e35 salas – adapting to reality

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I find that more and more artists are interested in understanding how to change their practice and how to adapt it to current circumstances. I really believe artists need help in this process. Like we all do. I’m not an environmental expert nor a climate expert, I’m just a very sensitive human being who is worried about what we are leaving behind for future generations. I’m doing what I can to really be more ethical with my work, but I’m finding more and more artists who are also struggling to understand what they can do. I think when in a conversation between curators or producers like myself and people like you – thinkers and funders – that we need to come together and to understand the current situation, to accept reality, then we can strategize about how we can put things into place and how we can provide more funding for different types of projects.

carmen salas, conscient podcast, april 30, 2021, Spain

I first learned about Carmen Salas’ work through her article What should we expect from art in the next few years/decades? And what is art, anyway?. It was the spring of 2020, and I thought her ideas were fresh and connected to our troubling times. She was raising many of the same issues that I will was thinking about, notably the evolving role of the artist and the value of community engaged arts. I read more of Carmen’s work on her website, https://carmensp.com/ and followed her curatorial work with the Connecting the Dots forum in Mexico. I was pleased when Carmen accepted to speak with me for a conscient conversation, which took place on April 30, 2021, remotely between Ottawa and Spain. 

Carmen asked me to include this quotation from neuroscientist Dan Burnett in the episode notes for context in relation to reality: 

The human brain, powerful as it is, can still be overwhelmed by the complex world we inhabit, so when it comes to creating mental models of how the world works, it operates a general “stick to what you know” policy. As such, things that are different or unfamiliar, especially if they’re confusing and uncertain or introduce an element of perceived threat or danger, are met with suspicion, doubt, dismissal and so on. All are defence mechanisms, in a way; it’s the brain saying ‘this is NOT how the world is meant to work, so I must dismiss this challenging new information.’

Carmen also suggested a link to this article : https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2018/may/15/mental-health-awareness-is-great-but-action-is-essential. Also, during our conscient conversation Carmen mentioned Gilberto Esparza’s Nomadic Plants project and her Shifting Paradigms article.

As I did with all episodes this season, I have integrated excerpts from e19 reality.

I would like to thank Carmen for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep knowledge of curation and the arts and her insights on how the arts can reinvent themselves.  


For more information on Carmen’s work, see https://carmensp.com/

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