In line with ruangrupa’s artistic concept and lumbung practice, the theme of sustainability is approached holistically at documenta fifteen and reflected throughout all aspects of exhibition planning and implementation. In addition to addressing ecological factors, the focus is on cultural, social, political and economic aspects. For ruangrupa, togetherness and sharing, as well as the exchange of knowledge, are particularly essential for sustainable development.

Sustainability at documenta fifteen is thus both a theme of artistic practice and an important feature of infrastructure planning. documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH is guided here by the University of Kassel in the development of a more sustainable exhibition, with all relevant fields from mobility to gastronomy being addressed.

The stakeholders and partners collaborating with documenta fifteen are called upon to incorporate sustainability strategies and ecological footprint reduction into their decisions and to make responsible choices as a result. The goal is also to ensure the topic of sustainability is similarly brought to the attention of documenta fifteen visitors.

Sustainability in the Field of Art and Culture

Since November 2020, documenta fifteen has been a member of the Action Network sustainability in Culture and Media (Aktionsnetzwerk Nachhaltigkeit in Kultur und Medien), which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The aim here is to learn from one another and advance this field as a whole through active exchange on a sustainable future for the cultural sector.

Furthermore, documenta fifteen has been part of the recycling network Network for sustainable material circulation since July 2021. The project-based nature of exhibitions means they inherently entail a short-term need for resources, which is why documenta fifteen is concerned about material recycling. The goal is to build a network of collectives and initiatives that address the distribution and reuse of materials, where not only the sharing of material resources is important, but also a mutual exchange of knowledge, motivation and experience. This initiative was kicked off by a symposium organized by documenta fifteen in July 2021 at ruruHaus. (Symposium leaflet in German)

Supporting Sustainability Projects

With every documenta fifteen ticket sold, one euro goes to long-term sustainability projects, including a reforestation project in the Reinhardswald forest near Kassel and a project for the ecological enrichment of oil palm and rubber plantations in the Jambi region of Sumatra. As part of these initiatives, documenta fifteen is also collaborating with HessenForst and the University of Göttingen from Germany, as well as the University of Jambi and the artists’ collective Rumah Budaya Sikukeluang from Sumatra, Indonesia.

In November 2021, the event urun rembuk – thinking and acting on sustainability was held at the ruruHaus, where the various cooperation partners and projects were able to introduce themselves and network with one another. The discussion was complemented by artistic interventions by several lumbung artists.

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