Yearly Archives: 2013

Australia: Climate change shapes new art

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

“Concerns around climate change are shaping new Australian art,” writes Andrew Frost in the British paper The Guardian in a review of an Australian exhibition by Shoufay Derz. Here is description of three different climate change-related exhibitions that were on display in Australia.

ShoufayDerz1

‘Black Lake_2012’ by Shoufay Derz – pigment print on cotton paper. 107 x 100 cm

The “pervasive sense of doom has in part prompted a revival in contemporary art of the core themes of western art: the landscape, nature and human survival. A show by Sydney artist Shoufay Derz at Artereal gallery combines classical symbols of nature’s power such as the mountain peak and endless sky, with a minimalist aesthetic drawn from Buddhism and contemporary art,” Andrew Frost wrote.

Shoufay Derz is a Sydney-based artist of German and Taiwanese heritage “who sets out to conjure the ineffable. To portray that experience, emotion or phenomenon that is understood but not necessarily present; that state, that enigma, which resides at just beneath the threshold of perception or beyond vision,” explains a text in the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition by Shoufay Derz ran in Sydney, Australia, until 13 November 2013.

» Gallery home page: artereal.com.au

» Open or download Catalogue (PDF)

» Shoufay Derz’s home page: shoufay.com

The Guardian – 7 November 2013:
Concerns around climate change are shaping new Australian art
Artists are once more looking to landscape, nature and human survival, as Shoufay Derz’s new exhibition in Sydney shows. Article by Andrew Frost

ShoufayDerz2-theguardian

JoshWodak_exhib

shape Things To come

Josh Wodak’s latest exhibition is an installation that physically maps where future sea shores would be in Newcastle according to different climate trajectories produced through engineering the world’s climate through bioengineering and geoengineering.

Dr Josh Wodak is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher whose participatory projects and interactive installations explore ecological sustainability and climate change. Formally trained in Visual Anthropology (University of Sydney) and Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research (Australian National University), his work has been presented as performances, screenings, installations and exhibitions in art galleries, museums, theatres, performative spaces, cinemas, and festivals across Australia.

Josh Wodak writes on his website, www.arch-angle.net:

“Models of climate change trajectories show the shape of things to come for the biosphere and its inhabitants this century. Scientific organisations worldwide overwhelmingly maintain that the window to avoid runaway catastrophic climate change is closing fast: being one decade… at most. In turn, highly reputed climate scientists and scientific organisations are now proposing radical ways to engineer the world’s climate through bioengineering and geoengineering.

‘shape Things To come’ explores this reversal of agency: from being shaped by things to come, to how humans may shape things to come through climate engineering interventions designed to separate existing lifeforms from six degrees of catastrophe.”

‘shape Things To come’ runs at The Lock-Up Culture Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia from 22 November 2013 at 5.30pm to 8 December 2013.

claudia-terstappen_exhib

In the shadow of change

On 9 November 2013, Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne opened ‘In the shadow of change’ – Claudia Terstappen’s exhibition of large scale landscape photographs and places undergoing significant change. Revealing places of spiritual resonance, the artist’s photographs can also be seen in a new book by the same title.

The exhibition was opened by Bob Brown, former leader of Australian Greens party.

‘In the shadow of change’ runs to 26 January 2014 at the Monash Gallery of Art, mga.org.au

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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Open House by Matthew Mazzotta

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

640x480xa94c2ee80d7342f0a66cfabf3cc527ee.jpg.pagespeed.ic.mIeC7tamBkOPEN HOUSE is a transforming theater, free to the public in York, Alabama, that creates a new public space from an abandoned private home.

Artist Matthew Mazzotta, the Coleman Center for the Arts, and the community of York Alabama collaborated to transform a blighted property into a new public art project this is in the shape of a house. The magic in this project is that the “home” can physically transform into a 100 seat open air theater, free for the public.

The project utilizes the land and materials from the abandoned home on the same site. The new house has a “secret” … it physically transforms from the shape of a house into an open air theater that seats 100 people by having its falls and roof fold open.

How it works? Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

Through the project, the artist hopes to directly address the lack of public space in York, AL by providing a physical location that becomes a common ground for community dialogue and activities. The new structure carries the weight of the past through the materials that were salvaged and repurposed from the old structure, most visibly the original pink siding. When Open House is fully unfolded, it provides an opportunity for people to come together and experience the community from a new perspective. When it folds back up, it resembles the original abandoned house, reminding people of the history of what was there before.

Open House was awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Visual Artists Network, York Drug, the City of York, the City of York Fire Department and countless individual supporters of the Coleman Center for the Arts and Matthew Mazzotta.

Want to know more about the project? CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read about Matthew Mazzotta’s Park Spark Project

More about Matthew Mazzotta HERE

 

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
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Eve Mosher gives HighWaterLine talk in Chelsea on the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

400x271x296dcc3d75b37a6d647d495dcbee7f4f.png.pagespeed.ic.K0gncdebBqArtist Eve Mosher gave a talk as part of the Marfa Dialogues New York on October 30th, 2013, hosted by ecoartspace curator Amy Lipton at the Rauschenberg Project Space. The artist shared the story of her public art project HighWaterLine where she marked the ten-feet-above-sea-level line along nearly 70 miles of coastline, in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a baseball line marker over the summer of 2007. Mosher recently collaborated with ecoartspace curator Patricia Watts to develop an HighWaterLine ACTION GUIDE so that communities anywhere can learn about her work and now mark their own line using Mosher’s project as inspiration. The guide was written for educators, nonprofit organizations and individuals, combining art and science to engage aesthetics while addressing environmental issues. In the guide, a range of waterline marking materials and other artists’ examples are provided, as well as Mosher’s step-by-step process involved in performing the project. This is the first in a series of ten guides that will be created by mid 2015 addressing a range of environmental issues.

During her talk Mosher focused on the evolution of the  project into the Action Guide and her upcoming HighWaterLine projects for Miami, Philadelphia and London. In these cities, community involvement and participation are crucial components in the planning stage, which is already underway. For these new projects she is working on a mapping website that will collect place-based stories, and collaborations with local artists. She elaborated about her collaborative process, the open source aspects of the project and the exponential impacts of giving the work away. Mosher also spoke about the performative part of the project and how initially she did not think of it being a performance. However, in the process of engaging with the public and in conversations with those she met in the streets while walking and marking the line, that it did indeed become a performance work of art.

The talk at Rauschenberg Project Space took place one year and a day after Hurricane Sandy. Though Mosher doesn’t like the role of prophetess, her HighWaterLine did in fact anticipate the flooding and storm surges in some areas of New York that went well beyond her blue marked 100 year flood line – or what anyone thought was possible? Sometimes being a visionary artist is not all that easy and with people’s lives and well being at stake, Mosher’s upcoming HighWaterLine projects take on a new urgency.

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

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Final Straw

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Final Straw by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, 26 November 2013, 5pm, Evolution House, ECA, West Port, Edinburgh.  Final Straw is a work in progress.  On the 26th there will be a panel discussion with Emily Brady, Mike Small and Ben Twist, Chaired by Chris Fremantle.

Since the Autumn of 2011, environmental artist duo Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang have been researching, traveling, filming, and interacting with consumers and are now in the final post-production stage for the Final Straw documentary. Due for initial screening in Spring of 2014, Final Straw is a cinematic exploration of Japanese natural farming, and a philosophical ride through the minds of amazing individuals who offer simple solutions to modern issues of sustainability, both on the farm and in the city. The film interacts with a cast of office workers, chefs, musicians, and farmers alike, all of who are students of the late Japanese farmer/philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka.

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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Methodologies: HighWaterLine

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Patricia Watts of ecoartspace recently highlighted the collaboration with artist Eve Mosher producing an Action Guide for HighWaterLine.  Eve Mosher developed HighWaterLine as a personal project, but following Sandy’s impact on New York it went viral (covered by the New York Times and the New Yorker), and rather than travelling around the world doing projects, Eve has worked with ecoartspace to produce an action guide so that people can do it for themselves.  ecoartspace are promising 10 of these based on artists’ projects.

Artists such as Eve increasingly recognising that making their methods explicit so that other people can adopt them is important.  You can find the guide that Eve and ecoartspace have developed here http://ecoartspaceactionguides.blogspot.co.uk/ and more will follow.  We will also categorise posts where methodologies are explicit and reproducible.

Eve just spoke as part of the Marfa Dialogues in New York, and this is how it was described,

Artist Eve Mosher will tell the story of her public art project titled HighWaterLine where she marked the ten feet above sea level line in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn with a baseball line marker over the summer of 2007. Mosher receives many requests to fly to cities around the world to duplicate this project. Since this would be an impossible task, she has recently collaborated with ecoartspace to develop an ACTION GUIDE so that communities around the world can learn about her work and now mark their own line using Mosher’s HighWaterLine as inspiration. The guide was developed for educators, nonprofit organizations and individuals, combining art and science to engage aesthetics while addressing environmental issues. Guide author Patricia Watts and curator Amy Lipton will participate with Eve Mosher for this discussion.

ecoartspace High Water Line

There’s a good video on the project

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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Cape Farewell Northern Isles expedition 2013 – Orkney and Shetland

The Swan at sea, Photo James Brady with permission

The Swan at sea, Photo by James Brady with permission

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

James Brady, artist and curator, member of the ecoartnetwork, sent us this short report on the Cape Farewell Northern Isles expedition

‘Journeying from Orkney to the Shetland islands via Fair Isle, the expedition
will consider the relationship between people, place and resources in coastal
and island environments, with emphasis on the role of community agency
and local knowledge in developing social and ecological resilience.’

www.capefarewell.com/2013expedition/

Between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the swells and tides brought with them a cascade of complex emotions which we (the visiting crew of The Swan) all precariously navigated over the three-week course of this extraordinary, interdisciplinary research sailing expedition.

The expedition itself is a beautiful work of ecological art, in my opinion, and curated with a rare sensitivity and grace. Journeying and exploring becoming mindful ways of knowing and ways of being. Collectively we encountered and investigated the layers of histories and ecologies, entangled within the fabric of the islands’ environments and their communities (human and non-human).

From the large-scale wave and tidal renewable energy research projects and the extensive Neolithic archaeology of the Orkney Isles, to the indigenous craft cultures and fishing heritage of the Shetlands – we encountered the shifting, contested grounds between tradition and the modern, development and sustainability, the global and the local, renewables and fossil fuels…

I was astonished how willing the local people on each island were to engage in conversation, open to questions and having their generational stories recorded – fishermen, musicians, farmers, poets, teachers, knitters, etc. It’s a fascinating paradox, because these folks are both resilient and vulnerable to ‘change’ – certainly a characteristic of small, remote communities across our planet.

One of the leading characters in our expedition story was The Swan – a beautifully restored, century-old herring drifter – a community-run boat based on Shetland. She nurtured a fascinating and dynamic social energy amongst the crew. I was privileged to be in such esteemed company – a wonderful mix of creative and scientific minds so willing to share and exchange inspiration and knowledge.

Sea Change the exhibition is on at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (John Hope Gateway), 8 November 2013 – 26 January 2014. www.rbge.org.uk/whats-on/sea-change

James Brady was a member of the first Northern Isles expedition crew. He is an artist and curator based in Merseyside, England. www.capefarewell.com/2013expedition/crew/james-brady/

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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The Archivist

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist with George Wyllie’s Spire, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

How do you represent ideas that are far away, remote or don’t exist yet? The Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) was spread across rural Dumfries and Galloway, but its ambition was to represent environmental art ideas from much further afield.

Exhibitions of ideas in the form of documentation can be very problematic, even if they include models and drawings, photographs and plans, video and archives. They can frankly end up being dry and boring for anyone not deeply interested in the ephemera of environmental and social practices.

Two artists addressed this challenge beautifully for the Festival. Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman came up with a genius solution by assuming that this was a performative problem rather than a problem of display.  They describe The Archivist as a collaboration with performer David Giblin.

We met The Archivist at the village hall in Gretna Green, just across the road from one of the tackiest parts of the Scottish tourism industry – the Old Blacksmith’s Shop.

The Archivist had his audience in the palm of his hand. He was talking to a group of school children, introducing them to the Archive. He was elegantly dressed in a frock coat and cravat, clearly channelling the antiquarian who has researched the obscure world of artists and designers working on environmental issues. Dumfries and Galloway is of course home turf for antiquarians, researching the monuments of neolithic, bronze and iron age, and Celtic cultures.  But the school children were entranced and more importantly engaged with complex ideas and creativity. What more could you ask for?

The Archivist was showing them one of George Wyllie’s (1921-2012) Spires. He captured Wyllie’s spirit in his demonstration of the simple idea of equilibrium.

George’s spires which, from 1982 onwards, he positioned throughout the UK as well as Europe and the US too, celebrated “the places on which they stood. The spire was a very basic structure with the rod going upwards, counterbalanced by a stone and set on a tripod of steel or wood to enable it to move about, like the sails of a ship. In simple rhythm with nature and without complications, the spire freely compromises itself to praise the planet. Air, Stone, Equilibrium, Understanding.” (from the George Wyllie website)

The Archivist had a large, velvet lined trunk next to him which was filled with ideas in the form of iconic ephemera. You could ask him about any of them and he’d pull out the object and set it on the elegant and slightly anachronistic brass tripod. He’d demonstrate how the particular thing might work, explain what it meant and ask his audience about their ideas.

Another example from his trunk was a model of a high voltage electricity transmission pylon covered in vegetation, a proposal by Andrea Geile who is concerned with “replacing lost forests and ever decreasing eco-systems by colonising existing man made structures in the environment.”  For a full list of the ideas that The Archivist was working with see the EAFS website.

Usually it’s performance that is the problem, the thing that can only be experienced through documentation. This reversal, using performance as a means to release new life in artworks which only exist as ideas, succeeds because it focuses on the interpersonal experience. These types of ideas are normally shared and discussed in small groups working to make them happen. It’s in discussions between artists, curators and producers, clients and funders, that these ideas are brought to life, literally brought to reality in often long process of negotiation and project development.  The Archivist was using one of the methods that normally exists in that process – the maquette.  A maquette is a model for a sculpture.  Everything in The Archivist’s trunk was a maquette for an idea, i.e. not necessarily literally a miniature of the proposed work, but rather a useful physical manifestation of the idea (the two highlighted above are literally maquettes).

Within the territory of the visual and applied arts, it is usually the artist’s voice which is foregrounded, and if not the artist’s then the curator/producer is the interlocutor of choice.  To involve a performer to represent the ideas of a visual artist is provocative, but what it necessitates is the foregrounding of methodology and the clarity of the idea.  Environmental and social practices are perhaps more interested in the pedagogical dimensions of the work, and also owe more of a debt to performance art for their aesthetic, as Claire Bishop has recently suggested.

If there is a key reference point for this as a work in itself, it is surely Allan Kaprow’s Gallery in a Hat.  As I remember it Kaprow would approach someone in a bar for instance and say “Would you like to see the gallery in my hat?”  He’d proceed to take objects out of the hat and relate the stories associated with each.  Kaprow’s work in turn relates back to dadaist and surrealist poetry created by pulling words or phrases out of a hat (and of course to William Burroughs’ Cut-Up technique).

We look forward to meeting The Archivist again.

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

Chris Fremantle’s review of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland will be published in the International e-Journal of Creativity and Human Development (the link will be updated when the article is published).

You can contact Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman to explore how The Archivist might help you with communicating your ideas to your audiences through Jo’s 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.
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