The Earth – planet Tellus, on which we live – is a fundamental aspect of human life, spanning the past as well as our present situation, and our hopes for the future. For the Ancient Greeks, Gaia represented a personification of the Earth, the caring Mother who ended the primordial Chaos and manifested herself as the perpetual home of all mortals. Similar depictions of the Earth as a caring parent are found in numerous mythologies from all over the world. In modern physics, the lure of Gaia goes under the name of gravity. Our relationship to the element of earth has renewed its relevance and urgency today as the traces of past utilitarian and industrial centuries, combined with human greed, indifference and exploitation, have driven Gaia to despair and to the brink of collapse.
In 2019, Aboagora dealt with the element of earth through multi-disciplinary discussions with, for instance, archaeologists and geologists but also through engaging fields such as eco-theology, environmental history, literature, geography and political sciences. These disciplines serve to illuminate the fundamental groundedness of humanity in soil and dust – as a metaphor within the arts, as a concrete evolutionary process, and as a moral demand for care and indebtedness.
Aboagora consisted of keynote lectures, workshops, and diverse artistic interventions. This year’s presentations discussed the concrete historicity of earth and forests, examine underground ecosystems and study identity, belonging, and being in place – and much more.