Yearly Archives: 2011

BLDGBLOG: Tar Creek Supergrid

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

BLDGBLOG’s most recent post relates to a PhD focusing on re-purposing abandoned mines as renewable energy infrastructure.

 

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

Welcome to San Leon

This post comes to you from Shrimp Boat Projects

Map reprinted from History of San Leon, Vol.1 by Alecya Gallaway (Left); Shrimp Boat Projects map of San Leon (Right)

“Why would I want to live anywhere else?” – Dusty Hill, bassist for the band ZZ Top and former San Leon resident

Not only is San Leon our favorite unincorporated municipality in Texas, it is now also the home of the F/V Discovery!

Long before we started this project, San Leon was our respite from Houston and a point of access to Galveston Bay. We came to eat shrimp and oysters at Gilhooley’s and the Topwater Grill, enjoy a cold beer at the Sunset Lounge and relax along the shores of the bay in a place that truly has an off-the-map quality, an end-of-the-road sensibility and a disdain for most of things that make typical small towns “typical”. The character of the place may be derived as much from its unique geography as its unusual history. At an event last spring in Galveston, Gator Miller, the local publisher of the Sea Breeze News, explained that San Leon, as we currently know it, was actually developed through a real estate promotion concocted by Galveston Daily News, in which subscribers to the newspaper were given lots on the peninsula. When subscriptions were cancelled, so were the lots. The net result is a town that apparently has no clear title to any of its lots, and consequently no chain stores or franchised establishments.  While the strip mall may be prolific in the larger Houston region, here in San Leon, it’s absence seems appropriate. The town is, afterall, on a peninsula, framed by the bay on three sides, and with just a couple roads leading in and out. This is not a place where you might end up by mistake. You must willfully choose to visit San Leon, and when you do, you will be rewarded.

And yet, despite all of the romantic reasons for spending more time in San Leon, it was for purely practical reasons that led us to dock our boat here at April Fool Point. Because the town is surrounded by the bay, we now have immediate access to the fishing grounds of the bay. And this geography also insures that we’re situated in a place that is strongly identified with what’s left of the shrimping and oystering industries on the bay. Our immediate neighbors include longtime bay shrimpers Dub and Johnny, a popular local seafood joint called the Topwater Grill, and Misho’s Oyster Company, perhaps the largest processor of local oysters on the bay. And our new landlord, Capt. Wally, the individual perhaps most identified with April Fool Point, harbors a lifelong attachment to the sea, and a virtual library of sea-faring stories from Galveston Bay, to his native Poland and everywhere in between. And he’s the owner of the Point’s namsake shrimp boat the April Fool.

The F/V Discovery in its new home at San Leon's April Fool Point.

We’re not sure how long the F/V Discovery will be in San Leon, a lot of that depends on us actually catching shrimp. But we’re pretty sure this town isn’t going anywhere. Like most good places on the Texas coast, it’s a resilient place that has picked itself up after each hurricane. Many of the places we frequent took a battering in Hurricane Ike, but they’re still here. So do yourself a favor, turn off the main road and come visit San Leon.

 

Shrimp Boat Projects is a creative research project that explores the regional culture of the Houston area. The primary site of the investigation is a working shrimp boat on Galveston Bay which serves as a catalyst for labor, discussion and artistic production. Shrimp Boat Projects is co-created by Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, artists-in-residence at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

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My Last Car – final showings

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

My Last Car, commissioned by Tipping Point, I Move, and the Warwick Arts Centre, has its final performances today through Saturday at the Warwick Arts Centre.  Everyone remembers their first car; what if their present car were their last car?  The show looks at the influences the motor car has had on people’s lives, and issues of sustainability.

The star is a soft-top Rover 216 broken down to its component parts.  My Last Car is both a gallery installation and a performance.  Information and tickets here.

My Last Car – Alan Dix, the man behind the wheel from imove on Vimeo.

 

“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)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Review of the 1st Cultura21 Forum – “The cultivation of ecology/-ies: Gardens and complexity in rural and urban landscapes”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The following review was written by Janna Gehrke (you can find out more about Janna at the bottom of this post):

From the 23rd until the 25th of September the first Cultura21 Forum (by the German platform of Cultura21) took place in the “Studio Kunst und Landschaft” in Hude near Oldenburg in Germany. The forum was the opening for more events of its sort, which will occur on an annual rhythm in Germany. This year’s theme was: “The cultivation of ecology/-ies: Gardens and complexity in rural and urban landscapes”. It created an ideal platform for exchange between Cultura21 members, interested attendants from the vicinity and international guests. The aim of the event was to create networks, combine art and sustainability and get people interested in the theme of gardening.

Friday

A lively opening was guaranteed by Insa Winkler’s guided tour through the garden in the evening sun. Besides the white Garden and the classical English Garden, the participants were also able to see a mediterrenean garden and the ‘Wildparterre’, an area where wild herbs grow. All these garden treasures span over 7000m² and are accompanied by art objects. Among these the „Tamagotchis“ can be found, whom the artist Insa Winkler gave their names because they required a lot of care during an exhibition in Hamburg.

Further objects called Vegitabilibus are an eyecatcher, because they seem to grow directly out of the earth, without  a pedestal. Their genesis leads back to the artist’s involvement with Albertus Magnus, who said: The root is the mouth of the plant.

After this introduction, three referents gave some insights on the leading theme:

„Gardens and aesthetics of sustainability” (Sacha Kagan, Cultura21 Institut e.V., Lüneburg)

Gardens can be seen as approaches in order to reach the status of „cultures of sustainability“. They describe the search process for models of civilisation and dynamic balance. Following Edgar Morin, they yield the opportunity to think of unity and multiplicity together, rather than being mutually exclusive. Furthermore disorder can raise attention to the beauty of antagonisms. This creates an acute sensibility to the complexities in life.

According to Gilles Clément,  nature as constant transformation is what we should see in gardens. The following three concepts underlie his considerations:

  • The Moving Garden as an formerly used, but neglected garden, that does not undergo constant control. The task of humans is observation before intervention, so that a balance is created and diversity increased.
  • The concept of the Planetary Garden considers the whole world as a garden and points out the ecological limits of the biosphere and the advancing planetary mixing, which generates positive as well as negative effects due to invasive species. Concerning this matter it is important to use diversity without destroying it.
  • Third landscape is about subtle, non-interventionist interventions that highlight fallow lands and left-apart lands of all sorts as spaces for the undecided, spaces for the future. To use the words of the Abbé Sieyès: “What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been in the political order until now? Nothing. What does it want to be? Something.”

„On Urban Gardening“ (Dr. Christa Müller, Network „Interkulturelle Gärten“, Berlin/Munich)

In 2007 there were already more people living in cities than in rural areas. As a logical consequence emerging from this development gardens reclaim space in the cities and a (re-)discovery of the desire to garden becomes visible. This success of gardens is not a new phenomenon, but it gets more and more attention by the media. Thus it leads to a new understanding of urbanity since nature and city no longer exclude each other but build spaces in which natural and social environment can melt and create a new awareness concerning the value of time, consumption and community. This opens the opportunity of an integrative and community creating impact of gardening in cities.

The main reasons for the increasing popularity of urban gardens can be found in the desire to experience something that is perceptible to the senses, and in the wish for new forms of togetherness due to mounting individualisation, virtualization and marketization of the world.

Urban areas provide the basis for testing new social structures of sustainability and visualise alternatives in light of the imminent food crisis. Additionally it triggers off the political discussion, whether it might be possible to “plant” a new world.

„Sustensive Gardens“ (Dr. Oleg Koefoed, Cultura21 Nordic, Copenhagen)

De-composition and de-totalisation of certainties provide a constant transformation of the world and pave the way for a process of change. This process generates an area of tensions, which encompasses the maximal diversity of forms without destroying them. The opportunities can be enhanced in this way by gaining capacity for complexity.

The imperfection of mankind invites to open processes, as we have to connect to things that are outside of us. With reference to gardening, this implies a step out of everyday life, appropiated by various forces. Sustensive spaces are created for creativity, ancient knowledge, community and participation. Altogether they provide the basis for alternative lifestyles. Furthermore there is the possibility of making a connection between past and future, for instance by means of cultivating old sorts or rare species.

Examples of garden projects from Denmark emphasize this process: ‘Prags Have’ is an old factory site, which gradually changed and gained attractiveness induced by a process of gentrification. Meanwhile even the city of Copenhagen decided to support the project and enables citizens to grow their own vegetables there. A community kitchen was established as well as a meeting room in form of a caravan in the trees. ‘Amager Commons’ is an area in Copenhagen, which is partly used as an area for the development of the district Ørestaden of Copenhagen. Recently this vast fallow land was used for urban gardening projects, too. Thus a fight between landscape and urban development was inflamed. In most cases the garden projects are very vulnerable, as they rely heavily on support and investment.

Saturday

On Saturday Shelley Sachs and Hildegard Kurt proceeded with a workshop, which took place in the framework of a mobile, alternative university, the “University of the Trees”. This network focusses on the question: What is knowledge and how do we know? It rests on the basis, that we are all students and teachers at the same time, but additionally the trees are also our teachers. Regarding this it is necessary to call forth the sleeping potential that is in everyone of us.

On a walk through the garden, the vicinity and the forest nearby, the participants were able to bethink of the trees and create a field of awareness by the use of bands. In the following group session the focus was put on the soil in the created awareness field. Within the group the participants were able to make a connection to the soil and foster the consciousness for this valuable resource. A very pleasant atmosphere for these processes of thinking was created by the use of the practice of active listening, which encouraged awareness-raising and reflection.

In the afternoon, the participants had time to take up questions that were partly already generated on Friday evening. These could be discussed and enlarged upon in Open Space sessions. The following themes were discussed: Gardens as experimental spaces for alternative lifestyles, Traveling/Walking – Why do we appreciate landscape as beautiful? and Privatisation of public spaces. It was possible to follow different discussions as the working method was shaped openly.

The second day was rounded off by a Guerilla Gardening Workshop lead by Rana Öztürk. The special background of Guerrilla Gardening is the idea of the beautification of public spaces such as fallow land in collective actions of planting. This can be interpreted as a political movement without being obvious or as an artistic intervention. It adds to identity creation and counteracts insufficiency and delapidation by restoring fallow land, and partly supports self supply.

After a first input about the history and emergence of the Guerilla Gardening movement, which developed as early as the 1970s as a form of political resistance, the participants got the chance to take action themselves. Seeds were sieved and mixed, so that the group could contribute its share to the beautification of the village afterwards. Hopefully first results can be seen in spring.

The evening faded away with the presentation of different garden and art projects together with a nice get-together around the fire.

Sunday

 

On Sunday Nikos Anastasopoulos presented his activist engagements in Greece, which include the throwing of seedballs to improve the character of the soil and to green part of the landscape in Greece again, following the principles of ‘Natural Farming’. In this way a hub for change shall be created in order to achieve a long-term success. The  locally rooted initiative runs the right path which can be seen in first successes thanks to the involvement of the participants.

Insa Winkler called attention to her project „Artenvielfaltroute“ in Wüsting, which aims to strengthen the local awareness for what is happening with biodiversity in the locality through cooperative work with the neighbourhood and the school nearby.

Finally Dr. Christa Müller gave an overview and a summary of the contents for the guests. Thanks to the hosts, sponsors and participants, the first Cultura21 forum was a great success.

This review was written by Janna Gehrke, who will be Cultura21′s intern in Germany for the next 6 months, starting in mid-October 2011. Janna’s internship is taking place within Leuphana University Lueneburg’s “Leuphana PLUS” program.

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

“Enabling Emergent Voices And Expression Through Technology”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

October 17th, 2011
MIT Media Lab, USA

“Moore’s law and the Internet have dramatically reduced the cost of producing and distributing information. This has greatly lowered the cost of collaboration and has empowered a qualitatively different “public” to think, express, and act without, or in spite of, central authority. These changes and advances in technology enabled interventions such as low-cost video cameras in the case of WITNESS; blogs (Global Voices); or open hardware and software used to build, distribute, collect and visualize data from geiger counters (Safecast). Ito will discuss how these trends relate to media, citizenship, academics, and conflicts. Joichi Ito was named Director of the MIT Media Lab in April 2011.”

The “Zones of Emergency: Artistic Interventions – Creative Responses to Conflict & Crisis” Fall 2011 lecture series investigates initiatives and modes of intervention in contested spaces, zones of conflict, or areas affected by environmental disasters. The intention is to explore whether artistic interventions can transform, disrupt or subvert current environmental, urban, political, and social conditions in critical ways. A crucial question is how can such interventions propose ideas, while at the same time respecting the local history and culture.

More information at the Zones of Emergency Blog: http://zonesofemergency.mit.edu/

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

Wasteland Twinning

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Glengarnock on a road trip, 2004

Wasteland and stalled spaces are important.  This new project connects wasteland in different places as well as offering some suggestions for ways to explore those on your doorstep – join in and be twinned with places in Indonesia, Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, India (interestingly there are no US or Canadian partners).

Glengarnock (all that's left) 2004

Most of the ideas suggested involve spending time with your own wasteland, making sound recordings, putting up signs, doing surveys, finding sit spots, discovering what’s edible, and then inventing your own responses. 

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

Culture|Futures conference in Milan, Italy: Oct 19, 2011

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

The amazing Palazzo Marino in Milan will October 19th 2011 be the setting for another international Culture|Futures conference, which in Milan is organised by Ragnarock Association in cooperation with the City of Milano and other partners.

The conference will discuss the role that Scandinavian and Italian actors in the creative industry have in reaching an ecological age that is the Culture|Futures vision for 2050.

The conference will also be focusing on the way design, food, fashion and innovation can guide people towards more sustainable standards of living in the next few years.

To speak at the conference, Culture|Futures and Ragnarock have invited several guests from the sector to talk about how they connect creativity and sustainability, the guest-list includes among many others Kigge Hvid (CEO of INDEX), Francesco Paulo Zurlo (Vice director of INDACO) and Guizy Bettoni (Director of CLASS).

For further details on the Culture|Futures Conference in Milan and the full program and guest-list of the day download the Culture Futures programme

For registration  please write conferenza@ragnarock.eu

Please also see, RSVP the Italia Facebook Event page

If any other question, please contact:

Elisabetta Ferrario

e-mail: elisabettaferrario@ragnarock.eu
mobile: (+39) 3473578941.

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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Radius of Art Conference

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Creative politicization of the public sphere – Cultural potential forces for social transformation

February 8th and 9th 2012 – Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin

The registration for the international conference „radius of art“ by Heinrich Boell Foundation has been opened: The number of places is very limited, and a selection process will take place.  If you wish to participate, please fill out the online registration at http://www.radius-of-art.de/conference/index-e.php (click on “registration”). The website has also more information about the conference.

Cultura21 is a partner of this event. Sacha Kagan is advising the Heinrich Boell Foundation for the conference’s thematic window “Art toward Cultures of Sustainability”. The conference’s other thematic windows are: “Art for Social Transformation”, “Public Art” and “Cultural Policy Strategies and Funding Structures”.

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

Brief to make KEYSTONE XL an international issue

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Brief for a campaign extension

Bill McKibben‘s team along with a number of other NGOs and activist groups in the US and Canada have been campaigning to stop Obama signing off the Keystone XL project.  The extension of the Keystone pipeline is a fundamental to the development of tar sands oil.  Tar sands are one of the most polluting forms of oil extraction and only viable because of the approach of peak oil.  We are faced by a choice: get off our addiction to fossil fuels, or continue into even dirtier and more destructive habits.

The Keystone Pipeline and its extension run from up near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, down to Houston, Texas (see transcanada’s map).  They are literally a throat down the middle of North America with which to feed the addiction.

The Tar Sands Action campaign in the US is well supported and reaches out to a large environmental community, but there is relatively low awareness in other parts of the world.

In an email exchange with members of McKibben’s team it became clear that there was a need for creative and environmentally active people outside the US to create artworks, actions, logos, graffiti and other forms of intervention in order to raise awareness and show solidarity.

Current campaigning in Washington seems to be focused on encircling the White House, visibility at all Obama’s public engagements, securing mass arrests of celebrity figures to maximise news coverage.

If you are interested in responding to this (unofficial) brief then do something.  If you want to, you can send proposals to ecoartscotland.net and also to the Tar Sands Action team, but we’ll just say “get on with it”.

Budget: whatever you can invest in time and materials.

Timescale: sooner the better – 6th November is a key date when it would be good to have some shared plans.

Insurances: none required.

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