Extremism. Just by reading such a word various thoughts may come to mind. One might think of an ideology, maybe, linked to a violent form of conflict, but do you know how extremism expresses itself? Can we become extremists? What can be considered extremism?
Economical extremism, with complete disregard for the environment, might actually be the most dangerous to humankind. It might not be a direct attack on people, but its threat to humankind is the most concerning one, since there can be no humanity without nature and this planet. It might seem not to be in line with the broad definition of extremism, but the consciousness of environmental protection cannot be said to have already been fully assimilated into what’s socially acceptable. The power over and disregard towards the environment by big profit corporations rarely is contested. If the motivation is business, the environmental impact is of little consequence.
The Extermination (1997) by Jane Ash PoitrasRoyal Ontario Museum
The amount of species human’s have driven to extinction, or to the brink of it, is astonishing, the futile motivations of some are unnerving.
Such as in slavery, animals are seen as resources of nature to be harnessed by humans, to please humans, with little rights.
As in war, the collateral damage to animals our modern practices might have, is of little consequence.
Poaching for fur annihilated whole populations across the globe, the industry still thrives even when the abuses are public knowledge.
The ivory trade continues to reduce elephant’s population in Asia and Africa.
More than 30,000 elephants are killed every year, putting them in danger of extinction.
To not even mention every other species in danger of extinction or already extinct indirectly by humans, by polluting and destroying their habitats.
Many campaigns have been launched to raise awareness to these issues, but the persons behind them tend to be labeled as environmental radicalists or extremists. The truth is they are simply people who sees the true danger in socially accepting this on-ending abuse of nature’s resources and acts to help. It’s a reactionary movement to the excesses carried on by industries, a movement that, in its own existence, shows the own extremism of the established industry policy.
The Factory at Pontoise (1873) by Camille PissarroThe Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The long battles already fought to control the excesses of our industrial world should be congratulated.
East Germany Industrial Development (1967-02) by Ralph CraneLIFE Photo Collection
The global campaigns to cease the use of aerosols, to reduce CO2 emissions, to stop the excessive deforestation.
Time Carrying Truth (1747) by François Le Moyne|Laurent CarsThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
However, as time changes, as the battles are forgotten, the importance of the measures taken fades and the same extremist tendency slowly rises again.
All that was done to protect the Amazon Forest during the last decades and, then, last year, the equivalent of a million football fields was laid bare.
This year, most of it is burning.
It’s easier to destroy than to heal, sometimes it is even impossible. Which underlies another important aspect, as the measures seem to be enforced and beneficial to the cause, the attention on the issue diminishes and the same practices can resurface slowly, yet destructively, none the less.
Wäschklammern by Plastic Erfurt, Brühler Weg 26, Erfurt, 5023DDR Museum
Today, for us as a society, plastic excess is another enormous challenge. One that will demand a change in our habits.
The commodity of plastic can’t be denied, versatility has been its great characteristic. In a couple of decades, since its commercial introduction, plastic could be found in almost every product. From components to wrapping. Plastic became common in everyday life. What happens to it, after it passed our hands, after its function has been fulfilled, never becomes a question to most of us. If you’re thirsty, you’ll buy the water bottle, being a single use plastic probably won’t even cross your mind. An effort is required, on everyone and every situation. Not only by us, the consumers, but undoubtedly by the industry.
Mid Ocean (1875/1945) by Frederick Judd WaughThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Although the conscious on the topic has been rising, promises have been made but, truth be told, our oceans keep on taking more than 8 million metric tons of plastic every year.
Ocean Life Ocean Life (1854/1864) by James M. Sommerville|Christian SchusseleThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
8 million metric tons, so absurd that it’s impossible to visualize.
Utagawa Hiroshige, 'The Sea at Satta, Suruga Province' (Suruga Satta kaijō), a colour woodblock print (1859/1859)British Museum
With the atual rhythm of production, by 2025 we will be dumping twice that, 16 million metric tons.
The Sea: Night (1915) by Artist: Dwight William TryonSmithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
Every 30 cm of every coastline in the entire world will have ten bags full of plastic.
Half Rabbit (detail) (2017) by Bordalo IIFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
Art has already begun to portray this atrocity.
Most of the world doesn’t yet have the capacity to imagine such volume of pollution. Unfortunately, we might all experience it directly in the near future. Plastic everywhere. Natural habitats completely destroyed. Numerous animal species extinct. A progressively diminishing biodiversity that threatens our own survival. Adding, of course, to every other environmental issue we face.
The Sense of Sight (1625/1649) by Juan DòThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
The main problem is how we cannot see the wrong in our ways. We cannot see how the way we have always lived, the habits we have carried out for decades without any warnings not to, are now so damaging to the environment. Everyone does it, it isn’t against what is socially expectable. No one labels us extremists for it. Yet.
But can we truly be extremists?
People Pollution (1969-11-18) by Ralph CraneLIFE Photo Collection
Of course. We all can, collectively and individually. For the good and the bad. We can react to extremism in certain aspects, we can be complicit with it in others. Consciously or not.
But are we?
Art portraying Extremism Final (2019)Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
We should all ponder. Ponder our actions, our habits and their real consequences, disregarding how socially acceptable they are. We should interiorize that a single action from us, a second or a minute of our day, for more insignificant it seems, can change the world for better. What counts is that there’s one more human being acting towards the benefit of nature and earth. In truth, of all mankind.
Mission: Apollo-Saturn 8: Earthrise, the planet Earth seen rising above the surface of the moon, by Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, and William A. Anders the first men to orbit the moon (December 21, 1968 - December 27, 1968, printed c. 1991) by William A. AndersThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Maybe we can never stop the rise of extremism,
socially and politically. It will keep on miraculously come out of the dim lights
right into the spotlight. Capable of bending the truth, blinding the masses and
diluting the social boundaries about
what’s acceptable. Maybe the only choice will always be to
fight it once we finally realize it’s there, when we can begin to imagine what
it feels like.
We just have to choose to fight it and once more, like Art, not for us, but for the whole of humankind.
The sower (1944) by James GleesonArt Gallery of New South Wales
EXHIBITION COORDINATORS:: Lúcia Rosas (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)
CURATORSHIP: Laura Fabíola Esteves Pereira (CITCEM), Lúcia Rosas (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)
TEXTS: Laura Fabíola Esteves Pereira (CITCEM)
PRODUCTION AND ORGANIZATION: DCTP/FLUP, CITCEM/FLUP & American Corners Portugal
SPONSORS: Embaixada dos Estados Unidos da América em Portugal / US Embassy Portugal ACP - American Corners Portugal
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Freer and Sackler Galleries
Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino
Kunsthistoriches Museum Wien
LIFE Photo Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Mafra National Palace
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Museo de San Marco, Florence
National Azulejo Museum
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
National Museum of Contemporary Art - Museu do Chiado
National Museum Soares dos Reis
Palace National of Ajuda
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Royal Ontario Museum
The Art Institute of Chicago
The J. Paul Getty Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The National Gallery, London
The Walters Art Museum
Van Gogh Museum
Coleman, Peter T., & Bartoli, Andrea (2003). Addressing Extremis. The International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR). The Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR). Available at: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/i/a/document/9386_WhitePaper_2_Extremism_030809.pdf
Schubel, Vernon J. (2017, Feb 12). “Religious Extremism:” Not an Excess of Religion, but a Lack of Humanity. Huffpost. Available at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/religious-extremism-not-an-excess-of-religion-but_b_589faaf2e4b0e172783a9d37
BBC. (2009). “Who killed Jesus?”. BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/history/whokilledjesus_1.shtml#findoutmore
Hassner, Ron. (2003, Feb). The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus: A Modest Proposal. Theory and Decision 54(1):1-32 Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5158777_The_Trial_and_Crucifixion_of_Jesus_A_Modest_Proposal
Todhunter, Andrew (2012). In the Footsteps of the Apostles. National Geographic. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2012/03/the-apostles/
Hulme, David (2005-2007), Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion. Vision. Available at: https://www.vision.org/messiahs-rulers-and-role-religion
Meeks, Wayne A. (n.d.) The Martyrs. PBS Frontline. Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/martyrs.html
Balasundaram , Franklyn J. (ed.). (1997). Martyrs in the History of Christianity. Delhi, India: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Available at: https://www.religion-online.org/book/martyrs-in-the-history-of-christianity/
Tabor, Margaret E. (1913). The saints in art : with their attributes and symbols alphabetically arranged. New York : E.P. Dutton. Available at: https://archive.org/details/TheSaintsInArt/page/n37\
Ainonen, Tuija. (n.d.). Saints in medieval manuscripts. British Library. Available at: https://www.bl.uk/medieval-english-french-manuscripts/articles/saints-in-medieval-manuscripts
Cline, Austin. (2019). The Crusades and Their Modern Impacts. Learn Religions. Available at: https://www.learnreligions.com/crusading-against-christians-249769
Dickson, Gary. (2010). The Chirldren’s Crusade: Medieval History, Modern Mythistory. Hampshire, UK: Plagrave Macmillan.
Manhattan, Avro. (1984, Jan/Feb). Unholy mother of Intolerance: The Inquisition. Battlecry. Available at: https://www.chick.com/battle-cry/article?id=Unholy-Mother-of-Intolerance-The-Inquisition
Stuchbery, Michael. (2019). Meet the mad monk of Florence, the man behind Italy's Bonfire of the Vanities. The Local. Available at: https://www.thelocal.it/20190207/girolamo-savonarola-bonfire-of-the-vanities-florence-history
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (s.d.). Background: Causes and Motivations. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Available at: https://www.ushmm.org/learn/introduction-to-the-holocaust/ethical-leaders/background/causes-and-motivations
Ezard, John. (2001, Feb 17). Germans knew of Holocaust horror about death camps. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/feb/17/johnezard
Phillips, Gervase. (2018, Mar 24). Antisemitism: How the origins of history’s oldest hatred still hold sway. The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/antisemitism-jew-jewish-racism-hatred-religion-origins-history-europe-a8246311.html
Holocaust Encyclopedia. (2019). Documenting Numbers of Victims of the Holocaust & Nazi Persecution. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/documenting-numbers-of-victims-of-the-holocaust-and-nazi-persecution
London Jewish Cultural Centre. (n.d.). The death camps. The Holocaust Explained. Available at: https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/the-final-solution/the-death-camps/
Steinfels, Peter. (2004, Nov 20). The Brutality of War, and the Innocents Lost in the Crossfire. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/us/the-brutality-of-war-and-the-innocents-lost-in-the-crossfire.html
Bible Gateway. (n.d.). New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition: Matthew 2. BibleGateway. Available at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+2&version=NRSVCE
Slavin, Erik. (2015, Aug 5). When the president said yes to the bomb: Truman's diaries reveal no hesitation, some regret. Stars and Stripes. Available at: https://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/world-war-ii-the-final-chapter/wwii-victory-in-japan/when-the-president-said-yes-to-the-bomb-truman-s-diaries-reveal-no-hesitation-some-regret-1.360308
Sakaguchi, Haruka, Moakley, Paul & Rothman, Lily. (n.d.). After the Bomb: Survivors of the Atomic Blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki share their Stories. TIME. Available at: https://time.com/after-the-bomb/
The Manhattan Engineer District. (1946, Jun 29). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Manhattan Engineer District. Available at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf)
Richmond, Ben. (2014, Jan 8). Reminder: There's Still Fall-Out from Nuclear Weapons Out There. VICE. Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ezv43z/reminder-theres-still-fall-out-from-nuclear-weapons-out-there
Kristensen , Hans M. & McKinzie, Matthew G.. (2015). Nuclear arsenals: Current developments, trends and capabilities. International Review of the Red Cross, 97 (899), 563–599. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-review-of-the-red-cross/article/nuclear-arsenals-current-developments-trends-and-capabilities/709BC90788B8D0212C142E8B715D8B2E
Silva-Grondin, Mallary A. (2010). Degrees of Violence in the French Revolution. Inquiries Journal, 2 (01). Available at: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/142/degrees-of-violence-in-the-french-revolution
Hafer, Jacob. (2016).Why the French Revolution Was Not So Revolutionary: A Brief Overview. The Histories, 3 (2). Available at: http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/the_histories/vol3/iss2/6
Datzberger, Simone (2013, Apr 19). Modern Slavery: Why dehumanizing the ‘Other’ concerns all of us. LSE IDEAS. Available at: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/ideas/2013/04/modern-slavery-why-dehumanizing-the-other-concerns-all-of-us/
The Minderoo Foundation Pty Ltd (2018), The Global Slavery Index 2018. Global Slavery Index. Available at: https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/resources/downloads/.
Kara, Siddharth. (2018, Oct 12). Is your phone tainted by the misery of the 35,000 children in Congo's mines?. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/12/phone-misery-children-congo-cobalt-mines-drc
Moulds, Josephine. (n.d.). Child labour in the fashion supply chain - where, why and what can be done. The Guardian. Available at: https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/
Hance, Jeremy. (2015, Oct 20). How humans are driving the sixth mass extinction. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction
Phillips, Dom. (2018, Nov 24). Brazil records worst annual deforestation for a decade. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/24/brazil-records-worst-annual-deforestation-for-a-decade
Parker, Laura (2015, Feb 13). Eight Million Tons of Plastic Dumped in Ocean Every Year. National Geographic. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/2/150212-ocean-debris-plastic-garbage-patches-science/