Thursday 24 February 2022

Within the framework of the “Planetary Wellbeing” project, promoted by the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, MACBA is collaborating with the European university network The Europaeum and the UPF, hosting one of their Europaeum Winter School sessions. The project’s objective is to introduce and promote debate on the innovative concept of “planetary wellbeing” and the challenges it poses in contemporary societies. The school’s aim is to deepen the formulation of this idea, which lies at the intersection of various disciplines, of the social sciences and the humanities, and to open a space for reflection and dialogue within the framework of institutions of higher education. It provides students with the opportunity to share discussions with academics at different points in their career who are working on related topics, as well as with leaders of international organisations and major foundations.

The session slated for the MACBA, open not only to students enrolled in the Winter School but also to members of the public who may be interested, proposes a reflection on how art can help understand and respond to the challenges of the 21st century. Planetary problems such as climate change cannot be addressed, let alone solved, through science alone. Science gives us explanations and possible solutions, but we also need emotion: we must be moved by the explanations being offered to us. The facts alone, as Bruno Latour explains, are not enough to make us act. This social activation could come through art; that is, those spaces of creation that touch us, that are more intense than scientific explanations. In this session, an art theorist, a philosopher and a curator will try to explain how the changes we need can spring from art.

The activity is held in the MACBA Meier Auditorium, but you can also follow it live on the museum’s website and YouTube channel. All sessions will be in English, with no simultaneous translation.

Santiago Zabala is an ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. He is author of many books, including Why Only Art Can Save Us: Aesthetics and the Absence of Emergency (Columbia University Press, 2017) and Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020). His opinion articles have appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, and Al-Jazeera among other international media outlets.

T. J. Demos writes about contemporary art and global politics. He is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founding Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He researches the intersection of visual culture, radical politics, and political ecology, and is the author of numerous books, including Beyond the World’s End: Arts of Living at the Crossing (Duke, 2020); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Political Ecology (Sternberg, 2016); and Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today, (Sternberg, 2017). He recently co-edited The Routledge Companion on Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change (2021), was a Getty Research Institute Fellow (Spring 2020) and directed the Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar research project Beyond the End of the World (2019-21). Demos is also Chair and Chief Curator of the Climate Collective, providing public programming related to the 2021 Climate Emergency > Emergence program at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (Maat) in Lisbon. He is presently working on a new book on radical futurisms.

With the support of
Logo Europaeum
Logo de Planetary Wellbeing UPF
Logo de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Frame of the work "A Forest" by Max de Esteban


Thursday 24 February

4:00 pm. Session introduction by Isabel Valverde and Lela Mélon.

Isabel Valverde, professor in the Department of Humanities at UPF and former vice-rector for Internationalization Projects; and Lela Mélon, executive director of Planetary Wellbeing at UPF.


4:15 pm. Presentation and projection of the film A Forest, by Max de Esteban (2019), by Claudia Segura.

Claudia Segura, MACBA Curator of Exhibitions and the Collection. A Forest, Mono-channel video, colour, sound, 23' 38", belonging to the MACBA Collection.


4:45 pm. Why and How can Art rescue us into the Greatest Emergencies? Presentation by Santiago Zabala.



5:15 pm. An Emergency of Emergencies: Contemporary Art and Climate Justice Today. Presentation by T. J. Demos. Online connection.


5:45 pm. Questions and discussion.

If you have any question, feel free to contact us on 93 481 33 68 or by email at macba [at] macba [dot] cat