Yearly Archives: 2011

The Eco Museum; reimagining exhibition production

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum

In mid 2008, the interpretation of visual culture was the core function of 1,184 Australian museum and gallery organisations. The results of $36 million dollars spent on delivering exhibitions in the 2007/08 year was enjoyed by millions of visitors from across the world, and generated nearly one billion dollars. Yet, despite this being an enormously productive and dynamic industry, there has been little research undertaken in the area of environmental sustainability for organisations who engage in the care and display of precious and rare objects. Cultural organisations, like many others, are addressing their impacts upon the environment, but the question has to be asked: how does this social revolution take place?

Read the remainder of my paper presented at the 2010 Museums Australia Conference in Melbourne here.

the EcoMuseum, is a project of Carole Hammond, Exhibition Manager and museum professional: combining the complex ideologies of aesthetics, culture, objects, entertainment…and environment.

Go to the EcoMuseum

Back to the future….

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum


Identity: yours mine ours is well on the way to an April launch, but it’s not just the multicultural community who have a keen interest in the exhibition. The project team’s open-minded approach to innovation has cultural and environmental organisations eager to investigate the exhibition’s environmentally sustainable build and finish.

One of the more experimental and highly successful decisions the project team made was to use a signwriter instead of traditional large format printing. Identity has been designed by graphic designer Gina Batsakis to be visually stunning, with a contemporary, highly artistic style. One thing visitors will immediately notice is the unique linework throughout the exhibition. The linework which is an original creation of Gina’s exclusively for Identity, is designed to express faces and features without the stereotypical ethnic identifiers we commonly recognise.

Gallery 3 is where the Identity linework truly comes into its own. Each wall is covered with many layers of line-faces and the design calls for a crisp, well defined finish. To produce this graphic treatment in the traditional method, scores of huge strips of self-adhesive paper would need be printed off and wrapped around 3mm MDF. The MDF graphic would then be laminated to take increased wear and tear. This method involves the depletion of a number of natural resources, like land degradation from MDF production and the coal extraction for the making of electricity used to power the printers and laminator. In addition the negative effects from toxic inks and ink off-gassing, and the excrement from coal-fired power stations are well known.

Graphics produced in this way suffer from heavy traffic – in the Immigration Museum’s case up to 1.3 million people will pass through Identity. The slightest scratch to even a single panel necessitates the entire panel’s replacement – meaning more electricity and materials. In 10 years time, when Identity completes its run to the public, those graphics would be consigned to landfill, where they would take hundreds of years to degrade, leeching their contents into the earth.

Using Bec (pictured in the gallery), our signwriter from Synthesis Design and Display, there is no printing, laminating, MDF substrates or inks involved. Bec is using water based low VOC paint, human energy and a brush. The only electricity she is using is to power a light projector onto the wall, where she traces the linework with chalk. The project team, and especially Gina, are thrilled at the high quality of the blossoming design on the gallery walls. The Immigration Museum is also thrilled because any scratch large or small can be easily touched up with only a brush and a lick of paint – barely any cost or effort at all to the museum. In fact the project team was surprised to find that using a signwriter cost no more than using the traditional print method, and this is what finally won them over and convinced them to experiment with Bec’s amazing skills.

We hope that this encourages the re-emergence of artistic signwriters, which are hard to find — in fact Bec is one of a kind, and herself is re-learning the skills she perfected a long time ago before signwriters became victims to large format printing. Hopefully the resource-hungry complexity of large format printing will be used with more discretion within the cultural organisations of Australia after they see the success of the Identity graphics, and signwriters from the old days will be brushing up their skills just as Bec has done.

the EcoMuseum, is a project of Carole Hammond, Exhibition Manager and museum professional: combining the complex ideologies of aesthetics, culture, objects, entertainment…and environment.

Go to the EcoMuseum

Hydromemories: Call for examples of artists working with water

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Hydromemories is seeking to build up an archive of artists working with water.  The site already contains a number of interesting examples, to which one might add:

Betsy Damon, Keepers of the Waters,

Liz Ogilvie’s Bodies of Water amongst other works,

Anne Bevan’s Source amongst other works,

Common Ground’s Confluence and other projects,

Helix Arts’ Quaking Houses seen&unseen project,

as well as the Harrisons’, David Haley, Aviva Rahmani and a trawl through Greenmuseum’s archives…

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Tehran Times : Capitalism is destroying the ecosystem: Ahmadinejad

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

For those of us living with western news media who’s narrative of Iran is terrorism and nuclear armament, this article provides a different perspective.  Who do you believe?

Wetlands are a key component of the matrix of biodiversity, often massively impacted on by industrial production, and also the key focus of many ecological remediation/ restoration projects, and of key ecoart projects internationally (e.g. the Harrisons’ Sava River work, Betsy Damon’s Keepers of the Waters projects, Aviva Rahmani’s Ghostnets project, Shai Zakai’s projects in Israel, PLATFORM’s Remember Saro-Wiwa campaign for social and environmental justice raising questions of responsibility for the desolation of the Niger Delta, etc.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Life Cycle Assessment

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum

Recently the eco-museum had the opportunity to attend a 2 day LCA course at RMIT University to learn about some of the complexities involved in the process of assessing the life cycle of materials and products.
One thing is unquestionable – you need expertise and experience to conduct LCAs, and most museum professionals would baulk at the mere suggestion they do this. Whilst it was important to find out that there are hundreds of thousands of choices and scenarios involved in finding out the true impact of a product or material, the true value of the RMIT course came with the revelation of how LCA can be applied to the development and design of exhibitions and large scale public events.
Currently I’m in the process of developing a simple exhibition eco-design tool which can give an accurate indication of materials and product impact before developed design and construction takes place. To this end I’m currently liaising with RMIT in how best individual product and material LCAs can be incorporated into the tool for quick comparisons when designers and project teams are commencing the process of moving from concept to design development.
Stay tuned for more updates soon.

the EcoMuseum, is a project of Carole Hammond, Exhibition Manager and museum professional: combining the complex ideologies of aesthetics, culture, objects, entertainment…and environment.

Go to the EcoMuseum

Tim Morton

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Tim Morton, Author of Ecology Without Nature and The Ecological Thought, maintains a blog on eco-criticism.  Recent posts have focused on drama including thoughts about plays, and drama as an ecological form.

He also podcasts an evolving lecture Hyperobjects, and has excellent links to other writers on eco-criticism.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

‘Marbh Chrios – DeadZones’: Softday’s Lovely Weather climate art project in Ireland

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Margaret Mc Laughlin, fine artist, has attended and written about an innovative sound work that was performed in Mooney’s boatyard, Killybegs, Co. Donegal, Ireland, on the 16th of October 2010. The work was part of the Donegal County Council’s Lovely Weather Art and Climate Change Public Art Programme (2009-10) . The project was co-curated by the Regional Culture Centre’s John Cunningham and Leonardo’s Annick Bureaud.  The sound performance pieces were based around the topic of ‘dead zones’, which are areas in the ocean in which aquatic life has been dramatically reduced. Artists Sean Taylor and Micheal Fernstrom, the Softday partnership, have extensively researched this subject.  As part of Leonardo/OLATS and Donegal Co. Council Lovely Weather Artist’s Residency, ‘Softday’ interpreted the sound of ‘dead zones’ into a tangible form for local audiences in a variety of sound forms.  Disturbingly there are 20 contested deadzones around Ireland, two of which are in Donegal bay and Killybegs harbour. The number of dead zones are increasing worldwide.

Read more at http://ecoartnotebook.com/?p=1624

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Values of Environmental Writing – Welcome

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

There are at least three research networks looking at environmental and cultural issues currently meeting in programmes of workshops.

CORE, the research network on Creative Research and the Environment, was launched last week in the Art Space Nature rooms at Edinburgh College of Art.  This network spans fine art and landscape architecture and is linked with a larger research project on Antarctic Earth Sciences. Post on launch.

Reflecting on Environmental Change through Site Based Performance held its second meeting in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago.  Post of notes from that meeting.

Values of Environmental Writing Research Network takes its cue from Robert Macfarlane’s 2009 comment, “Many of the new activists are young, and a significant number are recent graduates, emerging from universities across Britain and moving immediately into environmental action.  It would be fascinating to know what literary works have shaped the message and medium of their politics…”

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland