Yearly Archives: 2013

Information sessions | Imagining Natural Scotland

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Imagining Natural Scotland, aiming to thoroughly think through the relationship between the arts and the natural environment, is holding a series of sessions which promise to be more interesting than the title suggests. Sessions are to encourage collaborations applying for the awards.

Each session will feature,

  • Detailed information on how to apply to the Imagining Natural Scotland fund.
  • A presentation, open discussion and Q&A on a particular aspect of Natural Scotland’s representation in the arts and popular culture; featuring guest speakers from both the environmental and creative sectors.
  • Time for networking and meeting potential collaborators.

For example Dundee feature presentations on cross-disciplinary collaboration from Tentsmuir Artist in Residence, Derek Robertson and Sophie Eastwood the Red Squirrel Project Officer for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust; Inverness will feature Professor Paul M Thompson and artist and composer, Mark Lyken, and curiously Oban will feature Professor Laurence Mee director of Scottish Marine Institute (SAMS) and the designer Daniel Mee.

Dumfries will feature artist, author and planner, Timothy Collins and Reader in the Institute of Geography, Emily Brady on why arts and humanities informed by science are uniquely situated to explore future imaginaries and potential virtues where nature is concerned.

From what we understand one of the key issues for the Imagining Natural Scotland team is that the visual arts (and applied arts?) are perceived to be very engaged with the environment compared to music, dance and poetry, though we’re certain that there are those that would dispute this perception.  The point is that visual and applied artists interested in this programme might want to partner up with other art forms.

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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Let’s Share: LA STAGE OPENS NEW DOORS

20130301LASAPostersmallLA STAGE Alliance (In partnership with your friends at the CSPA) has just secured a new facility in the vibrant Atwater Village neighborhood and, true to their mission, we’ve asked ourselves how our move can benefit the greater Los Angeles theatre community at large. What we’ve come up with is LA STAGE Space, which will house several activities:

1)  A 7,000 square foot Warehouse Co-op for LA performing artists to house and share all their sets, props, costumes and equipment with each other throughout the year.

2) A space to give the community a shared physical location, in the form of a “Community Lounge,” where artists and community members can gather, find materials and information on arts sustainability, and relax. (And get free coffee & wifi!)

3) Additional meeting, audition, and rehearsal space — as an added bonus!

All we need now is to outfit the empty building so it can be used more effectively — shelving, pallet movers, barcode scanners, furniture, decorations, coffee pot… and maybe even a truck to help things come to and fro.

Let’s join together to make it happen!  

Contribute to the IndieGoGo Campaign today!

 

LASAandBOD

The LA STAGE Alliance Board and Staff

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

There are so many ways this Co-Op will positively impact the community. It will…

  • HELP NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS to save money and be financially sustainable.
  • HELP REDUCE WASTE by re-using materials, resulting in a more eco-friendly LA and LA arts community.
  • UNIFY THE COMMUNITY by providing a physical location for artists to congregate and share.
  • INSPIRE COLLABORATION for performing artists, and promote innovation for the rest of the country to emulate.

We’ll also be using environmentally-friendly practices and materials.

CORE GOALS & STRETCH GOAL

Core Goal: $25,000 will outfit LA STAGE Space and the Warehouse Co-op in its most basic state. This includes shelving, ladders, furniture, and a high-tech (and easy-to-use) online barcoded inventory system — making it possible to open our doors to the entire community.

Stretch Goal: An additional $25,000 will, apart from allowing us a bit more wiggle room, give us access to a used moving truck (and have gas and insurance and maintenance covered). This will be our Strike Truck, and will allow for Co-op members to arrange pickups after their strikes, which will carry materials back to the Warehouse (or to deliver materials to their theatres from the warehouse).

Our Sustainability Partners

We are pleased to partner with many organizations on LA STAGE Space, including the Center for Sustainable Practice in the ArtsArts:Earth Partnership, and Good Planet Media, all organizations dedicated to sustainability in Los Angeles and around the world.

Ukraine: Encouraging local creativity to support sustainability

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

A pancake fair in Donetsk, Ukraine, used the last two days of the Pancake week, an Eastern Slavic folk holiday, to encourage local creativity and teach sustainability as a way of thinking.

IZOLYATSIA_festivalphotos59The organisers of the Pancake Fair, IZOLYATSIA Platform for Cultural Initiatives, had invited about 60 local artisans and designers to communicate with each other and with the local community, to show their products, techniques and hold free workshops for citizens. It became an event which attracted the record number of guests per day — more than 1,500 visitors in three hours.

IZOLYATSIA allegedly received “an ocean of positive responses” on social media after the event, which has inspired the team of organisers to continue this way of giving arts and culture an active role in changes for sustainable societies.

IZOLYATSIA stands for “preservation, cultural replenishment and regeneration”. It is a non-governmental arts foundation located on the territory of a former insulation materials plant in Donetsk, Ukraine. ‘IZOLYATISA’ is the name inherited from the factory.

• Photos from the event

• facebook.com/IZOLYATSIA

• izolyatsia.org

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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Nordic art competition: Sustainable Consumption

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

Nordic Ecolabelling launches a sustainability art competition — entitled ‘Nordic Art Insight’ — because they believe that artists are a key group in the process of changing attitudes. The main prize is 100,000 Swedish kroner.

nordic-art-insight_scrndmp1

‘Nordic Art Insight’ invites artists from the Nordic region to submit their artworks with the theme‘Sustainable Consumption’ before 31 May.

An expert jury will then select six finalist entries, which will be publicized on www.artnordic.org. From 1 July to 31 August 2013, a public voting opens and the artwork that receives the most votes will be the winner.

Why is Nordic Ecolabelling organizing Nordic Art Insight?
“Artists have throughout hundreds of years made society look with new perspectives on how we live our lives, and challenged us to open our eyes to new ideas. The environmental challenges that face us today are many. One of these is sustainable consumption, and how we can reach climate and environmental goals. Often it is a question of buying the right products, and doing it the right amount of times, or perhaps, not buying at all. The Nordic Ecolabelling Art prize, Nordic Art Insight, will inspire artists to submit entries that help us consumers raise our consciousness about how we can live a more sustainable life with a sustainable consumption,” explains Nordic Ecolabelling on the competition’s home page.

Who is behind this competition?
‘Nordic Art Insight’ is organised by Nordic Ecolabelling. Nordic Ecolabelling was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1989. Each Nordic country has a secretariat that develops Nordic Ecolabelling criteria, licenses and markets the Nordic Ecolabel. In Sweden the secretariat is Ecolabelling Sweden.

Ecolabelling Sweden works on consignment of the Swedish government to administer and market the Nordic Ecolabel and the EU Ecolabel. The purpose is to work for a sustainable consumption and production. Both these Ecolabels have a life-cycle perspective, and today there are 8,500 Nordic Ecolabelled products and services in the Swedish market.

Read more about Nordic Ecolabelling on svanen.se

Challenging the artist

17 March 2013
Why is the Nordic Ecolabel challenging the art world? Interview with CEO Ragnar Unge at Ecolabelling Sweden, chairman of the jury.

For the first time ever in its over 20 year history, the Nordic Ecolabel initiates an art prize. Why?
– We believe that artwork can make a change in people’s mind and behaviour. Artists have always been engaged in debates. Look at Picasso’s famous painting ‘Guernica’ about the Spanish civil war. It made a great impact.

What is the theme of this competition?
– Sustainable consumption. We are looking for artwork that can make people react and give insights on how we can use our planet´s resources in a more sustainable way.

How do you explain sustainable consumption, is it just buying Ecolabelled products?
Yes of course you have to buy the right thing, such as Ecolabelled products and services. But it is also a matter of how many times you buy a product. If you throw out your Ecolabelled couch after two years, this is not a sustainable way of consuming

What is the most important thing in this competition, the artistic expression of sustainable consumption or how the artwork is made? Can the artist use whatever material even if it is not good for the environment?
– The artistic impression is the most important but of course it has to have a connection to sustainable consumption. We also consider what materials the artist is using. Where do the materials come from? What type of paints are used? How will it be possible to recycle? Re-use? Nordic Ecolabel has a lifecycle perspective, and we would like to see this applied in the art process.

So if an artist uses a piece of lead, will it be disqualifying?
It depends how the artwork is presented. If the artist can give a good reason for using this material, for example, as a statement to show how this material threatens our ecological system and is a hinder for sustainable consumption, we might consider it as an important part of what the artwork is trying to convey.
Submission deadline: 31 May 2013

• Competition guidelines

• Facebook page

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
Go toThis post comes to you from Culture|Futures

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From Fukushima – Pt.7

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

I am now at Narita airport heading home with some final thoughts on my 10 week art residency in Fukushima province in Japan.

Blossom arrives in Tokyo.  Photo and permission Su Grierson

Blossom arrives in Tokyo. Photo and permission Su Grierson

After my previous blogs Chris Fremantle asked me what is ‘normal’ in Fukushima. Well, that depends on whether you are a displaced person living for the last two years in temporary accommodation without full time work or proper family life, or whether you are a local Fukushima resident.

Fukushima is a very large Province stretching more than halfway across the centre of Honshu, the main island of Japan, most of it being well away from the actual disaster area. For most people here, ‘normal’ is everyday life as it always has been, superficially not affected at all apart from the total downturn in the tourist industry and it’s related earnings issues. But underneath it there is a permanent change in their belief in their own National political and organisational systems and a much greater awareness of the fragility of life and of the value and importance of the environment. As a visitor you don’t access these feeling easily. The Japanese are not given to personal revelations so that when people do speak out you know their thoughts are important and deep.

Rice farming village.  Photo and permission Su Grierson

Rice farming village. Photo and permission Su Grierson

Recently we four artists were invited to a wine tasting by one of our English speaking supporters who owns a 7/11 convenience store and a wine store – which he admits to being mostly a hobby. Sitting in his warm and beautiful wine Kura and sampling great wines from around the world and a lovely meal produced by his wife, I eventually asked what his views were on the nuclear issue and the business pressure on Government to re-open the nuclear power stations. Surprisingly he said he had studied Nuclear Physics at University and that he had always supported Nuclear because although he understood the dangers he totally believed that his Government and the scientists would have fully evaluated all the important safety issues in implementing the programme. Now he has had to re-evaluate his position and has looked closely at the issues involved in expanding the use of fossil fuels. He now believes the long term danger to the planet is greater from fossil fuels. ‘What about renewables’ I asked and he admitted that in Japan this was hardly on the agenda and would take so long to get started that it seemed an unlikely way to solve their needs. He faces this as a personal dilemma that he like, I imagine, many millions more are wrestling with inside of their ‘normal’ everyday lives. But they feel helpless to influence things one way or the other.

Snow melting on rice fields.  Photo and permission Su Grierson

Snow melting on rice fields. Photo and permission Su Grierson

For the ‘refugees’ still without home and jobs, everyday life is filled with making origami, keeping their tiny homes in order, trying to get better compensation, undertaking part-time jobs if they are lucky and volunteering just to engage with their new communities and keep busy. For them I think ‘normal‘ is a dream for the future. They have no belief at all in a nuclear future.

In my last blog I mentioned that there was an electricity failure at the damaged Daiichi nuclear plant with a four day limit before critical heat was reached. The following day we learned that power had been restored. They still didn’t know the cause but suspected the main switchboard. The day after that, in keeping with their new commitment to transparency, they said that although they were still not certain of the cause they had found an electrocuted rat beside the main switchboard. I cannot think of words enough to make a further comment, but, I mean seriously, was it possible that a rat could gnaw through the cable of the electricity supply to a stricken nuclear plant cooling system – honestly?

So what are my personal feelings about Japan on this my most recent visit. As always, I see that the ability of the Japanese to set and run incredibly complex systems with amazing accuracy, like trains and luggage delivery systems is mind blowing.

Snow shoes with flip-up teeth. Photo and permission Su Grierson

Snow shoes with flip-up teeth. Photo and permission Su Grierson

Keeping the cones above snow level.  Photo and permission Su Grierson

Keeping the cones above snow level. Photo and permission Su Grierson

They have some of the most imaginative designs and systems imaginable, like the thermal water snow clearing systems I mentioned in an earlier blog, and the shoes that a technician at the Museum took off for me to photograph. They had tiny teeth in the heel that can be pulled out when walking on snow. These are just individual examples of the many small designs one comes across. But this is always countered by the opposite where at a personal level where no systems are in place: organisation and communication can fall apart with regular frustrating frequency. Another example would be the endless meetings I found so inconclusive and frustrating. These were explained to me as, ‘We are not trying to make decisions, we are just wanting to let everyone have their say – even if we ignore it later at least they feel they have been able to speak their mind.’ It is above all a country of contrasts.

Fukushima is also an area of beautiful landscape, with forested mountains, small villages and strong local culture, outstanding local produce and food and buildings.

But one thing shines through and that is the people, their kindness, generosity and willingness to help and support each other and we visitors. The small acts of kindness that happen on an everyday level here in Fukushima are what I will carry away from this country: the restaurant owner whose excellent restaurant we had visited several times who turned up un-announced at lunchtime on the final day of our exhibition with his family and a large bowl of hot Japanese soup; the construction company owner who dropped his work to take my friend, visiting from Tokyo, and I up the mountain on a glorious sunny day because she said she wanted to go and he said he loved the place so much that he regarded it as his pleasure to show it to us.

Fukushima Aizu rice farming area.  Photo and permission Su Grierson

Fukushima Aizu rice farming area. Photo and permission Su Grierson

Yesterday Yoshiko l and left Kitakata and went to catch the bus for Tokyo an hour away at Aizu Wakamatsu bus station. We were driven there by the daughter of our host because she had a bigger car for our luggage. And as we sat in the waiting room a lady we recognised came to meet us. She was a Refugee from a local camp who had come to one of our talks and to our exhibition. She heard of our departure and walked to the station to say goodbye.  She gave us each a bottle of water for our journey and thanked us for coming and for making a difference. For an artist there can be no greater thanks.

—————————————————————————————–

Link to a video in which a Fukushima Town’s Sole Resident speaks out

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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