:RETOOL, the 3rd and final exhibition of the S+T+ARTS Repairing the Present exhibition series

As the coordinator of the S+T+ARTS Repairing the Present consortium and representing the team at the premiere of :Retool, Snowball was invited to give some context to this exhibition, its purpose and its coming about. 

It all started just over 2 years ago, with the submission of our project proposal for a Regional STARTS Centers consortium consisting of 12 key partners spanning all across Europe, from Denmark to Spain to Cyprus. In its set-up and through our project process, we brought together & truly applied the STARTS DNA and its acronym: S for scientists like Sony Computer Science Lab and CYENS, T for Technology like Cleantech Hub Snowball and ARTS for the diverse Art World like MAXXI, In4Art, Art Hub Copenhagen and Ars Electronica.  

Our purpose and our objective? To formulate innovative solutions and co-develop critical art prototypes that reflect on and attempt to answer the climate challenges we are facing in all of our daily lives & in our immediate environments. We chose the agenda of the European Green Deal and the New European Bauhaus as the core of our activities, the ambitious program of the European Commission for becoming the world’s first climate neutral continent, Europe’s man on the moon moment.

In June 2021, we formally kicked off the project and started each in our Regional Centers, supported by experts, policy makers, tech entrepreneurs, scientific researchers and citizen communities, to formulate particular, region specific challenges all related to this topic, ranging from the lack of biodiversity, to alternative material usage, to sustainable tourism, to mobility, to extra-terrestrial exploration and so on. 

In October 2021 we launched an Open Call for Artists on 21 challenges, for which we received over 300 eligible applications in less than 4 weeks. Following a second pitch round of the shortlisted artists, we started in February of this year with the effective STARTS residencies, within each of the Regional STARTS Centers with a total of 21 artists and artists collectives. We had set up a specific methodology for the residencies, whereby the artists had frequent interactions with the local regions & local communities. We organized Local Expert Groups, Networking Events, Academic Symposia, Workshops, Hackathons, Keynotes, Blogs, Vlogs, … you name it, we did it. 

In parallel, we started working with Manuel Cirauqui & his team and the different partners within our Consortium, to develop the public presentation of the residencies. We realized very quickly that one exhibition or one moment would not suffice, as we bring together so many different angles and such different yet complementary artists and expertise. That’s how the concept of the tryptic REWORLD – REWILD – RETOOL was born. 

So that leaves us nothing but 2 things:

First – 

to thank all of the artists we have collaborated with our the past year, your dedication and drive are what have brought us here today, 

to thank each of the exhibition venues and in particular ZKM today, your generosity and your addition is where we are today,

to thank all of the Regional Centers we have collaborated with over the past 18 months, your commitment and your structured & systemic execution is how we have arrived here, and

last but not least, to thank all of our local experts, corporate partners, lobby groups, citizen communities, academic institutions, policy makers and more, you are why we have arrived here.

And second – 

What you are seeing here tonight, is the result of a true pan-European, transdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration. We hope it challenges you, it inspires you, it warms you and it incites you on climate action, however big or small. As we from STARTS Repairing the Present have not done so over the past few months, we bring this to you: let’s not spare means or efforts to help create Europe’s man on the moon moment. 

🌿Een gesprek dat telt 🌿

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