Yearly Archives: 2013

New book from William McDonough: The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance

UpcycleCover_webThe Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, which William McDonough wrote with Michael Braungart, will be published next month. Four years in the making, the book re-joins the conversation sparked by Cradle to Cradle in 2002.

Cradle to Cradle is a foundation, a fulcrum against which we can lean levers of desirable change. The Upcycle is a collection of stories about amplifying, scaling up and accelerating change, about discovering those leverage points where innovation tips the world not just toward sustainability but beyond. They believe upcycling the quality of our design—seeking purposeful, continuous improvement instead of simply recycling yesterday’s sub-optimal or obsolete ideas—is the force that will raise up a more just, prosperous, fruitful world.

President Bill Clinton haswrote a foreword to the book. Here’s an excerpt—

“The Upcycle is a book about creativity, about thinking big even if we have to act small, and about approaching problems with a bias for action…Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart invite you to think about the future we share; to imagine what could be and how to make it so. We are all in this together, and we’ll need a global commitment to sustainability if we want our children to inherit a world of shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity. Let’s get to work.”

We are living in a moment of reckoning and extraordinary opportunity, a calamitous time when many businesses are seeking new ways to apply their considerable energy and resources to meeting the world’s needs. Agile, responsive businesses, those able to upcycle everything they do, will create more value for more people. They will prosper, and so will the places and people sharing their beneficial presence. Generosity, abundance and the good health of our world will define success.

Web of Life Foundation 2013 essay competition

WOLFoundationThe Web of Life Foundation (WOLFoundation.org) is issuing the first call for essays for its 2013 essay competition.

WOLFoundation is dedicating to stimulating new thinking in the field of sustainability and socio-environmental issues. Within this context, the theme of this year’s essay competition is “An Aspirational Future”.

Essays should be up to 2,000 words of prose in any non-technical style (including fiction) and are meant for a general readership.

From the Guidelines: “Any and all views on the specified theme are welcome and encouraged. We would like to see entries that address all perspectives creatively. Just avoid giving us tired ideas that have been hashed out many times before.”

The winning essay will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and $500 is awarded to the second placed entry.

Submissions should be addressed to submissions@wolfoundation.org. Closing date for submissions is September 30th, 2013.

Guidelines for submissions can be found at http://www.wolfoundation.org/guidelines/

A book of collected essays from the 2011 competition (published in collaboration with Cultura 21) is now available for purchase ($7 + p&p. No sales tax.). Enquiries to submissions@wolfoundation.org

Dalziel + Scullion | Edinburgh Lectures

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

dalziel-scullionDalziel and Scullion have been invited to give a lecture entitled Ecology of Place as part of the Edinburgh Lectures series. It takes place Monday 27th May 2013 at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

Other speakers in the series include the zoologist Aubrey Manning, specialist on the lynx Dr David Hetherington, Geddes expert Dr Walter Stephen, author on the arctic Ken McGoogan, marine biologist Prof Murray Roberts, natural history television producer Nigel Pope, local food advocate Lady Claire Macdonald and geologist Prof Iain Stewart. 

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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Julie’s Bicycle: Green My Production, 27th March

A showcase of sustainable solutions for music and the performing arts

Julie’s Bicycle and White Light invite you to a showcase of best practice and market-ready products and services to make your productions more environmentally sustainable.

27th March 2013
13.00 – 17.00
White Light Ltd (Wimbledon, London)

CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION AND BOOKING >

WL LogoOne of the industry’s key events of the year to focus solely on sustainable production, the afternoon will include a programme of talks and discussions from industry experts, and a trade show exhibiting tried-and-tested products and services designed to help green your production.

You will have the opportunity to try out new technologies and seek advice from manufacturers, designers and event production professionals on all aspects of greening your work.

SPEAKERS

Green My Production will feature an afternoon of practical demonstrations, talks and discussions from industry experts on approaches to reducing the environmental impacts of production. Programme speakers will include:

  • Soutra Gilmour Set and Costume Designer
  • Laura Pando, Sustainability Manager Festival Republic
  • Robin Barton, Lighting Systems Technician Royal Opera House
  • Adam Bennette, Technical Director ETC Europe
  • Simon Yorke Stage Designer
  • Bryan Raven, Managing Director White Light
  • Alison Tickell, CEO Julie’s Bicycle
  • Rob Halliday, Lighting Designer and Developer FocusTrack
  • Lucy Doherty Milk Presents Theatre Company

See the full conference programme >

EXHIBITORS

Alongside the conference programme suppliers to the creative sector will showcase sustainable products and solutions, to help make your events and productions greener. Exhibitors will include:

  • Arcola Energy and Youngman Hydrogen fuel cell power
  • Community Repaint Paint recycling
  • Electric Pedals Pedal power
  • ETC Lighting
  • GDS Lighting
  • Firefly Solar Solar and kinetic power
  • goCarShare Carshare services
  • H-Squared Rechargeable batteries
  • Julie’s Bicycle Environmental consultancy for the arts
  • Midas UK Biofuel generators
  • Offset Warehouse Costume fabrics
  • Philips Lighting
  • Scenery Salvage Production waste services
  • Set Exchange Prop and materal waste service
  • ShowTex Stafe fabrics
  • Stack Cup Reusable cups for events
  • White Light Lighting

More information and booking details >

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

We look forward to seeing you there!

Julie’s Bicycle & White Light

Visit Green Theatre Network at: http://juliesbicycle.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Call for participation in survey on soil and art

This post comes to you from Cultura21

If you have used earth materially or symbolically in your creative practice, or in some way addressed the value, function, or meaning of soil in your art,  you are cordially invited to take part in an online survey about soil and art.

“Although the arts play a critical role in sustainability discourses, the actual opinions, knowledge and practices of artists are rarely a subject of scientific inquiry. This is why your voice is so important!” With your help, the researcher in charge of this project, Alexandra Toland, hopes to identify a wide spectrum of art projects that bring new awareness to the thin layer of matter on which all life is based, and to gather information on the various conditions under which such works are made.

This survey makes up part of Ms. Toland’s PhD research (at the Technische Universität Berlin) on the artistic use, interpretation and representation of soil and soil conservation issues. All data is collected with utmost integrity for research purposes. Specific details about individual projects and persons will not be disclosed without respondent’s consent. As a symbol of appreciation for your participation, Ms. Toland would like to feature your work on the soilarts.org research platform.

Deadline: April 15th 2013

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

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From Fukushima – Pt 5

Link, 2013, Su Grierson, with permission

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland
I am sorry for the delay in sending this Blog. We have had an exhibition of the work we have made during the residency, and with lots of entertaining besides, time has just evaporated. Yesterday I gave a talk as part of a series at the exhibition.

Exhibition space in rice Kura with Link exhibition installed, photo and permission Su Grierson

Exhibition space in rice Kura with Link exhibition installed, photo and permission Su Grierson

I was asked to talk about Scotland and decided to tell the story of the evacuation of the Scottish Islands of St Kilda in 1928. This involved a lot of internet research to get good information, images and video. My feeling is that there are many similarities with the forced evacuations here in Fukushima as a result of the tsunami disaster 3/11. During the research my feelings were re-enforced many times. While the St Kildans chose to evacuate, the reasons were largely outside their control. The encroaching modern world and their awareness of their own precarious and simplistic life eroded their centuries-old community structure. The slow migration of younger people to Canada and America had started the decline.

The subsequent handling of the financial and personal aspects of their re-homing was as complex, inefficient and time consuming, just as the process we are seeing here in Fukushima has been. And one can imagine that the success of the move for the St Kildans was as dependent on personal attitudes towards making a fresh start, as it is here with the Tohukans.

The question my talk posed was basically … is it possible to go back and re create a shattered community? Will it be forever changed? Is a fresh start needed wherever refugees settle? Where is home? Does it lie in the past, or the future, or is it now?

Bewery Gallery Kura, image and permission Su Grierson

Bewery Gallery Kura, image and permission Su Grierson

Our exhibition has been short but successful in that we have attracted many local people to come and join us. Some of us have always been on hand to welcome and chat to visitors, even if it was only to smile and use sign language. Part of the brief of this project was to help re-establish a cultural life in this area internationally blighted by the nuclear disaster which happened in an area hundreds of miles away but carrying the same Prefecture name.

The two Norwegian artists and I seem to be the only westerners in town and as we were on TV together with our lead Japanese artist Yoshiko Maruyama early on we seem to be known wherever we go. The fact that we are holding the exhibition in the most historically important Kura has also attracted people who rarely get a chance to see inside this privately owned building. It is preserved but un-restored with no glass in doors or windows and only limited electricity, so a chilly place in sub zero temperatures. It is the largest Kura in town, being three separate Kura buildings linked together. A Kura is a traditional rice storage barn and, with the town being in the centre of a very large and fertile rice growing area, there are huge numbers. The Mayor told us there are estimated to be 20,000 Kuras in and near the city. There was a saying that every man born in Kitakata should build his own Kura, and with a current population of 40,000 the numbers still stack up.

Exhibition Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson

Exhibition Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson

The massively thick doors and windows were a feature designed to protect against fire. Clearly with so much flammable material inside if one Kura went up in flames those adjacent would soon stoke the furnace and the whole city could be ablaze. But with solid doors and windows quickly closed the fire could be contained.

Rural Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson

Rural Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson

The walls are made of rice straw and mud with heavy wooden beam structures. The roofs are today usually covered with shiny ceramic wave shaped tiles which allow the water and snow to run off, in particular snow doesn’t build up. Before that they were thatched with thick rice straw. The style is consistent and they have raised roofs with air space to allow good ventilation. I learned from artist Aeneas Wilder that even today in rural areas rats and the snakes they attract – the snakes eat the baby rats – are still a problem. Today the Kuras continue variously as conversions into housing, shops, offices, fire stations, and cafes. Some of course are in terminal decline and others just surviving. Bringing our art into this culture has been a unique experience.

Kura in decline, photo and permission Su Grierson

Kura in decline, photo and permission Su Grierson

For my part having to decide early on in the residency what form my work would take, and with a requirement to connect with local issues, I decided to take an in-depth look at the snow that deeply covers this area. While snow of this depth was a great surprise to me I soon discovered that all of the local people and the refugees housed here really hated snow. They actually used that word ‘hate’ which is very strong in the Japanese culture who rarely show their feeling, especially negative ones, so easily. Could I make images that might show this element in a different light? Avoiding the obvious ‘ touristic’ beautiful shrines in snow – although I couldn’t resist putting a few of those on Facebook – I looked firstly at the power of snow to remove landscape. All the human details of habitation, agriculture and communication and the cultivated land itself are simply removed from the landscape.

Tree mound, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

Tree mound, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

What still shows are the clues or residues of our occupation and this concept fuelled my initial images made in the foothills of the mountains near the village in which we were staying. Then spending more time in town I was interested in the effects of snow on the light and the way that in turn affected window reflections. The Japanese have a habit of blocking out light – or maybe just prying eyes – with thin patterned curtains, adhesive patterned plastic sheets, cut glass, or with paint which often carries the scratches of wear and tear causing an interesting effect. The reflection of the snow and snow covered building in these semi-clear windows created many unusual layered views of these locations.

Scratched Window, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

Scratched Window, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

I also began looking at the concepts of Japanese Sumi-e painting. The ancient concepts of essence of place in which information was omitted and selected detail used to stand in for the whole, and of the broken paint technique which simply suggested form and movement through abstract marks seemed to have much resonance with the work I was making. And it began to direct my interest. I named my exhibition ‘link’ after one image in which by using computer rotation I created a long line of trees each linked by a single branch. This very much reflected the many conversation I have had with local people who talk much about the connection with nature and between the forces of nature. Many people live by these concepts in their daily life.

Agricultural calligraphy, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

Agricultural calligraphy, 2013, Su Grierson with permission

Yoshiko, who knows my previous work, commented that I seemed to have moved away from my normally more conceptual approach into something more personal and free. She is probably right although I am still not entirely comfortable with that. It is the nature of residencies in another culture, they can break into your established patterns of thought and action if you are willing, like the Refugees, to let it happen. 

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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Ars Bioarctica Residency 2013

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

ars-bioarctica-residencyShared from Yasmin announcement – Call for applications

Ars Bioarctica Residency 2013 – application deadline 6.4.2013

Since 2010 the Finnish Society of Bioart is organizing the ARS BIOARCTICA RESIDENCY PROGRAM together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in the sub-Arctic Lapland.

The residency takes place in the facilities of the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station. It provides the residents with a combined living and working environment, a basic laboratory, internet connection and sauna.

The Kilpisjärvi Biological Station offers to the residents the same possibilities and infrastructure as its scientists and staff. This includes access to scientific equipment, laboratory facilities, the library and seminar room as well as the usage of field equipment. A dedicated contact person in Kilpisjärvi will familiarize residents with the local environment and customs.

The emphasis of the residency is on the Arctic environment, art&science collaboration and is open for artists, scientists and interdisciplinary research teams.

Applications have to include:

  • a biography and CV of the applicant or group
  • a work plan
  • the desired residency starting time and duration

Travel to and within Finland to Kilpisjärvi have to be covered by the applicant. The Finnish Society of Bioart will assist with the funding process.

The evaluation of the applications emphasizes the quality of the proposal, its interaction of art&science, its artistic and scientific significance, the projects relation to the thematics of Ars Bioarctica and its feasibility to be carried out at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in the given time.

Send applications or questions to Erich Berger erich.berger@bioartsociety.fi

We accept applications throughout the year but if you want to be included in the summer/fall schedule for 2013, please send your applications until 6.4.2013

More information:

Residency website: http://bioartsociety.fi/ars-bioarctica-residency/

Blog by previous residents: http://www.bioartsociety.fi/residency/

The Kilpisjärvi Biological station: http://www.helsinki.fi/kilpis/english/index.htm 

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

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INTERNATIONAL PROJECT RESIDENCY: Call For Arts & Design Professionals in Ghana

Mail AttachmentGhana: Nka Foundation announces a call for project submissions from designers, architects, artists, and schools for its International Project Residency for a concentrated period of time from 1 to 6 months. In rural Ghana, the foundation runs Sang and Abetenim Arts Village, which are living learning centers that invite persons from around the world to immerse in local culture and put their practice to the test through projects in the arts and rural architecture. Vacationers, student interns, recent graduates and professionals are all welcome to our arts village.

Our village provides a unique opportunity for students to learn by doing on our current project or use their initiative to propose and complete own project to translate theories learnt in classrooms to practice. For the professionals, you will find the hands-on project and full-on experience with local culture a pause from your office/studio work to rediscover the rudiments of design and artistic nuances that can refresh your practice.

Individuals and project teams interested in participating in the program should e-mail to info@nkafoundation.org / www.nkafoundation.org for application. No application fee required. Inquiries for organizational and education partnerships are welcome. See our photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artinprocess/sets/72157621992680241, and http://www.flickr.com/photos/nkaprojects.

DOWNLOAD GHANA APPLICATION

Progress Report 10X10  SHELTER CHALLENGE

(How to Reinvent Vernacular African Mud Hut)

The design-build team of Karolina and Wayne of Atelier Switzer has completed a 10×10 Shelter Challenge at Abetenim Arts Village in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.The 10×10 Shelter Challenge is a hands-on, design experience focused on learning-by-doing in African architecture that is run by Nka Foundation till October 2013.The challenge is to design and build a learning shelter that measures 10 feet by 10 feet in a location outside of the Western culture, most precisely deep in the village in Ghana, where the convenience of development has not reached.  The goal of the shelter is to suggest a relationship between art and architecture by maximum use of local materials.

Karolina and Wayne of Atelier Switzer are both architects with about 8 years of experience in Europe and the United States.They, along with 5 builders, had 6 weeks to conduct the site analysis, design and construct their proposal which consisted of a pavilion that made use of corrugated zinc roofing over rammed earthen walls.  Here are photos from the just concluded project stay at Abetenim from September 7 to October 17, 2012.

Here is one of their progress reports from the site:

“…We are happy to report that construction is underway on the workshop and that the team here is working well together to make this project a collaborative one.  The first few days were spent observing the local earth-building methods and the condition of these structures- including the projects of past Abetenim Arts Village residents.We finally settled on constructing a rammed earthen building which would feature in essence two rooms: an “indoor” room and “outdoor area” for conducting classes- both of which would be sheltered beneath a large shed roof.Our site is a clearing adjacent to a sprawling mango tree, and visible from the road leading into the Arts Village.

Several reasons led us to pursue the rammed earth construction method.  Practically speaking, the local soil is an ideal mix of sand, clay and gravel, as well as being readily available.  The method of formwork and casting the earth is also a skill that is easily learned by almost any builder.  With a proper foundation and roof overhang, the earthen walls should prove to be very durable and serve as an example for the village that an earthen building can be both contemporary and withstand the natural elements over time.  Finally, we were inspired by the daily sight of residents using a large pole to pound fufu (the cassava diet staple).  This pounding is exactly the same method used to ram the fresh soil into the forms… which has led to our project being dubbed “obruni fufu” (white man’s fufu) by the local builders.”

Project Details:
Gross Area: 140 sf
Total Area (footprint): 496 sf
Project Cost: 6,500 Cedi (equivalent $3,500 USD)
Construction Duration: 5 weeks

The rural design-build challenge proffers a change in the way the young creative practitioners think about their work in our interconnected world.  As the participant, your ability to generate a locally responsive design concept is only one aspect of the site-based design challenge.  Unless your team is many in number, you must find a way to engage the community throughout the construction process.

One of the primary challenges you will face is to effectively communicate your idea to the community. Keep in mind that this is a multi-faceted obstacle, for instance:

  1. Unless you speak the local dialect of Twi, you will be dependant upon the community coordinator to interpret your intentions. This can be taxing for both the designer and the coordinator.  Local builders also have little to no experience with drawings.  You should plan in advance how best to illustrate your project to enable the local builders bring their gifts to the project. Simply stated, learning to deal well with the cultural and linguistic differences will turn what seems a difficult task into a most rewarding experience for everyone.
  2. There is a stigma associated with mud architecture, and the community is likely to resist any attempt to utilize it.  The sentiment is that mud buildings are only for the very poor and impoverished. However, their belief is not ungrounded. The local community has many examples of cob constructions which have eroded over time due to poor construction and water damage.
  3. As in most developing areas, the people of Abetenim will likely prioritize earning a daily wage over volunteering for you project. Your challenge will be to negotiate a wage that is fair to everyone involved, at the same time encouraging the community to view this project as one beneficial for themselves.  Expectations for typical wage rates can vary greatly depending on the person involved.

The Abetenim project site is a rural flat land.  The top soil is red earth mixed with gravel that is right for cob construction or the rammed earth method.  The nearby forests provide lumber for house roofing for a population of about 500 peasant farmers, small scale traders and craft persons.  The site-based 10×10 Shelter Challenge is open to all students and graduates of design, architecture, art, engineering and school teams interested in rural projects in Africa. For the local community, the realized space, as the design team of Karolina and Wayne of Atelier Switzer puts it, thus serves as an “example for the village that an earthen building can be both contemporary and withstand the natural elements over time”.  For students, the design-build challenge is a unique opportunity to learn hands-on the intricacies of working with vernacular constraints of economy, material and social dimensions in a real-life project aiming to sustain social harmony through art and architecture.  In the process, the student will to learn to design what is build-able to make a well rounded graduate.  For the professionals, you will find the hands-on design and construction experience a pause from your office work stress to rediscover the rudiments of architecture and nuances that can refresh your practice.

The 10×10 Shelter Challenge will run till October 2013 involving the following sessions: February 10-March 10, 2013; May 1-30, 2013; July 7-August 7, 2013; and October 3-31, 2013. Join us!  Show the world how to re-invent the vernacular African mud hut!  See press release on the 10×10 Shelter Challenge at http://prlog.org/11891895 and http://www.archdaily.com/269126. Enquiries info@nkafoundation.org  / www.nkafoundation.org