Yearly Archives: 2009

Mammut Magazine launch this Saturday at La Brea Tar Pits

320_7814733Please join me this Saturday, Nov. 14 for the Mammut Magazine launch.

We’ll have readings, sloth bear t-shirt drawings and other activities from 11 am til about 1 or 2 pm.We’ll be at the picnic tables in front of the Page Museum at 5801 Wilshire Blvd, 90036.

MAMMUT #3 is about megafauna—a term that loosely applies to large mammals including the namesake of the magazine, the extinct American mastodon. We asked contributors to offer a personal perspective on megafauna and how they are represented, used as symbols, or offer a way to understand our own lives.

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY:

Otis Bardwell, Kelley Brooks, Deena Capparelli, Colleen Corcoran,
Akina Cox, Christopher Smith, Nic Hess, Teira Johnson, Christine S.
Lee
, Erica Love, Matthias Merkel Hess, Gerard Olson, David Prince,
Gundula Prinz, Jacob Tillman, Mathew Timmons, Alejandro Turell, Erica
Tyron and Claude Willey.

Cover Design by Andrew Zaozirny.

Mammut is edited by Matthias Merkel Hess and Roman Jaster.

RSVP to Release Event on Facebook.

Download the magazine PDF or order a printed copy at mammutmagazine.org

Go to Eco Art Blog

Hard science vs harder politics

You can find yourself feeling sorry for UK home secretary Alan Johnson, currently embroiled in a messy fracas with his own former scientific advisor on drugs. In the rough and tumble of  pre-election politics, an evidence-based drug policy which advocates the downgrading of the status of cannabis and ecstasy can become  kind of inconvenient.

It’s not hard to imagine a similar situation arising with climate change.

Maybe it already has.

When the government’s former chief scientist Sir David King said back in 2005 that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels needed to stabalise at the level of 550 parts per million there were activists and scientists who were shocked at how high he’d pegged the figure. David King later explained that it would be “politically unrealistic” to demand anything lower.

Sir David King clearly had a better understanding than the sacked Professor David Nutt of what constitutes “science” in the political context.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Lysistrata, Now

Lysistrata, Now from 9Thirty Theatre Company on Vimeo.

Adaptation & Lyrics by: Jeff Burroughs
Music by: Andrew Pastides & Joe Binder
Directed by: Aaron Gonzalez & Justin Eure

Lysistrata, Now is a fresh adaptation of the anti-war, feminist Greek comedy Lysistrata. This modernized version of the Classic is infused with live blues & folk music and tells the tale of a group of politically-charged women who band together to fight for peace.

We are spreading a message of peace to community that doesn’t normally have access to live theatre in a time when pockets are empty to spread laughter and relief.

Starring: Rebecca Naomi Jones* (Passing Strange, Broadway), Ashley Morris*(Die Mommie Die!, Off-Broadway), Nicole Hodges, and Stacy Salvette. Featuring: Joe Binder*, Freddie Bennett, Jeff Burroughs, Cooper D’Ambrose, Kenn Mann, Andrew Pastides*, and Elizabeth Van Meter. With: Nicole Becker, Jordon Brown, Chance Carroll, Christian Cooper, Lauren Culpepper, and Katherine Elkington.

*Appearing Courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association
Equity Approved Showcase

Special Thanks to Tom Sawyer for putting this video together for us!

Prix Pictet winner: Nadav Kander’s Yangtze river project

kander
Chongqing XI, Series: Yangtze, The Long River, Chongqing, China 2007 by Nadav Kander

Just over a week ago Nadav Kander was named as winner of the excellent 2009 Prix Pictet, the prize given to photography on the theme of environmental sustainability. Last year’s shortlist, which included Benoit Aquin, Edward Burtynsky, David Maisel and others, produced a really astonishing collection of images on the theme of Water; it showed how powerful photography can still be when it inhabits the zone between art and documentary.

This year the theme,  Earth, produced equally sock-knocking results; Britain’s Nadav Kander was up against Darren Almond, Edward Burtynsky (again) and  Andreas Gursky and others. I’ve blogged about the brilliant shortlist previously.

Maybe because they’re part documentarists, there’s something very pithy about photographer’s artists’ statements that I really like. Here’s part of Kander’s artists’ statement about the whole Yangtze, The Long River project:

The Yangtze River, which forms the premise to this body of work, is the main artery that flows 4100miles (6500km) across China, travelling from its furthest westerly point in Qinghai Province to Shanghai in the east. The river is embedded in the consciousness of the Chinese, even for those who live thousands of miles from the river. It plays a significant role in both the spiritual and physical life of the people.

More people live along its banks than live in the USA, one in every eighteen people on the planet.

Using the river as a metaphor for constant change, I have photographed the landscape and people along its banks from mouth to source.

Importantly for me I worked intuitively, trying not to be influenced by what I already knew about the country. I wanted to respond to what I found and felt and to seek out the iconography that allowed me to frame views that make the images unique to me.

After several trips to different parts of the river, it became clear that what I was responding to and how I felt whilst being in China was permeating into my pictures; a formalness and unease, a country that feels both at the beginning of a new era and at odds with itself. China is a nation that appears to be severing its roots by destroying its past in the wake of the sheer force of its moving “forward” at such an astounding and unnatural pace. A people scarring their country and a country scarring its people…

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Emma Ridgway on Gustav Metzger


Gustav Metzger with Jeremy Deller: June 5 2009, UN World Environment Day, Whitechapel Gallery, London

Does the fact that an artist like Gustav Metzger, who has been creating politically agressiveaggressive works for 60 years, is so much in the spotlight at this late point in his career say anything about what we want of our artists now?

Tomorrow, RSA curator Emma Ridgway talks about the work of Gustav Metzger as part ofGustav Metzger Decades 1959 – 2009, currently at London’s Serpentine Gallery. It’s at 3pm Saturday 7 November at the Serpentine.

If you want a flavour of the talk,  Ridgway’s recent interview with Metzger about his appeals to artists over the years, is a vivid demonstration of how passionate he is about art’s need to involve itself in the political sphere:

You were an activist before you were an artist. Was there a particular moment, or was it through Bomberg, that you decided that contemporary politics was going to be a core part of your work?

Yes, my interest in politics was there from the age of around 17. That was in wartime, around 1942 – 43, when I was living in Leeds and there I almost completely converted to the idea of becoming some sort of revolutionary figure –art at that point had no place in my conception of the future. It was only in the late summer of 1944, when I felt I would move away from the ideal of becoming a political activist to becoming an artist. So moving into art was a way of moving forward without giving up the political interest; because I thought one could fuse the political ideal of social change with art. For example, the writing of Eric Gill who was both an artist and a craftsman and politically involved was a kind of inspiration to me. I could see this possibility of using the ideas of social change within art, with art and not simply through political, economic activity.

Sometimes we visit exhibitions together and discuss the work. On a number of occasions you have been disinterested in the work because it lacked any political bite or ethical aspect. Is this something you feel artists work must contain?

Yes, I think that is inescapable and the more the world changes, is changing, in the direction of more speed and more activities. And the more that happens the more necessary it is for people to stand back and, not merely in the art sphere but in every sphere of intellectual activity, to stand back and distance oneself and come up with alternative ways of dealing with reality than going along with a direction that is essentially catastrophic and consuming itself and turning itself into a numbers game. Where the technology, especially the technology of the mobile phones and this endless sound machinery that people force into their biological mechanism, seems to be unstoppable; and the more it goes on, the more we need to stand aside and distance ourselves from this rush towards destruction.

Read the complete interview.

Photograph by Benedict Johnson

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology