iLAND (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art Nature and Dance) has announced the recipients of its 2009 iLAB collaborative residencies: two collectives called Waterways and Strataspore. The New York residency program supports collaborations among movement-based artists and scientists, environmentalists, urban designers/landscape architects, architects and others that integrate creative practice within different fields/disciplines, culminating in public actions. Waterways is a collaboration among The League of Imaginary Scientists and Danish choreography collective E.K.K.O. Their research, surrounding the theme of water, takes place aboard the Waterpod, a floating habitat that is host to collaborations and artists, beginning August 15 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. StrataSpore is “a platform for collective knowledge about mushrooms” as the pivotal orientation point for exploring urban systems. Strataspore’s public work begins October 5 at Gabriel Rivera’s facade/fasad in Brooklyn. Details online.
New in CAN’s Places To Study database is “Art and Environment,” a course taught by Erika Osborne at West Virginia University in Fall 2009. The multidisciplinary graduate and upper-division undergraduate studio/seminar course is designed to increase awareness for the interactivity of studio artists and the environment, including studio work and extensive field activity. Students will address topics such as micro-ecology with soil scientist Jeffrey Skousen; astronomy with physicist Boyd Edwards; organic agriculture with Steve and Sunshine Vortigern of Round Right Farm; permaculture with landscape architect Ashley Kyber; Kayford Mountain (a mountaintop removal site) with Larry Gibson of Keepers of the Mountains; acid mine drainage with Amanda Lachoski of Friends of Decker’s Creek; and art in Antarctica with artist Chris Kannen.
Artist-in-residence at UCL’s Environment Institute Martin John Callanan has completed his artwork A Planetary Order, a terrestrial globe showing clouds around the planet from one single moment in time. Working with satellite data provided by the Institute, he’s created a 3D representation of the data to portray this thin mantle of water vapour that shields the earth. This delicate, pale globe will be on public display soon at the institute’s Pearson Building. Callanan says, via email:
A Planetary Order is a terrestrial globe showing clouds from one single moment in time, thereby subtly highlighting the fragility and interdependence of the Earth’s environmental systems.”
The Globe was digitally manufactured (SLS) in a single piece measuring 300mm diameter with clouds scaled to 1-12 km above the Earth’s surface. Landforms are absent from the model, but cloud formations will give glues to the continents located below.
We don’t have time to do environmental at that’s not functional.
– Brent Bucknum
In working on a Climate Clock for the San Jose Initiative, designer Brent Bucknam would often get into theoretical debates about the nature of art. His project partner, Brian Howe of greenmeme, would quote Picasso: Art is the lie that reveals the truth. Brent’s response was the quote above.
It’s one of the central questions of the environmental art movement, and one that is integral to Brent’s work with Hyphae Design Laboratory, a company he founded.
How can art save the world?
Artists on greenmuseum.org and elsewhere are blurring cultural boundaries between art and science, science and activism, volunteerism and performance. Traditional forms hold fast, but functionality remains central to Hyphae’s work. Function: defined by this designer as “interpreting and conveying ecological information or serving otherwise as an ecological tool or system.” Hyphae is currently working on a project in West Oakland, a plan to line the 580 highway on either side with towering stands of bamboo, natural air and particulate filters. On a greenmuseum.org-sponsored panel at the recent Earth Matters on Stage Symposium, he presented a number of other exciting projects, from green roofs to living walls.
The 28-year old designer went to a farming high school. He worked for bioremediation and green roof companies before joining Rana Creek, with which he worked on the California Academy of Sciences’ living roof. He became that company’s first Director of Design before moving on to create Hyphae. He sees his new company as a catchall, providing services from ecological design and research to consulting for artists interested in environmental projects.
That last aspect is the result of Bucknum’s own experiences making environmental art: he’d like to see artwork that ’s better informed by ecology, not, as he puts it, the “horti-torture” that creates living systems barely able to survive the duration of an exhibition. He’d like the art to be the change it would like to see in the world: smart, sustainable, and thriving.