ENSAD, Paris, 8 April, 2015
“The art of living, together. Emerging aesthetics for sustainable and resilient ways of living “
The first part of this title (the art of living) refers to the fact that “living” is not only solving daily problems, but also an art: the art of creating meanings and producing and experiencing qualities. This sentence coudl be obious if it would not have been happened that, in the whole discussion on social innovation, the focus has largely been on its capability to solve difficult, sometime intractable, problems (from the elderly population, to transportation, from social cohesion to job creation). Unfortunately, it happens that this correct attention to concrete practical solutions tends to become a limit, if the cultural dimension of these solutions is not recognized and discussed. Or, even worst, it can become a negative ideology leading us to think that all the problems our societies are facing now can be reduced to individual problems and these problems can find individual practical solutions (an ideology that could be called solution-ism). To escape these risks a cultural proposal should be developed, observing that social innovation is offering us not only practical solutions but also new systems of meaning and disruptive ideas on the quality of life. And discussing how to transform them in the building blocks for a new narrative on how a good life should be like.
It comes that the use of expression “art of living” aims at to bridging the deep philosophic meanings related to the way we live, with the everyday-life sense of something that everybody can learn and practice (but that everybody can also lost as, unfortunately, for a growing number of people, it is happening today).
The second part of the title (together) refers to the fact that, today, in a globalised densely populated planet, there is a high, dramatic risk: the one of reduce the human search for “community and place” to the creation of antagonistic and invented communities and places (i.e. communities and place opposed to other communities and places). It comes that the art of living today is also, and mandatory, the art of living together: the art of community building and place making in the framework of a cosmopolitan localism .