Nobel Week Dialogue


December 9, 2019

Gothenburg, Sweden

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Cai Guo-Qiang presenting at the Nobel Week Dialogue, 2019
© Nobel Media. Photo: Henrik Jansson

The Nobel Prize initiated Nobel Week Dialogue in 2012, an annual event that occurs on December 9, one day before the award ceremony. Hosted at the Exhibition and Congress Centre in Gothenburg (Svenska Mässen), this year’s dialogue attracted an audience of 1500, with many more watching around the world via livestream. Over the course of one day, some twenty experts from various fields—including five former laureates and some of the world’s most prominent scientists, artists, inventors, and policymakers—explored this year’s theme, Into the unknown: Uncertainty, risk and opportunity, from multiple perspectives through conversations, interviews, and speeches:

We can never know everything; all of our choices have elements of the unknown. As individuals and as a society we face many risks and uncertainties, but these can also be turned into opportunities. Indeed, embracing these uncertainties may often lead us to better decision-making. How do we evaluate risk? How do we live with uncertainty? What are the biggest risks facing society? How will the future look with artificial intelligence (AI)? How can climate risk best be addressed? What can we do to prevent a nuclear war? Can we live in a world that is entirely predictable? And how can uncertainty be regarded as an opportunity? [Link]

Video Explosive Beauty (directed by Shanshan Xia) being presented at the Nobel Week Dialogue, 2019
Photo by Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang was invited to give the final session speech, To Explore A “Natural” Attitude in the Midst of Uncertainty and Risks, which began with the brief video compilation Explosive Beauty (directed by Shanshan Xia), dedicated to Mr. Nobel, his “predecessor.” He then discussed how his art, over decades, “strives after gunpowder’s uncontrollability while at the same time exerting control, all in an attempt to transform this ambivalent standoff into something miraculous,” and “confronts social questions with regard to gunpowder’s destructive and healing qualities.”

Cai Guo-Qiang presenting his keynote speech at the Nobel Week Dialogue, translated by Cai Studio project director Sang Luo, 2019
© Nobel Media. Photo: Henrik Jansson