When the team at Akademie Schloss Solitude began planning the 30th anniversary under the title Transformation – Unfolding the Future, a key question arose: Does an international and interdisciplinary artists’ residency have the power to rethink the future? As a result of the complex nature of the current world situation, we are convinced that a consideration of transformative politics and processes requires an essential basic understanding, and that this can only be discussed effectively using collective knowledge. It is currently becoming increasingly apparent that, as human beings, we invariably maintain relationships with others, namely with all life forms that populate this planet. We are aware that other systems of knowledge besides our human variety exist, such as those of animals, plants and viruses, and we realize how important it is to learn to integrate them once more, to live with them rather than without them, and to see ourselves as part of a whole.
»In the light of our current existence in a divided world, in which the exploitative actions of the Anthropocene epoch and the more recent world economic developments of neo-liberalism are becoming globally visible and tangible, artists, scientists and activists from all over the world are seeking models for the purposes of testing new forms of solidarity, and ways of thinking, acting and working.«
With its transcultural and interdisciplinary knowledge and its multi-perspective access to a common world, an artists’ residency can serve as a model of how we operate in a collaboration with different actors, and how common ideas can be transformed into collective productions or political and social or ethical projects. In her Manifesto on Artists’ Rights, the Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera writes: »Art is not only a statement on the present, it is also a call for a different future, indeed a better one.«In the light of our current existence in a divided world, in which the exploitative actions of the Anthropocene epoch and the more recent world economic developments of neo-liberalism are becoming globally visible and tangible, artists, scientists and activists from all over the world are seeking models for the purposes of testing new forms of solidarity, and ways of thinking, acting and working. Akademie Schloss Solitude is setting an example with the first issue of the new Solitude Journal, which is dedicated to the contributions of various theorists and artists on the principles of care and caring.
As one of several events scheduled for the anniversary year, whose motto is Transformation – Unfolding the Future, the first Solitude Journal, with the theme Collective Care & Response-ability, features artistic works and writings in which the political, social and ethical dimensions of care and concern between humans, non-humans, other species and the material world converge. The contributions gathered here are not intended so much to provide a historical or cultural-scientific overview of the concept of care as they are to unite a close observation of the current (crisis-related) state of affairs and the voices of fellows on alternative narratives and modes of action that consolidate the common good or our planetary well-being.
The articles in the journal Collective Care & Response-ability seek to create an intrinsic moment of community and involvement, as well as new principles of accountability. The authors use sensitive, radical, careful, precise and well-considered concepts, creating a web of thoughts, possible actions, and even including a sprinkling of optimism. Common to all is the acknowledgement that we live in a world of causalities, in which an ideal coexistence should be tied less to the moral condition of care and concern, or to the often exploitative care sector (the health care system), for instance, but rather to the basic notion that caring for something or someone inevitably means creating a relationship. Bearing in mind the words of María Puig de la Bellacasa, author of Matters of Care. Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds, the first Solitude Journal aims to raise awareness that the model of collective care and the ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions and those of others can exist only in complex relationships that require constant attention and sensitivity to ourselves and our environment. Principles of care as discussed in this first journal require a togetherness in the sense of »becoming with«, »thinking with« and »caring with«.
Our special thanks go to the authors and this issue’s editorial team, as well as to the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, whose generous funding enables us to develop sustainable models in this format. It is the Akademie’s hope that these will become more firmly anchored in our thinking and actions over the next 30 years.
Elke aus dem Moore, director of Akademie Schloss Solitude & Denise Helene Sumi, Editor-of-Chief