A transdisciplinary project of research and practice on collective consciousness in communication societies related to environmental issues.

by Rachela Abbate

The project Power of Fragility is a transdisciplinary project of research and practice on collective consciousness in communication societies related to environmental issues. Therefore will be built up a transdisciplinary platform in order to discuss and visualize relations between consciousness and social transformation, which implicate the impact of autonomy on collectivity and related forms and models of public engagement. To filter the multitude of possible topics in this regard was chosen the environmental issues because the global environmental crisis is going beyond geopolitical and economic conditions. The aim is, to picture the state of awareness and to provide space for reflection in order to encourage self-determination, self-regulation, political responsibility and recognition of the potential within the individual to change situations. Moreover, the project’s plan is to visualize and to bring to awareness conditions of possibility of knowledge and to communicate alternative models of organization. The limits between art, science and the public realm should thereby be permeable to grant a creative and intuitive process.

We are living in times, which are difficult and people are stroke by diverse crises and are overwhelmed by a flood of images. Concurrently we are in a situation of increasing awareness and personal realization possibilities. Access to knowledge, communication flow, and information flux offer us worldwide a prospect to a democratic society. And still, freedom, democracy, and above all environment are in danger to undergo politically overdriven capitalistic exigencies.

What is needed to respond to an environmental crisis? How can autonomy be provided? How can collective decisions lead to solidarity and restore social justice in the prospect of environmental changes? How can artistic activity play a role in political engagement? Is there a consciousness development in the environmental crisis we can foresee? What are the influences and agents of change, development and directions of collective consciousness? In this sense, how is it possible to use digital communication apparatuses to connect creativity and realize real changes?

As we mentioned above is consciousness the base of every change, therefore has to be investigated the conditions of possibility of awareness in order to recognize chances and problems toward a responsible society resulting from self-regulated individuals. Moreover is to envisages how self-regulation is translated in social organizations. One of the main conditions of consciousness are idealisms, which means imaginary and identifications believed to be true or real. Therefore is art of eminent importance as in artistic operations are produced constantly new imaginaries. Art is defined as positioned critically toward given circumstances and as vision-driven toward a utopia realization. Hence art is a “fait social” especially as art today is becoming less object productive, but more operative in the creation of social models and processes.

Another important element of consciousness is emblematic of our times: communication and language. Language-systems regulate awareness and are consequently fundamental in the researches and implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

In language machinery, is the art of vital importance as artistic operations are deconstructing and reconstructing signs and references in a translation activity establishing space of reflection and definition toward an alternative reality


The question of what consciousness is was ever since a question in different spheres of science from medicine to neurology, from endocrinology to quantum physics overlapping with the ethical or philosophical sphere. Our self-definition is supposedly connected with our brain, self-awareness with mental processes linked with our nerve nets. It is to question if science as a pure discipline might endeavor research without vision. The creativity of human beings in their uniqueness is a power we have still not deeply understood. The collaboration between scientists and artists guarantees to understand the human and other critters as a whole and see the act of thinking as a creative activity. Furthermore is to investigate the connection of communication elements and apparatuses. Communication is basically a nerve-net activity and it seems as we are producing communication on this physical experience. But how do we really communicate? In researching communication activity, which is of vital importance for every living creature is to include the sharing of experience as creating community. Moreover is to scrutinize how we translate communication-information, from the synaptic impulse to referential activity in language-sign systems. To deepen the comprehension of communication, community, and creativity with a positive approach is to understand on a physical level what an organization really means and how it functions.

2. Information and Communication Technologies

Digital technologies are the new media of our societies on a global level providing us access to information and knowledge, but as well as new forms of language systems, social activities, and clusters. In a globalized world, information and communication systems are about to transform towards a rhizome‐like and net‐like away from hierarchical alpha‐centered structure; through digitalization and in capacities to build solidarity when political, economical or natural catastrophes struck people. Especially regarding environmental issues the ICTs are of fundamental importance.

3.Artistic Operations

Societies are limited and undermined by capitalistic regulation, whereby is tried to establish stable systems. Issues of aesthetic responsibility and possibility become important in the context of globalization as cultural identity risks to be liquidized and blurred through politics of integration, economical and ecological crisis. In artistic research and operations is tried to initiate antagonistic spaces to actual regulation in order to gain authenticity and autonomy on one side and to reset cultural and social conflicts.

Creating a new imaginary is one of the main artistic activity providing alternatives in giving social contexts. Through different combinations of spaces, structures, and elements, as for example signs, are generable new possibilities and paradigm changes.

Communication and information structures (groups) are complexities mirroring different positions, reasons and in consequence cultural and social clashes and losses, but also adaptation, alignment, changing, and positive progressing. Communication clusters and artistic operations evoke fragile systems and become agonistic spaces to hegemonies by processing pluralistic positions. Fragile systems are progressive, resistant, and able to reset crises with a positive outcome. As artistic operations offer space of alternative realities it is thinkable to connect in an overarching project the two aspects of cultural spaces: the physical one, as we have in cities, and the abstract as we have with the Internet space in collaborative research with scientists.