Global Challenges

Hotel Pro Forma and ARoS:

How does arts and culture engage with global societal challenges?

On a global scale the challenge of human-created changes of the globe is a pressing topic. Geologically this period has been named the Anthropocene because human beings are now a geological force forming the earths’ biological and physical systems.

But in which ways can arts and culture contribute to a global debate and global action? Aarhus 2017 has through its core value ‘sustainability’ shed light on this subject. Based on a number of Aarhus 2017-examples the panel will discuss the role of arts and culture in relation to societal changes. The selection of cases demonstrate ways in which arts and culture have become part of an interdisciplinary network in which arts links to science, nature preservation, food etc.  

The selected cases include two artistic works in which the theme of the Anthropocene is addressed: NeoArctic by Hotel Pro Forma and The Garden; The End of Times, The Beginning of Times by ARoS. These are complemented with presentation of projects that go beyond a narrow understanding of the arts: The Catastrophic Meal by Jacob Vinkler from Smag, and Rethink Urban Habitats by Naturhistorisk Museum.

The panel is organized and curated by Hotel Pro Forma, rethinkIMPACTS 2017 and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.

Programme 09.00-11.00

Room: Main Hall at Aarhus University:


Keynote presentation by Gitte Ørskou, chair of Danish Art Foundation and Director of Kunsten, Museum of Modern Art Aalborg

How to measure the investments from the Danish Arts Foundation
The Danish Arts Foundation awards the arts with more than 500 M. DKK a year granted as project or scholarship funding. The prime aim of the new Danish Arts Foundation is to promote the arts in Denmark and Danish art abroad. In total that poses more than 6500 funded projects. Despite that, The Danish Arts Foundation often bear the brunt of the criticism due to the question of how to measure the effect of the granted funding? Do you look at spreadability, the economic effects or something else? This presentation will discuss different ways of addressing the value of art when the art itself can’t be measured.  

About Gitte Ørskou (f. 1971), Master of Arts in art history and museum Director at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg. I the years 2014-2017 Chair of the Board at The Danish Arts Foundation and Chair of the Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding at The Danish Arts Foundation.

09.45Presentation by Hotel Pro Forma

Hotel Pro Forma and the Latvian Radio Choir reunite to create a visual and musical performance inspired by the catastrophic event of the Anthropocene. NeoArctic is an evocative, poetic, and alarming reflection upon our new geological epoch, defined by unprecedented human disturbance of the earth’s ecosystems. Humans have become a ‘force of nature’, causing rapid, often unintended changes to our planet. NeoArctic presents 12 landscapes of music, sound and visuals.

Rasmus Adrian, Managing director of Hotel Pro Forma, has a background in artistic and administrative management within music and performing arts, and has extensive experience in music and stage art production.

09.55Presentation by ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

The triennial exhibition The Garden – The End of Times the Beginning of Times was one the mega events of Aarhus2017. The Garden investigated our changing relation to nature. Covering more than 400 years of art history it explored how the ways in which we have given shape to nature expresses our (philosophical, religious, political, ideological, cultural, scientific) world views and self perceptions.

PhD Anette Vandsø is post doc at Aarhus University and ARoS Art Museum


Presentation by SMAG 

In several Aarhus 2017 projects Jakob Vinkler has examined the ability of food to communicate and comment on social issues (The Boundless Kitchen), the meal of the future (The Catastrophic Meal) or sustainable fishing (Fish-a-deli Circus). Food is combined with art and businnes to explore the role of food in creating different artistic experiences that address urgent societal challenges.  

Jakob Vinkler is chef at SMAG and operator of OFF TRACK 2017 Gastronomy.

10.15 Presentation by Naturhistorisk Museum, Aarhus

Through Rethink Urban Habitats Naturhistorisk Museum Aarhus has shed light on the city as a habitat and living place for more than human beings. Animals and plants lack space to exist in Denmark, but we can give them new places for dwelling within the city limits! Not at the expense of people, but for the joy and benefit of people. That is what makes all the difference. Inside the city, nature does not need to take room away from humans. Nature provides both space and gives pleasure and quality of life. Urban Habitats grows the city for the future full of nature and wonder.  

PhD Henrik Sell, Vice-Director at Naturhistorisk Museum Aarhus. 

10.25 Panel debate:

Gitte Ørskou, chair of Danish Arts Foundation
Anette Vandsø, post. doc, ARoS
Rasmus Adrian, Managing director of Hotel Pro Forma
Jakob Vinkler, artistic leader and chef at Smag
Henrik Sell, Naturhistorisk Museum, Aarhus

Moderator: Louise Ejgod, rethinkIMPACTS 2017