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01/03/2010 - 01/03/2010


Forum for Creative Action: The Shaping of a Humane World as an Aesthetic Challenge.

Course leaders:

Dr. Hildegard Kurt, cultural researcher and co-founder of und. Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability, Berlin, and
Shelley Sacks, artist, student of Joseph Beuys, director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Brookes University, Oxford.



Now, at the start of a new century, the idea of social sculpture (Joseph Beuys) offers a comprehensive aesthetic understanding and strategy for the shaping of a sustainable world. This annual 12 day `theory-practice´ forum actively engages participants in an introductory exploration of social sculpture and aesthetic questions relevant to the shaping of an ecological and socially just future.

The course is a special opportunity to consider social sculpture in relation to earlier experiments in Weimar that investigated and negotiated the relationship between life and art. It will look at social sculpture´s relationship to core insights in Goethe and Schiller as well as the Bauhaus. It will also include practice based explorations that link imagination and transformative process.

The Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, brought together a Europe-wide avant-garde to reform the modern industrial age through art. While it had a significant international effect in the field of modern architecture and design, its more holistic and culture transforming starting point has almost been completely lost. Why is this so? What can we learn from the knowledge and mistakes of the historical avant-garde?

Yet, Weimar was also the home of Goethe and Schiller, who both are central to the development of a connective aesthetics and a holistic approach to being in the world: Goethe with his “synthetic” thinking, his phenomenological approach to natural science, and his dedication to develop “new organs of perception”, Schiller with his “Letters upon the Aesthetic Education of Man”. Joseph Beuys´s expanded conception of art – every human being is an artist – was a radical development of such ideas in the 20st century.

In the course we look back to Goethe, Schiller, the Bauhaus and Joseph Beuys and forward to developing new forms of social sculpture / connective practice appropriate to the challenges of the 21st century. To what extent does social sculpture represent a new connection between the ethical and aesthetic dimensions, relevant to a humane and ecologically viable future?

We consider this course to be a forum for creative action. Its practicesaim at enabling participants to access and develop their individual creativity in the context of their own situations.

Invited to participate are: people involved in creative action for sustainability, social designers and artists of all disciplines, art historians/theoreticians and art educators, students from all disciplines and other interested individuals.

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