top of page

When All the Art Is Green: Swiss Institute Takes On Climate Change

Swiss Institute

Aug 31, 2023

In May 2023, Swiss Institute launched Spora, a curatorial  initiative centered in SI’s institutional imperative to integrate  environmental consciousness and climate action into all facets of the  institution. Like spores spreading throughout the physical structure of  our building and permeating the immaterial processes of SI, Spora is an experiment that explores what a practice of environmental institutional critique could be.

Unfolding and growing over the course of the next several years, the  initial artworks in the project will be on long-term view in the  non-gallery spaces of SI. In the stairways, hallways, roof, and other  interstitial spaces, artists have contributed to the daily life,  maintenance and functioning of the building with artworks that take  shape through compost, plants, wall paint, public space and more. These  include Jenna Sutela’s earth battery-powered oracle, Vivian Suter’s  weather-exposed mural, Helen Mirra’s chance-determined background  painting, T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss’s sonic recordings of mycelium, and  Mary Manning’s photographs merging private and public, natural and urban  spaces.

The artworks at the core of Spora are accompanied by the  institution’s initial steps towards climate action, begun in 2022, which  take form as a thorough analysis of SI’s carbon emissions through  transport, travel, energy, and other ecological and social factors, and a  plan of actions developed with the entire SI team for reducing the  institution’s  environmental impact. SI will publish and share this  process with the hopes to sprout inspiration and collaboration across  institutional boundaries. Spora is conceived as an open-ended  approach, which acknowledges that this is a continuous project that will  generate more questions than answers. It is an attempt to germinate  change while acknowledging context and limitations, with the  understanding that this process is imperfect but urgent.

Spora is made possible by Teiger Foundation. Additional  support is provided by the Consulate General of Finland in New York  City. The project is organized by Stefanie Hessler, Director, and Alison  Coplan, Senior Curator and Head of Programs.

To read more about the artworks and their relationship to the Swiss Institute environment and a broader environmental consciousness, you can check out the New York Times article by John Vincler

bottom of page