THESIS ABSTRACT 2004
Conscious Collective: Ecological Curatorial Practice
“In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.”
—John C. Sawhill (1936-2000), President, The Nature Conservancy, 1999-2000
As we stand witness to the reversal of thirty years of environmental progress, for the benefit of few and to the detriment and loss of many, the need is unquestionable for artists and curators alike to promote dialogue and social transformation in an aesthetic that honors our interconnectedness to each other and the earth.
With the development of modern technology, one hardly needs to leave his home to work, play, or interact with others. Only the earth, however, provides the essential air, water, sunlight and rejuvenate sustenance we all depend upon, yet increasingly seem to take for granted. While nature sustains our fundamental requirements for continued existence, much of our current global economic system does not sustain nature. In contrast, this system contributes to the depletion of natural resources at an accelerating rate, further disassociating humanity from the consequences of current trends and the realities of the physical world.
Mass media has put sustainable practices of living in the back seat, while corporate sponsored popular culture is driving society into an unsustainable future. Yet, there are individuals and organizations that have continued to develop and cultivate ways of living that respect the environment and honor our symbiotic relationship with nature.
Conscious Collective: An Ecological Curatorial Practice joins theory with praxis in an exploration of transformative action. Informed by both experience and theoretical research, this work will present an ecologically oriented curatorial practice that expands the role of the curator to include social and environmental sensibilities. An exhibition on sustainability will investigate the cycle of life from the ground up, beginning with the recycling of waste to create a more fertile ground and completing the cycle with an exploration of food growth and distribution. Eco-centric questions and challenges will be embedded within this practice, transcending current egocentric confines and initiating individual and community engagement in support of a more ecological understanding and appreciation of the connection between art and the world.
Can curatorial practice serve to awaken and inform the public on environmental issues often masked by politicians and ignored by mass media? Can a more ecological curatorial practice engage artists, curators and the community at large to become active participants in eco-social transformation? This project, both in theory and practice, will strive to create a conscious collective promoting an interchange of ideas and dialogue in the wake of which barriers between the artist, curator, and viewer are dissolved.
Alycia Scott received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. While in the Arts Administration program, Alycia interned at Snow City Arts Foundation, served as liaison for the Student Diversity Council and Office of Multicultural Affairs, was publicity manager for 1926 Exhibition Studies, and co-curated the exhibition Fieldwork.
Thesis Advisor: Nicholas Lowe Visiting Artist, Arts Administration
Thesis Reader: John Ploof Assistant Professor, Art Education; Director, MAAE Program