The case for interconnection in ecoart
“Rigor alone is paralytic death, but imagination alone is insanity,” Gregory Bateson wrote in Mind and Nature, a book he wrote in early 2000 and where in he beautifully touches the subjects of connectivity and patterns that relate all living things, enriching the grounds which give understanding to ecoart as a way of describing challenges we face in the universe.
Over the past years, climate change, degradation of nature, environmental crises, resources shortages and many other complex issues across the world. Those problems need to be somehow addressed to maintain our presence on the planet and keep the world habitable for future generations. Although supported by an enormous number of studies, very often, the problems we encounter are analyzed in separate technical and scientific disciplines. As a result, the knowledge derived from the research stays isolated and spreads only amongst the narrow field of specialists. In recent times, many authors have argued that in the face of climate crisis we can no longer afford to look at the problems with blinkers. The art, science and technology disciplines need to communicate with one another and exchange perspectives. In his philosophical book, The Three Ecologies, Félix Guattari (psychoanalyst, philosopher and dedicated activist) emphasized the necessity of understanding connections between the cultural and environmental spheres:
« Now more than ever, nature cannot be separated from culture; in order to comprehend the interactions between ecosystems, the mechanosphere and the social and individual Universes of reference, we must learn to think ‘transversally' »
When closely pondered, Guattari words echo the principal concepts of ecology, which, according to most authoritative definitions, is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. In fact, the original framing of the word ecology comes from philosopher Ernst Haeckel, who wrote in 1870: “By ecology we mean the body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature—the investigation of the total relations of the animal both to its inorganic and to its organic environment”. Although the definitions of ecology in modern literature now slightly vary, all of them embrace the concept of interconnection.
In another example of that case, ecologist Frank B. Golley, in his book about the ecosystem concept, describes its usefulness in broad terms:
“[Ecology] emphasized interconnection and integration of systems at a variety of scales, cooperation, synergisms and symbioses rather than dialectical opposition, competition and conflict […] Thus the ecosystem perspective can lead towards an ecological philosophy, and from philosophy it can lead to an environmental value system, environmental law and a political agenda.”