Uwe Jonas

Installation Setting in the Urasabaku Desert


The current program guidelines for Art Islands Tokyo 2020 disclose novel issues to think about presence of art in public consciousness. If we presume a general orientation towards meaning and truth in artistic action, we can raise questions that seem to be imposed on our present. In my view, this is the question of how art can be possible without an audience and also what significance it can have in competition within the field of ecological debates. I would like to answer the first question as briefly as possible: Any form of emerging art manifests the vital spirit of human beings already in its formation and development and thus becomes part of the boundless archive of meaningful human performance. Whether or not there is a public forum for this, whether or not a community capable of criticism creates a necessary corrective, is not important at first.


The past ten years of the Art Islands Tokyo have shown why and how artists on the two islands of Oshima and Nishima have reacted to ecological questions. For the islands themselves, with their historical and social development, their climatic and geological qualities, pose the questions of the present in their own specific way.


Order of Things – Autonomous agency                                                                              

On the occasion of the happy and inspiring course of Art Islands Tokyo 2020, I would finally like to publish the following manifesto:

What can we do to achieve the sheer overwhelming and are there concretely readable action specifications for this that could guide forthcoming processes?

No one should strive toward a goal if it seems impossible to achieve that goal at all – it seems generally questionable whether one can even set out to do things that one does not know if they may possibly not be realized. However: The oscillation between an action-motivating order of things and possible change-generating, fluid processes, presents itself as an expected generative of the utopia to be hoped for.

Finally, we experiment with inventory to the question: What can we do if we are already in motion? – and arrive at the fragile consensus: Some things work – and many things give cause for renewed questioning.