art education

Art, science and imagination

Daro Montag

The biggest problem we’re facing is a lack of imagination

Dr Daro Montag is a professor of Art and Sustainability at Falmouth University. There he heads the RANE research group, examining the relationship between the visual arts and ecological thinking, with the aim of contributing to a more sustainable future.

Talking points

Art and science are not always looking in the same direction.

For most of humanity’s existence, a living planet has been a given.

The biggest problem we’re facing is a lack of imagination

A whole cascade of problems caused by the population multiplied by our lifestyles – we’re victims of our own success.

Should we be looking towards unsustainable, and helping to steer that change?

We’re living in a bubble, and we need to be aware of it, thankful for it, but we need to do with less.

We are living in a privileged times, but they are limited. It is the responsibility of professors and artists to be thinking of alternatives.

As an artist I don’t really make a distinction between making pictures and the rest of your life.

It’s about stories you live by.

Art is not something you produce, it’s a way of being.

The growth of the smartphone camera is dangerous, if we experience the world through a lens we lose the connection, the world becomes 2D, not living – we treat the world as a dead object to be captured.

I try to make (my students) aware of what is happening, with art students there’s a door you can open.

You don’t separate art from the environment.

Art is activist provocation

The idea of being an artist who produces for a gallery is over – art is about a gesture. Art is a verb, not a noun.

(Motivation?) Fun. The global environmental message is very doomy. The world is in a very dire predicament, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do something positive about it.

This given situation, what we know, it’s our responsibility to get up and do something – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and enjoyable.

It’s not about sacrifice and giving things up, it’s about weaving a better story.

(Activist?) Yes. Anyone wanting to change the world for the better is an activist. There are different ways of doing.

Activism isn’t about saying no, it is not just about protest. Activism can be about positive choices, fostering imagination.

(Miracle) That we realise that there is enough energy from the sun to meet all of our needs. And the crazy thing is that it is true…back to that lack of imagination problem.

(Advice) Educate yourselves – keep the imagination alive.