Yearly Archives: 2011

Open source city: Vancouver

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Focus on the  Zen question: “What can we not do?” Not cut down weeds, not tidy up derelict ground, not plan, organise, manage and control parts of our cities.  Asking how an open source ethos might affect urban living. Read the rest of the article in the Vancouver Observer here.

Oliver Kellhammer is leading a week-long investigation into some of these topics entitled Open Source City: Field Study at Emily Carr University from June 20-24th. It’s part of the Continuing Studies Program and there is still space available. More info here: http://www.ecuad.ca/programs/courses/CESE/355/SU01

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

Symposium: “Animal Ecologies in Visual Culture”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Ronja Röckemann

Reposted from: www.antennae.org.uk/Symposium

The symposium on October 8th 2011 at University College London proposes an exploration of artistic practices involved with animals and environments. In the recent re-surfacing of the animal in contemporary art, emphasis has been given to mammals, mainly because of the most immediate relational opportunities that these animals offer to us. However, a number of very interesting artists has been recently trying to bridge the abyss between ‘us’ and more ‘taxonomically remote’ creatures through the use of art and science as active interfaces. This new focus reveals the interconnectedness between humans, amphibians, reptiles and insects, and the environments in which we all live. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the symposium aims at facilitating a dialogue between artists, scientists and academics interested in informing wider audiences through visual communication.

Speakers Include: Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey / Ron Broglio / Maja and Reuben Fowkes /Rikke Hansen / London Fieldworks / Joyce Salisbury / Linda Williams. See www.antennae.org.uk for registration.

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

FIELD_NOTES – Cultivating Ground

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Call for professional collaborators

FIELD_NOTES – Cultivating Ground
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Kilpisjärvi/ Lapland/ Finland.

26. September – 2. October 2011
Deadline 30th of June 2011

Organized by the Finnish Bioart Society in the context of the Ars Bioarctica project together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station.

“ Field_Notes – Cultivating Grounds” is a week long field laboratory for theory and practice on art&science work at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in Lapland. Five working groups, each hosted by an expert (Oron Catts, Marta de Menezes, Anu Osva, Tapio Makela and Terike Haapoja) together with a team of four, will develop, test and evaluate specific artistic approaches based on the interplay of art&science. The outcome of Field_Notes will result in a publication published by the Finnish Bioart Society in 2012.

We warmly welcome artists, scientists and practitioners to participate and contribute to the development of the field.  We are looking for 20 artists, scientists and practitioners, which are interested to develop, collaborate and work in one of the groups.

Please send your application including CV, Biography, group preference and a max A4 letter of motivation and/or direction of possible Field_Notes research/contribution to erich.berger@bioartsociety.fi

More information can bee found at http://bioartsociety.fi

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

Can we change the environmental conditions in museums and galleries?

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum

This question cut to the point for 75 cultural colleagues from across Victoria and NSW who attended a freeMuseum VictoriaArts Victoria and Sustainability Victoria seminar on the 18th of May to discover the challenges and current international position.

Julian Bickersteth, Director of International Conservation Services in Sydney, laid the groundwork for current recommendations for object storage and display conditions. An expert panel comprised of leaders from the building and environmental sectors also joined Julian. They were Professor Kate Auty (Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability), Bernard Da Cruz (Director WSP Lincolne Scott) and Pippa Connolly (Principle at Arup).

The seminar was convened amongst concern about the reality of climate change, and rising energy and product costs. Such costs are driving museums, galleries (and much of contemporary business) to reduce their carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly the maintenance of specific temperature, relative humidity (RH) and light levels is in doubt. The temp and RH international guidelines represent the major energy and money consumption in the museum, library and gallery organisations. Facing the prospect of an uncertain future, a number of international groups are driving research into the possibilities for the relaxation of the parameters museums and galleries are required to fall within.

The UK to date has been taking the lead with the NMDC (National Museum Director Conference) setting up EGOR (Environment Guidelines: Opportunities and Risks). Heading up the Australian taskforce is the AICCM (Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material). Each of these groups is involved in investigating possibilities and risks in order to promote change which will benefit the environment and organisational budgets.

EGOR (coordinated by The National Archives UK), is investigating if current environmental standards align with the conservation of the three main priorities affecting museums and galleries;

  1. Movable cultural material (collections)
  2. Cultural heritage (buildings)
  3. Communities (visitors and staff)

EGOR is investigating the implications with researchers from the disciplines of arts and humanities, conservation, science and engineering, as well as practitioner communities.

One question that keeps arising is the one of acceptable loss? Is it realistic to expect objects receive optimum temperature and RH attention considering the enormous cost energy use extracts from the environment and society? Or should we develop a different understanding around the protection of movable cultural heritage? It is conceivable that changing attitudes for reuse, renewable resources and human adaptation to climate change will alter access, presentation and interpretation of cultural heritage in the future. It may also affect how we value cultural heritage.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

However the conservation needs of movable cultural heritage need to be considered in conjunction with the limitations and potential provided by the buildings they are housed in. Many of these buildings are listed cultural heritage in their own right.

Upfront capital costs to adapt buildings to achieve preservation environments are an unhappy reality that prevents many from considering this path, and yet new museums and galleries are still being designed and constructed to heavily rely on electricity. In fact many examples would be unable to support human occupants without electricity, let alone preserve precious and rare artifacts. One example from regional Victoria during the seminar cited how their efforts to bring their heritage building into the 21st century and object preservation guidelines saw their quarterly electricity bill skyrocket to 15% of their total annual budget.

So what are the alternatives EGOR and others are exploring? International interest has only recently turned toward new technologies – and more from the need to escape rising energy costs than a sense of moral responsibility toward the environment. New building designs will need to take this into account and seek advice which will allow them to make allowances and infrastructure for emerging technologies that can be retrofitted. Melbourne Museum followed this advice ten years ago when infrastructure was placed on the roof allowing for solar technology to be fitted. Solar technology is now approaching a state where this particular retrofit may be looking like a possibility.

The small museum from regional Victoria took action that can act as a guide to us all. The first step was possibly the greatest – that remedial action was not necessarily connected to anything requiring electricity. Recognising the problem was related to sustainability and environment led them to seek advice from Sustainability Victoria. After exploring a number of options the museum expanded environmental control parameters to 18C and 60% RH from current parameters (25c and 55%RH) and achieved a 33% reduction in costs.  They are also now trialling running their HVAC in 4 hour bursts. The outcomes from their research and testing will be eagerly followed by everyone who attended the seminar.

The UK, through the authority of the NMDC developed guidelines that were accepted by the European Bizot Group of major museums at their May 2009 meeting. The four primary points were led by an aim to minimise energy use;

1.     Environmental standards to become intelligent and better tailored to needs. No longer use blanket conditions for entire buildings

2.     Care of collections should not assume air conditioning

3.     Natural and sustainable environmental controls to be explored and exploited

4.     New or renovated museum buildings should aim to reduce carbon footprint as their primary objective

NMDC guiding principles for reducing museums’ carbon footprint (2009)

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is an organisation that advances the sciences of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating within the limitations of humanity and sustainability. Their 2003 specifications for museums, libraries and archival conditions recommends different ‘classes’ of control.

Class of Control Short Fluctuations plus Space Gradients Seasonal Adjustments in System Setpoint Collection Risks and Benefits
AAAPrecision control, no seasonal changes +/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 5oC No risk of mechanical damage to most artifacts and paintings (so long as conditions are maintained).
AAPrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 5oC / Down 10oC

Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
APrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 10oC Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
BPrecision control,

some gradients plus winter temperature setback

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 10oC, but not above 30 oC; Down as required to maintain RH control

Moderate risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; tiny mechanical risk to most paintings, some artifacts, photographs, and books. No risk to most artifacts and books.

There are a number of new standards and guidelines incorporating environmental sustainability on this matter.
Europe CEN/TC 346

UK BSI:                *Code of Practice on Environmental guidelines PAS 198 (document will become publicly available in July 2011)

*New PD 5454 replacing BS 5454

EGOR:           *Consensus on 50% RH +/- 15%

It is important to note that the PAS 198 was developed rapidly to fulfill an immediate need and is not narrowly prescriptive. Decisions will still involve individual organisations’ preservation aims, use and display, transport, loans and the budget available for energy.

SUMMARY

There is still uncertainty whether these initiatives will actually save any money or energy. This information will no doubt present itself in time as more organisations are influenced or compelled to rethink where they most need their energy. It will be interesting to note where, geographically, the greatest savings occur, since external climate will be a factor in these results.

Major international cultural organisations who are active in this debate include the National Gallery of Denmark who has claimed it is on the way to being carbon neutral, and the Smithsonian who are recommending 37-53% RH ‘tight’ parameter, and a 30-62% RH ‘allowable’ parameter.

Discussions during the seminar forum reiterated the following perspectives;

  • Larger, more resourced institutions should be leading the debate with a view to contributing to Australasian standards;
  • Benefits of this leadership needs to be disseminated effectively to small and regional cultural organizations;
  • Building design needs to include museum professionals and account for environmentally sustainable design (ESD);
  • The advantage of long term savings from ESD capital outlays are proven, and support needed for smaller institutions to undertake ESD;
  • ESD is often dropped from the planning process for cost, schedule and other constraints. ESD is seen as a ‘feel good bonus’, and not a critical inclusion;
  • There is a need for a collegiate network to continue this debate and take it further.

There are currently no guidelines or standards from an Australasian perspective. The AICCM taskforce is currently gathering information from research, literature and projects with the view to developing guidelines for Australian conditions. The May 18 seminar served to bring those in the Victorian cultural community together to learn and share. It was clear there is a great deal of concern surrounding the future, and the ability to keep up with the rising costs of energy. However it was also clear that financial issues were not the only driver of the community, and that a genuine desire to preserve the natural environment was also a high priority. The Strategic Audit into the Victorian Government’s environmental progress (Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability) and the Greening the Arts Portfolio (Arts Victoria) are two instances of the current prioritization of the environment.

Examples from attendees (State Library of Victoria, Gippsland Maritime Museum, Museum Victoria et.al.) provided information that individual organisations were involved in research and trials on this subject, but the information was largely limited internally since there is no localised forum for them to collaborate with or feed into. With this in mind the Sustainability Victoria Arts Roundtable will look to recommending and supporting a working party. Part of the working party’s mandate will be to disseminate information and case studies, and also to work with organisations to participate and provide advice to cultural organisations wishing to explore new environmental conditions, technologies and methodologies.

Seminar attendees will be kept informed of further developments.

Useful websites:

www.climatechange.worldbank.org (climate portal)

http://www.aspo-australia.org.au/References/Bruce/ITD-ETTG-Subm-0307.pdf

www.iiconservation.org/dialogues/Plus_Minus_trans.pdf

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/projects-and-work/environmental-guidelines-opportunities-risks.htm

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

Call for Photographs and Videos: Environmental Photographer of the Year

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Ronja Röckemann

The Environmental Photographer of the Year is an international showcase for the best environmental photography and video, honouring amateurs and professionals of all ages. Organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) since 2007, the Environmental Photographer of the Year is one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world. Next to the media coverage, all winning pictures are featured in the exhibition and collectors book. The 2011 competition is open and until 31st July 2011. It is free to enter. Read the category briefs before submitting. For more information see: www.ciwem.org/competition-and-awards.

 

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

Death of ecoactivists

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Hi Sacha

I write with tragic news to inform you that Maria do Espirito Santo da Silva, arts-educator, eco-pedagogue activist, grandmother and student-participant in our teacher education project Voices of the Land based in the Federal University of Para, was assassinated with her husband Jose da Silva, on the 24th May, near to her forest home in the region of Maraba. They were, I believe, returning from meetings with the President of Brazil, explaining the need to defend the forests, rivers and pedagogies of the Amazon.

Please would you inform our colleagues in your network of this tragic news. You can find a few details in the Guardian newspaper. The article focusses on her husband (unfortunately rendering Maria’s lifetime of dedication invisible), but gives you a clear picture of their humanity and courage.

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/24/amazon-rainforest-activist-killed?CMP=EMCGT_250511

UNESCO-Brazil has had the clarity and courage to partner this arts education project which contains Maria’s poems, songs and pedagogical reflections. I will let you know when they are published.

Many thanks

Dan

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

Steep Trail

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Roosevelt and Muir

Polarcap, the curatorial project of Liz Adamson and Graeme Todd, has established Basecamp on the legacy of John Muir, one of Scotland’s most important environmentalists.  Polarcap is located in Dunbar, where Muir came from (though he is most frequently associated with the National Parks of North America).

Today and tomorrow a group of scientists and artists will, using Muir’s method, walk and talk in and about the environment.  Muir’s knowledge of the environment was developed through direct experience (including one walk of 1,000 miles from Indiana to Florida), and this was the grounding of his campaigning, agitation and organising.  The most famous example of Muir’s method was when he took Theodore Roosevelt into Yosemite in order to convince him that mismanagement and exploitation were destroying the valley and that government intervention was required.

This is the first event of a series planned by Polarcap, moving up the East Coast of Scotland through Edinburgh (collaborating with Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop) to Fife (with Fife Contemporary Arts & Crafts) and planning to end in Aberdeen.

The aim of Steep Trail is to build mutual understanding between artists and scientists through shared experiential activity and reflection.

If you are interested in checking it out, head for West Barnes Studios, School Brae, West Barnes, Dunbar, EH42 1UD this weekend.  ecoartscotland will continue to cover the Steep Trail programme as it evolves.

steep trail basecamp press release

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

halo-station.org

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

halo-station.org rethinking energy-body-technology.

HALO is an autonomous in energy station, a mobile installation to set up in the public space. It is being built with different phases and versions since 2008, following an ethic in eco-conception in the elaboration of the projects.

Halo is conceived as an immersive and interactive experience, being connected in real time listening to the earth and its oceans. It lies in between a scientific zone and a sensitive art zone, a physical and mental exercise zone, but also a meditation zone.

This project links to the Makrolab, Ant Farm‘s Oceania, Dolphin Embassy Sea Craft (1976), as well as Arts Catalyst‘s recent project on research stations in the Arctic, amongst others.

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

Synth-ethic vs Vandana Shiva

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Synth-ethic: Art and Synthetic Biology Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria.

Synthetic biology is at the scientific cutting edge, but also on the ethical edge.  The works in this exhibition explore that edge.  The curatorial essay starts with the principle that synthesis is one of the fundamental practices within art.  As the exhibition title suggests, when moving from mimesis to synthesising with the living, ethics need to be half the work.

Art has always involved synthesis. Uniting disparate elements, putting them into a collage to create new works, metaphors, sensory experiences, or aesthetic genres, however, is also inherent to a curiosity, present in every epoch, for finding new ways of creating with new expressive media. Those contemporary artists, who in recent years have begun to employ laboratory methods and biotechnology for their own purposes in new contexts and to modify living systems, are particularly “close to life”. Here, it would seem, the newly declared discipline of synthetic biology is well-suited to the task, seeking, as it does, not only to modify existing organisms but to design “life” anew, from the ground up. Yet, this biological science is not concerned with living beings but rather with components, circuits, and systems. The language of engineering has been shifted to biology. These new dimensions to our technical ability to act, however, call for a new ethical engagement concerning the question of how and whether we should act simply because we can. The exhibition synth-ethic offers perspectives on human intervention in biotechnology and the responsibility that arises with it. Artists appropriate these technologies for their own purposes, see through the mania of novelty and beyond the constraints of economics to examine the areas of tension between molecular biology and ecology, architecture and biochemistry, technology and nature, cybernetics and alchemy.

[more…]

But reading Vandana Shiva‘s text The Corporate Control of Life (Hatje Cantz, 2011) provides a different and significant critical perspective on these issues.  Shiva sets out the activist work of many years challenging the corporatisation of nature.  She articulates the powerful arguments against the application of IPR to biodiversity and the impact on farmers, women and indigenous people.  Underlying her argument is an epistemological position radically at odds with the economically driven epistemology of Western corporate and governmental cultures which she describes as biopiracy.  She says (2011, p8),

The rise  of reductionist science was linked with the commercialization of science and resulted in the domination of women and non-Western peoples.  Their diverse knowledge systems were not treated as legitimate ways of knowing.  With commercialization as the objective, reductionism becaue the criterion of scientific validity.  Nonreductionist and ecological ways of knowing, and nonreductionist and ecological systems of knowledge, were pushed out and marginalized.

The genetic-engineering paradigm is now pushing out the last remnants of ecological paradigms by redefining living organisms and biodiversity as “man-made” phenomena.  Patenting life was transformed into international law through the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In the context of this epistemological critique, artists need to step with care into the field of Synthetic Biology and the work of the Critical Art Ensemble is, amongst others, exemplary for demonstrating the potential for art to position itself as an effective counterpoint to corporate-political cultures.  One must question carefully the ability of artists to appropriate these technologies, and the form of appropriation must manifest the critique.

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

Water isn’t just about water

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The Waterfootprint.org website is a resource on direct and indirect water use:

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

This site provides a range of useful tools for understanding and analysing water footprints.

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