examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability

The finiteness of our energy reserves, the impending climate change, the shrinking of biodiversity have deeply penetrated and alarmed public consciousness even before the failed world climate summit in Copenhagen and the subsequent one in Cancun, where “nothing but compromises” (Frankfuter Allgemeine Zeitung) were reached. After these summits, the question of the possibility for individual action is even more urgent.

We need visions of a sustainable life that interconnect with the sensuality, lust and passion of acting on our own. examples to follow! intends to encourage this and to move the cultural and aesthetic dimension of sustainability into the awareness of the senses, thus counteracting the visible erosion of the term. The exhibition aims at raising awareness for the fact that a constructive sustainability cannot make do without the arts and sciences. It needs to learn from them how to think in transitions, interim solutions, models, and projects.

Artistic questions and concepts for action increasingly aim at the multi-layered domains of ecology as well as towards enlarging their social resonance space. Sustainability needs a space for development in which the multiple interconnections between the existing wealth of knowledge and experience in the arts and sciences as well as the idea that each individual can be a part of this can truly unfold.
The expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability demonstrate artistic practices that contribute to the preservation of the planet, intend to influence conscious consumer behaviour and be economically efficient; they also showcase artistic positions in which the boundaries between art, activism and inventions dissolve and the experiences and methods of environmental initiatives interconnect with artistic approaches.

Sustainability requires a cooperative expansion of perception. Hence, the boundaries between artistic and technical creativity, between feasibility and idea are deliberately suspended. Sensuality is the connecting element in the creations and presentations of visual artists, inventors and scientists as well as in exemplary works from the fields of design and architecture, but also in instances of sustainable economic activities, each of which in their own way challenge the individual dimension of action.

Besides participatory projects and networks, the exhibition presents technical innovations and materials in the areas of renewable energies, climate change and re/upcycling, as well as in examples of sustainable management, each challenging the individual dimension of action in their own way.

With regards to inventions and prototypes, visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to participate in the further development and realisation of products or in cooperative models, for example by signing share certificates.

The exhibition is accompanied by workshops for children and teenagers, panels with experts from the arts, sciences, foundations, business and industry, and NGOs, in order to explore the necessary new alliances in the field of aesthetics and sustainability. It offers space for the presentation of different modes of action in the field of aesthetics and sustainability, and is a space for thinking, a workshop for scholars and scientists, artists, inventors, and the public.
The three-part publication is made up of a catalogue, a reader with artistic and scholarly and scientific contributions by artists, scientists and scholars, with essays, stories, examples, construction manuals, applications, shares, and a separable part especially for children. A website with an extensive collection of links to research projects and expert information rounds off the project and lets users explore the topic further.

Examples to follow! sees itself also as a starting point for the discussion about the establishment of a Fonds Ästhetik und Nachhaltigkeit (FÄN), a fund for aesthetics and sustainability. From this fund, future solo art projects, interdisciplinary projects and events, as well as research projects that should have a national or indeed international reach, are innovative, and geared towards sustainability, providing models for others, are to be financed.

The fund should help open up the aesthetic dimension of sustainability in (pilot) projects, ideas, guidelines for action, and initiatives by artists, scholars, scientists, and inventors, and beyond that should encourage art projects in this field. This fund would be an important condition for ensuring that the hitherto neglected cultural dimension could be explored, towards an aesthetic practice of sustainability.

Since its opening in 2010 examples to follow! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability has been shown throughout Germany and in India, Ethiopia, China (2012), Brazil and Mexico (2013), and Peru in 2014 in occasion of the World Climate Conference. And now the exhibition is going to open for three months in June 2017 at Parque Cultural de Valparaíso in Chile.

Examples to follow! was awarded with the 2010 special media prize of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, and it received a prize as a project of Werkstatt N of the Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung (Council for Sustainable Development). In 2013 examples to follow! was distinguised by the German UNESCO Commission as UN-Decade Project of Education for Sustainable Development.

Artists of past and present expeditions: Ravi Agarwal • Marlene Almeida • Aziza Alaoui • Francis Alÿs • Artist Collective SCHAUM • Marc Aldinger • Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla • Néle Azevedo • Joseph Beuys • Jens Burde • Konstantin Bayer • Richard Box • Vania Caro Melo • Colectivo Aninat-Swinburn • Ines Doujak • Madhusree Dutta • Natascha de Cortillas • Olafur Eliasson und Frederik Ottesen • Emine Ercihan • Steven Emmanuel • Sabine und Christian Egelhaaf • Adib Fricke • Klaus Fritze • Enrico Freitag • Galerie für Landschaftskunst, Till Krause, Klara Hobza u.a. • Gao Shiqiang • Sonia Guggisberg • Emiliano Godoy • Susanne Gabler • Lola Göller • Swaantje Güntzel • Cornelia Genschow • Tue Greenfort • Dionisio González • Henrik Håkansson • Cornelia Hesse-Honegger • Vincent J.F. Huang • He Xiangyu • Edi Hirose • Hermann Josef Hack • Ilkka Halso • Alejandro Jaime • James Kudo • Eugen Kunkel • Anneli Ketterer • Saori Kaneko & Richard Welz • Folke Köbberling & Martin Kaltwasser • Christoph Keller • Christian Kuhtz • Christin Lahr • Till Leeser • Sarah Lewison • Rudolf zur Lippe • Gustavo Lipkau • Antal Lakner • Jae Rhim Lee • Susanne Lorenz | Dr. Stephan Pflugmacher • Marlen Liebau | Marc Lingk • Petra Maitz • Renzo Martens • Ayumi Matsuzaka • Ma Yongfeng • Lucia Monge • Ida Möller & Renate U. Schürmeyer • Claudia Müller • Guisela Munita • Manish Nai • Gerd Niemöller • Eliana Otta • Nana Petzet • Shirley Paes Leme • Alejandra Prieto • Heide Pawelzik • Clement Price-Thomas • Dan Peterman • José De Quadros • Miguel Rothschild • Dodi Reifenberg • Gustavo Romano • Pedro Reyes • Ariel Rojo • Peter Reichenbach • Rebecca Raue • Otmar Sattel • Michael Saup • Dina Shenhav • Studio Lukas Feireiss und Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today mit Luis Berríos-Negrón • Jakub Szczesny • Robert Smithson • David Smithson • Sharmila Samant • Hannah Schneider • Linda Schumann & Tonia Schmitz • Michal Schmidt • Ursula Schulz-Dornburg • Superflex • Maria Vedder • Wang Jiuliang • Andreas Wegner • Natalia Wehler • Gudrun F. Widlok • Xu Bing • Xing Danwen • The Yes Men • Yang Shaobin • Zwischenbericht • ZuhauseKraftwerk - Schwarmstrom.


ZNE! returns to the place of the beginning of the traveling exhibition - for the 20th station from May 11th - July 17th 2023 in the Uferhallen in Berlin, for the final analogue explorations in aesthetics and sustainability with a large dialogue program and workshops on natural building materials, for the establishment of a FÄN and for a look at the full ZNE journey and experience route!
Find the concept >here<.