Version 3.2

Less is enough. Eco-art assemblies in Poland as tools for practising the culture of moderation

The paper analyzes the historical and contemporary Polish eco-art assemblies, known in Poland as “plein-airs”, as examples of practicing degrowth principles through creative practice and developing the vision of a sustainable and good life. The author emphasizes the usability of the “plein-air” model as a tool for learning and practicing what Polish degrowth scholars called “the culture of moderation”.

The first part the paper explores the history of the first Polish ecological “plein-air”, that took place in 1971 in Opolno-Zdój, a former spa town located at the edge of an open-pit coal mine. The transdisciplinary gathering was focused on issues such as limits to growth, overproduction and overconsumption and critique of development and technical advancement. Instead of producing material artworks, the participants were encouraged to discuss, relax together, explore the nature and landscape, propose common activities and speculate on possible solutions and visions for the future.

The second part focuses on the analysis of contemporary (post)artistic practices inspired by the 1971 event - the “OPOLNO 2071” and “Opolno Is the Future!” assemblies, organized in 2021 and 2022 by a group of artists, researchers and activists. The collective revisited the model developed 50 years ago to use it as a tool for learning, practicing and experimenting with degrowth principles; imagining a vision of a moderate and good life for everyone within the planetary limits; as well as responding to the planetary climate and environmental crisis and the difficult economic, social and ecological conditions in the region struggling with energy transition.