How artists can support the global transformation towards sustainability
Dance, a form of nonverbal communication, is inherent to human nature. But is it fulfilling its potential in our world today? In 2007, this question prompted Benedikt to pursue her academic education alongside her artistic career. Through her daily commute between the creative and academic worlds, she became increasingly interested in exploring the potential of art if it was taken out of traditional parameters and connected to other disciplines.
At the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), she explored how partnerships between artists and scientists can effectively support sustainability transformations for over five years. While developing and presenting artistically innovative, impact-driven art projects with dozens of artists and scientists worldwide, she has developed a framework for artists to collaborate with scientists to support a cultural shift toward sustainability.
In 2017, IIASA published The Art of Systems Analysis, the first publication co-authored by Benedikt, the Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven, and the Canadian playwright Chantal Bilodeau.
In 2020, Benedikt was the lead author of Science and Art for Life's Sake - How Partnerships between Artists and Scientists Can Support the Sustainability Transformation, the first extensive report on the science-art-sustainability interface. It establishes the intellectual foundation for science and art collaboration and explores why such a partnership is worth pursuing in the first place. It provides a detailed description of the creative process used to investigate how the performing arts can partner with science to tackle a vast range of topics, from resource depletion to biodiversity loss, from game theory to climate change, and mechanisms of cooperation to migration. Creating these works has yielded a framework and methodology for artists and scientists to work together. Simultaneously appealing to reason and emotion, the framework is designed to develop active learning experiences that help us understand the complexity of and ethical dilemmas inherent to our challenges, question deeply held beliefs, inspire better-informed decision-making, and generate new solutions while telling inspiring stories.
In the climate podcast produced by the news magazine profil (2022), Benedikt analyses why established performing arts institutions have so far barely responded to the climate crisis and existential threats more generally and urges established art institutions to join the quest to imagine and support that transition toward a more sustainable world for future generations.
In 2023, Benedikt was one of twenty authors from around the world who contributed to the first academic volume on artistic engagement with the climate crisis, published by The Drama Review (Cambridge University Press).