Yearly Archives: 2011

ecoartscotland: Scotland’s new resource on culture and the environment

ecoartscotland is a new project focused on the connections between culture and environment.  It is a platform for practice and research focused on the cultural challenges of environmental crisis.

The ecoartscotland website http://ecoartscotland.net has:

  • information on artists,
  • resources for learning projects,
  • highlighting formal education courses,
  • and including an extensive bibliography,

ecoartscotland draws on a wide range of sources to provide up to date information on everything from funding and creative opportunities to key policy and exemplary practice.

You can subscribe to a weekly news digest from the site, and we would be very happy if you would add us to your press mailing list.

Chris Fremantle
ecoartscotland
http://ecoartscotland.net
chris@fremantle.org

On The Subject Of Freedom

“On The Subject of Freedom” performed at the Arts In The One World Conference, 2011. Directed by Mersiha Mesihovic, Created with and performed by following: Lindsey Lollie, Amanda McNussen, James DiBrandon Lewis, Andy Robert, Etienne Rivera, Max Mendoza, Javier Gonzalez, Miriam Connor, Jahcobie Cosom and Matt Schumacher.

Growing up under a communist regime in the Former Yugoslavia, CalArts student Mierisha Mesihovic never really felt free. Her life became even more restricted when civil war broke out in her country.  Although her childhood may seem unimaginable to many of her fellow students at CalArts,  she thinks the gap between them is not all the wide.

Multimedia artist Mierisha Mesihovic

“Many of us struggle with being truly free.  We are afraid to express ourselves, to put ourselves in certain situations,” she says, explaining people often feel at war with themselves. “The conscious self confines us to what we should be and our subconscious self tells us to act on who we really are.”

Mierisha started out as a dancer at CalArts but switched her major to multimedia art in work with a broader palette. “As an artist interested in social justice, I felt I needed more tools than dance to express myself.”

A shared sense of community has helped her find her voice, take risks and break through boundaries.

“On the Subject of Freedom,” performed at Arts In The One World 2011 was a collaborations between Mierisha and fellow students. An exploration of the restraints on freedom, the piece combines dance, live music and projected images. It begins in a conflict zone with a duet about the oppressive atmosphere of war.  The dancers gradually learn to carry on their lives with dignity in spite of the fear and hate surrounding them.  They begin to confide in each other, questioning whether the war is just. The piece ends with liberation, resolution and peace.

Dancer and choreographer Lindsey Lollie

CalArts dancer Lindsey Lollie was one of the collaborators on the dance; she and Mierisha have been friends for three years. Lindsey says the piece is about some of the restrictions people face based on their nationality, gender, race, religion or personality.

“Not everyone is free to walk outside if they are in a war zone,” she writes in an explanatory note to the piece.  “Not everyone is free to speak up and address real issues. “We need to believe in something that is not forced upon us but discovered within our soul.  Everyone deserves to live in the comfort of their own thoughts…”

Mersiha seems clear about the direction she wants to take her art: “My wish is to make the audience part of my work.  I would like to inspire people to act. A sense of community can help us jump over boundaries.  We are many and we are stronger that the fear. The positive always prevails over the negative.”


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.

Welcome Cultura21

We welcome another partner to the CSPA Knowledge Network. Leading resource Cultura21 recently overhauled their web presence and with that change we’ve been able to add them as a syndication partner.

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)

Cultura211 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

Chain of arguments for the ecological identity of the international language Esperanto (& its organizations)

This post comes to you from Cultura21

1.

Direct progress with concern to the “interna ideo” (“internal idea”) of Esperanto is the conscious integration of the concept of a “neutral international language” within the framework of the cultures of sustainability & according to the 3 criteria of

  1. Peace,
  2. Human Rights &
  3. Sustainability

2.

The criteria of sustainability (see UN, civil groups – NGOs etc.) are principally constituted & substanciated by  the limitation of the Planet’s material & detoxicating ressources. Hence sustainability means that one

  1. shouldn’t consume more of our geobisofere than can be regenerated &
  2. shouldn’t pollute the geobiosfere more than can be detoxicated by it.

A measure for the degree of consumption-pollution can be the so called“ecological footprint”, i.e. the mathematically kalkulatable excess (quantitative factor).
In addition there is a factor, which relates to the (also to a certain degree measurable) reduction of the biological & cultural diversity on this Planet & its world.
One of the mayor criteria of sustainable evolution is the so called “resilience”, a physical quantity which relates to the elasticity (or buffer capacity) of an autoekopoietic system of the geobiosfere, including the humane social systems. This, so to speak, guarantees the survival of the system. Herto belongs also the principle of prevention.

3.

Besides ecology, economy & the social, also culture is a decisive factor with concern to the ecologically sustainable evolution of the human society.

The culture of sustainability considers culture itself in all its aspects, & thus also communication, as part of a livable present & future. In regard to this transdisciplinarity & transculturality play an important role in the creation of a global  change of mindset, which finally should accomplish both social & ecological justice. This evidently relates to individuals and collectives.

4.

Nowadays all fields of human activity are submitted to examnination concerning their  adequateness in the context of a sustainable operation of our world.Retaxation of values & realignment of theoretical premisses & practical politics belong to the prerequisites of a safe & enjoyable future.  This also applies to the fundamentals of international communication & its acceptable traits & costs (ecological communication).

A nonethnical neutral international language as Esperanto represents the linguistic part of a sustainable culture in international communication.

The international languagein itself is ecologically sustainable with regad to 2 features:

  1. Qualitativly Esperanto minimizes social risks for the fact of  installing“democratic bilinguism”, i.e.  a setup of international communication, in which everybody speaks his own mother  tongue & Esperanto (Esperanto as the 2nd language for all.) Nobody suffers linguistic or communicative disadvantages.
  2. Quantitatively  Esperanto minimizes environmental risks for the fact of “ecological appropriateness”, meaning drastic reduction with concern to the dissipation of resources (consumption of material & energy in translation & interpreter services) & general pollution of the geobiosfere. (Just one figure:  within the EU every fourth official is in one way or another occupied with language & translation problems!)

A more detailed overview of the problem will be given in an article to come: “Esperanto – ecological, ecomical, social & cultural arguments for a neutral international language”.

Wolfgang Guenther (compilation)

AVE (Asocio de Verduloy Esperantistay – www.verduloj.org)

NULA HORO (Transnacia Artkoncepto kun Esperanto kile Komuna Lingvo, nula [dot] horo [dot] arto [at] web [dot] de)

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)

Cultura211 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

Atlantic Rising

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H49fnCMi0WA

Atlantic Rising is a charity on a 28,000 mile journey circumnavigating the Atlantic overland along the 1metre contour line. This is the level scientists predict sea levels may reach by the year 2100.

Along the way we are creating an educational networkbetween 15,000 students in low-lying coastal communities. Through our photography, films andwriting, we are also documenting what will be lost if these predictions come true.

We don’t claim to have all the solutions to stop sea levels from rising.  But we hope our work will help the next generation understand their responsibility to each other to build a sustainable future.

Atlantic Rising explores what will be lost around the Atlantic Ocean if sea levels rise by one metre. Our work in low-lying communities around the ocean rim is journalistic and educational. We are creating a network between 15,000 pupils; enabling them to build friendships, share experience and collaborate on climate change projects. We are also reporting the stories of people whose lives are already being affected by sea level change and providing a platform for marginalised voices.

We don’t have all the solutions to the causes of sea level rise. But we hope our work will raise awareness about the difficulties faced by Atlantic communities and help the next generation learn their responsibility to each other to build a sustainable future.

We believe education is the most important weapon we have in combating climate change. Today’s children will inherit the environmental legacy of previous generations and it is vital that climate change is a subject that is accessible and relevant. We also believe that most children listen to their friends much more than they listen to teachers.

By building connections and discussing our shared history, we hope to make pupils aware of the interdependence of Atlantic communities. By encouraging collaboration on climate change projects we hope to highlight the immediacy of the problem and the collective responsibility we have to find a solution. By encouraging friendships we hope to make people care about it enough to act.

Atlantic Rising – About the Project.

Mainstream ecology in public art

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Make a contribution, air your most profound lessons (or the things you rant about).

The questions raised by art and ecology, the issues of culture in a time of environmental crisis, don’t always impact on mainstream public art practices.

The public invitation to contribute to a new series of books, entitled Hints and Tips, is a chance to provoke people to think about ecology, systems, sustainability, inhabitation and dwelling, as well as the role and value of artists, designers and other creative practitioners alongside project managers, contractors, committees, inhabitants, tenants and communities.

For instance, surely all the inhabitants are important, not just the human ones?

Hints and Tips is being developed in the context of a long term residency with Glasgow Housing Association being undertaken by Peter McCaughey and Ben Spencer.  They have approached PAR+RS to collaborate on the development of these publications.  For more information and to make your contribution: Hints and Tips · Reflections · PAR+RS.

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

Hacking together a project

In a blog a couple of weeks ago, Matthew Taylor called for ideas for a new RSA project on manufacturing. Given the RSA’s commitment to practical project work, he suggested that heavy industrial projects would be impractical for us and that worthy reports on the future of manufacturing in the UK are two-a-penny.

The rise of hacking (see this paper published by the RSA’s Design team in 2009) provides food for thought, but the practical project isn’t yet clear… Anyway rather than go over the same ground again, I thought I’d do something more constructive, like make a map of the Hackspaces that are springing up around the UK. This one (click on it to go to the actual map) shows the Hackspaces listed on the Hackspace Foundation website as of today.

I’d be interested to know what factors contribute to the forming of a hackspace. Is it a university near by? More diverse or tolerant communities? Concentration of creative or high-tech industry? What do you think?

Map of UK Hackspaces – data taken from http://hackspace.org.uk/

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Mediating Change

‘Mediating Change: Culture and Climate Change’- A panel of experts engaging in discussion

Talk of climate change has grown prevalently in recent years and continues to be a focal point in discussions amongst politicians and scientists. But behind the highly-publicised media attention we read about so frequently in the newspapers, the arts have been responding to the issues surrounding climate change and encouraging a cultural shift in our understanding of these significant issues. Artists, writers and performers have been inspired to explore and question the issues surrounding climate change and deliver responses that may trigger people to talk, think and act on this subject.

To learn more about ‘what happens when culture meets climate change’ take a look at the pod cast below called ‘Mediating Change’, a four-part series chaired by BBC’s Quentin Cooper who is joined by a panel of experts.

Produced with the Open University and the Ashden Trust, the series sits on the homepage of the OU’s iTunes U:

Go to Arcola Energy

Photoshopping A New Continent

Spartan Artist-in-Residence Kenyatta Hinkle

Kenyatta Hinkle says she thinks Sam’s trailer has a life of it’s own.  As the Trash On Wheels’ first Artist In Residence, she was asked to tells us what it’s like to make art inside the trailer. With her husband and friends playing soulful, spiritual jazz,  she set up shop one afternoon during the Arts In The One World Conference, January 27-29.

“The floorboards move.  There’s energy in there,” she said, stopping to take in the vibe of the sixty-year old structure.   “There are some stories here.  It even smells like my grandmother’s attic. It’s high and low art – it’s a home and not a home. ”

Born in Louisville and raised in Baltimore, Kenyatta came to CalArts as a visual artist. She switched to a major in multimedia interdisciplinary art to give her more tools to work with. As she sat outside with her back leaning against the trailer she tried to figure out how to attach one half of a straight-haired blond wig to half of a black curly one.

“You wear this when you go for a job interview. The black half works works for the employer looking for diversity.  The blonde one…” she said, her voice trailing off. “Before I came to CalArts, I did a lot of work around the power of hair.  When Delilah cut Samson’s hair, he lost his power.  Hair can also have a religious aspect; in some cultures, people in mourning don’t comb their hair.”

She studied awesome pictures of African women with elaborate hairstyles.  “If you see a deer with horns you don’t mess with it,” she said.

Her mother was always strict about hair.  “We weren’t allowed to go out of the house unless our hair was combed. In traditional African culture, you have to be aligned before you got out into the world.  That means your hair has to be combed.”

Kenyatta’s mother creates elaborate hairstyles that take hours to create. “A while back I found pictures of women in Africa with the exact same hairstyles.  My mother had no idea!”

When Kenyatta got married she cut off her husband’s lock and wove it into her own hair. It was kind of a present. “In certain tribes women pass down their hair extensions,” she explains.  “It’s called the gifting of hair. There’s power in hair,” she explains.  “Sampson lost his power when Delilah cut off his hair.”

Her current work consist of creating her own continent.  She plans to mix a little piece of Kentucky, where some of ancestors are from, with a little piece of West Africa, where others originated.   A lot of her history is unknown to her, so she’ll just make that part up.

“I like to subvert things,” she says.  “It’s kind of like Photoshopping.”

See Kenyatta Hinkle’s You Tube video

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.

Sustainable progress, one art piece at a time

The Sustainability Review seeks submissions that address sustainability issues and also function as a call to action, meshing artistry with advocacy. Potential pieces could feature novel technology, innovative re-use, or solutions for specific human/environmental interactions.  We embrace work that employs a multi-faceted approach, especially that which makes use of emerging media (though traditional media is also welcomed).  This includes (but is not limited to) creative and innovative design, conceptual cartography, and statistical art.

For our upcoming issue, we are particularly interested in pieces on resource scarcity. Some possible topics include increasing scarcity of resources such as rare earth metals, fossil fuels, nutrients like phosphorus, and land. Submissions dealing with resource scarcity will receive higher priority, but we will consider all submissions.

Please include with your submission a 300 to 450 word statement describing your work.  This should address the guidelines set above, introducing your work to TSR readers in a way that compliments the mission of the publication.  For established works, the statement should portray the submitted piece in a manner that is unique to TSR.  Additionally, please provide a concise artist statement to accompany your submission.

Submissions for this issue will be accepted until February 18, 2011 and will be published starting March 11, 2010.

Send submissions to Arts Editors, Blake McConnell and Tamara Lawless at (arts@thesustainabilityreview.org)

Technical Guidelines

Art Slide Submissions:

640×480 px slides
1280 width or larger full-size images
JPG format only
No Adobe Formats (PDF, AI, etc)

All art submissions will be displayed in a 640×480 slideshow with the ability for readers to view full-size image by clicking on individual slides. It is up to the artist to render/crop their works to the best of their ability given these size constraints.  Please include one title slide with your name and any copyright notices.

Graphic Figure Submissions:

Graphs, charts, etc. should be a maximum of 640 pixels wide (if necessary a full-size image may be included)

Please standardize dimensions for embedding within your research article.

GIF, JPG, or PNG formats only

Video Submissions:

Uploaded to an embeddable hosting site such as Youtube or Vimeo

Preferred:

720×480 or 640×480 maximum resolution

h264 or webM video codec

AAC or mp3 audio codec (at least 128kbps)

Alternate:

480×320 minimum resolution (artistic, documentaries)

h264 or webM video codec

AAC or mp3 audio codec (at least 128kbps)

Send submissions to Arts Editors, Blake McConnell and Tamara Lawless at (arts@thesustainabilityreview.org)

MISSION

The core mission of The Sustainability Review (http://www.thesustainabilityreview.org/) is to provide a forum for meaningful, comprehensible, and stimulating discussion related to the field of sustainability.  We want to encourage engagement among scholars, students, professionals, and the informed public interested in addressing the  pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of the age.

TSR has had the honor of working with members of the sustainability and art community, including Barry Sparkman and Grisha Coleman. Our intention in collaborating with artists like these is to provide our submitters wider exposure in the arts community while ensuring that the artwork published in TSR is of the highest quality.