Ein Meter über dem Meeresspiegel

Ein Meter über dem Meeresspiegel bei COP 17

DURBAN —; While delegates from 194 nations debated solutions and compromises for a deal on climate change inside Durban’s International Convention Centre, artist Jacques Coetzer scaled a ladder in the shallows of the Indian Ocean nearby. Both an urgent protest and mischievous performance, documentation of Coetzer’s ladder-climbing intervention at COP17 is on view at the Durban Art Gallery. It forms part of the group exhibition DON’T/PANIC, curated by Gabi Ngcobo. Laut Coetzer stützt sich seine künstlerische Geste mit dem Titel Ein Meter über dem Meeresspiegel auf eine Reihe von Ideen: von der englischen metaphysischen Poesie bis zum Risiko, von einer Leiter zu fallen; Es schließt auch ein Umweltprojekt zum Klettern auf Leitern ab, das er Anfang dieses Jahres auf dem Kilimandscharo in Tansania durchgeführt hat. “No man is an island, entire of itself,” wrote English poet John Donne in his famous ‘Meditation 17’, which Coetzer quoted in a reading at DON’T/PANIC. “Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main./ If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less./ Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind./ And therefore:/ Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Coetzer revisited the poem after listening to ‘Rave on John Donne’, a song from folk singer Van Morrison’s 1983 album, Inarticulate Speech of the Heart. The album’s title is drawn from a saying by playwright and fellow Irishman, George Bernard Shaw, who spoke of “communicating with as little articulation as possible, at the same time being emotionally articulate” —; a teaching Coetzer attempted to draw on for his intervention on Durban’s beachfront. Shaw starb übrigens 1950; im Alter von 94 Jahren aufgrund chronischer Beschwerden, die durch Verletzungen von einer Leiter verursacht wurden. Explains Coetzer: “One Meter Above Sea Level conceptually concludes an earlier project I undertook with writer Sean O’Toole. In January this year, we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to investigate the rapid decline of the ice cap and the possible repercussions for the thousands of small-scale coffee farmers on the foothills of the mountain.” Coetzer, who formulated the investigative excursion, took a ladder with him on his ascent. His plan was to exceed the mountain’s highest point by an extra meter-and-a-half; altitude sickness however got the better of him at Barafu summit camp, leaving O’Toole to complete the climb. Details of Coetzer’s Kilimanjaro Ice Coffee Expedition are contained in the DON’T/PANIC catalogue. Coetzer’s two projects succinctly embody the ethos of DON’T/PANIC. According to curator Gabi Ngcobo, the exhibition “is not a platform to provide answers but rather one in which a series of questions, speculations, proposals and processes are assembled to create a space to sharpen reflection and encourage resistance”.