Narratives of Emergency

The third night will focus on contemporary emergencies and artists and activists working with them. In this conversation, the philosopher and cultural critic Santiago Zabala will discuss his work on the contemporary “absence of emergencies” with AMRO community members Marloes de Valk and


Abstracts of the presentations:

"Being Rescued into the Greatest Emergencies", Santiago Zabala
Art often works better than scientific announcements and philosophical treatises as a way to reveal emergencies. This is not because of artists’ ability to create beauty but rather for the intensity and depth of their works. The goal of this talk is to venture into these disclosures through the greatest emergencies. These are those emergencies we overlook, ignore, and discard. If the "greatest emergency" today has become the "absence of emergencies" how can we disrupt them? Why is art able to thrust us into these emergencies? And why must we be "rescued" into them in order to save us?

Villains and Heroes, Marloes de Valk

Disaster capitalism never lets a good crisis go to waste. When people are vulnerable, distracted and unable to organize resistance, it seizes the opportunity to push for further environmental and financial deregulation, to lower taxes, invent new loopholes to evade them, to further privatize public services, to offshore and extract... Disaster capitalism hijacks the effects of climate change and environmental collapse caused by its exploitative practices while simultaneously masking their root causes. Art addressing these silenced and often slow and indirect emergencies is at risk of adding to the overdose of emergencies already on people's radar, and can easily be discarded as alarmist. What strategies can artists use to communicate their message in this hysterical yet paralyzed landscape? Villains and Heroes is an art project attempting to navigate the whirlpools and tornadoes of an unspectacular crisis.

Post-Growth Toolkit, DISNOVATION.ORG
The current crises have triggered a rapid shift in public sensitivities together with a dramatic increase in anxiety and concern around issues like ecosystem collapse, peak oil and climate change. However, the primary focus of this general awareness stays on their surface consequences rather than their various underlying causes of various crises. DISNOVATION.ORG "toolkit for eco-political orientation" is designed to increase awareness of the multiple root causes of these crises — rather than their mere consequences — as a basis to stimulate and provide a foundation for post-growth imaginaries, models and practices.


The presentations will be followed by a conversation amongst the participants and a Q&A.