To kick off the lunchtime series of the Environmental Humanities, we are pleased to welcome a contribution by the coordinator of the IDK Um(Welt)Denken PD. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck on the topic: “A Contested Field. Agnes Denes growing Wheat in Manhattan:”
How does art impact the way we perceive of and interact with our physical environment? Can it affect the way we think about, and deal with, urban and rural environments and concerns, and spur conversations on related issues such as climate change, agricultural and food policies, the meaning of “development” and “progress” in urban areas? How can art make us rethink concepts like ownership, community, and participation, and embrace new approaches to land, food, and community?
In 1982, the artist Agnes Denes, together with volunteers, planted a wheat field on a Manhattan dumpsite. Subtitled “A Confrontation,” “Wheatfield” brought together the issues mentioned above and inspired important questions about the politics of space, food, and agriculture. Most of all, however, “Wheatfield” enabled a sensuous experience of agriculture that was new and unexpected for those who visited the field. Kirsten Twelbeck will spotlight “Wheatfield. A Conversation” to create a starting point for an interdisciplinary discussion about the meaning(s) and potential functions of art in an era that is urgently looking for new approaches to persuade citizens and states to make the changes that are necessary to secure an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable and desirable future.