2001-2003 – Gaston Meskens

Gaston Meskens works as a philosopher and artist. He holds master’s degrees in theoretical physics and nuclear physics from the University of Ghent (Belgium). He works part time with the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Ghent and with the Science and Technology Studies group of the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK•CEN.

gastonmeskensAt the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry, his research advances on a critical analysis of the working of the knowledge-policy interface in ongoing global governance policy processes and focuses on a human rights perspective related to intellectual capacity building in the interest of global sustainable development governance. Motivated to apply the philosophical research and activism to a practical case, he co-founded the ‘Programme of Integration of Social Aspects of Nuclear Research’ of the SCK•CEN in 1999. The programme takes nuclear technology as a case in order to critically study the complexity of risk-inherent technology assessment from the perspective of social justice and sustainable development.

At SCK•CEN, Gaston Meskens is now working as researcher, writer, lecturer, and mediator of dialogue on ethics in relation to science, education and democratic decision making. Based on the idea that ‘philosophical activism’ also needs some kind of meta-reflection, Gaston Meskens developed and art practice parallel to his philosophical work. This ‘art as research’ practice advances from the question of what social agency and humanism can mean ‘in a world still struggling with the cramps of modernity’. In practice, the art suggests the existence and working of a hypothetical research institute that engages in the study of ‘a new humanism beyond the comforts of ideological polarisation, political detachment and social pseudo-tolerance’, and this in all possible art forms (web presence, text, visual materials, music & soundscapes, installations, performances, and happenings).