Balance Unbalance

Balance Unbalance

Leah Barclay

27th May 2013

At a time when the world is experiencing unprecedented ecological threats, the Balance-Unbalance International Conference 2013 is a global initiative designed to harness the talents of innovators working at the forefront of the arts, science and technology, together with community leaders, to explore how a trans-disciplinary approach can be applied to achieving a sustainable future.

Unbalance explores how art can be a catalyst to develop new ways to think and act in this age of ecological uncertainty.

The concept for ‘Balance-Unbalance’ was developed by Dr Ricardo Dal Farra, an artist and academic based in Canada with the main goal to develop the role of the arts and artists in dealing with environmental challenges and transdisciplinary possibilities. Dr Dal Farra is Co-Chairing the 2013 event and is actively involved in a range of initiatives that have developed through Balance-Unbalance. The previous events held in Argentina in 2010 and Montreal in 2011 provided a powerful platform for reflection, debate, and ideas leading towards Balance-Unbalance 2013, hosted in the UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a dynamic learning laboratory for sustainability in one of the most pristine and diverse environments in Australia.

While Noosa might be most well known internationally as a tourism destination, it is advancing its profile as a place where people come to learn and be creative. The Balance-Unbalance International Conference is a landmark event for the region, building on our reputation as a hub of green art and community action. This will be the first time the Balance-Unbalance Conference will be conducted in the Asia-Pacific region. On this occasion it will be bringing together a dynamic and diverse range of presenters and delegates from 24 countries – including artists, scientists, activists, philosophers, sociologists, architects and engineers.

The 2013 conference theme: “Future Nature, Future Culture[s]” aims to challenge our expectations of Earth, provoke our understanding of nature and inspire our actions for a sustainable future. What we will be calling nature in 20, 50 or 100 years? How we will live in the future? What do we foresee for the future of human kind? How could creativity help us shape a society of understanding and interconnectedness? What role could transdisciplinary thought and action play in reimagining a sustainable future? Will there be a future with peaceful knowledgeable societies and a rich variety of cultures? What can first nation knowledge teach us about our future? There are infinite questions and limited answers, but we have the opportunity to use our intelligence and creativity to make positive changes.
Balance-Unbalance asks us to consider what we want for ourselves, our families, our friends, and for the future of humankind. This complex universe, vastly unknown, has been revealing that all is interconnected. Timothy Morton states that everything is connected into a vast, intertangling “mesh” that flows through all dimensions of life. No person, no animal, no object or idea can exist independently. Our limited knowledge of life can be expanded, but to do so we need better ways to understand each other. This includes a deeper awareness of how different human societies can comprehend cultural differences and synergies. There is a dramatic need for a paradigm shift and we need to act now if we are going to survive as a species.
We want to inspire explorations of how artists can participate in this major challenge of our ecological crisis. We need to use creative tools and transdisciplinary action to create perceptual, intellectual and pragmatic changes. We want to discuss our proposals for the future from a diversity of cultural perspectives and socio-economic situations with open minds.

Balance-Unbalance seeks to bring artists together with scientists, economists, philosophers, politicians, sociologists, engineers, management and policy experts with the intent of harnessing creative thinking to facilitate a paradigm shift for a sustainable future. This future is not an indulgent utopia we desire, but a matter of survival.

(Photo: Leah Barclay recording in Seoul for Sound Mirrors. Photography by Hylim Kim)

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