FUTURE ECOLOGIES is part of WE ARE HERE: Artists’ Moving Image from the British Council Collection and LUX.
The programme was developed by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and LUX, a London-based international arts agency that supports and promotes artists’ moving image practices. The WE ARE HERE programme comprises five artist film programmes that explore themes such as storytelling, heritage, social inclusion, gender identity, urbanisation and national identity through biography, documentary, poetry and fiction.
The world around us is rapidly changing as a result of human activity. This has never been more apparent than today, as we face the biggest global crisis of our time, and issues arising from our impact on the environment increasingly move to the forefront. Hazardous pollution, urban development, privatisation and exploitation of public spaces are all troubling realities in the Western Balkans, and the intention of this moving image programme is to propel to the forefront crucial conversations on those topics. Having worked with national art institutions in previous years, we are excited to now turn to alternative exhibition spaces and locations, in order to contextualize these themes and spur a different type of dialogue.
Curators from the six Western Balkans countries have so far participated in a week-long online curatorial intensive programme organised by LUX in December, during which they connected and exchanged ideas with their UK counterparts through expert consultations and artist talks. Participating curators were invited to examine topics presented in FUTURE ECOLOGIES and to contextualise them to their immediate environment. In the next year, curators will work on projects to engage the wider public in exploring a unique blend of UK and WB voices with the aim of raising awareness on pertinent environmental issues.
The Isle of Thorns is an exhibition that imagines an alternative reality for the Island of Sazan − once a forbidden island and today a partly forgotten destination with an uncharted future, and explores themes as seen in artworks by five UK artists and artworks by five artists from Albania and Kosovo. The artworks explore overdue and yet ever-pressing topics such as the environment, ecologies and cosmologies, climate change, the Anthropocene, colonisation and extractive industries, gentrification, urban futures and sustainability. Find out more about the exhibition and the programme of events here.
To kick off the programme and announce their exhibitions, curators devised special launch events for each individual country, all of which were held online in the first two weeks of March. As part of FUTURE ECOLOGIES, we have organized several workshops that were held in January and February 2021. Our speakers covered a range of topics from the relationship between humans and different ecosystems to creating art projects and interdisciplinary events that develop ethical and imaginative connections across the boundaries of species.
FUTURE ECOLOGIES is the continuation of the British Council’s efforts to shed light on current social issues and inspire debate.