Yearly Archives: 2009

Earth Matters On Stage: Wrap-Up

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It’s been more than a week since the final days of this year’s Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama Symposium. I returned from Oregon to be immediately eaten alive by my other life: just coming up for air now and able to digest some of the great happenings and events. Hence this giant post.

The picture above is from day nine : that’s Ian Garrett and Naseem Mazloom of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts chillin’  on the lawn of the University of Oregon. After nine very full days of lectures, workshops, panels and a staged reading of Theresa May’s intense play Salmon is Everything, we  needed a break.

The very full final weekend  started off with an early-morning video conference with a UK contingent hosted by the  Ashden Directory. The overseas contributors overcame the fuzzy video and iffy sound quality of our current technology by preparing  a short film.

In it, several leading environmental artists, administrators and thinkers passed the philosophical baton by asking questions like: “How far is art worth the damage?” and “How can we reunite culture and agriculture through performance?” The room was brimming with ideas after that, and it was all we could do to get a few notions exchanged across the Atlantic before time ran out. Watch the video: do it now.

The stimulating conversation continued the next day with a panel called Theater’s Double Helix: Green Building and Sustainable Community Engagement.  Tim DuRoche and Creon Thorne of Portland Center Stage discussed their mecca of a green theatre: the folks from CSPA discussed their future mecca of sustainable practice.

Easily one of the most fascinating panels of the week, however, was the Northwest Theater Town Hall Meeting on Place/Community/Theatre. In it, Artistic Directors and administrators from a wide swath of Pacific Northwest Theaters (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Teatro Milagro, and the Lord Leebrick Theatre, to name a few), discussed how they strive to best serve their communities.

Issues of race surfaced, and not timidly (quote from Valerie Curtis-Newton of the Lorraine Hansberry Project: “Why does the marketing sound like an anthropological expedition? White people! Stop trying to sell me to other white people!”). The idea of non-local community also came under discussion (45% of OSF’s audience is from the SF Bay Area: the internet creates seas of non-geographic communities: PCS had Scrooge “twittering” during A Christmas Carol). All in all, great perspective from a group of seasoned professionals.

Somewhere within these ten days I led a panel and a workshop: there were also many, many other worthwhile performances and presentations (including a short play starring a Cedar Tree). Over the next few months I’ll do retrospectives of works I’ve missed: stay posted.

Garrett and I had to miss the last day to get back into California for work. We left exhausted, but excited about the future. The Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama symposium was a kind of turning-of-the-soil, great groundwork for things to come. Thanks to the University of Oregon, Damond Morris, and Theresa May for making it happen.

Some greenmuseum.org ecology and performance links:

~enterchange

~Platform London

~Hester Reeve

~Simon Whitehead

Go to the Green Museum

COP15 petition to heads of government

To UNFCCC leaders / Heads of Government,

At the UNFCCC talks in Copenhagen in 2009, we urge you to reach a just and sufficient international agreement on climate change, which will secure our futures and those of generations to come. The agreement should recognise that rich countries have done the …
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Pioneering Future Figures: The Harrisons

In the eco-art world there are few folks as significant as the collaborative duo of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison (known generally as The Harrisons). Originators of a whole systems perspective in the eco-art movement, they have worked for the past four decades with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. They work within systems for systems. It’s the future folks and their ideas, while fresh, are as old as humanity.

Can we survive and thrive with beauty and grace?

This is part of a theme that really interest me. The very oldest of human concepts informing our new and unsettling future. Wednesday, June 10, 2009, for example, [sorry: mini plug] the very cool folks at The Long Now Foundation and the new sparkly green David Brower Center in Berkeley, are hosting a talk with the Harrisons (introduced by futurist Paul Saffo). It’s a look at The Harrisons from a 10,000 year perspective. Most art today will be dust or landfill, which is fine, but what did it accomplish that the Earth would notice? Was it worth the big holes dug into hillsides and the CO2 and toxic effluents, fuel and resins? Lots of people beginning to picture what this new world would look like in every discipline and long term planning as art to knit it together is essential. We need more long term art and it’s not about using Archival materials.

Go to the Green Museum

APInews: MIT Donates Its Armadillo to Side Street Projects

MIT’s Visual Arts Program donates its Armadillo trailer to Pasadena’s Side Street Projects in an upcoming ceremony at Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The handover event is June 18. The Armadillo trailer is the result of a year-long collaborative art project, the MIT FEMA Trailer Project, in which faculty and students transformed a surplus FEMA trailer into a “green” mobile composting center with vertical gardens, rainwater catchment system, permaculture library and indoor multipurpose space. The trailer has been dubbed the “Armadillo” for its ribbed retractable shell. It was originally one of thousands of trailers purchased by FEMA for temporary housing in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Side Street Projects will take the Armadillo on a tour to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the Louisiana State Museum. (Slide show at http//www.sidestreet.org/armadillo.)

 via APInews: MIT Donates Its Armadillo to Side Street Projects .

End Games | review: The End of the Line

Caleb Klaces writes: The Age of Stupid uses a dramatic, fictional character to frame a series of apparently disparate contemporary documentaries. Pete Postlethwaite’s man on a chopper looking back from the future, as well as pithy animated sequences explaining the scientific, economic and sociological facts and figures, connects the people …
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Nick Broomfield’s film on Kingsnorth

A Time Comes: The Story of the Kingsnorth Six. A film by Nick Broomfield:

Nick Broomfield: “Obviously, offering your services for a film isn’t exactly direct action, but climate change is a catastrophic situation, and people increasingly need to feel involved themselves, rather than relying on other people to do it …
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology