Yearly Archives: 2012

Jame Bedell’s Greener Lighting Design in the Real World

Check out this presentation by lighting designer James Bedell. He originally gave this presentation at an event for the Broadway Green Alliance exploring Greener Lighting Practices in the theater. As a sustainability advocate, James encourages lighting designers to integrate sustainability into their design priorities whenever working on a project.

Taylor Guitars & The Future of Ebony

In this video, Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor talks about the world’s dwindling supply of ebony, the realities of ebony sourcing in Cameroon, and Taylor’s efforts to preserve a sustainable supply for the entire musical instrument community. With the co-purchase of Crelicam, an ebony mill in Cameroon in 2011, Taylor began to develop a fresh framework for sustainable sourcing, one that blends socially responsible forestry with job training that will help Cameroonian communities support themselves and improve their living standards.

From the Taylor website: “We need to use the ebony that the forest gives us,” emphasizes Bob, who has personally met with a number of other prominent guitar manufacturers since the Crelicam purchase to spread awareness of the new realities regarding ebony sourcing. While the current conditions don’t mean that the days of all-black ebony are entirely gone, they do mean that if we want to ensure a sustainable ebony supply for future generations of instruments and players, we must embrace greater cosmetic diversity.

The story was recently picked up by the Los Angeles Times. In the article, but Ron White, Taylor was also quoted as saying, regarding the workers at the mill:

“We are going to start doing a lot of the processing and that will provide more jobs and more higher-paying jobs and triple the value of what they can sell, instead of just the raw material,” Taylor said. “There is money in the ebony, and they deserve to have more of that.”

Click these links for more info:

Taylor Guitar’s Commitment to Sustainability

Taylor Guitar’s page on Sustainable Ebony

LA Time’s Article about Talyor Guitar’s purchase of the Crelicam Mill

Environmental Justice League Presentation June 16th in Los Angeles

The Environmental Justice League is a community theatre project housed in the Los Angeles City Council District 10. For 8 weeks, they have met on Saturdays to develop their writing and performance skills to create an original theater piece on environmental justice. The ethnically diverse members of the group range from 20 to 90 years old and  they conduct their rehearsals in English, Spanish and Korean.

They invite all to come watch the sharing of their works in progress. Come see as they transform an outdoor amphitheater into a magic bus that will take you on a ride through the present and future of climate, food, transit and environmental justice.

The performance will be at 5:30 PM, Saturday June 16th, 2012.

The location for the performance is the William Grant Still Art Center at 2520 West View Street, Los Angeles, CA 90016. 

Thoughts on TJ Demos’ Art after Nature

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Art after nature: TJ Demos on the post natural condition, in Artforum (April 2012) is, as Suzaan Boettger pointed out, important because it represents a key moment demonstrating that ecoart is impacting on mainstream contemporary art’s discourses (maybe).

Perhaps more importantly, the piece concludes with the work of artists who are at this moment, as has happened at key points in the past, choosing to position the focus of their work outside the artworld. Artists such as Nils Norman, whose work Demos focuses on, as well as Fritz Haeg, Superflex, Marjetica Potrc, Art not Oil, Allora & Calzadilla and The Yes Men all engage directly with the biopolitical and the eco-financial (though the work of many of these can be seen in galleries and museums pretty regularly, e.g. Haeg’s Animal Estates 1.0 was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2008). It would be trite to say that economic crisis turns art away from the market, and in any case it wouldn’t be true of the artists profiled in this article, most of whom have been pursuing critiques of markets for decades.

This isn’t Demos’ first foray into art and ecology: he wrote one of the introductory essays for the 2010 Radical Nature show at the Barbican and has also written about the work of Nils Norman in other contexts.

The double entendre in the title Art after nature, alluding to both Timothy Morton‘s Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics and also to art chasing nature, signals the philosophical and phenomenal complexities of the issues he is engaging.

He opens with a discussion of the installation Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium (Autogena and Portway, 2001/04) and, through unpacking the denatured core of this work, frames the challenge through Frederic Jameson‘s challenge to the naturalisation of finance. Is the market part of human nature? Jameson argues that the naturalisation of the market “cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.” This is of course a key theme of the moment, demonstrated not least in the occupy movement.

Curiously Jane Jacobs, who, whilst not being a Marxist, you might assume to be on the same side of the argument, made a case for economics precisely as natural. Her text, The Nature of Economies, argues that economics works in the same way as natural systems, not metaphorically, but literally. Jameson is directly challenging the consequences of this line of thinking. Whether Jacobs is right in her argument (see here), the wider issues of the naturalisation of economics and in particular markets is deeply problematic.

Demos summarises the relationship between economics and environmental crisis, and uses key art works to frame questions around whether environmental crisis should be understood wholly within economic terms (as it is in the Stern Report of 2006, commissioned by the UK Government).

Dave Pritchard’s comments based on a deep understanding of environmental policy and politics, (previously highlighted here) also question this assumption. Pritchard highlights the trajectory of environmental thinking from the emergence of deep ecology through the increasing reliance on the economising (for instance as ecological services) of the environment as a tactic adopted by the environmental movement to engage politicians and economists.

This double process of economising, by both the mainstream culture and the environmental movement, provides a context for recent statements from George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the UK cannot afford the green agenda (“…environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too…”). He couldn’t make this argument effectively if it was not already accepted that economics was the ‘natural’, or pre-eminent, mode of assessment.

Demos highlights Amy Balkin’s Public Smog (2006-11) which provides another point of critique of the financialisation of the environment and raises some deeply ironic moments in relation to assumed value. The reportage of a conversation with a bureaucrat around the need for international agreement on the “outstanding universal value” of the atmosphere in order for it to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is frankly, priceless.

Demos next turns to the 2007 Sharjah Biennial entitled Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change, and in particular Tue Greenfort‘s work Exceeding 2 Degrees (2007). Demos, framing it as an evolution of current tropes of contemporary art, introduces the idea of eco-institutional critique. Greenfort’s work draws together a number of elements globalised production framing environmental crisis through an installation comprising room temperature and furniture. A thermo-hydrograph installed in the gallery demonstrates that the air conditioning of the museum has been reduced allowing the space to be warmer by 2 degrees Celsius (the target maximum increase identified in the Stern Report as a limit around which Climate Change Policy should be constructed). The thermo-hydrograph sat on a table made in Japan out of Malaysian wood and sold in Dubai. The money saved by reducing the cooling of the Art Museum was donated to a Danish environmental organisation to protect an area of two square miles of rain forest in Ecuador. The work is fully entangled in the complexities and paradoxes of globalisation and environmental crisis. Demos says, “…although it rescued only a tiny plot of land, Greenfort’s work successfully demonstrated the connections between economic, ecological, and institutional systems.”

Demos tips his hat to the pioneers who were, from the late 60s, creating works “within a ‘mesh’ of social, political and phenomenal relations.” His list includes Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, Peter Fend, Hans Haacke, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, and Alan Sonfist. He draws out a key point: they go beyond the simplistic glorification of nature which tended to “posit nature as a separate realm of purity needing protection from industrial degredation, pollution and economic exploitation.”

The question of positioning, framed in terms of creative practices, is in Demos’ interpretation a microcosm of the larger arguments around the status of ‘nature’. Those who argue against, for instance, GM crops (e.g. Vandana Shiva) are according to Demos, “necessarily maintain[ing] a nostalgic belief in the natural and defend[ing] it as a sphere in need of protection.” Demos seems to miss the real territory of debate: he refers to the argument for naming the reality of the ‘Anthropocene‘, but he misses the argument from Deep Ecology for the valuing of all living things and the acknowledgement of interconnectedness. This is a critical issue, because environmental philosophy is not polarised around those who are nostalgically arguing for the protection of nature, versus those who embrace the human shaping of the whole world. Rather the key is to challenge human hubris. The argument for the current geological age being called the Anthropocene is that human activity is affecting all aspects of the planet and that evidence of human activity is manifest in all environments: plastic particles in the oceans, CO2 levels in the atmosphere, consequent mass extinction. In this respect the naming is accurate. But humanity has sought to control the environment through the modern period, shaping it to suit our convenience, first in relation to habitation, but increasingly in relation to all our desires. If the conceptualisation of Anthropocene reinforces an assumption of ‘use’ rather than, for instance, ‘stewardship,’ or if it underestimates our capacity to precipitate broad-scale accidental calamity, then it is in significant danger of reinforcing the destructive aspects of human culture. Does using the term ‘Anthropocene’ sharpen the question around our place in the world, or does it re-package an existing assumption of dominance?

But returning to Demos’ narrative, he concludes by focusing on the ways in which some practices of art and ecology move beyond the tropes of institutional critique. In this he picks up on remarks made by Nils Norman (e.g. on the Bad at Sports interview), in which Norman questions the effectiveness of institutional critique and suggests that artists need to reduce their mobility and focus on development of work in particular locations. This is a practice adopted by others (including PLATFORM who take great care in judging where to travel, using trains even when travelling to the Middle East, and only travel when the reason includes practical ways of engaging with local activists and artists).

Demos draws out the implications of Norman’s project Edible Park, undertaken with Stroom den Haag, initially by juxtaposing with the previous proposal for the site developed by Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Where OMA developed a masterplan for the Binkhorst area of the Hague incorporating an Formula 1 racetrack, skyscrapers, a beach, amusement park and leisure facilities, “Norman’s low-tech ‘counter master plan’ joined organic agriculture and practices such as rainwater harvesting, forest gardening, and composting to craft his model of eco-communalism and bioregionalism, realised in collaboration with a local group of permaculture activists. Norman also worked with Dutch architect Michel Post to build a central place-making structure, a “roundhouse” with passive solar front windows and strawbale construction.”

Demos relates this project as an initiative which responds intelligently to the crisis in the economics of capitalism. His juxtaposition of Edible Park with the OMA masterplan highlights its function as embedded or durational critique, not merely an ecological version of institutional critique. The contrast with Tue Greenfort’s Exceeding 2 Degrees for the Sharjah Biennial is informative. The latter is the tactics of the avant garde attempting to shock the audience through the cleverly formulated and intensely referential highlighting of weakness (mea culpa, mea culpa). But it never leaves the artworld. In contrast Edible Park is a durational and engaged work which negotiates between local ambition and critical positioning, seeking ways to draw attention to alternative configurations of the city, within the city and through the city.

Norman raises the question clearly in The Guide to This World & Nearer Ones (2009), Creative Time’s temporary public art project on New York’s Governors Island. He’s quoted saying,

“I’ve been looking at the history of bohemian artist movements to find a possible place of dissention. Is Bohemia still a place where artists can experiment and develop strategies outside the mainstream? The normalising effect of the market makes this now almost completely impossible, and Bohemia has been instrumentalised by people who make direct links to ‘creatives,’ bohemian lifestyles and a new class of urban entrepreneurs through city regeneration. Where can alternatives be developed? Where is it possible to drop out and develop new languages and codes.”

From this perspective, is it good that Artforum is paying attention to ecoart?

Thanks to Dave Pritchard for additional comments.

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

ENERGISING CULTURE: JB’S LATEST GUIDE

Energising Culture: JB’s Latest Guide

Energising Culture guide cover

Yesterday saw the launch of our latest guide, Energising Culture, the first in a two-part guide on future energy strategies for cultural buildings, published in partnership with The Theatres Trust and Arts Council England.

Energising Culture aims to equip the leaders of cultural buildings with an understanding of the core issues around energy demand and supply, and implications for operational and investment decision-making. It makes the case for energy as a business-critical issue.

The guide covers practical and operational interventions, the current range of technological, compliancy and financial incentives, sources of funding and investment models available.

It also provides case study examples of innovative and bold responses to the energy challenge from the cultural sector.

(Full press release)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ENERGISING CULTURE >

Energising Culture funder logos: Ecovenue, Theatres Trust, European Regional Development Fund, Arts Council England

Energising Culture Seminar

12.30 – 13.30 THURS 14 JUNE

ABTT Theatre Show 2012

Join Julie’s Bicycle and The Theatres Trust to discuss practical solutions to powering our cultural events into the future.

More information and booking

Alternative Conference for the Rio Summit

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Taking place on June 16th and 17th, 2012 in London, UK.  At the central London Universities – SOAS, the Institute of Education (IOE) and University College London (UCL).

Organised by the Campaign against Climate Change with the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Department for Development Studies. Opening plenary in IOE, Thornhaugh Street off Russell Square, Russell Square Tube.

 Rio to Rio: 20 wasted years?

  •  Between 1992 and 2012:
  • The global surface temperature has risen by 0.38C.
  • The Arctic sea ice has decreased by 2.94 million square kilometres.
  • The CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 35.19 PPM.
  • 30 661 900 hectares of Brazilian forest have been lost.
  • More than 431,215.08 million tonnes of CO2 have been emitted.
  • The amount of CO2 emitted per year has risen from 21,421.45 to 30,398.42 million tonnes.

A wide range of workshops and seminars – and an exciting main plenary – are planned. Titles include :

  • “Food Security how can we stop a tragedy unfolding?”
  • “Green Energy versus ‘Extreme’ Energy”
  • “One Million Climate Jobs”
  • “Inequity is not only bad for society but a barrier to dealing effectively with the ecological crisis”
  • “Renewing Political Commitment to win the global battle against eco-calamity: a lost cause or is there a way forward?”
  • “We will not achieve environmental justice without a fundamental shift in values”
  • “New legal frameworks for a new era of environmental progress and justice”
  • “Can London lead the way in the fight against climate meltdown?”

and more workshops on: Green growth vs De-growth; bioenergy and land grabs; forests and biodiversity; aviation; geo-engineering; oceans; Zero Carbon Britain by 2030; arctic methane time bomb; generational justice; climate refugees;civil disobedience; “fracking”; population, gender and climate change; false solutions; TREC: energy from the deserts…and more.

To register a place at the conference click here.

This is a free event but donations to help the campaign would be appreciated.

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

Indie-theatre take on Deepwater spill

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

photo: Encyclopedia Britannica online

Wallace Heim writes: 

During April and May, The Way of Water, Caridad Svich’s play about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill toured over fifty venues in North America and Brazil, and in Berlin, Aberystwyth, Glasgow and London. The play toured not as a production but as script-in-hand readings by actors in each place.

The play, marking the two-year anniversary of the spill, traveled quickly, more like an indie-music event than a theatre tour. This new kind of theatrical experience is low-budget, international, tied in with social media and carbon-light.

The play deals with the toxic effects of the spill on four people, on their health, livelihoods and sense of community. The play’s impetus is towards taking action against corporate malfeasance, a revision of the plotline of An Enemy of the People.

Seeing the reading in Aberystwyth, Carl Lavery, Senior Lecturer in Drama, blogged ‘Ten Thoughts on The Way of Water. Here are three:

When I think of The Way of Water, I think of its linguistic rhythms and poetic beats – its politics of voice.

When I think of The Way of Water, I think of 4 young actors in Wales finding its meanings, walking its lines, tracing its shapes.

When I think of The Way of Water, I think of my Dad who died from a lifetime of exposure to the toxic fuel tanks of Phantom fighter jets.

“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

Applications open for the 2012 Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production at the Hollywood Fringe #lathr #hff12

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE 2012 HOLLYWOOD FRINGE QUESTIONNAIRE

The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) announces the 2012 Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The CSPA Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production is designed to reward sustainable practice in the production of a fringe show. The winner will be announced at the Fringe Awards Ceremony on June 24th at 7:00pm, and will receive a plaque and a feature article in an upcoming edition of the CSPA Quarterly, the CSPA’s print publication highlighting the most exciting work being done in sustainability and the arts.

The award will be adjudicated by the CSPA Directors, Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright, along with a number of CSPA affiliates. It will be looking at public communication and education, resource use and transportation in support of presenting a fringe show based on methodology developed by the CSPA itself and San Diego’s Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, who has created a comprehensive Green Theater Choices Toolkit with a generous grant from the Theater Communications Group.

To be considered for the award, a production fills out an online questionnaire. Questions range from an inventory of materials used to what public transportation lines run close to venues to how themes about sustainability are addressed in their shows. Because venues vary so greatly, all but the most basic questions are optional. Shows are encouraged, but not required to provide a CSPA affiliate with tickets to their production to allow a trained eye to look at shows and projects as they exist in the real world.

As an independent producer and designer, outside of the CSPA, Garrett has produced dozens of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Garrett also serves as the Festival Producer for CalArts Festival Theater, a program of California Institute of the ArtsSchool of Theater that enables students and alumni to bring work to the Edinburgh Fringe, now in it’s 9th year.

“Even more so than we want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theater artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that.”

To apply, fringe show producers can head over to the CSPA’s website at http://www.sustainablepractice.com/fringe or email fringe@sustainablepractice.org. Applications for evaluation will be taken up until the end of the festival, though it is encouraged to apply while it is still possible for a CSPA affiliate to view the show. All questions regarding the award by also be be directed to fringe@sustainablepractice.org.

The CSPA Award for Sustainable Production at the Fringe launched in 2010 at the Hollywood and Edinburgh Festival Fringes. Previous recipients include:  The Pantry Shelf a satirical comedy that takes place in any ordinary pantry shelf, produced by Team M&M at Sweet Grassmarket; Presque Pret a Porter, produced by Dreams by Machine; and Allotment by Jules Horne and directed by Kate Nelson, produced by nutshell productions at the Inverleith Allotments in co-production with Assembly.

The CSPA was founded by Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright in early 2008 after individually working on each of the programs that now make up the multi-faceted approach to sustainability separately. It provides a network of resources to arts organizations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. We support the infrastructure of this network by supplying artists with the information, education and intellectual community they need to make the best choices for their sustainability. We do this through three independent programs: CSPA Knowledge Network,  CSPA convergences, workshops and granting. We extend these efforts with key partnerships with like minded organizations. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theater, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others. Under the umbrella of the CSPA, each program and partnership uses different tactics with their own mission to create a comprehensive and cooperative synthesis in artistic sustainability.

Showman Fabricators Celebrates Donyale Werle’s Tony win for Peter and the Starcatcher

Tony Awards After Donyale Werle’s win for best Scenic Design for a play at the Tony Awards last night, Showman Fabricators, who worked to bring the show to Broadway, sent an email to congratulate Donyale Werle on her Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play for ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’. Saying “Building this set was an honor and pleasure.”

Read on from their email this morning…..

BRAVA!! to Tony Award winning Set Designer Donyale Werle for her work on ‘Peter and the Star Catcher’.


Best Scenic Design of a Play was 1 of 5 Tony Awards ‘Peter’ won last night. Donyale is very conscience about the environmental impact of  her designs and material choices. We could not have been more proud to have built this show for her. Congratulations to Donyale as well as David Benken, Technical Supervisor and Patrick Eviston, Production Carpenter.  And Donyale, thanks for the shout out during your gracious acceptance speech!

Set Designer Donyale Werle at Showman Fabricators

Donyale Playbill

Playbill came to Showman and took a tour through the sustainability-conscience design and fabrication process of ‘Peter’ with Donyale Werle.  For more information about the show, visit Peter and the Starcatcher.

Highlights of ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’


Click the video to view some of the highlights of ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’.  Also visit the Showman and ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ facebook pages for additional video’s and information.

View our profile on LinkedInLike us on Facebook Showman Fabricators
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Long Island City, New York 11101

 

Nomads Occupy the Global Village: Left Political Art Timeline, 2001-2012

This post comes to you from Cultura21

For the last decades, collaborations between art and ecology have become more popular as an option to try solving environmental issues, as well as a way of social intervention. You can take a look at the work of several environmental artists in this article by G. Roger Denson, cultural critic and essayist, published by the Huffington Post, which discusses political artists of the last decade:

Click here to read the full article.

 

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