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Climate Action October – Academy launches self-experiment

As forward-looking educational institutions, art universities have a special responsibility concerning sustainability and climate protection. With their focus on creative practice, they also have a special competence in framing and helping to shape social discourses. With its focus on sustainability, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna underlines its role as a contributor to social transformation and a place for experimentation.

Within the Climate Action October all employees, teachers and students of the Academy are asked to try out ways of conserving resources and expanding ecological awareness in their own work and then to evaluate them together. What proves to be doable beyond October, what can be implemented in the long term and in which forms? Our focus is on comprehensive reduction and recycling of material resources (paperless office, circular economy, etc.), the reduction of emissions in the area of mobility (cycling, reduction of business trips, commuting and invitations, CO2-friendly forms of traveling, consistent compensation), the avoidance of emissions in everyday communication (reduction of data streams and (paper)consumption), and the intensification of knowledge transfer in sustainable artistic and scientific work. In addition, we will expand the around of the Academy, optimize the regulation and control cycles to reduce energy consumption, and offer more climate-friendly catering in the Canteen.

These issues directly affect our self-image as a contemporary art university. In art, abstraction, reduction and minimalism have a long history as a search movement for the basic principles and essentials of aesthetic design. An essential aspect of the artistic avant-gardes was the effort to transfer art into life practice. The imminent threat of climate catastrophe lends both the figure of reduction and its transfer into everyday life a new level of urgency - especially for an institution whose central purpose is to open up a qualified future for future generations and to actively help shape it.

The Climate Action October continues this search movement and carries it into social spaces. The action day on Wednesday, 19.10.2022, which is organized by the internal committee AKÖ (Academy | Art | Public Sphere) contributes to this in particular. On this day, questions of mobility, the traffic turnaround as well as migration movements in the context of the climate catastrophe will be discussed in the public space around the Academy building at Schillerplatz. In the context of a public street party with various workshops, discussions, mobile solar kitchen, film program and a large-scale collective chalk drawing (The Bigger Picture), speakers and participants will reflect on civil disobedience and alternative forms of appropriation of public space.

You are all invited to join and contribute to this learning process.

Thank you for your engagement!

With best regards

Johan Hartle – Ingeborg Erhart – Werner Skvara