Yearly Archives: 2012

Carrying the Fire

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Douglas Strang asked ecoartscotland to highlight the Carrying the Fire weekend 20-22nd April 2012 at Wiston Lodge near Biggar in the Scottish Borders.

I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. ‘Bout the colour of the moon. And in the dream I knew he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold.

from ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy

The Dark Mountain Project is a cultural movement for an age of global disruption. It is a growing network of writers, thinkers, artists, and craftspeople who have stopped believing in the stories our civilisation tells itself. We believe we are entering an age of material decline, ecological collapse and social and political uncertainty, and that our cultural responses should reflect this, rather than denying it. Carrying the Fire hopes to become the northern cousin of Uncivilisation, the main Dark Mountain Festival. Hosted by Wiston Lodge near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, it will be a smaller event, more intimate, but still with a strong programme of speakers, poets and performers. And still asking the question: where are the stories to guide us through this era of crisis and change?

The dominant stories – those that speak of growth, endless progress, more of everything – continue to be proclaimed throughout the land, but there’s a hollowness in the telling and a growing mistrust of the tale. At ‘Carrying the Fire’ we will hear from those with a different perspective:

Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of Dark Mountain, will be there to discuss the Project – where it’s come from and where it’s going.

Margaret Elphinstone will read from and discuss ‘The Gathering Night’, which is set during the Mesolithic era. Her novel is a celebration of ‘wildness’ and of the ‘animism’ which once formed the basis of our relationship to the natural world.

Kenneth White’s ‘Geopoetics’ is correlated to the Dark Mountain idea of ‘uncivilised writing’. Norman Bissell, director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, will discuss White’s ideas and use them in an exploration of ‘the Golden Land’ – the utopian vision which so haunts Orwell’s ’1984′.

Sharon Blackie of TwoRavens Press and the soon to be launched journal ‘Earthlines’, will discuss the art of storytelling and the ways that stories connect.

And there will be other talks and tellings, including from Luke Devlin, director of the Centre for Human Ecology, the artist Matthew Donnelly, and Gehan MacLeod of the GalGael Trust. There will be art workshops and ecopoetry sessions, storytelling for children (and adults), and opportunities to explore the land and the woods round Wiston Lodge – including Tinto Hill (2334 ft) beneath which Wiston nestles.

In the evenings there will be music from the likes of Mairi Campbell as well as more informal sessions. On Saturday night, we will set off into the woods for the latest instalment of Liminal – an otherworldly mix of art, poetry and physical theatre.

So, if you can’t wait till ‘Uncivilisation’ in August, or are based in the North and want to support a Dark Mountain event closer to home, join us for what promises to be an amazing weekend on the 20th – 22nd April. Come, celebrate spring amidst the hills of the Borders, gather by the fire in a clearing in the woods. There are stories to be told…

For more information and how to book tickets click here.

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.
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Warm winter, early blooms

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Kellie Gutman writes:

Our yearly collaboration with the Paideia School, in Atlanta Georgia has just wrapped up.  Each year they send a pre-written postcard, ready to be filled in with a date, for the first spotting of a blooming daffodil.  All of those who receive cards are within 5 miles of U.S. Route 1, which stretches from the southern tip of Florida to the northern tip of Maine.  As the cards return to the school, they are used by the  9- and 10-year olds to plot the advance of spring on a map.  When all the cards are in they use their maths skills to figure out the rate at which spring advances.

This year the winter was unseasonably warm on the east coast. In Boston, where the snowfall average is 41.3 inches, we have received only 9.1 inches.  This is only a tenth of an inch more than the least snowiest winter on record.

Last year the first daffodil was spotted on April 5th.  This year it was three and a half weeks earlier on March 12.  We will have to wait until all the cards have been returned to see if spring in general was much earlier this year.

See also:

 

“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

TippingPoint makes a step-change

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes: The TippingPoint last month, co-hosted by the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, made a step-change from previous TP events. Many of the same elements were there, but something shifted. Something sparked in the combination of TP’s open structure and those participants, those presentations, the talk, the room and the city. It felt as if many things were converging, and instead of being an event proposing or speculating that culture and the arts could be important responses to climate change, it was an event going with and propelling the diverse and energetic work that is being made, and being dreamt of.

The presentations in more conventional conference form, many now online, were provocative, each presenting a distinct direction and raising questions that filtered through the rest of the event. Kevin Anderson and Matt Ridley’s heated head-to-head (“Two men slugging it out over data” as one participant named it) exemplified adversarial strategies and the ways in which the ‘deniers’ and those who accept the consensus views of science tend to define one another’s arguments, leaving a blank between them. It also brought out the difficulties of seeing and critiquing the rhetoric and argumentation in debates that rely on scientific data.

Lucy Conway presented the artwork that is the Isle of Eigg, and how the population there is realising low-carbon, high socially and culturally benefitted living. Ben Twist from Zero Carbon Scotland +TBD, introduced the problem of whether art can, or should, be linked to behavioural change. Erica Whyman from Northern Stage showed how the major cultural organisations in Newcastle are collaborating across their business and institutional interests, and building a network that could include developing plans for material sustainability. The idea of organisational collaboration returned in Alan Davey’s announcement of Arts Council England’s decision to embed environmental sustainability into its funding agreement.

On the last day, Sue Gill, of Dead Good Guides led everyone in singing a version of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ before John Fox gave his reflections on the transitions in art-making from commercialised spectacle to vernacular art, to ‘random acts of culture’. “Even if the markets fail, we must not tolerate the failure of imagination.”

The three days were planned to allow for chance conversations and random mixing in small groups, like the ‘Show and Tell’ session, where participants bring an object with meaning for them relating to climate change. Some of these personal and emotive exchanges drifted into the wider discussions. The three Open Space sessions had themes, the first two mostly ignored: ‘In what ways might I influence the future’ and ‘Exploring Possibilities’, in favour of people’s more immediate concerns. The third, ‘What am I going to do about the future’, drew out dozens of groups talking about their projects, and help that could be given to them.

The openness of TP makes reporting back very subjective. It did feel as if something happened, more than presentations and networking. The unrepeatable, and well-facilitated, combination of the people, the ideas, the timing came together to make an event that showed and advanced the many edges of social and artistic action.Audio recordings of the presentations, tweets, blogs, interviews and commentaries with participants and some of the evenings’ entertainment are on Amplified. Photos above posted on Amplified by quitexander.

“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 Peter Fend’s “Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen or Read or Done”

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Installation shot, courtesy of Essex Street

Colby Chamberlain’s intelligent review of Peter Fend’s show of current projects at Essex Street: Peter Fend’s “Über die Grenze: May Not Be Seen or Read or Done” | Art Agenda.

Extensive hi res documentation of the work on the Essex Street website.

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

Etienne de France – Tales of a Sea Cow

This post comes to you from Cultura21
2012, March 30 to June 24 – Parco Arte Vivente, Torino (Italy)

Curated by Annick Bureaud – Opening: March 29 at 6.30 pm

In a finis terrae like scenery – rarefied, cold and blurring – takes place the story of a scientific team engaged in a field research across the seas of Iceland and Greenland, in order to prove (at least in the form of sound recordings) the survival of some specimens of the “Steller’s Rhytine” – a marine mammal declared extinct. Science or science fiction?

Chronicle of an adventure as well as methodological exercise, the multimedia project by Etienne De France (living in Paris and Reykjavik) blurs reality and fiction, retracing and reshaping the traces of a world both virtual and potential, a plausible Otherwhere, which is mirror and metaphor of the Real.

Opening hours: from Wednesday to Friday, 1 pm – 6 pm ; Saturday and Sunday, 12 am – 19 pm
PAV – Parco Arte Vivente, Via Giordano Bruno 31.

Events:

  • Inner focus: March 28th, 5 pm, Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti, via Accademia Albertina 6.  Speakers: Etienne de France, Massimo Melotti (ethics of communication) and Maria Teresa Roberto (phenomenology of contemporary arts).
  • Press conference: March 29th, 11 am, PAV – Parco Arte Vivente

Background

Collaborating with paleo-zoologists and biologists, the artist retraces every tiny detail concerning the existence of Steller’s rhytine and reconstructs its world – its habitat, the routes it used to follow, its behavioural patterns – trying to fill the void created by the animal’s extinction. Exploiting the latest scientific methods and techniques, De France imagines and follows a team of experts engaged in checking reports of some unexpected sightings, looking for confirmation, at least in the form of sound recordings, to prove the survival of some specimens of the long-lost Sirenian.

The result is a blend of science and fiction, a return to the atmosphere beloved of Jules Verne, in which elements of the real are interwoven with the dimension of the possible, perhaps with that of dreams.

Within the framework of PAV Educational and Teaching Activities, curated by Orietta Brombin, Tales of a Sea Cow becomes the starting point for the workshop Gulliver’s Travel, dedicated to exploring in depth the theme of otherness through the curious eyes of the traveler of the eighteenth-century literary genre.

In the area of education for young artists and adults in general, on Saturday June 2nd the theme will be taken up again by Piero Gilardi in a public workshop entitled Noi come animali (Us as animals).

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

Call for Papers – Environmental Humanities & the Challenge of Multidisciplinarity

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

This call for papers articulates an argument for a broad, in the terms of the call multi-discipliary, approach to environmental issues.  The text of the call is a clear and cogent case for the involvement of a wide range of disciplines and positions to develop an ethics.

A Workshop at the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, *“The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity: Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy”*

University of Cyprus, Nicosia, July 2 – 6, 2012

THEME OF THE WORKSHOP

Environmental issues are typically framed within public discourse as problems that require empirical information and technological solutions.  This paradigm holds not only scientific but also philosophical assumptions, most importantly that the real world is the one described by natural science, the world of scientific realism. In this worldview, all other disciplines (such as ethics, the qualitative social sciences, and politics and policy) are assimilated as “tools in the toolbox” used to solve the problems previously defined by Western science. The intensity of current environmental crises—especially global climate destabilization—energizes this focus on practical problem-solving and on technological and policy solutions within existing institutional, economic, and political frameworks. However, this approach fails to recognize that the humanistic disciplines, including philosophy, literature, and the arts, both construct and express knowledge of nature that exceeds the bounds of problem-solving and the ontology of scientific realism. Further, claims about nature that appeal to the authority of Western science, though masked as objective, are frequently deployed to undergird ideological constructions about race, class, gender, and nation; the authority to make claims about nature is inseparable from political power.

Underlying this default position of the natural sciences is the unexamined assumption that environmental problems are encountered independently of any context, values, history, or disciplinary biases.  Humanities scholars in the emerging fields of ecocriticism, environmental art, environmental philosophy, and related areas of inquiry vigorously challenge this assumption, arguing that our environmental problems are inescapably ethical, historical, and political. The very definitions of environmental problems at any given moment are a function of human ideas and negotiations that have a particular cultural location and history and that reflect specific concepts of ethical responsibility and justice. Consequently, the methods of the natural sciences, although necessary for meeting our environmental challenges, cannot replace the interpretive, critical, and artistic methods of the humanities. The emergence of the “environmental humanities,” as a multidisciplinary site of convergence within academic scholarship, responds to this need.

This workshop will engage with the emerging disciplines of the environmental humanities to pose a series of questions, including:

* How are the methods and epistemology of the humanities distinct from those of the empirical sciences?

* What would a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to questions of the environment look like, and how can this be negotiated within current institutional limitations?

* What impact can the humanities have on public discourse and political will in specific areas, such as environmental justice and climate change?

PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS

Please submit two-page abstracts by email in Word format to the workshop organizers by*15 March 2012*. Each presenter will have 20 minutes and is asked to present rather than read a paper. Abstracts of accepted presentations will be circulated to the participants in advance of the conference.

CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Final versions of the papers (not to exceed 3,000 words, or 10 double-spaced pages, including notes) will be reviewed by the workshop organizers for possible publication in the conference proceedings.

THE CONFERENCE

This workshop is planned under the auspices of the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, on the theme “The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity:

Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy.” For more information, visit ISSEI’s website at http://issei2012.haifa.ac.il/

THE VENUE

The workshop will be held at the University of Cyprus – Main Campus, Kallipoleos Avenue 75, Nicosia 2100 Cyprus.

WORKSHOP ORGANIZERS

Janet Fiskio, Environmental Studies, Oberlin College, jfiskio@oberlin.edu

Ted Toadvine, Philosophy and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, toadvine@uoregon.edu

Ted Toadvine
uoregon.edu/~toadvine

Head, Department of Philosophy
Associate Professor, Philosophy& Environmental Studies
University of Oregon

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Environmental Philosophy
ephilosophy.uoregon.edu

Co-Editor, Chiasmi International
filosofia.unimi.it/~chiasmi/

Editor, Ohio University Press Series in Continental Thought
ohioswallow.com/series/Series+in+Continental+Thought

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