edited by Santiago Caprio

Toward a Art Collective of Nations

While exploring the 2020 Human Development Report, issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on their 30th anniversary, which, since 1990, has been a leading independent, analytical and empirically grounded voice on discussions of major development issues, we are called to understand that the time to act has come.

We are entering a new geologic age: that of the Anthropocene. The age of humans.

For the first time in our history, the most serious and immediate risks are human-made and unfold on a planetary scale. From extreme levels of consumption and climate change to the Covid-19 pandemic all the way down to the troubling socio-economic scenarios of rising inequality we are facing.

How can discussions around human development help us navigate the complexities of the Anthropocene moving forward?

A new Art Collective must reimagine as well as anticipate what this new human journey will look like. It must strive to leverage the human development approach in order to support a transformational change.

Harini Nagendra (coordinator of the Centre for Urban Sustainability in India at Azim Premji University) said, "Most 'classic' writings on sustainability present people as the problem, not as a collective source of strength. [...They] frame the discourse in terms of the Earth's finite resources and rising population. [...] We have moved away from framing it exclusively around limits to growth and conserving natural resources. Instead, we emphasize the connections between communities, ecosystems and social justice."

The homogenizing effect of our predominant models of production and consumption, which have been busy knitting the world together, have eroded our diversity -in all its forms, from the biological to the cultural- which is so vital to resilience.

Diversity increases redundancy, and while redundancy may not be good for classic business models, it is good for systems-resilience in the face of shocks, which can travel along the different fault lines that connect communities and nations.

A collective made up of people from different sensibilities and different nations could align their behaviour such that it bends toward diversity, which, in turn, could lead to a changes in persistent social norms and behavours.

It's imperative that we emphasize the importance of culture and education, both of which can identify ways and tricks that can serve as catalysts that later ripple across our societies. By emphasizing the arts in the push to shift societal norms we can empower people to act on their values, opening the doors of perception and transform our very bodies towards reimaging what is possible.

Perhaps an Art Collective of Nations, away from conflict but close to the creativity and the essence of artistic pursuit can help to empower people to identify and pursue their own paths for a more meaningful life. This future should be one that is anchored in expanding freedoms and values through a transformative exposure to critical thinking that revisits the common well of human identity at the start of new age of the Anthropocene.