Yearly Archives: 2011

Flashback to 1957

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

In 1957 the Eames Office was commissioned by the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) to design a product to “show off the potential of its lightweight materials.” The team designed a playful solar energy toy which they called the Do-Nothing Machine (1957) featuring whirligigs, pinwheels and kinetic parts simply engineered to spark the viewer’s imagination.  Charles and Ray Eames were American designers who worked in and made major contributions to modern architecture, industrial and graphic design, furniture, art and film.

Thanks to my summer issue of DWELL I was reminded of this brilliant project!

 

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
Go to Green Public Art

Fair trade versus Local Produce / Fair trade and Local Produce

Arcola Theatre, in association with the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, is connected with Growing Communities, an organisation that deals with the distribution of local grown produce. Growing Communities is a social business which runs community-led box schemes which can be collected from various pick-up points in Hackney, and is all local, fresh vegetables! As with Fairtrade products, local produce also have numerous benefits: supporting the local economy, reducing food miles, and enhancing community involvement and spirit.

With the concerns surrounding climate change increasing day to day, many firms, households and consumers are searching for ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment and to reduce our carbon footprint. With this in mind, the argument becomes in favour of local produce and somewhat against imported fair-trade. Thus, this raises the question: can they not both exist together?

Many of the products that we buy are only grown in developing countries and therefore it is logical to buy these Fairtrade products. For example, us Brits, we do love our tea! And tea, where does it come from? The majority of tea plantations are found in Asia, South America and Africa; places where the climate is suited to growing tea. Thus, in this case it makes sense to transport and ship over Fairtrade goods rather than growing and producing local goods. It can even be said that in some instances the level of carbon emissions is lower from transporting Fairtrade goods than producing local. In addition, the number of jobs created in tea plantations provides a boost to the local economy and their carbon footprint is reduced as they can afford to buy local food.

Buying local, however, does have its benefits and is often preferred for certain types of food. Our desire to buy local is often a result of our increasing concern over food quality and the need to trust what we buy. With local foods, it is possible to go to the Farmers market and meet the farmer and learn more about where the food comes from. This is increasingly being for advertised international foods through TV adverts and marketing, however the ease with which it occurs with local foods is unparalleled.

At the end of the day, some goods are just better suited to being produced abroad and others that we love are better made locally. A harmonious result is that balance of both types of goods in our shopping basket.

Go to Arcola Energy

New metaphors for sustainability: water on a fire – helping turn the page – a child asleep – the family – failing better

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home is two adults and three children living in Everton, Liverpool. They talked together about sustainability, and here are their metaphors for our series. 

Neal (aged 10): The world is big plank of wood and it’s on fire. The only thing to save it is water. Sustainability is water – that’s what it is.

Gabriel (aged 8): It’s a big round book, the world is a big circular book, but it needs help to turn the next page, it can’t do it by itself so we all have to help the big book turn its next page. That’s sustainability – helping to turn the page.

Sid (aged 3): (Sid was asleep on the couch when we asked him. That struck a chord with us. Sustainability is Sid asleep, rapid eye movements, visceral dreaming, thoughts shooting round his brain, wiring and rewiring the connectors in his head, trying to sort out what happened today ready for some sort of tomorrow. But his body mass seems to rest, refuel. It digests its food, slowly, carefully, puts things in place biologically, mentally, spiritually even so that when he wakes up he’ll have a good chance at getting what he needs and be in a good enough mood to share what he has with his mates at the nursery.)

Gary (aged 39): A family is the best metaphor I can think of for sustainability. Not the family that the Pope, in Croatia in June, said was in the midst of ruin under the new atheism of secularisation, but the queer family, the radical family, the family that depends – indirectly – upon the reproduction of itself with difference. That’s what having kids has been for us. They are us, with difference. You don’t need to be a biological parent for this to happen, though. It happens through friendships, encounters and love affairs.

It’s the indirectness that is crucial. Indirectness is at the heart of all family-making, and sustainability has an element of indirectness about it. I won’t actually suffer climate chaos in Bangladesh or the terrible local effects of the Alberta Tar Sands extraction, except indirectly. That’s partly what makes it so tricky to get hold of. How can everyone act in all-powerful acts of solidarity with massive numbers of people? The indirectness is what stops us.

But we have to embrace the indirectness, like we embrace the difference that is produced in our own kids every day as they grow into and away from us. Embracing indirectness is the only way to be happy in the long-run.

The relationship between me and my kids is the best metaphor I have for sustainability. Maybe because it’s not even a metaphor but a living, loving struggle.

Lena (aged 36): sustainability is allowing difference, allowing impossible encounters to take place and surprise you. sustainability is being naughty. sustainability is getting out of the box you are in, getting out of networks you belong to, seeing beyond your own group. sustainability is travelling the world, learning a new language, but a really new language, a new method, a new skill. sustainability is beyond the local. sustainability is the provocation that stops you being righteous.

fail. fail again. fail better. go for the impossible.

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

The 1st Cultura21 Forum in Germany

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Cultura21 e.V. is happy to announce the first „Cultura21 Forum“ in Germany:

The Cultivation of Ecology/-ies:
gardens and complexity in rural and urban areas

September 23rd to 25th, 2011 – “Studio Kunst und Landschaft” in Hude (aprox. 13 km from Oldenburg)

Registration is required (see below) – Please notice that this event will be bilingual, but the main language will be German (and there will be no translation service)!

The “Cultura21 Forum” starts on Friday evening with a public event in the “Studio Kunst und Landschaft”. The ecological artist Insa Winkler will offer a guided tour on the terrain. Three guest speakers will give an introduction to “culture(s) of sustainability (the role of gardening culture)”. On Saturday registered participants of the “Cultura21 Forum” will get the chance to take part in specific workshops and open space sessions. The Sunday also is a public event and will contain three speeches and a panel discussion. The speakers will deal with the vision of participative and collective cultivation of ecology in rural and urban areas. The forum will end with a “guerilla gardening” intervention, which will be prepared the day before.

The concept of the “Cultura21 Forum”

By organizing an annual “Cultura21 Forum”, Cultura21 in Germany wants to concentrate all the positive energy of its members and also of like-minded organisations. The aim is to make possible a regular exchange between the participants. Furthermore, other initiatives treating the issue of a “culture of sustainability” should be given room to grow and develop. The basic idea of the forum is to have both a thematic focus and an open space part in the program. The open space part is meant to be the source for new project ideas, created in free exchange and discussions. These parts are linked with each other in the program and complement one another.

2011 edition: the cultivation of ecology/-ies

The main topic of the “Cultura21 Forum” 2011 is: “The cultivation of ecology/-ies: gardens and complexity in rural and urban areas”. Our attention will be especially turned to “guerilla gardening”: guerilla gardening is known as a creative-subversive type of civil disobedience and political protest from the 1970s in New York. Over the years a development has taken place, and nowadays guerilla gardening can be seen with the perspective of “urban agriculture” and “urban gardens”. This type of protest combines the adornment of concrete-dominated urban areas, the temporary use, the greening of idle areas and also the possibility to harvest.

Besides planting “surprise gardens”, seed bombs are the most familiar type of creative protest. They contain a mixture of seeds, soil and clay, shaped like a ball. You then normally just drop these bombs wherever you wish. Further aims are the enforcement of self-supply, protest against the agro-industry and the sowing of unusual seeds. Guerilla gardening is quite controversial and therefore will be discussed in the panel discussion. There will also be a workshop on “seed bombs”. On Sunday, they are supposed to be launched/sowed by the participants next to a piece of farmland.

Program

The complete program can be downloaded as a PDF file: Cultura21Forum_Program(ENG)

Preparatory online exchanges for the “Open Space” sessions are conducted on this website, on our online forum: Click here

About the speakers

Sacha Kagan, Lüneburg
Research Associate at the Institute of Cultural Theory, Research, and the Arts (ICRA/IKKK) at the Leuphana University Lüneburg ; member of Cultura21 e.V. since 2006 ; founding coordinator of the international platform of Cultura21 and founding director of the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his scientific and cultural work is on the transdisciplinary field of arts an (un)sustainability.

Oleg Koefoed, Copenhagen
Oleg Koefoed, action philosopher, is the founder of the “Gravitations Center for Action Philosophy” and founding director of Cultura21 Nordic (with its headquarters in Copenhagen).

Hildegard Kurt, Berlin (Workshop “Jeder Mensch ein Künstler?” [Every human being an artist?])
Hildegard Kurt, cultural scientist, author and working on social sculpture, is one of the key figures for the intercession of arts and sustainability in Germany. She is head of the Berlin “und.Institute für Kunst, Kultur und Zukunftsfähigkeit“ (und.Institut) [und.institute for arts, culture and sustainability] which she was a co-founder of. She is also working at the “Social Sculpture Research Unit (SSRU)” at Oxford Brookes University in the UK (which is led by the artist and former Beuys-student Shelley Sacks).

Elisabeth Meyer-Renschhausen, Berlin (Community Gardens in New York)
Elisabeth Meyer-Renschhausen works as an independent journalist and sociologist in Berlin, doing research, editing, teaching and consulting. (In former days, self-help agriculture was ill-reputed as informal self-help economy of women. Today it returns to the cities and to the mind of the people: wild vegetable cultivation on fallow, guerilla gardening, “hard core vegetable cultivation”, “intercultural gardens” from New York to Berlin…)

Christa Müller, Berlin/Munich
For the “anstiftung & ertomis” foundation, Christa Müller did research on the intercultural potential of urban gardening in the international gardens of Göttingen. She co-founded the network “Interkulturelle Gärten” [intercultural gardens] and the “Interkultur” foundation.

Rana Öztürk, Berlin
Cultural scientist, Rana Öztürk did her MA Thesis on “Sustainable Fashion: New Approaches within the Fashion Industry”. Member of Cultura21 e.V. since 2007 ; Chairwoman of the German organization since 2010., Rana Öztürk is the Communication Administrator at the artist’s workshop of Anselm Reyle.

Insa Winkler, Hude/Wüsting
Insa Winkler works as a landscape architect and environmental artist. “Die Artenvielfalt-Route” [the biodiversity route] is a participative project “in my neighborhood” about art and ecology. By means of education and visualization of life-forms, a mapping exercise of biodiversity is conducted. The result is a new corridor between the agrarian landscape and the urban areas, which is perceived as an ecological and public area. People are actively motivated to protect areas or even to increase the biodiversity in their own garden.

Practical Information

The participation fee (including coffee, drinks, snacks) for 3 days is:
– participants who are not paying members of Cultura21 Germany: 30€/20€ reduced
– participants who are members of Cultura21 Germany: 10€/15€ reduced

… for 1 day:
– participants who are not members of Cultura21 Germany: 15€/ 8€ reduced
– participants who are members of Cultura21 Germany: 10€/ 5€ reduced

Reduced participation fees are only for students and unemployed persons (please provide supporting documents by email).

Please transfer the participation fee until September 10th (please write “Cultura21 Forum” in the comment field) to this bank account:

Cultura21 e.V., Kto-Nr. 40 18 97 17 00, GLS-Bank, BLZ 43060967 ; BIC: GENODEM1GLS ; IBAN: DE35 4306 0967 4018 9717 00

Registration

To make the planning easier, please register online for the event: Click here

Accommodation and travel must be organized by yourself. We recommend to book a room early enough and are happy to help you if necessary. Please find here a list with accommodations near Hude: PDF file (in German language).

The Organizers

The Forum will take place in cooperation with the “Studio Kunst und Landschaft” in Hude and is kindly supported by the city of Oldenburg.

The „Studio Kunst und Landschaft” invites you to look at various theme gardens and park elements on their 1ha territory. Furthermore can be found several sculptural works and objects created by Insa Winkler and other artists. This is also the main office of “artecology-network”, founded in 2010. The Winkler family, who runs the place, also offers space for seminars, exhibitions, concerts, readings and conferences. As well, Insa Winkler’s landscape architecture office and her studio are situated on the premises.

 

 

 

 

 

Crowfunding : Help us finance the event!

If you cannot come to the event but wish to help finance the Cultura21 Forum, please contribute to our Crowdfunding effort: Click here (the crowdfunding webpage is currently available only in German language).

This post is also available in: German

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

Steep Trail Eco Lab  – Greener Leith News

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Emily Dodd has written a really nice piece about the Steep Trail Eco Lab for the Greener Leith Blog.

 

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

New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Monik Gupta, environmental blogger and researcher has guest blogged for Ashdenizen. Here he suggests a metaphor in our series New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out.

For me, thinking about sustainability, the object in the picture comes to mind. We come across it so regularly, however there is no word readily available to us to describe it (google suggests it to be termed ‘cashier divider’ by retail experts). Evidently, just like with ‘sustainability’, it is something very well known but much less engaged with.

What’s more important, both the shopping divider and sustainability mark the necessity for confinement of our own consumption and draw attention to others’ needs.

Maybe those two points, shallow engagement despite omnipresence and a focus on limitations of our consumption, are related. We are reluctant to make explicit the distinction between our needs and those of others, even though we are acutely aware of its necessity.

However, this is exactly where the beauty of both the ‘shopping divider’ and ‘sustainability’ could lie: in marking the confines of our needs, they enable us to direct attention to our fellow human beings. We begin to acknowledge that we are ‘in this together’, urgently needing to demonstrate our ‘ability to sUStain’.

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Trailer Gets Sleek and Sustainable Design

SCI-Arc student Dovid Feld has been helping us work out a new design for our 1951 Spartan Trailer.   The banquette area that wraps around the front windows will be the centerpiece for our indoor events:

Dovid's design envisions a modular banquette area for rehearsals and performances.

The area will be used for rehearsals, discussions, poetry and play readings, as well as art sessions with young people like our buddies the NOMADS. We took our inspiration from 1950′s-style diners. But we had to make sure that the seats would be light-weight so we could transform the space into a “stage” for concerts, puppet shows, etc.:

Vinly upholstery made with low VOCs and recycled content

Check out the upholstery material we are considering!   We are committed to building in a sustainable manner and take pride in doing considerable research before choosing materials.  This material is made from sturdy vinyl but it contains low VOC’s and uses 30% recycled content (20% post-consumer recycled polyester and 10% pre-consumer recycled vinyl).  We got the idea for using this particular brand from some of the students at SCI-Arc who working on a design for the Solar Decathlon, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The front windows have always been a key feature of Spartan trailers; the designs are intended to be reminiscent of an airplane cockpit.  However, the windows are fixed.  To open them up requires cutting into the skin and frame – not an easy feat.  The Spartan’s aluminum frame (a monocoque design) accounts for 70% of the trailer’s strength.  Cutting into it involves risk and opens up the possibility of leaks.

The bay window area of our 1951 Spartan is a great design. But the windows are fixed; we want to open them out. The job represents a considerable engineering challenge.

We’ve found the right guy for the job – Eddie Paul from EP Industries.  Opening up the windows, will allow us to make art (puppet shows, shadow plays, dances) available to outdoor audiences.  A small portable stage over the trailer tongue will add further possibilities:

The windows will open and a portable stage will go over the trailer tongue.

How is this all going to work?  We’ll figure that out as we go along, with the help of playwright and puppeteer Leila Ghaznavi and friends.  Her “Silken Veils” will be used as a template for other shows:  the audience will be seated outside;  marionettes and shadow puppets will be stage inside with actors and musicians on the outside stage.

Leila Ghaznavi’s “Silken Veils” will be used as a model for other performances we can stage in and around the trailer.

We’ve got a ways to go before we finish the restoration.  But we have a great new design to keep us motivated.  (Thanks, Dovid!)


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

EU LIFE projects

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The EU Life programme has published a series of pdfs on current projects in three categories:

  • Nature and Biodiversity
  • Information and Communication
  • Environment and Governance
  • as well as projects outside the EU (or what are termed ‘Third Countries Projects).

According to the EU all of these projects demonstrate innovation and development.

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

Modular Designs We Love

Boxetti wall unit incorpates desk, lounge chair and storage

We are always on the lookout for cool ways to conserve space; we’re especially interested in modular design ideas for furniture and fixtures that can fold into the wall or transform into something else.  These ideas were shared with us by Dovid Feld, the SCI-Arc student who is design for our trailer was featured in a another post.

In the YouTube video below, Michael Harboun’s  “Living Kitchen” features kichten fixtures made from nanobots, devices made from materials that transform along a programmed path then fold back into the wall when no longer needed: 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Festival “Über Lebenskunst”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Perspectives for a sustainable way of living – “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” and in the city of Berlin, 17th to 21st August, 2011.

Once again, Berlin is going to be the host of a very interesting festival. “Über Lebenskunst” (German play on words: “about the art of living” or “The Art of Survival”) will attract people interested in culture, looking at things from the perspective of sustainability. Conferences, workshops, installations, performances, concerts, films, excursions, discussions and readings will make the “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” an exciting place of diversity. The idea is to experience a sustainable lifestyle not as something boring and dull, but to look at sustainability from the art & culture perspective. Berlin is not only the host place but will be integrated in the form of talks with local politicians and a tour to innovative sustainable projects. For example, a fitness club which generates electricity and feeds it into the Berlin electricity net. If that doesn’t sound innovative, what does?

Needless to say, the project is trying to use “[…] the fewest possible resources, producing the least amount of emissions and remaining as climate neutral as possible.”

More information…

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