OPENING LAB

THE NATURE OF US OPENING LAB WORKSHOP SESSIONS AND DISCUSSIONS TOOK PLACE IN STUDIO ALTA ON 29-30TH OF AUGUST 2021, SUNDAY.

ABOUT

The OPENING LAB was a two-day public program of workshops and discussions with THE NATURE OF US project artists and Central European scientists and activists on the potential and power of collaboration between contemporary culture and the sciences at a time of environmental crisis.

Just how connected are Central Europeans’ lives, jobs, homes and cities to the natural world? The landscape? Water? The air we breathe? Just how serious are these crises we are constantly hearing about? How detached have we become from our roots? 

Central European performance makers are asking these questions and searching for answers – through their research and a series of debates with local scientists and the public. Our guests have joined us in the search for the new role art can play in a world where it is more important than ever to ask questions and take action.

LINEUP:

Sessions were be guided by Alice Koubová, PhD., (CZ) leader of the Czech Academy of Sciences’ project Resilient Society for the 21st Century. 

The Opening Lab took place in English.

GUESTS included:

Speakers

PhD. Diána Ürge-Vorsatz (HU) – environmental physicist, climate researcher

Alicja Czyczel (PL) – choreographer, researcher, culture activist

PhD. Matthias Nuss (DE) – entomologist, biodiversity researcher 

Delegate

PhD. Magdalena Zamorska (PL) – professor of cultural studies

Artists of THE NATURE OF US Project

Zden Brungot Svíteková (CZ)

Bartosz Ostrowski (PL)

Zsuzsanna Rózsavölgyi (HU)

Jana Tereková (SK)

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS OF THE OPENING LAB 

Dr. Matthias Nuss is an entomologist and a biodiversity researcher who is also the the head of the butterflies section at the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology in Dresden. He is involved in national and international research projects. In 2006, Nuss co-founded the Entomology working group at NABU Saxony
Reach him: Senckenberg Museum of Zoology Dresden; matthias.nuss@senckenberg.de

THE MULTIPLE CRISIS by Matthias Nuss

More than 7.5 billion humans are already living on Earth. Every of us needs resources to meet essentials for human life, like food, clothes and a home as well as access to education, culture, social participation and health care. All this takes place and only can take place within our planet’s boundaries. In case we intend to live on earth in a way that it will be inhabitable for future human generations and allow to sustain the wellbeing of our societies, we may re-consider the outcomes of the present mode we are using our planet. Essentially, we need a clean atmosphere for breathing, a climate niche in which we feel comfortable and capable, clean fresh water for drinking, fertile soils for growing food as well as healthy oceans that backup a stable climate and provide sufficient fish.
Already by now, humankind has changed the earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere including pedosphere and hydrosphere to an extent, that scientists proposed a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.
One of the changes in the biosphere caused by humans apply to the extinction of other life forms. The extinction of a species is the final, irreversible result of a process starting with declining populations, local extinctions and regional extinctions. This process happens due to the destruction of habitats, application of fertilizers and pesticides, disposal of waste, light pollution, trade with wild life forms and more. As humans, we are part of the tree of life. As such, we may apply some questions. Do the causes of the decline of other life forms may also negatively affect human life? Should we respect the living beings of the tree we are sharing with them? Are we doing right when using them as objects or should we treat them as subjects? Do we even have to feel responsible for their survival? There are already very many people engaged in the conservation of animals, plants and fungi. But, are the applied concepts of conservation suitable to achieve their goal, if biodiversity is anyway further declining? Is the term ‘conservation’ perhaps even misleading in a dynamic world and a situation at which much biodiversity has been already lost at local and regional scales? Conservationists often claim that we can only protect what we know. Looking alone at the geographical area of the origin of the participants of this festival (Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary,Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia), it is home to approximately 100,000 species of animals, plants and fungi. Nobody is able to identify such a large number of species in nature. Though we have a long and intense tradition of sciences, we don’t know yet sufficiently the life history of a large amount of these species and therefore are lacking knowledge for their ‘conservation’. Basically, it seems we are able to explore and manage anything. But, are we able to explore and manage everything?
Whichever path we will take from now on, if we do not succeed in safeguarding our biodiversity for the future, no one else will compensate for it.

Dr. Matthias Nuss


CLIMATE CHANGE – WILL OUR CIVILIZATION SURVIVE IT?

Prof Dr. Diána Ürge
Vice Chair, Working Group III, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Professor, Central European University


PHOTOS FROM THE OPENING LAB

photos by Vojtěch Brtnický