to Earth,* 2020 © Berliner Festspiele/Eike Walkenhorst.
Regina José Galindo, Still from *Tierra*, 2013. Video (HD, one-channel, 16:9, color, sound), 34 min, Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani Milan- Lucca.
George Steinmann, *The World and the Mind* (1988-2016) © George Steinmann.

© Peter Krieger, Bilderfahrzeug, Mexiko-Stadt, 2018.

© Peter Krieger, Footprints, Mexiko-Stadt, 2020.

© Peter Krieger, Ästhetik der Luftverschmutzung, Mexiko-Stadt 2016.

Mixteca Alta Geopark, Oaxaca, Mexico, View from Yucu ñuun lookout, Photo by visual journalist Alex McDougall, 2021 © Alex McDougall (photo), Courtesy of the artist.

Regina José Galindo, Still from Tierra, Ecofeminist performance at Les Moulins France by Regina José Galindo 2013. Video (HD, one-channel, 16:9, color, sound), 34 min., Courtesy of the artist and Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani Milan-Lucca © Regina José Galindo.

Will Wilson, AIR (Auto-Immune Response),
© Will Wilson

Will Wilson, AIR (Auto-Immune Response),
© Will Wilson

Mishka Henner, Kern River Oil Field, Kern County, California (2013).

Sky Hopinka, Jáaji Approx., 07:39, HD video, stereo, color, 2015.

Sky Hopinka, Fainting Spells, 10:45, HD video, stereo, color, 2018.

Sun & Sea (Marina), Opera-Performance von Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainyte, Lina Lapelyte an der Biennale Venedig 2019.
© Andrej Vasilenko (Foto), Courtesy of the Artists.

Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Sense of Smell (The Five Senses series), 1617-1618, Oil on panel, Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Gayil Nalls, World Sensorium, 1999-2000, World Aromatic Phytogenic Material (100ml at 25 in Amber Borosilicate Bottle), Photo by Bert Brouwenstijn (Displayed in the exhibition Aromatic Art (Re-)constructed: In Search of Lost Scents at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2017).

Peter de Cupere, The Smell of a Stranger, Exhibited in the 12th Biennial of Havana in 2015, Photo by Frederik Buyckx.

Precious Okoyomon, Open circle Lived Relation (Detail), Resistance is an atmosperic condition, 2020, Foto: Diana Pfammater.

Asad Raza, Absorption. Down to Earth, 2020 © Berliner Festspiele/Eike Walkenhorst.

Regina José Galindo, Still from Tierra, 2013. Video (HD, one-channel, 16:9, color, sound), 34 min, Courtesy the artist and Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani Milan- Lucca.

George Steinmann, The World and the Mind (1988-2016) © George Steinmann.

The SNF project “Mediating the Ecological Imperative: Formats and Modes of Engagement” is a joint research project of the Institutes of Art History, American Studies and Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. In addition, a collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is being realized. Research focuses on the visual politics of climate change, the role of ecological issues in art and literature, and social engagement with the environment in indigenous cultures. The philosopher Hans Jonas coined the term “ecological imperative” in his book Das Prinzip Verantwortung (The Principle of Responsibility, 1979), in which he formulated an ecological maxim for action based on Immanuel Kant’s “Categorical Imperative”: “Act in such a way that the effects of your actions are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life on earth”. → Read more about the project

Team
Latest News
2022, June 22-24
5th Swiss Congress for Art History, Session: "The Ecological Imperative – Presentness and Speculation in the Arts" (Submission deadline: 18 June 2021)

The 5th Swiss Congress for Art History will be held in Zurich from 22 to 24 June 2022. Organized jointly by the Swiss Association of Art Historians (VKKS) and the Institute for Art History of the University of Zurich (Kunsthistorisches Institut der Universität Zürich), the Congress is aimed at art historians, art researchers and experts from all fields (including both practice and theory), and all institutions.

Fall term 2021 (dates to be announced)
Artist Encounters

The work of artists is essential for the mediation and communication of ecological interdependencies: in pointing out and criticizing problematic conditions and phenomena as well as in actively intervening in environment-related discourses or even in directly engaging the environment itself. By means of images, materialities or scenarios, the artistic techniques of the present are able to fill gaps between scientific implications and social transformations with creative processes. The artists' agency takes a central role in addressing the comprehensive ecological challenges of our time.

This series is generously sponsored by the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.

2021, May 29
Keynote by Prof. Dr. Peter J. Schneemann on "Fragmentarische Erinnerungen an eine Kunstgeschichte der Dekonstruktion. Anmerkungen zu den Versuchungen des Ganzen" (in German)

Colloque suisse de la revèle en histoire de l'art / Nachwuchskolloquium für Kunstgeschichte in der Schweiz 2021, Department of Art History and Archeology, University of Fribourg