Parallel to the awareness that the ecological crisis will call into question the very existence of life on earth, be it human or non-human, there has crystallized the recognition that the unfolding environmental disaster is mediated largely by the overarching social and political structures of the ‘Global North’. Recent analyses have succeeded in identifying some of those behind the Anthropocene, such as colonialist attitudes toward the environment or capitalism that exploits natural phenomena, as well as the labour of socio-economically or politically underprivileged people for profit, and seems to know no limits, nor control. However, these systemic issues have also given the environmental crisis a new face: that of incomprehensibility, and a general sense of something that cannot be fully grasped.
To see our common/place attempts to defy the implausibility of the environmental crisis by dissecting its dominant socio-political structures through the lens of local and personal experience, and thus ask if it is possible to overturn its characterization as an inconceivable reality. We are embedded in abstract, global power structures, and it is the personal, local, and banal construction of everyday life that may constitute the only means by which the individual can connect to them.
To see our common/place aims to reclaim an awareness of our own political situatedness and personal agency in the shaping of our societies and the environment. While it does not deny that positive change on a global scale will have to entail structural change, it reflects on the ways in which individuals may become aware of the existing socio-political systems, so that it becomes possible to transform or dismantle them. The exhibition also seeks ways to step out of the dominant framework of these structures in order to grapple with the seemingly ungraspable nature of the environmental crisis, and encourage us to look for solutions that may contribute to the larger global picture. Only by dissecting the crisis can we step out of our ecological paralysis, foster a discussion around it, and hopefully, rise above it in the near future.