Water is one of humanity’s common denominators. We are all made of it, we immerse ourselves in it and our lives depend upon it. These are among the weighty considerations that ‘Water’, our major summer exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), balances with a sense of deep inquiry, playfulness and engagement.

William Forsythe, United States, b.1949 / The Fact of Matter 2009 / Polycarbonate rings, polyester belts, and steel rigging / Courtesy: The artist, Gagosian Gallery, New York, Forsythe Productions, Berlin / The development and international exhibition of Choreographic Objects by William Forsythe is made possible with the generous support of Susanne Klatten / © William Forsythe / Photograph: Chloë Callistemon © QAGOMA

The questions raised by the exhibition makes this an opportune time to reflect on our broader institutional commitment to sustainability. QAGOMA’s priorities include reducing its environmental impact through re-using and recycling materials; establishing an inclusive and collaborative approach to managing sustainability; and embedding sustainability principles within our day-to-day work practices. In practical terms, this has included a staged government investment to replace current exhibition and display lighting in both buildings with more energy-efficient LED fittings. Not only do these draw far less power from the grid, they are kinder to the artworks they illuminate.

Peter Fischli, Switzerland b.1952 and David Weiss, Switzerland 1946–2012 / Snowman (detail) 1987/2017–19 / Ice sculpture in refrigerated vitrine, Edition of 2 with 2 AP, AP 2/2; Vitrine: 218 x 209 x 142cm; Snowman: 130 x 70cm (diam.) / Purchased 2019 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

QAGOMA, along with major art museums nationally and globally, is shifting its highly prescribed approach to environmental control, and gradually implementing a wider temperature and relative humidity ‘set point’ range to reduce our overall energy use, while carefully managing Collection risks. These new standards are consistent with those being adopted worldwide in response to a Bizot Group initiative (a forum comprised of the directors of the world’s largest museums). At a local level, we’re also working with a dedicated team to improve recycling and waste reduction in office areas and on the Gallery floor during installation and demounts.

Fig, guava, finger lime and bee one third honey, from the GOMA Restaurant / Photograph: Chloë Callistemon © QAGOMA

Meanwhile, as we have been doing for many years, we’re reducing food miles by locally sourcing produce for our restaurants and cafes, and focusing on minimising waste and reducing environmental impact by using sustainable, organic and biodynamic ingredients. GOMA Restaurant takes particular pride in its sustainable menus and raising a wider awareness of the ecological balance inherent in diet.

Beyond these foundational steps, we are developing a sustainability policy and accreditation plan that will include energy, waste and emissions targets. We are committed as individuals, as an institution, and as part of the wider Queensland Cultural Centre, to making meaningful changes toward a sustainable future for all.

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Feature image detail: Martina Amati, Italy b.1969 / Under (Depth) (detail) (still) 2015 / Digital film, colour, 11 minutes, looped (one channel of 3-channel installation) / Courtesy of the artist / © Martina Amati

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