Eat - Eco Art & Theory
Ksenija Bunjak is an architect, a researcher of sustainability in urban and rural contexts and architecture for the climate change and a hobby photographer. Currently, she lives in Serbia. Previously, she lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; Munich, Germany and very briefly in Shanghai, China. Ksenija holds a PhD in Architecture and is strongly dedicated to the sustainable and energy efficient architecture, education and rising public awareness about these issues. She works as an outsourcing architect and she also has her own NGO: EAT - Eco Art & Theory that deals with the global questions such as sustainability and climate change. We have conducted an interview with Ksenija.
When did you begin the founding of your NGO 'EAT' (ECO ART & THEORY)?
The idea for starting an NGO related to the environmental issues and their representations in art and theory is not new. We came together for the first time in 2012. At the very beginning we were just a group of friends gathered around the same cause, but over the course of five years, we grew into an international organization with ten permanent members (from Serbia, Poland, Jordan and Italy/Singapore) and numerous collaborators, both individual and institutional.
Which are the ideas you would like to promote?
Sustainability became the imperative of our age, a central concept that evolves around every action we undertake. Or, at least, that is something that we should all strive for. It can be understood as a way of living and comprehending the world, as an approach to solving global problems, or even as a utopian vision of better society. Whether it is large or small, individual or common action, on local, or global level, the concept of sustainability should be embraced and researched further. Our time is as well characterized by the re-discovery of the terms and values related to the ecology. But, how is ecology understood today and how different arts reflect it?
Art has always been a medium for introducing new ideas, educating and communicating different messages. The mission of our organization is to raise public awareness about the importance of the correlation between ecology, art, and theory with the main purpose of creating better sustainable future. With this mission, we became an organization that mainly deals with the possibilities for implementing ecological principles in social development through artistic interventions and knowledge transfer.
What are your aims?
Our slogan ‘EAT the knowledge, feed your hope’ suggests that resolving global problems depends on a proper knowledge transfer. Our main goal is to educate and bring the topics such as sustainable development, climate change, environmental protection etc. closer to the public through different events. Our aims are organizing EAT festivals followed by professional and kids workshops, exhibitions, public performances, etc; organizing EAT scientific and professional meetings, seminars and lectures; promoting professionals and countries with highly developed consciousness of ecology in art, architecture and theory; editing EAT magazines and books, publishing books, papers and researches; participating in scientific and professional conferences, seminars and fairs; and managing our authoring projects.
What is your philosophy of life?
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright used to say that there is no architecture without a philosophy and no art of any kind without its own philosophy. Personal approach to life itself and its values reflects upon every action a person undertakes, especially in art and art-related disciplines. In life and work I tend to use one simple TRICK – Trek your intuition, Research your potential constantly pushing your limits, Inspire people around you, Create and share your Knowledge.
What is your specialization in architecture? What kind of architecture do you create?
My specialization in both architectural practice and research is sustainable and climate responsible architecture design, followed by sustainable urban and rural development. I tend to create architecture that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, that responds to the local characteristics and users’ needs creating adequate comfort and that has a lesser impact on the wider environment. Consequences of the climate change are strongly felt in the vulnerable communities around the world. Therefore, the architecture for vulnerable communities in the context of climate change is another aspect of my work.
Why did you choose this?
Famous architect Alvar Aalto considered “building art a synthesis of life in materialised form”. Architecture is a living matter, reflecting different societies and natures. We live in the world where climate change became not only our reality but one of the main shaping factors of our lives, influencing architecture as well. It is common knowledge that climate protection was the main purpose of any architectural act through history. Creating according to both natural and social environment is a necessity of our time. If approached correctly, this kind of architecture does not limit the creative act but offers instead endless possibilities and inspiration.
Could you share with us more about your creative work in photography?
In search for inspiration, a person only needs to carefully observe his or her environment. The beauty of nature is in its ephemerality. Built environment is, as well, a live matter – it reflects both natural and social changes. Once the photography is made the given scenery already became the past. Freezing a specific moment in a photography allows us not only to capture unrepeatable phenomena but also to travel back into the past, shedding the light on nature’s changeability and people – their habits, actions, activities, and creations. Photographing nature and urban and rural moments for me is more than just a visual representation – it is a story and a constant source of inspiration. Architecture design, research, and photography for me are an inseparable unity.
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