Yearly Archives: 2016

Cloud House at Farmer’s Park – Springfield, MO

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

Almost two years ago ecoartspace invited Matthew Mazzotta to Springfield, Missouri to propose a public art installation for Farmers Park (check out there website —> HERE) , a LEED certified multi-use development. After meeting with the local community during a public living room conversation, the artists’ format for gathering information for conceptualizing his projects, Mazzotta went back to the drawing board. He came up with several ideas which he then presented to the owner of the development while in residence on the property spring 2015. By the end of June, there was consensus to green light the construction of the permanent public artwork that is titled Cloud House.

Cloud House is an iconic ‘House’ clad with barn wood, a tin roof, and a ‘Cloud’ suspended directly above the structure. Inside the house are rocking chairs that when sat upon triggers the cloud to rain drops of water onto the roof creating the sound of ‘rain on a tin roof,’ a poetic experience that echoes our connection to the natural world. Through an elegant design and engineering feat this whimsical and visually uplifting public sculpture engages a sense of disbelief. As the water flows down the tin roof and into an internal water reserve, water is directed to two side windows where it falls into planters below that are growing greens for public consumption.

This work is meant to provoke conversations around exploring the local, questions of ecology and dissecting the systems that make up our “everyday” experiences. Mazzotta is a graduate of the MIT Visual Studies Masters of Science Program and has won several awards for his project OPEN HOUSE in York, Alabama that he completed in 2013. For the last two years he has also been working with four communities in Nebraska to create public works through ArtPlace America and hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs titled “Byway of Art.” It is his feeling that rural and mid-America locales are a hotbed for achieving meaningful public art projects.

There will be a public dedication with the artist on site at Farmers Park, Saturday April 23rd to celebrate Earth Day and to acknowledge the first ever permanent interactive public sculpture created the City of Springfield.

For more information on Matthew Mazzotta, go to his website HERE

Images by Tim Hawley

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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

Go to EcoArtSpace

Data and the Future City: a dramatic exploration

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

We often think of art and science as being almost opposing disciplines. Yet at Creative Carbon Scotland we find ourselves benefiting from opportunities presented by bringing artists together with scientists, engineers and technicians to explore approaches to dealing with climate change. Artists can often respond with enthusiasm and a novel viewpoint to problems which seem intractable to the problem solvers while scientist can bolster authenticity in a work of art. Our own recent project ArtCOP Scotlandduring which artists responded to the December Paris Climate Summit, revealed the myriad of ways in which artistic practices could help to discuss and explore our relationship with the social-political issues surrounding climate change.

The Traverse recently hosted an interesting example of this approach with a joint production from the Traverse Theatre and the University of Edinburgh Schools of Engineering and Informatics of Data and the Future City.

A group of research staff at the department of Informatics at Edinburgh University were approaching the task of gathering research proposals. Faced with the prospect of organising yet another workshop along the usual lines which would come up with the usual ideas, a chance suggestion that they ‘talk to someone at the Traverse’ culminated in a dramatized presentation of 11 possible scenarios.

Each of the scenarios dealt with a different possible aspect of living in a future version of Edinburgh where personal data was being used to provide services for (and control of) the population. The academics involved each wrote a short dialog which explored possible uses of ‘Big data’ ranging from medical services (e-doctor) to punishments for minor offending (off-points) with benefits and disadvantages explored and discussed.

The dialogs, voiced by 6 actors, reading direct from the scripts, were thought provoking and ranged from tragic to comic and engaged the audience in a way that a list of workshop inspired research ideas never could.

The process of writing, dramatizing and presenting the scenarios took place over 3 half days and was both inspiring and difficult for both the scientists and the artists but illustrated how the arts can provide a voice for a wide range of communities who struggle to communicate and audiences who would otherwise have limited opportunities to hear diverse messages.


Creative Carbon Scotland runs a range of projects to bring together the arts and environmental sustainability. Find out more about our work here.

 

The post Data and the Future City: a dramatic exploration 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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Architects and climate change

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Daughter of an architect, I’ve noticed an uptick of articles over the past two years speculating that #architects will increasingly find themselves – wittingly or not – at the center of global climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

As architect Alice Guess has written:

“Architects are, by the very nature of what we do, best positioned to lead the response to [sea level rise and climate change] in a way that not only insures we can persist but that persisting can be beautiful and comfortable and safe and functional. So architects need to step up and take our seat at the table and start leading the way (emphasis added). We need to reclaim the conversation from the insurance industry and statisticians who focus on “hazard” and “risk”. Let’s start talking about possibilities and opportunities, to start designing our future.”

Based on a quick* Internet search, the majority of recent articles linking architects and climate change have focused on urban architecture and/or urban planning. This is justified, given that 54% of humanity currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to two-thirds by mid-century.

Not to be overlooked, however, are hundreds of beautiful and innovative projects designed primarily for rural areas. For two stunning examples, look no further than Arturo Vittori’s architectural firm which designed the WarkaWater Tower project in Ethiopia and Bee’ah’s environmental waste management project in the Emirati desert (see image below) designed by visionary architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away suddenly last month.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.28.47 PMThe following set of links provides a few examples of the myriad strategies currently available to architects, designers, engineers and urban planners to reduce emissions, conserve energy, build resilience, and prepare for inevitable sea-level rise in coastal urban centres:

But of all the projects I’ve seen on the Internet recently, my absolute favorite is Strawscraper, an urban wind farm proposed by the Swedish architectural firm Belatchew Arkitekter. As a renewable energy photographer, I’m clearly a sucker for anything and everything wind. But after watching the video below, I seriously wondered if I have made a mistake by not following in my father’s footsteps:

* N.b. This short post was only meant to be a quick introduction to what I hope will become, over time and with your input, a more substantial essay on the important role that architects must play as we adapt to and mitigate climate change, especially in large coastal urban centres. Neither architect nor architectural historian, I surely have overlooked important contributions from the architectural community that deserve to be highlighted here.  I welcome your feedback, criticism and collaboration to jointly enlarge this post over the coming months before sharing it more widely in print.  Joan Sullivan, Photographer

Follow Joan Sullivan on Twitter @CleanNergyPhoto

 

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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 the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Ben’s Blog: Disinvestment

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Over three years ago now, I wrote a blog about why anyone investing in a pension – and that means most of us, with auto-enrolment meaning that all employers will soon have to provide a workplace pension – should consider a fund that avoids investing in fossil fuels. A recent report brings this up to date and makes even more stark predictions.

The report, published in the highly respected academic journal Nature Climate Change, spells out the risks. When I was writing back in 2013, my point was that as climate change became more urgent, companies whose worth was based on their fossil fuel assets would lose value as people realised that the oil and gas wells, coal mines and tar sands they owned would never be exploited as fossil fuels would become too expensive or illegal to use. This is still the case, and a speaker at a discussion after the Paris Climate Change talks suggested that one reason why Saudi Arabia is not curtailing its oil production to raise the price, as it would have in the past, is because it knows that in future its oil will be harder to sell, so it might as well pump as much as it can now.

The risk today is wider. The report argues that the impact on global financial assets of 21st century climate change is equal to 1.8% of the total, or $2.5trillion, assuming that we take a ‘business as usual’ approach to climate change – ie we don’t make any changes to the way in which we run the world. However, this is just the lower end of the estimate and in the worst scenarios it rises to nearly 17% of the global financial assets or $24trillion. These are substantial sums.

13635340783_b4f475f9d7_kThe losses would be caused by severe weather events, and the damage done to buildings, infrastructure and land used for agriculture; and by the reduction in earnings and presumably productivity for people affected by higher temperatures, drought and other climate impacts. In recent decades, there has been a great deal of high value building on relatively low lying land – areas like Florida for example, or the bank of the Thames. Flooding caused by sea level rise and storm surges; therefore, now has much greater financial impact than would have been the case in the past when land at risk of flooding was routinely less developed.

The report argues that taking action to contain climate change to below 2°C will reduce the potential losses significantly:

Including mitigation costs, the present value of global financial assets is an expected 0.2% higher when warming is limited to no more than 2◦C, compared with business as usual. The 99th percentile [ie the worst case scenario] is 9.1% higher. Limiting warming to no more than 2◦C makes financial sense to risk-neutral investors—and even more so to the risk averse.’ (Nature Climate Change 4 April 2016. DOI: 10.10138)

So what should the pension investor, or perhaps more importantly the arts manager who is setting up an auto enrolment scheme for their company’s employees, do? The answer must be to avoid investments in companies with interests in fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal. Not only will their assets become less valuable, as Carbon Tracker continues to demonstrate, but their continued development of the fossil fuel reserves that they own will also affect the wider portfolio of shares and assets that pension funds invest in. There are numerous pension funds that avoid environmentally problematic investments – Aviva’s Sustainable Futures funds are just some of the best known (and this isn’t a recommendation – I’m not qualified for that!).

CfJHoc1VAAAM59DThere’s another angle to this. I signed a letter that was published in the Guardian on Monday urging Hartwig Fischer, the new Director of the British Museum, to drop sponsorship by BP. Liberate Tate, Platform and Art Not Oil have been very successful at raising this issue and apparently having some success: BP will no longer be sponsoring the Tate. Their approach has been political, artistic and fun, demonstrating that art and politics can happily go to bed together. Similarly the divestment campaign at Edinburgh University continues to make waves – and to be fair, seems to have had an effect. And Glasgow University was the first in Europe to disinvest. Things are happening.

Many years ago, Scotland faced the poll tax before England and our protests were a bit too restrained – nothing happened. Shortly after there was more… robust protest in England, Thatcher and the poll tax were chucked out. Is it time we in the arts became a bit less restrained here about fossil fuel?

The post Ben’s Blog: Disinvestment 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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