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  • Transforming Realities : Integrated coastal zone management, sustainability and connective aesthetics
  • Meistara
  • Current integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) initiatives often do not fulfil their goal of
    sustainable and holistic management of the coastal and marine environment (Sale, Butler, Hooten,
    Kritzer, Lindeman, Sadovy de Mitcheson, Steneck & van Lavieren, 2008). Recent literature suggests
    that one of the reasons for this failure lies in the multistakeholder participation process (Treby & Clark,
    2004). A primary argument for participative decision-making in environmental management is that the
    process will tend to produce sustainable outcomes (Cicin-Sain, 1999; Edwards et al., 1997; Reed, 2008).
    But this is based on the assumption that participants enter the process with, or through it acquire, a full
    understanding of the meaning of and implications of sustainability, and produce sustainable decisions
    based on this mind-set (Treby & Clark, 200). Yet, for most of us educated in the west, achieving such
    an understanding of the world and our place within it requires transforming our view of reality from
    one based on reductionism and the legacy of Descartes to one more in line with complex systems
    theory (Capra, 1996). I propose that introducing certain art practices into the ICZM participation
    process may help stakeholders undergo such a transformation. To this end I ask the following: Can
    connective aesthetics contribute to the sustainability objective of ICZM through the multistakeholder
    participation process? if so, what is the nature of its contribution? Connective art can generally be
    defined as the creation of a space apart from institutional frameworks, in which meaning and
    knowledge are generated through transdiciplinary collaboration and direct engagement between people
    and the nonhuman environment; and which is guided by an intent, directly or through vision, to effect
    positive change (Heim, 2003; Kester, 2004). Such art shares many of the same principles outlined in
    ICZM participation best practice literature, yet connective art goes further to introduce qualities of
    engagement not generally associated with ICZM participation forums. These include an unconventional
    space, experimentation and play, creative framing of issues and questions, attendance to emotions and
    feelings, imaginative visioning, direct interaction with the non-human environment, and two-way
    dialogue between participants and the non-human environment. I suggest that these conditions, by
    encouraging reflexive consideration of prevailing social, political and economic paradigms and our role
    within them (Dieleman, 2006; Kester, 2004), can generate a collectively realized and contextualised
    redefinition of reality, more in keeping with ICZM’s goals of holism and sustainability.

  • 22.6.2010

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