Yearly Archives: 2014

Dare to Trust

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Exhaust 3

Mike Cook is a sculptor who is passionate about recycled metal. After a lifetime working in the public and private sectors, where, among other things, he commissioned public art for the Portland Development Commission and managed the corporate art program at Mentor Graphics. He is now devoting his retirement to making his own art. His sculpture has been shown on the North Coast at CART’M Recycling’s Trash Bash, CBAA Green/Verde, Shadow and Light, and Clatsop CC Student 3D.  Chantal Bilodeau asked Mike to talk a little bit about his inspiration, his process, and why artists should address climate change.

What inspired you to start working with recycled metals?

When I was little, our Detroit home and yard was very tidy. But we looked out into Mr. Miller’s yard strewn with junk metal. My mom would say, “Just look at your room. You don’t want to grow up like Mr. Miller, do you?” I guess I did. Detroit itself had its influences: Iron Country, ore freighters, cars. My family, then and today, has always been committed to recycling. So as I committed my retirement to art, starting with life drawing, I found working with metals at the recycling center most congenial. It flowed for me. Unlike stock metals, each piece of recycled metal had a story already built in that spoke to me – the pitting, rust taking it back through its recycled lives – starting from the earth and returning as rust.   I’ve been tempted to move towards more finished, form based volumes, but with the time left in this life, I think I’ll just stick with the pits and rust.

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Arc

In the last year, you have been focusing on climate change. Specifically, how does your work engage that issue?

I noticed that my work was moving in that direction on its own, dictated by my stock of materials. It started with the Exhaust series, then Arc – which I also thought of as Ark of the Lost Remnant – then Engage the Scavenger and Atmosphere. Parallel with, and preceding this movement, I began noticing climate change – the imperative beginning with an image in National Geographic of a Russian tourist ship visiting the North Pole in open water. With the imperative of grandchildren and creeping age and arthritis, I decided I’d better focus my work. With this first directed piece, Awakening, I found some of the metaphors I started with faded and others appeared along the way.  Others may look at the piece and come away with different impressions, even non-climate stories. So instead of tackling climate change directly, I see it as an awakening, in me, and likely in civilization and in art – more of a flow, and a desire to reinforce that flow. Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises reinforces this idea. A piece sitting here in Manzanita, Oregon may impact me and a couple of others – thus my emphasis on interaction with other artists and exposure via the internet.

What can sculpture offer that is perhaps different from other art forms?

I don’t think that sculpture has a particular advantage in addressing climate change.  For me, I don’t seem to have a choice.  It’s what I can do to express myself. I’m sure these characteristics can be addressed more effectively in volumes I’ll never see. But for me,  it’s tactile, invites investigation, presents infinite vantage points and perspectives. It directly addresses space, time, gravity, light and sometimes sound. The material itself, often of the earth, contains its own metaphor. It demands strength, loves hammers and chisels and flame. It’s hard to undo or redo. I get to work with folks, body shops, muffler shops, junk yards.  It’s dangerous, sometimes deadly. Thanks for this question. I love it.

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Engage the Scavenger – stainless exhaust and copper water pipe

What do you think is the single most important thing artists can do to address the problem of climate change?

Trust. Trust in what you know and love. Trust that life has a flow, that you have a place, and just jump in.  Trust your ability to seek, to see and listen and know the way. For me that has meant: trust, take a step, trust, engage, trust, assess, trust, take another step, trust.

What gives you hope?

That there’s something to trust.

Through community involvement, I’ve found that as an individual, and even more as part of a movement, it’s possible to effect change, from housing for the homeless to nuclear disarmament.

Through my art I’ve found that I don’t create. I follow paths. I find I have the ability to discern a path that works. And I find that any step taken can ultimately, and likely with some pain, be made to work. I start with something, then the material or my muse pushes me, I respond and go on and it’s right. It’s OK. It seems these paths already exist and I just find them and execute. I figure it’s the same for the planet, for civilization; the path of evolution has always worked – pressure and then a next step for life, except this time the step is ours. What a time to be alive.

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Atmosphere – rusted fender and exhaust fragments

Filed under: Sculpture

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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What’s The Hang Up About Climate Change?

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

Warsaw walk outCivil society organizations walk out of the Warsaw climate negotiations, November 21 2013
Photo: Adopt A Negotiator

A great article by Felicity Le Quesne was published this week in the online news provider The International. Titled “In-Depth: The Psychological and Social Roots of Climate Change Skepticism,” the article looks at people’s attitude towards climate change through a psychological, political and social lens, and makes the point that to be effective climate communication must go beyond the simple piling up of scientific evidence, and take into consideration the complexity of the human brain. This sounds to me like communicators have to know their audiences, and make sure they are addressing them in a way  that is both specific and appropriate. Which, I would then argue, is something  artists are particularly good at. So keep at it everyone. It may not always be immediately apparent, but what we are doing is helpful and has value.

Filed under: Climate Communication

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Call Out for Associate Artist #climatechange

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is recruiting a freelance artist to work with the gallery to explore climate change, sustainability and environmental issues while we host Early Warning Signs, a work by Ellie Harrison.

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The successful artist will use their practice to help the gallery staff to learn new things about themselves as a community, and challenge them to explore the ways they work together as a staff team on environmental issues and sustainability in their programming. The ambition is to build a stronger internal capacity for collaborative, participatory working practice, which make a difference to our carbon footprint.

For any inquiries please see the contact details on the brief, although please note the gallery staff will be unable to answer any inquiries until after 6 January 2014.

Submission requirements
Submissions should be sent in electronic format to John Irwin (john.irwin@glasgowlife.org.uk )

Closing date for submissions: 12 pm Friday 24 January 2014
Interviews on Monday 3 February 2014

Image: Early Warning Signs by Ellie Harrison at GoMa

The post Call Out for Associate Artist #climatechange appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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2nd Red Stables Art and Ecology Summer School at Bull Island Dublin

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

It’s great to see all the events that were organised by the RedStables and Dublin City Arts Office for their 2nd Art & Ecology event.

The Red Stables Art and Ecology Summer School took place in St. Anne’s Park, Dublin 3 and North Bull Island, a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve. For further information and bookings contact red.stables@dublincity.ie or 01 222 7377.

‘Natural Kinds’
18 July, 2:00–5:00pm, The Red Stables, St. Anne’s Park, Dublin 3

Natural Kinds was an afternoon of talks and screenings at The Red Stables on Thursday 18th July (2–5pm), looking at notions of classification in the natural sciences and Philosophy, stemming from research artist Jenny Brady who has been engaged with the Red Stables Summer School.

The afternoon included a talk by orchid specialist Brendan Sayers on orchid hybridisation and the wild orchids on Bull Island, and a presentation on the ‘Species Problem’ in Philosophy and Biology by Dr. Niall Connolly, Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science, TCD. The short programme of screenings included Donna Haraway Reads “The National Geographic” on Primates (1987) by Donna Haraway and Paper Tiger TV, Les Oursins (1958), The Love Life of the Octopus (1967) by Jean Painlevé, and Carve Up, Jenny Brady’s new video work made for The Red Stables Summer School.

‘Carve Up’
18 –31 July, 2:00–5:00pm

Jenny Brady’s Carve Up drew on questions around the nature and conception of species with a focus on the wild orchids growing on Bull Island. The work was screened in The Red Stables Gallery between 20–31 July from 12:00–5:00pm daily.

‘The Interpretive Project’

20 July, 3:00–5:00pm, Bull Island Interpretive Centre, Dublin 3 *

The Interpretive Project was a collaboration between Rhona Byrne, Vaari Claffey and Ciara Moore. On Saturday 20th July, the artists hosted a live event at the Interpretive Centre. The audience was invited to attend a hybrid lecture proposing a re-imagined history of the island. This live presentation included readings, film screenings and other visuals. It wove together histories on the origin, mythology and ecology of Bull Island since its appearance 213 years ago.

The stuffed animals who permanently reside in the space played a role at this event. In the process of uncovering the ‘history’ of Bull Island as the site of production and conception of a number of seminal historical artworks, the animals adopted the personae and characters of figures from art history and literature and discussed and reviewed a selection of artworks, offering us new insight from the perspective of the non-human animal. They also shared memories and experiences of life on the island for some of the native species and visitors.

The project also included a participative performance based on the flocking patterns, foraging behaviour and flight formation of the migratory birds on the island and the island itself. This performance was informed by the behaviour and sounds of animals on Bull Island, reflecting the human occasions for such collective behaviours and mass gatherings around ‘feeding, mating and alarm’.

The Red Stables Summer School 2013 was curated by Seán O Sullivan and Denise Reddy.
THE RED STABLES SUMMER SCHOOL
www.redstablesartists.com
Image credit: Dublin City Council

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

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Germany: Conference on cultural diversity and environmental sustainability

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

Germany: Conference on cultural diversity and environmental sustainability

Calling for a more holistic approach to how we perceive the challenges and possibilities in the cultural sector, a conference in Germany sets out to merge aspects and findings concerning cultural diversity and inclusion with the urgent topics of implementing environmental sustainability.

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In March 2014, a conference in Germany’s capital Berlin will be exploring how creative industries can simultaneously occupy a central role in promoting and maintaining cultural diversity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Speakers and attendees will be discussing the concept of ‘sustainable economic growth’ and how to create jobs and innovation.

“The onset of the global financial crisis has prompted the emergence of creative economies as an attractive and potentially more viable alternative to classical growth strategies,” writes the organisers.

“The components of creative economies, such as new media, performing arts, heritage, design and creative services are beginning to form integral parts of the global economy, allowing for the exploration of innovative resources, which are accessible to developing and developed countries alike.

Creative industries are also redefining the education system and the tourism industry. This is reflected for example in the on-going shift from traditional leisure-based tourism to more dynamic forms, such as cultural, educational and ecological tourism. This diversification of the tourism sector enriches the local, regional and the international economy through its use of creative goods and services and represents an alternative to the domestic, goods-based economy.”

Joint strategies of sustainable economic development
The Berlin/Frankfurt International Economics Congress 2014 seeks to explore and analyze the myriad of opportunities offered by the nurturing of creative industries, while integrating tools of Cultural Diplomacy into the creation and implementation of joint strategies of sustainable economic development.

For instance the conference will focus on issues such as ‘Engaging Developing Countries in the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’, and ‘Tourism as a Tool for Sustainable Economic Growth’.

Sustainable network of participants
Participation in the conference is open to governmental and diplomatic officials, academics, artists, journalists, civil society practitioners, private sector representatives, young professionals and students as well as other interested individuals from across the world.

During the conference, the participants will have a number of opportunities to network with one another, with the speakers, and with ICD Advisory Board Members and partners. Conference participants will become part of the ICD Alumni, a growing international network of people of diverse interests and backgrounds from around the world who share a commitment to intercultural exchange.

The Berlin International Economics Congress: ‘Global Trends in Creative Economies: Education, Entrepreneurship and Tourism as Drivers of Sustainable Economic Growth’ in Berlin on 5-7 March 2014.

» More information: http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/academy/index.php?en_biec-2014

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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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AV Festival Announces ‘Extraction’ as 2014 Festival Theme

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

EXTRACTION is the theme for the sixth edition of AV Festival in 2014, reflecting the subterranean map of the region from the mudstones, shales and coals of the Carboniferous coal measures, to the Ice Age boulder clay and marine limestone of the coast.

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AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION presents the work of artists who are re-imagining the geologic by responding to the natural landscape of the North East and beyond, from Neolithic rock art and glacial erosion to the remnants of the coal mining and minerals industries, and modern concerns with the global exploitation of material resources.  Through contemporary art, sound, music and film, the biennial event explores the raw materials that create our experience of the world, from their origins deep inside the earth, to their extraction and transformation through artistic, industrial and manufacturing processes.

The programme for 2014 features new commissions, UK premieres, solo exhibitions, group shows, concerts and film screenings by international and nationally renowned artists.

Running from 1 – 31 March 2014, the Festival includes over 10 exhibitions and over 50 concerts and film screenings, at venues including mima, Middlesbrough; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Laing Art Gallery, Tyneside Cinema, Star and Shadow Cinema, Castle Keep, the Mining Institute and other places in Newcastle as well as found spaces across the region.

To find out more visit: http://www.avfestival.co.uk/

Image: Lara Almarcegui, The Last Coal Extraction in Newcastlehttp://www.avfestival.co.uk/news/av-festival-14-announces-first-public-event-for-december-2013

The post AV Festival Announces ‘Extraction’ as 2014 Festival Theme appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Third Green Teas(e) Reflections

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

On 16th December Creative Carbon Scotland met for the third in a series of Green Teas(e) which bring together artists, arts organisations and people working in sustainability in Glasgow for tea, biscuits and discussion, with the view to sewing together previously disconnected projects and initiatives in the city. Green Teas(e) aim to give all sides of the group a new perspective on what others are doing and enable them to work together more effectively towards building a more sustainable cultural sector in Glasgow which might in turn influence a more sustainable city and vice versa.

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This time round a group of twenty people gathered in the Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art with an excitingly wide range of backgrounds and expertise to spur on discussion. Our invited speaker, Fi Scott, Founder and Design Director of Make Works set the tone with a quick introduction to what they have been up to over the past year. Make Works’ mission is to ‘make it easier for creative professionals to produce high quality work locally’ in Scotland. Earlier this year they embarked upon a 3000 mile tour, mapping the suppliers, trades and manufactures working in Scotland for the Make Works Directory which will make it simple for artists and designers to source factories, fabricators, workshops and facilities digitally.

With our first two events providing more general introductions to Green Teas(e), Creative Carbon Scotland wanted to use this third session to flesh out some of the components and characteristics that might make up a sustainable Glasgow and cultural sector. Make Works’ emphasis on building new links between Scottish artists and designers and manufacturers, making visible previously hidden possibilities for them to produce work more locally, thus potentially contributing to the sustainability of the product, was a good starting point for discussion.

So what might a sustainable Glasgow and cultural sector look like? Creative Carbon Scotland asked the group what sustainability meant to them, in their personal and working contexts. Ben, Director of CCS, started us off with the ‘triple bottom line’ of environmental, economic and social sustainability encompassed by a wider circle which can be understood within any number of frameworks including ‘culture’, ‘world view’, ‘values’ or ‘politics’.

Four key themes emerged from the groups’ definitions:

  • Making sustainability the cultural norm through strong leadership, influencing audiences and supply chains;
  • Increasing the transparency of the trade-offs and complexity of decision making (in the broadest sense);
  • Education playing a key role not only in increasing awareness but engaging people in a way that does not ‘impose’ or ‘withhold’ the ability to live more sustainably;
  • Supporting/creating more local, closed loop economies.

How do these feed into imagining a more sustainable city? More space for ‘thinking’ was one characteristic identified by the group. Chris Fremantle, independent producer and researcher, amongst others spoke about the pressure for cities such as Glasgow to constantly reinvent itself in order to maintain its position as an internationally competitive and appealing city to travel to or invest in. Chris gave the example of the plans for the new Clyde-wide Fastlink bus in Glasgow which would threaten the running of Govan Fair which requires a day-long closure of part of the bus route. Councils and organisations such as Glasgow Life face a huge challenge in keeping  up with the pressures to deliver ‘new’, ‘bigger’ and better’ events and programmes on increasingly tight budgets and staff time.

A ‘slower’ culture which values greater capacity for transparency in decision making as well as time to reflect, critique and make the most of what local resources and activities are already available was agreed upon as something which is currently lacking in Glasgow’s cultural landscape. This might in turn put greater emphasis on longer-term planning. Kenneth Osborne, financial director of the RSNO, spoke about their new building currently under construction which is estimated as functioning for only 60 years. How might we better approach such infrastructural changes so as to remove the financial driver as the over-riding position? A more locally driven engagement with city planning was one suggestion from architect Andy McAvoy, founder of Edo Architecture.

Bringing us full circle, Creative Carbon Scotland talked about grappling with the complexities of achieving triple bottom line sustainability. Fi Scott highlighted the many contradictions Make Works were faced with when learning about the processes of local production in Scotland. How does one value the financial sustainability of a rural community which itself is maintained through the importation and exportation of particular materials and products around the world? To Fi one of the most consistent forms of sustainability she has encountered is that of jobs available to more isolated settlements through the presence of local factories and manufacturers. Amongst the group there was the feeling that a first step towards a more sustainable city would be strong leadership which acknowledges these tricky trade-offs that we all face.

For the next meeting Creative Carbon Scotland will be back-casting from a sustainable Glasgow and cultural sector in 2020 to discuss how we might get there.

Green Teas(e) is part of a wider EU project called the Green Arts Lab Alliance. To find out more, click here.

Image: Make Works, Ross Fraser Maclean

The post Blog: Green Teas(e) Reflections appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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