《Sustainable Museum: Art and Environment》
- May. 4. 2021. ~ September. 22. 2021.
- Kim Bokman, Kim Sangjin, Kim Sooseuk, Kim Sylbee, Kim Anna(Korea Culture and Technology Institute), Kim Jihoon, Kim Haneul, Kim Hyunghyun, Kim Homin, Baggat Art Kim Bora, Baggat Art Kim Chang Hwan, Baggat Art Park Bonggi, Baggat Art Cheong Haung, Park Young-gyun, Park Hyun-ki, Son Sangki, Song Yong, Shin Hak Cheul, Ahn Kyuchul, Optical Race, Yun Hyong-keun, E Dong Shi, Lee Myoung Ho, Lee Bul, Lee Sang-won, Lee Yongwoo, Lee Ungno, Lee Joo Young, Lim Ok Sang, Jang Jongwan, Cheong Jinyun, Jo Jaeseon, Ju Tae Seok, Ha Minji, Huh Baek-ryon, Korea Broadcast Advertising Corporation, Korean Broadcasting System, Jeju Museum of Art(Seo Sung-bong) Amy Yao, Collletttivo, Cory Arcangel, Cosima von Bonin, Ernst Haeckel, FormaFantasma, Guy Debord, The Harrisons, Haroon Mirza, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Julien Ceccaldi, Lewk Wilmshurst, Marte Eknaes, Sean Raspet, SoiL Thornton, Su Yu Hsin, Walead Beshty, Willem de Rooij, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei(Chien-Chih LIN & Tsai, Pou-Ching)
- Gallery 1
The following is a real example of the problems we face!
A total of six artworks departs from New York and arrives at Museum of Contemporary Art Busan.
The combined weight of the artworks is 1,273 kg.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York is 11,092 km from Incheon International Airport (ICN).
During transportation by air, carbon dioxide emissions of 15.98 t(tCO2eq)1) are generated.
The distance from ICN to Museum of Contemporary Art Busan is 432.54 km, and carbon dioxide emissions of 0.12 t are generated during transportation by truck.
In other words, a total 16.1 t of carbon dioxide are emitted in transporting the artworks one-way by air from New York to the museum, and if the works are returned, 32.3 t of carbon dioxide are emitted.2)
This figure is more than double the annual carbon emissions per person in Korea (14.1 t based on 2018 figures).
Transport by air takes approximately 15 working days from New York to the Museum.
If the same six artworks are transported by sea from New York to the museum, the total distance is 37,354 km, but the total carbon dioxide emissions are 0.82 t, approximately 1/40th that of air transport.
The time required, however, is about 60 working days; four times longer than by air.
Almost all art museums prefer air transport.3)
There is widespread social discussion over the environmental crisis. The transition to eco-friendly energy has become an important issue in many nations. Politicians tout myriad new environmental policies, and countless meetings of experts are held, proffering complex solutions to the environmental crisis. In the field of education, the environment and sustainability have become established parts of the curriculum. Such concerns have even reached the corporate world.
It is undeniable that environmental destruction is occurring rapidly, as studies and reports continually present dire warnings.4)
And things are definitely being done.
However, Sustainable Museum: Art and Environment begins with the observation that there is no mention of exhibitions, of resource-intensive spectacles and the museum system that enables such exhibitions, in this era of growing awareness of the environmental crisis.
The intention is not to highlight the hardships facing museums, nor to condemn them. The key point is to acknowledge the reality of the situation facing museums, which have been protected by the capitalist world order. In other words, the fact must be recognized that current museum systems, created under capitalism and now near universal, are maintained at the cost of violence towards and destruction of the environment. The future envisioned by this exhibition must emerge from that which exists in the present and, in general, that which exists in the present must first be properly understood if we are to reach the future.
Such awareness should immediately lead to a more intensive search for possible alternatives that can be implemented in order to change the systems which currently dominate. Through presenting various new strategies5) and practices6) nd their potential results, we attempt an escape from our present vicious cycle of failure.
While the exhibition will offer a critical point of view of the current situation and is intended to provoke debate, obviously it does not provide a clear path towards achieving environmentally sustainable museums; the simple reason being that such a path does not exist, at least at present. Rather, the exhibition aims to help establish the foundations and suggest a philosophy for sustainable museums rather than presenting comprehensive solutions.7)
Unsurprisingly, this exhibition will be welcomed by some and taken somewhat skeptically by others. The two perspectives may be at odds, but we will eventually have to come together to combat the problems we have caused.
This exhibition encompasses not only an environmental approach to art, but also explores scientific knowledge, social movements, and years of intensive and amicable academic cooperation. While there is a clear sense of encouraging relief in such an exploration, there is also frustration that not everything can be properly considered or applied. Whether intentionally provocative or not, the exhibition has entered the debate, and debate should be welcomed, as it leads to understanding. Debate can eventually bring about profound transformation, but can also prompt smaller, incremental changes that might not appear so important at the time.
1) tCO2eq is a unit used to compare emissions of a variety of greenhouse gases based on global warming potential (GWP, the degree of the effect of each greenhouse gas on global warming. As the global warming effect of carbon dioxide is 1, figures indicate the degree of the effect compared to 1). Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrogen fluoride, perfluorocarbon, and sulfur hexafluoride, of which carbon dioxide has the greatest effect on global warming, so the standard of the indicator is carbon dioxide. For example, the GWP of methane is 25, which means that emissions of methane of 1t is equivalent to emissions of carbon dioxide of 25tCO2eq.
2) The calculation of carbon dioxide emissions was aided by Gallery Climate Coalition (https://galleryclimatecoalition.org/carbon-calculator/)
3) The six artworks in this exhibition shipped by sea. That is not to say that air transport is always bad. Air transportation can offer advantages over sea transport in terms of safety or the insurance premiums of artworks.
4) Some parts of this writing borrow a literary technique called detournement developed by Situationist International. A detournement, meaning “hijacking“ in French, similar to dada collage, is a technique that aims to imitate and reorganize creatively existing sentences and phrases. It has the disadvantage that the reader should be somewhat familiar with the content of the original, to allow proper appreciation of the new message, but it also has the advantage of being able to destroy the knowledge of spectacle and create new concepts functionally, reasonably and efficiently. This advantage is also in line with the exhibition’s concept of eco-efficiency, which minimizes environmental impact and maximizes results through efficient use of resources.
5) The exhibition strives to increase the sustainability of museums based on Practical Strategies titled Utilizing Artists, Large-scale International Exhibitions, Globalism and Transportation Restrictions, Exceptional Exhibition Design, Sharing Collections, Use of Sustainable Resources, Facilities, and Overcoming Dilemma.
6) To minimize waste, drywall is not to be used, nor paint and vinyl sheets except for entrance ways. All walls used in the exhibition will be collected and reused, with no waste left except fixings such as screws, nails, and wires, and paper used for artwork captions. All promotional prints except external banners are to be printed in one color to reduce ink usage, and production of unnecessary promotional materials such as posters, invitations, streetlamp banners, tote bags, etc. shall be avoided. All promotions will be based online, and the size and number of files will be minimized to reduce the resources involved in transferring digital files (carbon dioxide emissions from transmitting 1 GB of data are approximately 3 kg). Text inside exhibition halls will make use of monitors and handwriting for ease of modification, with a view to establishing comparisons between which method is more sustainable long-term based on power and labor used. To minimize air transportation, artworks from distant locations are to be shown via live broadcasts or reproduced locally following receipt of necessary production instructions. Some collections will be printed after downloading scanned digital files to eliminate the need for transportation and artworks are to be printed using soy-based ink and eco-friendly paper where possible. Amounts of electricity used in video works will also be measured, with optimal levels to be ascertained. As a matter of principle, all materials used for the transportation and installation of artworks will be recycled, and power usage, such as use of tools, and carbon dioxide emissions during transportation and installation of artworks will be measured. We will also minimize lighting in exhibition halls and use LED lights if necessary. In the case of newly-made artworks, various eco-friendly materials will be used, and the results will be analyzed to study the sustainability of new artwork production. All analyses and potential practical plans not put to use in this show will be published subsequently in the accompanying exhibition catalogue. We acknowledge that there is controversy regarding some of these practices. For instance, there are arguments that soy-based ink or eco-friendly paper are not especially environmentally friendly, and it may also be difficult to provide any guarantee of a basic minimum level of quality for viewers due to such excessive restrictions.
7) Detournement from Murray Bookchin, The Philosophy of Social Ecology, trans. Moon Soon-hong (Sol) p.14.
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