Conscient Podcast: e30 maggs

Complexity is the world built of relationships and it’s a very different thing to engage what is true or real in a complexity framework than it is to engage in it, in what is a modernist Western enlightenment ambition, to identify the absolute objective properties that are intrinsic in any given thing. Everyone is grappling with the fact that the world is exhibiting itself so much in these entanglements of relationships. The arts are completely at home in that world. And so, we’ve been sort of under the thumb of the old world. We’ve always been a kind of second-class citizen in an enlightenment rationalist society. But once we move out of that world and we move into a complexity framework, suddenly the arts are entirely at home and we have capacity in that world that a lot of other sectors don’t have. What I’ve been trying to do with this report (Art and the World After This) is articulate the way in which these different disruptions are putting us in a very different reality and it’s a reality in which we go from being a kind of secondary entertaining class to, maybe, having a capacity to sit at the heart of a lot of really critical problem-solving challenges.

david maggs, conscient podcast, march 25, 2021, vancouver

David Maggs grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and spent much of his developmental years as a classical pianist. In 2002, David founded Gros Morne Summer Music, a music festival that has grown into a year-round interdisciplinary arts festival.  As an academic, Maggs addresses issues of culture and sustainability. His paper, Art and the World After This, was published by the Metcalf Foundation on April 28, 2021, which I encourage everyone to read and circulate. Also of interest is his Metcalf Innovation Fellow David Maggs writes about arts and COVID for new collaboration with The Philanthropist.

e30 maggs was recorded in Quichena Park, Vancouver on March 25, 2021. It was my first recording of season 2 so you might hear some nervousness and excitement in my voice (David was very calm, thankfully). 

David and I exchanged on a wide range of issues including connections between artistic capacity and sustainability issues, ‘reality’, how the arts sector can rethink its unique value proposition, disruption, indigenous knowledge, the recovery of the arts sector after the covid crisis, etc. 

As I did in all episode in season 2, I integrated excerpts from e19 reality into this episode as interludes. 

I would like to thank David for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing his deep knowledge of cultural and sustainability policy and for his vision of a much larger role for the arts sector in the climate emergency.  

For more information on David’s work, see


e30 maggs (traduction)

La complexité est le monde construit de relations et c’est une chose très différente de s’engager dans ce qui est vrai ou réel dans un cadre de complexité que de s’y engager, dans ce qui est une ambition occidentale moderniste, de l’époque des Lumières (enlightenment), d’identifier les propriétés objectives absolues qui sont intrinsèques à toute chose donnée. Tout le monde est aux prises avec le fait que le monde s’expose tellement dans ces enchevêtrements de relations. Les arts sont complètement à l’aise dans ce monde. Et donc, nous avons été en quelque sorte sous la coupe de l’ancien monde. Nous avons toujours été une sorte de citoyen de seconde classe dans une société rationaliste de l’époque des Lumières. Mais une fois que nous sortons de ce monde et que nous entrons dans un cadre de complexité, les arts sont tout à fait à leur place et nous avons une capacité dans ce monde que beaucoup d’autres secteurs n’ont pas. Ce que j’ai essayé de faire avec ce rapport (Art and the World After This), c’est d’articuler la manière dont ces différentes perturbations nous placent dans une réalité très différente, une réalité dans laquelle nous passons d’une sorte de classe secondaire de divertissement à, peut-être, une capacité à prendre notre place au cœur de la résolution d’un grand nombre de problèmes vraiment critiques.

david maggs, balado conscient, 25 mars 2021, vancouver

David Maggs a grandi à Corner Brook, à Terre-Neuve, et a passé une grande partie de ses années de développement en tant que pianiste classique. En 2002, il a fondé Gros Morne Summer Music, un festival de musique qui est devenu un festival d’arts interdisciplinaires ouvert toute l’année.  En tant qu’universitaire, M. Maggs s’intéresse aux questions de culture et de durabilité. Son article, Art and the World After This, a été publié par la Metcalf Foundation le 23 avril 2021. J’encourage tous à le lire et à le faire circuler. Il est également intéressant de noter que son Metcalf Innovation Fellow David Maggs writes about arts and COVID for new collaboration with The Philanthropist.

e30 maggs a été enregistré au parc Quichena, à Vancouver, le 25 mars 2021. C’était mon premier enregistrement de la saison 2 du balado conscient, vous pouvez donc entendre un peu de nervosité et d’excitation dans ma voix (David était très calme, heureusement). 

David et moi avons échangé sur un large éventail de sujets, notamment les liens entre la capacité artistique et les questions de durabilité, la “réalité”, la façon dont le secteur artistique peut repenser sa proposition de valeur unique, la perturbation, le savoir autochtone, le redressement du secteur artistique après la crise COVID, etc. 

Comme je l’ai fait dans tous les épisodes de cette 2 saison, j’ai intégré des extraits de e19 reality dans cet épisode comme interludes. 

Je tiens à remercier David d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, d’avoir partagé ses connaissances approfondies en matière de politique culturelle et de durabilité et d’avoir exprimé sa vision d’un rôle beaucoup plus important pour le secteur artistique dans le cadre de l’urgence climatique.

Pour en savoir plus sur le travail de David, voir

The post e30 maggs appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.


About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation :

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

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