Panel Discussion: Ecology of Thinking Date: Friday 27 March, 2015 Time: 11- 2pm Site Location: Renton Road, Mangere, Auckland
Panelists: Dr Chris Braddock: Chair, Professor, AUT Xin Cheng: Artist, Auckland Eu Jin Chua: Artist and Spatial Design Lecturer, AUT Dr Paul Cullen: Artist and Associate Professor, AUT Abby Cunnane: ST PAUL St Gallery Assistant Director Michael Ngatai: Park Ranger, Auckland City Council Vernon Rive: Barrister and Senior Lecturer in Law, AUT Sarah Smuts-Kennedy: Artist, Auckland Andy Thomson: Artist and Associate Professor, AUT
Readings Auckland City Bylaw: No 20 Public Places Artists’ Platforms for New Ecologies - Third Text, 120, vol 27, no1 Jan 2013, Emily Eliza Scott Neuroscience: Shedding light on a change of mind. Nature (2014), Tomonori Takeuchi and Richard GM Morris Terrain Vague, Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió, 2011 Thinking ecology: The mesh, the strange stranger, and the beautiful soul, Timothy Morton, 2010 Which Public Space for Critical Artistic Practices? Chantal Mouffe, 2005 Worldly Worlding: The Imaginal Fields of Science/Art and Making Patterns Together, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 2014
In Ecology of Thinking perhaps we have to understand how we think in order to work constructively in an environmental context. Perhaps that might have nothing to do with direct action or perhaps it might be to do with no action at all. Sometimes good housekeeping requires preplanning or even a schema of reasoning before action; this could include a timeline or timetable.
So thinking is imperative to good or appropriate action and is therefore predicated on moral precepts. But how are these precepts arrived at, the terrain has to be seen clearly in order to negotiate its topology, for example if we were merely to think of conserving the environment we would not have used the liquefied bones of dinosaurs to drive to the end of Renton Road as Timothy Morton points out, in Thinking Ecology: The Mesh, The Strange Stranger, and the Beautiful Soul. “You are walking on top of hills and mountains of fossilized animal bits. Most of your house dust is your skin. The environment looks like not a very successful upgrade of the old-fashioned term nature”. If we were conservatives as conservationists we would not be innovators but we would be inexplicably linked to our thinking and the environment nonetheless. Again as Timothy Morton points out, “environmental awareness is, finally, a sense of irony, because it is through irony that we realize that we might be wrong, that identity might not be as solid as we think, that our own gaze might be the evil that we see”.
We hope that the panel discussion will be wide-ranging and discursive and will bring differing and difference to play in terms of outlook, ambition, and perceptions of realities in relation to an Ecology of Thinking as well as an ecology of landscape for example the Liminal Space at the end of Renton Road. We understand liminal terrain variously: as the place where the land and the sea meetthe spatial, legal, cultural and political interfaces between the public and private; and spaces of demarcation that exist between artworks, audiences and the given, sensible world. These differently configured interfaces or demarcations, as we see them, also create a terrain that a viewing and/or participating public must negotiate to determine their place or position in relation to an artwork.
The UFO Bureau and our network of interdisciplinary researchers are working towards developing a number of national and international public events and platforms to present artworks, projects, symposia and other events – provisionally titled Liminal Terrain Projects.
In making artworks collectively and individually and across disciplines, and through our organisation of sited events and discussions, situated artworks and documentation, we hope to orchestrate a number of opportunities for encounters between audiences, artists and experts, and to inculcate new conceptual approaches to site. Understanding that this complex coming together over time in a selected, liminal site will most likely produce some dissent or at very least, critique as much as consensus, our approach celebrates difference and the contentious as a creative catalyst for producing new knowledge.
 Sean Gaston, The Concept of World from Kant to Derrida, Rowman & Littlefield, New York, 2013, p 28. ‘The Kantian regulative idea of the world which suspends any claim to the world itself as a given or self-evident concept, is still the most radical concept of world in the history of philosophy. Insisting that one must act as if there is a given world, it invites the possibility of a philosophy without world.’
 Immanuel Kant, Kant: Political Writings, H S ReissPart (ed), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1991, p 187. ‘The strictly intelligible idea of freedom, as the presupposition for autonomous wills acting solely in compliance with the inner commands of reason, could not be realized in the sensible world.’