Yearly Archives: 2011

100 posts on art and ecology resource site grows alongside a slow art-forest project

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Post image for 100 posts on art and ecology resource site grows alongside a slow art-forest project

Museum of Nature, 2004 by photographer Ilkka Halso

This is my 100th post on my art & ecology notebook site – amazing! I’m as shocked as probably you are and its made me realise that I have created quite an archive of the different means where arts and ecology intersect.

new ecoartfilm site

What started out in 2008 as a small personal notebook has grown – it initially was a place to put inspiring art & ecology projects and resources that I came across in one place and also a means to house the beginnings of my own long term art & ecology project. From a small rural location the site has allowed me to gather and make visible projects that often fall outside the mainstream agendas of many galleries and it has allowed my own practice to travel to many unexpected destinations.  For newer readers my artistic work is about creating small audiovisual works that touch on the small forest that surrounds our house that we are transforming from a monoculture conifer plantation into a permanent mixed species forest. Mostly my own work is about how we engage with ‘nature’ in general and its led me to pursue the idea of whether audiovisual video works can be used in a  more ecocentric way, if that is possible (if you are interested my  research on this topic can be found here).  My art & ecology site been quite an odd jumble of  things and early posts were a bit random, but my readership has steadily grown even though my posts can appear a bit infrequently. Thank you for all the comments along the way too – you have no idea how this small site has enabled my work to develop and connect with others!

new archive page

Anyway, to mark this blogging milestone I’ve spent a little bit of time and created an illustrated Archive page  and  a new dropdown Category section on the home page where you can easily see all the art

disciplines for instance that I have written about; from film to dance, to music to policy papers on culture and sustainability. You are more than welcome to share any of these posts along.

Some of you might also be aware that I wrote a research paper on networking the arts to save the earth earlier this year. It was a whopping 8,000 words, designed to reach out and comment on how cultural practitioners of all types could best use online social media networks. Social media is something I’ve worked with for several years in a past job where I helped develop a  large online arts community.  A lot of the paper was me trying to figure out the potential or not of social media, amongst all the hype and suddenness in which these

a new article

technologies have now appeared in our lives, and examine their value for art & ecology practitioners. The paper seemed to have struck a nerve – I expect it was probably the  fact that many working in this field are both isolated geographically but also isolated on the fringes of contemporary art practice.  A much shortened form of the article was printed in the Aug 2011 Irish Visual Arts Newsheet. It was then picked up by one of the editors as a feature article on the international

site HerCircleEzine.com –  an online site that for the last 6 years has been dedicated to women’s socially engaged practice. I was surprised and delighted –  to tell the truth the research paper had been turned down originally for an academic journal (not that I was too surprised about this as it was my first attempt) but of course, a paper on social media, should be circulating on social media not stuck in some academic journal. I’ve created a resource page of the many various art & ecology networks too – please feel free to tell me about other networks not listed. There’s more too, I’ve also been asked to write a regular column on the HerCircleEzine site about art & ecology and my research practice, starting in November which I must say is a bit daunting as if you examine the site you’ll see the articles written are of a very high standard. 

holly dog looking proud

Hollywood - smallest close-to-nature forest in Ireland (pictured: Holly at the forest entrance)

You might have also noticed the blue forest image above – the Museum of Nature created by Finnish photographer Ilkka Halso. I found this image intriguing; its from a larger body of works by Ilkka called Restoration (2004). While I don’t like the idea of putting a forest in a cage I could identify with this artist’s interest with forests. I have also come across a  number of artists who describe their art & ecology works as ‘restoration’ environmental projects. It’s not a term I use for my own forest project; while restoration of sites is obviously important I think much more needs to be addressed. Undoubtedly we can learn much from restoring sites/habitats, but for me,  I think there is something more interesting in transformation; transforming the ideas and practices of how we relate to nature (a tricky area when one begins to examine it though) and hence, transforming how we behave on this one finite earth. You might be wondering why I’ve added this paragraph at the end of this post – I was saving the best for last :-) . My tiny forest, nick-named ‘Hollywood’ has been getting some attention. ‘Hollywood’ is now listed on the new Irish database for forests that are being managed in a permanent way – its the smallest plantation undergoing ‘transformation’ to become a forest, in Ireland. We manage the forest following close-to-nature principles ( a low impact management system that follows nature’s own dynamics). As it is an ecological type of forest management it means that the forest is sustainable not only for our use (we get firewood, birdsong, oxygen, sanity etc from it) but as it will never be clear-felled; the overall biodiversity, soil fertility and carbon-sink values on the site will only ever increase.

Funny, how this writing about transformation has slipped into this post, as I often have a lot of difficulty in talking about my creative work – in fact, I think its much better presented by the forest itself (click on the image below if you can’t see the film).

If you have any comments, do write in!

transformation 2011

 

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.
Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

New metaphors for sustainability: the Kelo

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

We resume our series finding new metaphors for sustainability with the Kelo suggested by artist and researcher Amanda Thomson

For a few years now I have been spending a lot of time in some of the remnant Caledonia pine forests of Scotland, learning about their ecology, and making an ongoing piece of work called Dead Amongst the Living, which is ostensibly about the dead trees of these woodlands. Scots pines can live to be up to 300 years old, and even after they die, can stand for years before falling. In the middle of these woods, they sometimes stand pale like spectres amongst the greens, reds and browns of the living forest, and sometimes on the hills and moorlands of the north an occasional single tree reminds us of forests now long gone or the tenaciousness it has often taken to have survived.

There’s a Finnish word a ranger told me, Kelo, which describes a standing tree which has died, dried out in the wind and yet remains standing, often for decades, only quietly and imperceptibly decaying. Like the shells of old croft houses in the far north west and on the islands, such trees stand to remind us of a different past, and are testament to earlier times.

Dead wood supports a huge amount of biodiversity when still standing, and once they have fallen they continue to form a crucial part of the living ecosystems of a pinewood; indeed, it is said they support more species when dead than they do when alive. These dead trees contain microhabitats for species which are not found elsewhere but which are vital to the ongoing health of the forest. They are havens for invertebrates, hold rare mosses, provide nutrients for lichens, fungi and liverworts. At each stage of their decay, they give something back to their surroundings and support different species at different stages of decomposition. When standing, they provide viewpoints for raptors and their holes and cavities provide nest sites for a range of woodland birds, including crested tits. Their rot holes are used by the larvae of rare hoverflies, green shield-moss grows on old stumps and capercaillie use the upturned root plates of the fallen for cover and for dust baths. Eventually, over a period of years, and by being broken down in a variety of ways, all of the nutrients which have been stored in the tree will make their way back in to the earth and replenish it.

For me, these dead trees contain an essential reminder about how in both physical and in psychic terms, things that seem no longer with us, things that might appear to be useless and redundant, and things that becomes invisible can continue to influence, support and nourish the present, and the living, in ways that we might not yet know, but will perhaps, in time, come to realise.

 

“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

“MIT japan 3/11 initiative”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Benjamin Smith

November 14th, 2011
MIT (USA)

“In the aftermath of the disaster suffered in Japan, MIT launched the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, a multi-year collaborative project focused on disaster-resilient planning, design and reconstruction. Back from the first MIT Japan 3/11 workshop which took place this summer, Shun Kanda and Jim Wescoat will discuss the process and challenges in planning and implementing alternative strategies for disaster-preparedness. Shun Kanda is a Tokyo native and the Director of Architectural Studies for the MIT-Japan Program. James L. Wescoat, Jr. is Aga Khan Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT.”

MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative:   http://web.mit.edu/japan3-11/home.html

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

Ploughshares from Swords – Social Sculpture and Cultural Agency

This post comes to you from Cultura21

November 07th, 2011 MIT (USA)

“How does creative activism contribute to society? How do we moderate crises through individual and collective art practice? How do we reconcile the arts, activism, and pedagogy? Stella McGregor, Founder and Director of Urbano Project, will share her experience of working with inner city youth and introduce projects such as Violence Transformed, and Pedro Reyes’ Palas por Pistolas. Stella McGregor has been an artist and a cultural worker for over 25 years, working on projects in Boston, New Orleans, Macedonia, and Taiwan.”

Urbano Project:  http://urbanoproject.org

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

New fables for the woods

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Why does the ash tree have black buds? Why does the yew tree live so long? Why does the chestnut tree have white candles? In a series of new fables about woods, 19 writers started with a question of this sort and found their way to an answer by writing a short story.The collection, Why Willows Weep is published by the Woodland Trust. According to the editors, some fables are like fairy tales, others like Greek myths, and some are completely off-the-wall.

The writers are William Fiennes, James Robertson, Richard Mabey, Tracy Chevalier (who edits the collection), Susan Elderkin, Rachel Billington, Blake Morrison, Maria McCann, Terence Blacker, Joanne Harris, Philippa Gregory, Catherine O’Flynn, Tahmima Anam, Maggie O’Farrell, Amanda Craig, Ali Smith, Philip Hensher, Salley Vickers and Kate Mosse.

 

“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

Freshkills Park: A new beginning

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

For the last two years Freshkills Park has invited the public to come take a “sneak peak” full day tour of the transformation that has been taking place over the last ten years at the largest landfill site in the world. On Sunday, October 2nd this New York City park project offered free water taxi rides direct to the site from Pier 6, a one hour journey past miles of industrial sites, some still in production, far from the eyes of Manhattan. At the park were temporal art installations and science booths as well as guided walks, kayaking, and Mierle Ukeles’ famous The Social Mirrorgarbage truck from the late 1970s.ecoartspace was recently invited to jury an upcoming design competition at Freshkills, a collaboration of the Land Art Generator Initative and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. One of the goals of the park is to site large scale public art works. Elizabeth Monian and Robert Ferry of LAGI, who have been focused on energy based artworks in recent years out of Dubai, proposed an ideas competition for 2012. Contestants are invited to identify public art works that will harness energy from the site and convert it to electricity for the utility grid, in addition to providing conceptual beauty.

Freshkills consists of 2,200 acres, almost three times the size of Central Park. It is the largest park to be developed in NYC in over 100 years. The park is meant to be a “symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape.” It will continue to be built out in several phases over the next 30 years and includes an unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty with creeks, wetlands, meadows and spectacular views of the New York City.

The monetary prize award of $20,000 will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.

 

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.
Go to EcoArtSpace

Leuphana Sustainability Summit – Call for Papers

This post comes to you from Cultura21

29th February – 2nd March 2012 – Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany

The conference focuses on three leading questions:

1. What insights about the role of transdisciplinarity for sustainability transitions have we gained over the last 10 years?

2. What gaps in research still remain?

3. How can we fill these gaps?

The deadline for abstract submission is 31 October, 2011. More information on the conference, and full call for papers are available at this website: www.leuphana.de/sustainability-summit

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