Yearly Archives: 2017

Open Call: COAL Prize 2017 – Deadline July 20

In seven years the COAL Prize became an international meeting place for artists who take up the main universal issue of our time : ecology.
The global ecological crisis now affects all societies, territories and activities, whether by climate change, depletion of resources, various forms of pollution or loss of biodiversity. A global crisis that criss-cross its economic and social consequences. But this crisis is also a cultural one. The dominant values and representations, our globalized culture, determine our individual and collective behaviours, and ultimately our collective impacts on Planet Earth. Therefore, the solutions to this crisis can not only be political and technical. Culture can be a major player. This is what COAL has been promoting since its founding in 2008.

The COAL Prize is open to artists from all over the world who deploy their creativity to devise and experiment with solutions and bear witness to the transformation of territories, lifestyles, organizations, and means of production, while making a contribution to the process themselves. Together they are participating in building a new collective narrative, a new world of imagination, an evolving shared heritage, a positive framework that is optimistic and essential for everyone to find the motivation to implement the necessary changes towards a more sustainable world.

The COAL Prize, created in 2010 by the COAL Art and Ecology non profit organisation, has become a vehicle of identification, promotion and diffusion of these artists, to the general public, professionals of culture and ecology and political figures. Every year the COAL Prize highlights ten projects by artists working on environmental issues in the field of visual arts. They are selected through an international call for projects. One of them is awarded the COAL Prize by a jury of personalities from the domains of art and ecology. In addition, all the applications considered by COAL and the selection committee make it possible to make known artists and projects that can be solicited or promoted according to the other opportunities and actions carried out by the association.



CALENDRIER

Application deadline: 20 July 2017 at midnight.

The Coal Prize will be awarded in October 2017 in Paris.

 



DOTATION


The prize-winner receives an award of 5,000 euros and is invited for a residency including an additional aid in production at Domaine de Belval (Ardennes – France) by the François Sommer Foundation.

Real observatory of rural and wild life, every year the Domaine de Belval welcomes artists chosen for their interest and their contribution to renewing the vision of the relationship between man and nature.

The François Sommer Foundation has been recognized as a public utility since 30th November 1996, the date of its creation by François and Jacqueline Sommer, pionneers of the implementation of humanist ecology. This foundation, which is true to the commitments of its founders, works for the protection of biodiversity, in which Mankind finds its place, for the respectful use of natural resources, for rational hunting, and sharing the wealth of natural, cultural and artistic
heritage. The Foundation also owns the Museum of Hunting and Nature in Paris, which has been open to the public since February 1967 and is listed as a ”Museum of France”.

DOWNLOAD THE BELVAL RESIDENCY CHARTER

 



JURY AND SELECTION OF ENTRIES


The jury consists of prominent figures from the fields of art, ecology and research. The jury will be announced soon (you can see the jury of COAL Prize 2016).

Applicants will be judged on the following criteria: artistic value, relevance (understanding of the issues), originality (the ability to introduce new approaches, themes, and points of view), pedagogy (ability to get a message across and raise awareness), social and participative approaches (engagement, testimony, efficiency, societal dynamics), eco-design and feasibility.



APPLICATION


The application should include the following documents together in a single PDF file. The application must not exceed 25 pages:

– Application form HERE application form – Coal Prize 2017;
– A summary and illustrated description of the entry, detailing its artistic aspects and its relevance to environmental issues;
– 2 HQ pictures illustrating your project;
– A note on the technical aspects of the entry, especially in terms of construction and means of production;
– A budget estimate;
– A Curriculum Vitae and a portfolio.



CONTACT

Opportunity: Test Unit 2017: Occupying the Post Industrial City

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Agile-City Brings You This Opportunity

Deadline: 8 May 2017

Art, Design & Architecture Summer School
18 – 24 June

Throughout the week-long programme six facilitators will each lead a group exploring a different topic in response to the central theme:

Unit 1: Responsive Lighting – Jason Bruges Studio
Using both internal and external spaces we will animate the site and intrigue the public by exploring innovative light-based methods, creating site-specific interactive environments.

Unit 2: Urban Bothy – Baxendale
As exploration of our industrial urban landscape becomes ever more popular what are the possibilities for small, unique and affordable modes of temporal occupation within our cities?

Unit 3: Spatial Occupation – Assemble & TAKTAL
Using Civic House as a live case study we will explore themes of modular workspace, prefabrication, open source platforms, incremental development and the financial models to realise these ideas.

Unit 4: Façades – A Feral Studio
How do we read the city? What strategies can we use to design communicative building? Through façade and design interventions we will examine surfaces, layers & architecture as communication.

Unit 5: Eventful City – The National Theatre of Scotland
The ‘eventful city’ is a key driver for connecting people, testing ideas and initiating change. This unit will explore site-specific design, production, performance and participatory theatre.

Unit 6: Building Collaborative EconomiesValentina Karga
As post-industrial societies continue to struggle with issues of resource scarcity, how can values of sharing and collaboration translate into alternative forms of economy? Our exploration will address this question in an attempt to build stronger and more resilient communities.

Apply here

Want to know more?

Visit Agile-City’s website and read the detailed Project Pack here.

Hear from last year’s participant and facilitators via this short film.

Please get in touch for more information via hello@agile-city.com


The post Opportunity: Test Unit 2017: Occupying the Post Industrial City appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


About 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

Spring Into Action with Artichoke Dance Company!

It’s that time of year again! Spring is a season often associated with the celebration of life, sustainability and renewal. What better time to begin taking part in programs and initiatives dedicated to sustaining our great home hear on earth. Spring into action this year with Artichoke Dance Company


What’s On the Horizon?




What to do for Earth Day…and every day!

Refuse plastic bags. Bring your own instead, Here’s why.

Switch to green energy.

Sign up for an April 29 Climate March near your, or join them in DC!


We’ve got one earth! Now’s the time!


Artichoke Dance at Art Omi

Looking for a spring fling in the country? Join Art Omi in Ghent, NY on May 27.  ADC will be performing for the spring opening of the Art Omi Fields Sculpture Park.

Participatory workshop: 11:30am
Performance: 2:30pm


Global Water Dances on the Gowanus Canal

ADC is thrilled to announce their third collaboration with Global Water Dances.Throughout June, they are hosting free dance,drum, and costume-making workshops culminating in a performance, costume parade, eco-tour, and interactive educational exhibits on June 24. A community celebration not to be missed!



About Artichoke Dance Company:


Artichoke Dance Company , based in Brooklyn, NY, creates unique dance works, presents public performances and offers participatory educational experiences in dance and dance making by using the interactive, cooperative, and community building aspects of dance to develop physical, creative, and social skills and artistic and cultural understanding. They create, perform, and educate in ways that entertain, enlighten, and enrich the lives of their audiences and participants. Learn more about them here. 

Propagating For Our Planet

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Building Worlds as a Message about our World

The tide of climate change is too easily dismissed as a slow steady march that can be denied or at least ignored in favor of “more pressing” issues. In my Building Worlds series, I create paintings that fuse past, present, and future eras into imaginary worlds to emphasize our inevitable and potentially irreversible effect on the planet. At first glance my paintings resemble captivating cityscapes perhaps gone a bit awry. Viewers find themselves struggling to place these scenes in memories from travels and other experiences. Their contemplation often leads them to linger, observe, and process the imagery more deeply beyond the initial aesthetic. But these are not your typical vistas. They contain a message that begins to reveal itself upon closer examination. Something is happening to these worlds. There is an aspect of urgency to the scenes that people often begin to sense. Strata teem with suggestions of past civilizations. Debris and crumbling elements resembling ruins from antiquity are interspersed with gleaming, modern imagery all condensed into a single work as if they are “time-lapse paintings.” The skies are infused with dripping and texture that suggest that weather no longer exists in its predictable form.  What does all of this mean? Can it be good? Can we continue to accelerate our consumption of our planet’s resources while ignoring the costs? I hope my work can lead people to consider such questions.

Beacon, 30”x 40” Acrylic & Collage



Repurposing with a Purpose

The heart of my work is repurposing – taking one thing and using it for something else. In a sense, I have even chosen to repurpose my passion for painting as a conduit to highlight issues, action steps, and the work and efforts of others to combat climate change. I have joined the many artists striving to permeate concern for our planet into our culture. My paintings give me a means to build community and to help increase general acknowledgement of the need to address climate change sooner rather than later. Repurposing is a hopeful and important process that will be central to the health of our planet as “progress” places constant pressure on us to consume at the cost of our environment, while at the same time threatening to render us obsolete. Repurposing helps to counterbalance these forces.

The Genesis of my Worlds

The story of my current work began in Jerome, a small town in Arizona that was itself repurposed from a mining town to a tourist destination. In 1957 when the copper mine was closed, the town was threatened, but with ingenuity it was deemed a historic town, and the mine was reopened as a “ghost town.” I visited Jerome on a family vacation. The sweeping views were impressive and the ghost town feature was a must-see for the kids. The operational infrastructure of the mine had been left in place to “age with the elements,” and the desert climate had been relatively kind. Work trucks from the 1940’s stood in place, like colorful ghosts. The patina of their aged surfaces and lines of their bodies told the story of a bygone era and the bittersweet beauty of aging. I painted my Truck Series: Jerome Arizona based on my love for these trucks, at that point in time, in that setting.

My Process of Artistic Propagation

I chronicled this series of paintings and kept extensive digital images of them. I had painted the trucks with a thick impasto technique that lent dimensionality and texture true to the aging surfaces of the vehicles, and the photos of my paintings retained much of this visual texture. In a sense, I was “haunted” by those images and they spoke to me. In the spirit of repurposing, I conceived of a process I now call artistic propagation. I began by extracting the textured elements so vividly shown in these photos and bringing them into a fresh new context. With this in mind, I experimented with digitally manipulating photos of my paintings, cropping components such as grills and headlights from the trucks to create unique printed archival collage papers. I planned to affix them to the support in a purely abstract non-representational manner. I found myself arranging them in strata and enjoying the results. I also realized that worlds like none I’d seen before were emerging and that I could build these worlds in a metaphorical way that gives voice to my concerns about our planet.

In general, propagation is the reproduction or spreading of something. It applies to plants and animals in nature, and it also applies to the spread of ideas. My process of extracting elements from my existing works and using them to create new ones to convey a message is similar to that of propagation both in our natural and ideological world. In a sense, each of my works contains the “genes” of its ancestors, and I use these works as a vehicle for promoting interest in and awareness of efforts to save our planet.

I create archival collage papers from elements taken from images of my truck paintings. Above, I digitally cropped the grill from my painting, Wallflower, printed it on archival paper and affixed it as a collage element in my painting Ebb and Flood.



Since this initial period of exploration, my artistic propagation has expanded to include intricate layers of construction. In addition to metaphorically “salvaging vehicle parts for reuse,” I repurpose by creating collage material incorporating stamping and sgraffito effects from castoff apparatus and implements including pipette holders, variegated tubing, wire gauze, rubber stoppers, and well plates. Fortunately, I am able to easily access these items from a Durham, NC organization called The Scrap Exchange. One of the first creative reuse centers in the United States, The Scrap Exchange diverts 167 tons of materials from the waste stream annually. Their mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse. They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary, and they are poised to ramp up their global reuse impact. They have launched plans to establish the National Center for Creative Reuse (NCCR), which will contribute to a global reuse revolution through factors such as philanthropy, research, and education.

Organizations like The Scrap Exchange give me hope for the future of our planet. I feel fortunate that as an artist, I have a unique platform for sharing their story and the stories of many other organizations and individuals working to help our planet. This Artists & Climate Change blog and others like it are an encouraging window into the global efforts across the arts to address climate change. As we continue to join in chorus, we will amplify our impact.

Overlook, 30”x 40” Acrylic and Collage



(Top image: World Wide Web, 16”x 20” Acrylic & Collage)

______________________________

Jenny Blazing was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She is an artist now living in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from University of California, Davis with degrees in Environmental Design & Economics and subsequently earned a Ph.D. from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on the ephemeral beauty of our world and our need to do our best to respect and preserve it. She recently held a debut showing of her Building Worlds series. Follow Jenny Blazing on Instagram.



About Artists and Climate Change:

 

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

April 2017 Green Tease Reflections

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Two weeks ago, the Green Tease network gathered at the Edinburgh Printmakers for a discussion of their most recent exhibition Firedamp: Revisiting the Flood by Canadian artist Sean Caulfield.

Joined by Sean remotely over Skype, and Emily Brady, Professor of Environment and Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, we entered into a discussion provoked by the exhibition around themes of changing relationships to energy production and consumption, and the means by which artistic practices can open up new spaces for dialogue around the complex issues of environmental sustainability and climate change. 

Following the event, we’re very pleased to publish Emily Brady’s response to the Firedamp exhibition as delivered on the evening.


Reflections on Sean Caulfield’s Firedamp, Edinburgh Printmakers 
Emily Brady, Professor of Environment and Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

As I see it, the Firedamp exhibition potentially creates a ‘culture/SHIFT’ ‘making the invisible visible, revealing hidden and underlying structures which impact upon environmental sustainability of current and future societies’ (www.creativecarbonscotland.com/project/cultureshift/).

The term ‘firedamp’ refers to an explosive gas emitted in coalmines and oil gas fields. In the 1800s, it was referred to as ‘bags of foulness’. ‘Foulness’ is a rich term. It describes things that are unpleasant, and bags of foulness suggest lots of it, dissipated, with the potential to foul the air completely. Foulness refers to bad things, but perhaps not to things that are awful to the core, terrible, or horrific.

Foulness is a sensory experience; to find something foul is mostly through touch, smell and taste. Of course, we can find things foul just by looking at them – say, when disgusted by a carcass (but even here, other sensory modes may be engaged, even if by imagination).

The themes of Sean Caulfield’s Firedamp that come to mind for me are: oil – black, rich, thick oil (floods too, but are these floods of water, or floods of oil oozing with a foul texture; viscous)? Looking at it and imagining getting stuck in it, drowning in it, clawing one’s way out of it before being crudely swallowed up.

There is also water. Is the Japanese-looking house floating in a great pool, the flood from Fukushima, from the huge wall of water that is the tsunami? Or is the fragile structure of the Firedamp piece, floating, even at risk of sinking, into a pool of thick black oil?

These themes crisscross two places on the earth, each with a different story. The first: Ōkuma, Fukushima, Japan. Prior to the disaster, the Fukushima nuclear power plant would be, for some, a symbol of the greatness of human technology – the ability to split large atoms to produce vast amounts of energy. For others, it was a natural and human disaster that was waiting to happen; the plant situated vulnerably, at a single point in time, in the path of an earthquake and a great wall of water.

The second place is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in Canada, the tar sands of northeastern Alberta. The technology and devastation of tar extraction and conversion to crude oil affects vast places. We know that oil is foul, creating a world dependent on this energy source and its production, with the unpleasant – no – dire consequences being anthropogenic climate change.

Fukushima is a natural and multispecies disaster which killed thousands. As a disaster, Fukushima had both human and natural causes at its center. Tar sands and the production of oil in places like Alberta is controversial: oil production secures jobs and economic progress, while at the same time destroying environments, other creatures and species, and contributing along the causal chain to climate change.

In turn, this process threatens the livelihoods of humans in parts of the world spatially distant from the sources of the greatest consumption of oil – largely the Global North, remembering again that it is not just people who are affected by climate change, but also the more-than-human world. Crude oil is also a natural and human technological co-production; the sources of oil lie in the tar sands just under the skin of the earth. This is a disaster happening now, and only set to get much worse.

Sean’s work conveys to me themes of this human-natural engagement, co-production, co-creation, human-natural entanglements, crimes committed together – intended or unintended – with consequences for human and beyond. The organic forms in these artworks move between human technology and leaf forms, leaf shapes, dead, defoliated trees, odd stump-like branches; growth coming out of the ground pushing through the surface of the earth. Some of the forms seem organic, of the natural world, but morphing into or somehow like human-made technology (the snake-like fire hose of Souffleur). Are they becoming artifacts?

Perhaps you’re thinking: humans are natural too; what’s the difference? Sure, humans are biological creatures. We humans grow; we need sustenance, food, water, to flourish, like plants. Like other mammals, humans reproduce and give birth to offspring; we play; we age; we die. And humans are not the only species, one might say, that possess technology. Crows and other corvids use tools; beavers make lodges and dams; many birds and insects create incredible, complex nests.

But to say that humans possess technology is to say that they intentionally, through choice, through a clear kind of agency, create particular kinds of infrastructure on a grand scale to extract resources from the earth or to manipulate physical phenomena such as the atom.

It is through these kinds of choices – which involve the ability to decide whether these forms of energy production are good or bad – that give you or me the capacity to judge that technology, to judge those actions, and to say within the culture of the human species, or within a particular human community, that such things may be right or wrong.

In judging the tar sands or the Fukushima disaster, do we blame nature for what has happened? No.  It would be odd, would it not, to blame hydrocarbons and the bitumen from the sand for climate change? It is the uses of oil that are blamed – the stinking emissions of cars and human practices that have created dependence on oil across the globe. We consider a tsunami a natural occurrence caused by another, that is, an earthquake deep in the earth’s crust (even if there may be some human cause in some dissipated kind of way, as we find with human effects on weather). But that is not enough for us to say that the tsunami is caused by humans.

Similarly, consider the new geological age of the Anthropocene, in which stratigraphers have determined that humans have now affected the earth in a pervasive way. I would argue that this does not mean that the human imprint on the earth runs through all the things that we have previously considered to be natural. To be sure there is no such thing as pristine wilderness. We know that a Spam tin has been found in the Mariana trench, that deepest part of the world’s oceans, at 10 or 11,000 metres deep. Humans have affected the earth, the atmosphere, and space, certainly, but these effects are stronger and weaker. There remain natural organisms and processes which are autonomous, operating independently of human intentionality and technology, and continuing to be most extraordinary.

So, I would say that we can continue to embrace both continuity between human and more than human natures, as well as difference.

That is what I find fascinating about Firedamp. The works consider human-nature entanglements and raise questions about those entanglements (especially the foul), and worse, the consequences of them.

These woodcuts are not, however, apocalyptic. Not really, for me. They are not deeply negative renderings of apocalyptic landscapes or futures. There are traces, to be sure, of the landscapes of nuclear disasters throughout history. I’m not sure that I see hope in Sean’s work, something that I hold dearly in these really difficult political and moral times. Perhaps the boat carrying the tree stump in Cargoship is hopeful, carrying the tree stump to safety? I don’t know. But I do see the uncanny, the strange, the foul, the tragic, the death of the natural world and the precarity of human life and structures, like the home. These artworks remind me of Paul Nash’s landscapes of war, with trees stripped of life, of leaves, branches, greenery, fullness – but also of artist Edward Gorey’s whimsical, strange, uncanny characters, the pen-and-ink drawings themselves behaving like little woodcuts. The black-and-white of Sean’s woodcuts certainly contribute to a light sense of doom.

There is also fire flaming out, the glow of fire, and forms reminiscent of bellows, among the many biological–organic–earthy things which populate the artworks. I do not see the promise of life revitalizing itself – which is where hope might lie – except perhaps that these stumps and branch fragments have at least a few leaves on them. If there is hope, maybe we can find it through imagination; through imagining not that we can escape or overcome the flood of water and oil or the darkness of natural-human disasters, but in recognizing the entwining of humans with the rest of the natural world, and learning better ways of coexistence.


Thank you to everyone for joining us at this event.

Green Tease is an ongoing informal events programme which connects creative practices and environmental sustainability. Since 2013 Green Tease has offered a platform for those interested building links between the arts and sustainability through the exchange of ideas, knowledge and practices.

Interested in finding out more about Green Tease?

Or running your own Green Tease event?

Images:

1st: Sean Caulfield, Detail from The Flood, carved wood relief, approximately 20 x 30ft, Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada, 2016, (Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell)

2nd: Installation view of The Flood, carved wood relief, approximately 20 x 30ft, Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada, 2016. (Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell)

3rd: Public installation of section of The Flood, printed gampi pasted on wall with starch glue, Churchill LRT Station, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2016. (Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell)

4th: Installation view of Firedamp exhibition, dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2016. (Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell)

See more of Sean’s work



The post April 2017 Green Tease Reflections appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



About 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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The Teachings of Treefall

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on September 24, 2016.

Many years ago I was browsing in a chain bookstore at my local mall and a title almost literally jumped off the shelf and into my waiting hands: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, edited by Theodore A. Rozack. The book consists of essays by psychologists and environmentalists wrestling with how we humans are personally and internally affected by the environmental crisis. The book ignited a passion in me, but at that time, I could not figure out how to combine my work as a theatre designer and the urgency I felt to work on behalf of the planet. The ideas were out there, but the performing arts hadn’t widely begun addressing the issues of environmental crisis and climate change. And when they did, the work was emotive, grief stricken, and hopeless.

In 2009 came my answer. I designed the scenery for Henry Murray’s post-apocalyptic play, Treefall, produced by Rogue Machine Theatre and directed by John Perrin Flynn. In the story of the play, there have been massive fires, local wars, ravaging disease, and the breakdown of all infrastructure. The sun will burn flesh if exposed, so the young characters awaken at dusk and spend their productive time at night. Their parents have been lost to disease, or gone for help and never returned. They are living in a sort of cabin-shack in the northwestern woods where every once in a while an ancient tree topples over with a deafening crash. They have created rituals to help them remember “The Mommy” and the good food they used to eat. And yet, the play was not about how all this happened. Murray simply placed these young characters in a dystopic world where they struggle to survive, create a family, find love, and establish their individual identity. It is a story about people, not of the environmental events that placed them there.

Scene from Treefall at Rogue Machine Theatre Los Angeles, 2009. Photo: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz.

We stripped our theatre bare, and set Treefall wall to wall in the wide space. Instead of scene changes, we moved the actors to the places in the story. I put out a call to the company: “Bring us your un-used electronics, the ones you were saving to take to a responsible recycler.” I placed the main platforms on piles of discarded computers, video game consoles, phones, keyboards, printers, and miles and miles of cables and wires. In Treefall, electricity is no longer being generated, so all of these things were now obsolete.

It seemed important to use as much recycled and re-purposed material as possible. This drove the design process. The walls of the cabin were made of scavenged wooden shipping pallets. I had saved some thick green-edged acrylic panels from a big-budget project, and we placed them against the walls and patched up seams with silver compact discs (CDs) and more of the wires. A friend who designs for television gave me access to some pieces of linoleum flooring that would have been thrown away. From another set, we found some scraps of corrugated metal. It was a huge world; besides the cabin interior, there was a hill with a water feature for the pond at the top, a library, a ransacked store. It was also important to represent the forest somehow. I blew up some photos I had taken in Maine and Oregon of fallen and upright trees, and placed them against crushed Mylar space blankets to create a collage of mirror and forest—a metaphor for the danger of sunlight and those dying trees. It was a joy to design this show and a major success for Rogue Machine (and yes, we recycled all those electronics).

Scene from Treefall at Rogue Machine Theatre Los Angeles, 2009. Photo: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz.

In Steven Leigh Morris’ review of Treefall for LA Weekly, a quote grabbed me; “What’s surprising is how few plays, and playwrights, are grappling with what is obviously the most profound concern of our era: the damage we’re inflicting on the ecology of our planet.” The idea for HeatWave came after I designed Treefall. My artist friends were participating in “calls for work” relating to the environment and I wondered, Where is my theatre community in this dialogue? We were behind. The biggest crisis of our era and the theatre wasn’t addressing it! The challenge is to create stories that are more than just grim laments. Air pollution, dirty water, traffic congestion, food deserts, lack of parks and playgrounds—most of these problems disproportionately affect people struggling to make it in lower-income neighborhoods. Los Angeles is a city full of small grass-roots organizations fighting to make things better where they live. What if a bunch of playwrights could hear their stories? Could see the human beings impacted by this crisis?

HeatWave group explores the TreePeople Learning Center, September 12, 2012. Photo: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz.

 

HeatWave opening gathering at TreePeople on September 29, 2012. Photo: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz.

In September of 2012, HeatWave brought environmental justice groups and theatre artists together at the TreePeople Conference Center to learn from each other. Grass-roots activist groups spent the day presenting inspiring stories of the hard work they are doing to improve conditions in their communities and our world. The event was a well-attended success, and we are grateful to Union de Vecinos, Aguas con el Agua in Maywood, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Heal the Bay, and other groups who came and shared their stories. As a side note—thanks in part to TreePeople and hardworking volunteers; we managed to feed everyone lunch with a zero-waste outcome.
HeatWave/Rogue Machine participated in the Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) which took place last November to coincide with the COP21 climate talks in Paris. We presented eleven short plays involving nine directors, fifteen actors, four musicians, a projection designer, a phalanx of volunteers, and a whole bunch of samosas. The feature of the evening (besides the plays) was a harrowing presentation by NASA-JPL scientist Josh Fisher. The devastating evidence he presented drew gasps from the audience, and was a sobering reminder that we must, to quote host Belinda Waymouth, “Use everything we’ve got,” to make change. In his essay from Ecopsychology, Roszak writes:

…the environmental movement has other means to draw upon besides shocking and shaming the public it wishes to win over… What do people need, what do they fear, what do they want? What makes them do what they do: reason or passion? Above all, what do they love?

I believe that theatre techniques hold pathways to explore and answer those questions. More and more plays and productions are being made that address these issues and ask more questions. How do we live now? How do we find the power to respond to devastating changes that seem inevitable, relentless, and tragic? How do we still go on with our lives in the most humane way possible?
The work keeps coming. The plays are being written. The dance pieces are being choreographed. The designs are more thoughtful. The equipment is being re-designed to use less power. We consider the waste stream, and we have recycling groups and Craigslist to recycle set pieces. But there will always be more to do—we need to get beyond grief and get into living with it. We can’t go on. We must go on. We will go on. We are using everything we’ve got.

______________________________

Stephanie Kerley Schwartz is a freelance scenic and costume designer based on the West Coast. She is the Resident Designer at Rogue Machine Theatre. Her design work has been seen all over Southern California in theatres large and small, and has received many awards and nominations. Her short fiction has been published in the Santa Monica Reviewand multiple literary blogs.


About Artists and Climate Change:

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

Green Arts Initiative Report 2016

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland is delighted to announce the launch of its 2016 Green Arts Initiative Report (PDF, 455kb).

The report demonstrates the continued growth of the GAI community itself and the valuable work being done by the 170 member organisations to measure and monitor the core environmental impacts of their work.

“Knowing that you are part of a network and a movement is immensely helpful, and being kept in the loop with other artists and arts organisations gives justification for our own actions” – North Edinburgh Arts, GAI Member

Key trends in 2016 included greater reporting of all forms of travel, including journeys by staff, performers and audiences.

Findings in the report include the numbers of member who are measuring and monitoring:

  • Energy use – measured by 63% of members
  • Waste – 83%
  • Water use – 31%
  • Staff travel – 69%
  • Performer travel – 44%
  • Audience travel – 11%

The report also found high numbers of members addressing sustainability in other ways, including:

  • Formal environmental policy – 73% of members
  • Public reporting of environmental efforts – 55%
  • Engaging wider staff team beyond green teams – 63%
  • Engaging artists and performers – 44%

A number of member organisations gave specific examples of their sustainability work, including:

“We had a ‘Leave Your Car at Home Day’: 15 people took part saving 167.8 miles, and reducing CO2 by 27.17kg!” – Dundee Rep, Dundee

“We introduced a paperless finance system this May and started using hot water bottles this winter instead of lots of extra heaters. Our office is very cold!” – Mischief La-Bas, Glasgow

“We delivered the Hebrides International Film Festival which presented recent world cinema on the theme of Islands and environment, programming significant documentaries and dramas focusing on global environmental issues.” – Rural Nations, Stornoway

The Report also looks ahead to the work planned and already underway in 2017, including commitments to sustainable domestic travel, development of more work relating to the natural environment, planning efficient touring schedules, and increasing public awareness of green work.

Read the full report by downloading the PDF here (PDF, 455kb)

Find out more about becoming a member of the Green Arts Initiative


The post Green Arts Initiative Report 2016 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


About 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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Last Call: Shona Projects Residency, Eilean Shona, Scotland, 11-18 May 2017

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Deadline: 27 April 2017 at 23:00

In response to current socio-political unrest, this one-week residency will utilise the isolation and context of Eilean Shona to explore the charged idea of ‘safe space’.

The week long programme is intended – not as a comprehensive examination of what we consider to be ‘safe space’ – but rather as a series of provocations from selected contributors who will consider the term within different specialisms, experiences, environments and communities.

Contributors include Under the Moon / Sarah Rugheimer / Madison Moore / Tai Shani, further contributions TBC.

Twelve participants will be selected to take part in this residency from an open call.

Click here for more information about the programme and here for details on how to apply.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS / 27th April at 23:00

ABOUT SHONA PROJECTS
Taking place on an island called Eilean Shona in North West Scotland, Shona Projects utilises the islands context and remoteness as a microcosm of society in which to consider selected themes and critically engage with the situation we are in.

Artists, writers, cultural theorists, academics and scientists are invited to contribute to each programme, to ensure a variation of backgrounds, disciplines and interests which will in turn generate a live resource of ideas. Through talks, discussions, workshops, interventions and performance, selected participants will collectively learn about diverse, creative and non-arts specific topics that have the potential to inform future work/practice.

The post Opportunity: Shona Projects Residency, Eilean Shona, Scotland, 11-18 May 2017 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


About 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

Powered by WPeMatico