Yearly Archives: 2011

London Global Teacher Network event

Arcola is hosting the London Global Teacher Network event on Tuesday 8th February from 5-7pm. 

The London Global Teacher Network (LGTN) is an opportunity for London teachers to share experience, opinions and resources around global learning – online and through meetings and events hosted at various London venues. Membership and events are free.

At the event, as well as exploring the role of sustainability within education, participants will find out more about Arcola’s vision to become the world’s first carbon neutral theatre, the research work of ‘Arcola Energy’, and get a tour of the theatre. Participants will also hear about Arcola’s ‘Sustainability for Schools programme’, through which it offers workshops to schools around renewable energy. To sign up to come to the event go to:

Go to Arcola Energy

Border Art in the War On Difference

El Mexterminator

When Sam presented The Trailer Trash Project at the Arts in the One World Conference (Jan. 27-29) he heard  Guillermo Gómez-Peña give the keynote talk.   We thought you might like to read more about this extraordinary performance artist, poet, playwright and teacher.

In the border region between the United States and Mexico who are the insiders and who are the outsiders?    Guillermo Gómez-Peña puts borders – between people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions and sexual preferences – at the center of his work. This “stubborn Aztec hipster” plays with some of the iconic images that invade our subconscious and feed our fears.  His personas include a Narco-Dandy, El Mexterminator  and San Poncho Aztlaneca, a shaman/saint from an unknown border region.

Earlier pieces explored the loneliness of the immigrant experience in the United States.  While still a student at CalArts he wrapped himself in a batik cloth and lay down on the floor of an elevator.  Another time he dressed as a homeless Mexican and begged for food. (No one stopped.)

The human body is often used as a metaphor for the body politic.  In the Mapa Corpo Series, performed with Violeta Luna and an acupuncturist, he re-created a ritualistic sacrifice in which members of the audience were invited to help stick needles topped with flags into Luna’s naked body.  The piece is a statement against the War On Terror which Gómez-Peña calls “the War On Difference.”

Using his artistry, wit, intellect and considerable compassion, Gómez-Peña invites us to examine the transgressions of western society and overcome our fear of the other.

In a seven-hour workshop held at the conference,  he gave the participants a suitcase full of simple props, telling them to improvise.  “Think of it as a performance jam,” he said. “Performance artists jam just like musicians.”

Next he invited the group to transform each other into icons representing the sacred and profane.  With an eccentric selection of music playing while the actors got into character,   he likened the exercise to a cabaret where the audience is invited to participate:  “Think of it as an obscure German lounge bar  where the images connect in a common theme.”

At the end of the workshop he encouraged aspiring performance artists to create “a borderless ethos,” experimental laboratories for change where divisions between outsiders and insiders begin to fade away. “The way forward requires hospitality across the divide,” he said.

Participants emerged with huge smiles on their faces. CalArts multimedia artist Mersiha Mesihovic said she felt the workshop changed the way she would approach her work in the future.  Dancer Lindsey Lollie agreed, adding she hopes to attend the International Summer Workshop in Oaxaca, hosted by Gómez-Peña’s troupe, La Pocha Nostra.

( Merisha and Lindsey collaborated on another AOW performance, “On The Subject Of Freedom,” which you can read about by clicking this link.)

Sidebar: “On The Fear Of the Other”

do you hear the police sirens? beautiful, eh?

Ammmeeeeeeerica, what a beautiful scary place to be

but then living in fear is normal for us

we are all scared shitless of the immediate future

by the way, are you scared of me?

of my accent, my strange intelligence,

my obnoxious capability to articulate your fears?

an articulate Mexican can be scarier than a gang member

que no?

are you scared of my moustache?

my unpredictable behavior?

my poetic tarantula,

my acid politics,

my criminal tendencies,

my tropical diseases,

my alleged ancient wisdom?

my shamanic ability to exorcise the evil out of white people,

yes or no? que si que no; que tu que yo

’cause I’m scared of you,

of your silence pinche mustio

your silence makes you really scary

& the distance between you and I makes it even worse.

For more on GGP’s workshops, see this link .  For resrouces, check out La Pocha Nostra’s bookstore. See also this article, “Disclaimer:  Notes on the death on the American artist,” from In These Times (May 19, 2006).

[1] Reprinted in Dangerious Border Corssers. (200: 61) 

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 as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

The Horticultural Society of New York – Water Matters

Water Matters:

25 Years of Students Celebrating

NYC’s Water Resources

February 9 – 18, 2011

For the last twenty-five years, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has invited fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students to express their knowledge of the city’s water resources using art and poetry. This exhibition is a selection from more than the thousands of entries submitted by students from all five boroughs. Their creative work showcases the city’s water supply and wastewater treatment systems, water’s importance to all life, and ways that we all can protect, conserve, and preserve water resources.

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary, the 2011 Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest invites kindergarten through twelfth grade students to submit their art and poetry entries online. for more information.

Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday, 12 to 6pm
Click here for directions.

Related Program
In conjunction with Water Matters, the Green Screen Film Series will present Flow on February 17th (at 6:30pm). Come check out the exhibition and watch this award-winning documentary on the world water crisis, directed by Irena Salina.

via The Horticultural Society of New York.

The Ecology of Innovation

One of the component parts of Citizen Power (a two year programme of innovation, participation and place-making in Peterborough) aims to spark and support local people’s ideas that could make “green” behaviour easier throughout the city. When planning the project we were inspired by insights into what can influence people’s behaviour and decision-making (such as the dramatic effect of social proof).

Our approach has been to teach these principles to local residents and help them apply them to the behaviours that underlie local environmental problems. We think that giving community activists the knowledge and support to “nudge” their neighbours could be a better way of encouraging behaviour change. National attempts to apply these principles could leave people feeling preached at, or alienate people by taking covert approaches.

Instead, we think that training community activists with the knowledge they need to nudge their neighbours can harness their local knowledge, their “one-of-us” status, and their existing trusted relationships with their community.

Towards the end of last year we tested this approach in a two-day workshop. Twenty-five enthusiastic residents learned about the effects of personal, social and infrastructural factors on human behaviour, then worked together to apply this knowledge to Peterborough specific problems. After a pitch to a panel of judges, two ideas were selected for seed-funding and non-financial support to allow them to become pilot projects.

One of the pilots will encourage a wider segment of the community to manage local plots of unused land. The group behind this project plan to map unused land in their neighbourhood and throughout Peterborough, then run small interventions to encourage local people to take an active role in stewarding the land.

The other pilot will encourage residents living near an area of ancient woodland to take an active forest management role. Currently neglected and the scene of anti-social behaviour, the community decided to create a woodland walk to make walking through the forest a normal activity for local residents.

Part of this approach to local nudging was informed by a paper – The Ecology of Innovation – that we published just before Christmas. It presents a few simple principles that could be used to encourage and support local people in getting projects off the ground. These principles include ensuring that local community organisations are able to participate in contributing their ideas, and supporting their ideas with financial and non-financial support so that they can be tested. You can read the paper online or download it here.

In 2011, we’re looking forward to getting these ideas off the ground, and also holding more workshops to encourage and support more ideas that could make Peterborough into an even greener place to live!

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Bunker forms part of the network entitled Imagine 2020 – Arts and Climate Change

Bunker forms part of the network entitled Imagine 2020 – Arts and Climate Change, which tackles the issue of environmental challenges through the prism of artistic actions and by means of certain other instruments of production.

The aforementioned initiative precipitated production of performance by Betontanc Ltd: SO FAR AWAY introduction to ego-logy in 2010 and also gave rise to a grass-made installation by the British artistic tandem Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey entitled On the field, which had been featured on the platform next to the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in the framework of The Mladi levi Festival. Both works of art illustrate our specific approach to the issue in question, namely flexibility as to genre and theme, since our understanding of art defines the latter as the field of arising questions instead of that of already laid-down answers.

We are opening a call for production of artistic works, predominantly addressed to young artists coming from the fields of performing arts (this, however, is not a necessary requirement) to submit their projects, which in one way or another tackle the issue of contemporary environmental challenges in the widest sense possible.

Bunker will choose one or more projects applied and support it/them in terms of production, promotion and finance as well as by arranging their guest-staging or its/their introduction to the international sphere.

We kindly invite all interested parties to send a short outline of the project proposed (one page), a reference list and a budget estimate to by February 28th. Any further information may be obtained at or 031 694 559. Applicants will be notified of their application results by 31st March.

Art show partners creation with science

ASU Sustainability contest inspires paintings, sculpture and multimedia

Fertilizer is rarely an inspiration for an art show, but on Feb. 5, at the Desert Botanical Garden, sustainability, fertilizer and phosphorus scarcity will provide fertile fuel for creative vision.

The art show, a juried exhibition with more than 20 works by artists from Phoenix, Chicago, Portland and Houston, was created in partnership with scientists engaged in the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, to take place Feb. 3-5, at ASU. The exhibition will include paintings, photography, sculpture, multimedia and innovative approaches to portraying sustainability through dance and music.

Free and open to the public, the art show starts at noon, with the top prizes awarded at 6:30 p.m. An RSVP is required to attend:

The Sustainable Phosphorus Art Show is scheduled to take place from noon to 7 p.m., Feb. 5, at the Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix. Cash bar and reception will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If you miss the exhibit Feb. 5, the art show will move to ASU’s Step Gallery, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, in Tempe, from Feb. 14-18.

Additional information on the scientific program of the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit can be found here. For more information on phosphorus sustainability, visit

Peggy Coulombe,
(480) 727-8934
School of Life Sciences

Art show partners creation with science | ASU News.