Yearly Archives: 2017

Apples and Other Languages, Camilla Nelson

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Camilla Nelson is a performance poet and a language artist who creates installations and events, with a particular interest in trees, especially apple trees.
Apples and Other Languages grew out of Nelson’s PhD research ‘Reading and Writing with a Tree: Practising Nature Writing as Enquiry’ (2009 – 2012).

The book is divided into three sections. The brief ‘Musical Introduction‘ is largely inspired by Bjork’s Biophilia and is made up of the collection’s most accessible poetry including the arresting, memorable and very musical ‘A Purse of Sky

give me a coin for the slot machine sky, I said
and she gave me the sun
and the polka dancing stars were sequins on night’s black dress

Apples, the second section of the book (written during the poet’s PhD research) and Other Languages (which, according to Nelson’s afterword to the book, ghosts the thinking of the PhD) are made up of more experimental poems that on the face of it can seem daunting, but which repay re-reading. Nelson has a great ear for thought provoking phrases such as, to give a couple of examples:

tinkle-spin-bio-warp yourself weird‘ from Miracle

what is the shape of this leaf-drenched feeling‘ from Reader Write a Response

This is the sort of original language that can genuinely make the reader see and think about things differently. I particularly like ‘a curlew threads its needle song throughout‘ from Laugharne – with its suggestion that curlew song holds the landscape together, something that is coming apart as this bird declines drastically across its range (the UK being one of it’s most important breeding sites).

The layout of the words on the page is always important in this collection, with conventional punctuation being replaced by strategically placed blank spaces that serve to emphasise the relationship between words and by implication the relationship between the poet and the world around her. This is particularly well used in Kynance, a very effective, almost concrete evocation of Kynance Cove in Cornwall, where the spacing of words on the page evokes the vertiginous feel of this spectacular beach. The phrase ‘we walk the sandy gums of giant’s teeth‘ is a very apt and accurate description of the immense free standing rocks on the beach.

In Writing Apple, written after observing how writing marked into an apple altered as the apple decayed, Nelson contemplates the wizened apple and considers her own ageing:

decay’s unrepresentable … hard peaks of wrinkled skin … … will I soon become
like this … … my cheeks blush… … brown decay… … what horror

and then moves to a larger contemplation of her interconnectedness with nature (as represented by the apple):

you affecting me affecting you affecting me

This poem also fits neatly in with Nelson’s installation The Same Apple, in which sixteen apples from the same tree were stored to examine how differently they decayed. This piece, along with the artist’s other installations can be seen at www.singingapplepress.com/installation/.

The relationship between the poet and the natural world is threaded through the whole collection and extended into other relationships between the natural world and the human : that between trees and paper and books in Thinking Tree Shapes (‘imprint a page express a tree‘) and that between the patterns found in the growth of lichen and the patterns made by the writing pen in The Lichenous Page (‘these tile tapping keyed up fascinators mark the shape between you and I plant doubt‘). While in (Not Quite) Within Water, Nelson explores the similarities between pond dipping and searching the internet, which made me see both activities in a slightly different light:

and the value incurred in … searching …… whilst sitting at its edge …… and finding
that which is hidden … … … or lost … … … …in the deep dark depths
illicit … … … … illegal … … … deep dark web … … and the fear of drowning

The relationships so carefully explored in this collection are vital to today’s world, a world in which fewer and fewer people feel part of nature. It becomes ever more essential that poetry explores and communicates these connections. However experimental poetry reaches only a small audience – relatively few people read poetry and many who do, are not drawn to experimental poetry or may not even be aware of the existence of such poetry. In addition I feel that the urgency of our current perilous ecological situation requires an urgency in the telling, which is to my reading, lacking in these poems, no matter their beauty, no matter how much they repay re-reading. Perhaps we need a discussion about what and who nature poetry is for in these times? Do we choose to talk to other eco-poets alone or do we choose to write something more accessible that might reach the general public and perhaps change their way of thinking? Not that I believe all poetry should be immediately understandable to anyone with a primary school education, nor do I like political rants that pretend to be poetry, but a good hook for the general reader with a passing interest in poetry would be no bad thing.


The author of this article, Juliet Wilson, is an adult education tutor, writer. crafter and conservation volunteer based in Edinburgh. She blogs at http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com and tweets as @craftygreenpoet.


Apples and Other Languages is published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press and can be ordered from their website.


 

About EcoArtScotland:

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Open Call: PERFORMING LANDSCAPES

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Deadline: 12 noon, Monday 19 June

OPEN CALL
PETER McMASTER’S DIY PROJECT: PERFORMING LANDSCAPES.

APPLY NOW to participate in a four day retreat at SSW this July.

This 5 night and 4 day retreat hosted by SSW is designed to allow participants to engage with eco-centric approaches to performance making. The majority of the work will be conducted outside, enquiring into the potential for the natural landscape to be seen as collaborator in performance making practice. How can we shift the perspective from ourselves to ourselves with ‘other’ when it comes to being an artist? How far can this definition of ‘other’ extend? How can our approach be influenced by the nature of a river system? What can a nesting pair of birds tell us about collaboration, and what do we see of ourselves in all of this?

Participation is free, this includes accommodation and a small travel subsidy can be provided too. Participants will be selected by the artist.

APPLY HERE: http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/diy-14-2017-peter-mcmaster

The deadline for applications is Mon 19 June at 12noon.

DIY 14 is an opportunity for artists to take part in unusual training and professional development projects conceived and run by artists for artists.

All the DIY 14 projects now have open calls for participants, these can be found at: http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/diy-14-2017-call-for-participants



The post Opportunity: Open Call, Peter McMaster’s DIY project: Performing Landscapes 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

World Premiere: PLUTO (NO LONGER A PLAY)

The World theatre premier for PLUTO (No Longer a Play) has successfully entered into its second week of performances at The Brick in NYC. You can reserve your tickets for these performances up to June 3.

DESCRIPTION

PLUTO is an allegory about extinction… or it used to be, maybe. Three humans attempt to give a presentation about the remains of a play that no longer exists. The fragments seem to suggest the story of a unicorn, a hunter, and a wizard, all struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Facing similar dilemmas, the three humans reenact their findings, searching for hope among the bones.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Is a “doomed” species worth fighting for?

ARTISTS & HISTORY

Co-created by Jonathan Camuzeuax, William Cook, Lani Fu, Nikki Holck, Megan McClain, and Jeremy Pickard
Directed and Written by Jeremy Pickard and Lanxing Fu
Performed by William Cook*, Lanxing Fu, Brittany N. Williams*, and Courtney Williams
Lighting Design by Jay Maury
Sound Designer and Music Producer Trevor New
Music composed by Jonathan Camuzeaux
Choreography by Nikki Holck
Dramaturgy by Megan McClain
Project advisors: Sergio Botero and Una Chaudhuri

It was developed over the course of December 2015-December 2016, thanks to Creative Space grants from ART/NY and residencies with Stony Brook University and Lacawac Wildlife Sanctuary & Field Station.


“Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.”— Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction


 

FROM DRAMATURGE MEGAN MCCLAIN

Scientists suggest we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in Earth’s history. Unlike other mass extinctions, this current crisis is caused almost entirely by people. Human activities impact 99% of currently threatened species. Extinction is natural, but scientists estimate this rapid loss of species is happening at between 1,000 and 10,000 times the normal rate. Ways to prevent further damage would involve decreasing pollution of all kinds (chemical, sound, light), reducing our contribution to climate change, and protecting and restoring wild areas. It would also require a serious recalibration in our thinking to consider the future of the world from outside of our anthropocentric point of view. How do we balance the fact that humans are a part of nature and extinctions are part of the constant adaptation of life, while taking accountability for our role in severely decreasing biodiversity on the planet? While we’re busy lighting fires to thrive and survive, what else might we be permanently extinguishing?

What do we do with what Per Espen Stoknes calls the “Great Grief” that comes with facing the rapid disappearance of species and irrevocable changes to ecosystems on our planet? Stoknes suggests we open ourselves up to mourn collectively, to move through the anger and indifference and sit in a space of loss. And from this place, perhaps we can find the strength together to look for new ways forward.

READ MEGAN’S BLOG “ON STUFF AND STUFFING”, TRACING SOME OF PLUTO’S PRODUCTION ELEMENTS BACK TO THE RAW MATERIALS AND ECOSYSTEMS FROM WHICH THEY CAME

 


Buy Tickets Here

 

ARTIST BIOS:

Jonathan Camuzeaux (Co-Creator/Composer) is a French-American musician, theater artist, photographer and environmentalist. Jonathan is the Co-Artistic Director of Kaimera Productions and a core member of Superhero Clubhouse. He created the multi-disciplinary photography project Stack of Fives and is the resident music director for The Live Lunch Series, as well as the bassist for the Brooklyn-based soul band Lady Moon & The Eclipse. Jonathan holds a Master of Jazz History from Bordeaux III University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. By day, he works at Environmental Defense Fund in New York.

William Cook (Performer) has worked with Superhero Clubhouse on Mars (A Play about Mining), Saturn (A Play about Food), as well as Sci-Art Labs, Big Green Theater, and other development projects. He appreciates how SHC foregrounds climate issues in creating work for their audiences. He has performed in regional and professional theaters around the country. Training: SITI Company, Shakespeare & Co., HB Studio, and T. Schreiber Studio. Deepest gratitude to David.

Lanxing Fu (Co-Creator/Assistant Director/Writer) is a Chinese-American writer, director, and performer. In addition to being a lead administrator, Lani is the project director for the Living Stage and a co-creator of PLUTO and JUPITER. She holds a B.A. in Humanities, Science, and Environment and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech. She has collaborated and led interdisciplinary theater projects about contemporary consumerism, globalization, and the environment in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Turkey, and the United States, with work commissioned by Virginia’s New River Valley Planning District and a grant from The Center for 21st Century Studies. In 2015, Lanxing was selected to participate in JACK’s “Creating Dangerously” workshop (led by Virginia Grise and Kyla Searle), and was a member of Orchard Project’s 2015 Core Company.

Nikki Holck (Choreographer) is a dance artist, choreographer, and teacher based in New York. She was trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and Canada’s National Ballet School, after which she began her dance career with the National Ballet of Canada. Upon moving to New York with intentions of focusing on contemporary dance, Ms. Holckjoined Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and began a close collaboration with Artistic Director Igal Perry and the choreographer Korhan Basaran, both that continue on today. Ms. Holck currently splits her time between New York and Istanbul, where she teaches, choreographs, and performs both original and others’ work.

Emma Johnson (Stage Manager) is a Brooklyn-based stage and production manager, specializing in reinterpretations of classical texts and the creation of new works in collaborative, devised settings. Receiving training at SUNY Oswego, the New York Theatre Workshop, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, she also works regularly at the Public Theater in various capacities as well as with Target Margin Theater and at the New York Theatre Workshop. She is also a photographer and poet with a seasonal green thumb.

Jay Maury (Lighting Designer) is a sound, lighting, video, and scenery designer working out of Brooklyn. As the designer of the Bushwick Starr infrastructure and equipment, he has been working to raise the standards for control, efficiency, and artistic possibilities. Notably, BWS is now running ultra-efficient LED worklight system with unparalleled control and light coverage. Recent design credits include Yackez (Video Design),  Saratoga Opera (Sound Design, Lighting Design), BAWeaselOAPOYOB (Lighting Design) at Jack, and Superhero Clubhouse’s JUPITER (Solar Lighting Design) & Big Green Theater (Lights) and BWS annual puppet festival (Lights & Media). www.thebushwickstarr.org

Megan McClain (Co-Creator/Dramaturg) is the Resident Dramaturg for Superhero Clubhouse’s series of Planet Plays, Flying Ace, and other projects. She also leads the R&D Writing Group for The Civilians and works at The Lark. Megan has developed new work during artist residencies at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Drama League, NACL Theatre, Catwalk Institute, and LMCC. Dramaturgical support/literary work for Goodman Theatre, Disney Theatrical, Hartford Stage, PoNY, Playwrights Realm, LMDA, Target Margin, New Georges, and PlayPenn. M.F.A Dramaturgy: UMass Amherst.

Trevor New’s (Sound Designer) work as a sound designer, engineer/producer, and performer can be found in a variety of media, including film scores, arranging, electronic music, TV, and in his newly release album “New Flow” music for yoga and meditation. Trevor also performs classical and contemporary music as a soloist, original music playing his viola and singing, and electronic music using Ableton Live for looping and effects. He plays Yoga workshops around Brooklyn and the Northeast, and will be releasing a vocal album later this year. Find more of his music at www.trevornew.com.

Jeremy Pickard (Co-Creator/Director/Writer) founded Superhero Clubhouse in 2007, and has since become a leading voice on theater and environmentalism. In 2015 his essay “On Eco-Theater” was published by TCG in the book Innovations in Five Acts, edited by Caridad Svich. Jeremy is the lead playwright, co-creator, and co-director of the Planet Play series, Flying Ace and the Storm of the Century, and Salty Folk. He remains the Program and Production Director for the annual Big Green Theater Festival, which he co-created with Maria Portman Kelly and The Bushwick Starr in 2009. Originally from a small town outside Syracuse, NY, Jeremy is an alumnus of Ithaca College and the National Theater Institute, and trained extensively with SITI Company for eight years. He wears many hats including director, performer, writer, and producer.

Cassiope Sydoriak (Assistant Stage Manager) is an Events, Theater, and Dance Producer and Creative Director living in Brooklyn. Since receiving her Masters degree in Art History from Oxford University in 2012, she has started a successful business teaching bicycle mechanics, worked in premium whiskey marketing, and choreographed for Darkfest at The Tank NYC. She has been teaching Lindy Hop since 2007, founded the Oxford Swing Festival, performed with the Hotfoot Strutters in London, and once had a 0.5 second appearance as an extra in a Guinness commercial. Most recently, she was the ASM for Superhero Clubhouse’s 2017 Big Green Theater Festival at the Bushwick Starr.

Bailey Williams (Producer) is a producer, writer, performer and sometime associate literary agent of dead German playwrights and others. Productions include SKI END by Piehole at the New Ohio Theatre (through May 19), Your Hair Looked Great by Tiny Little Band at Abrons Arts Center, Alex Rodabaugh’s AmeriSHOWZ at American Realness/Gibney Dance, and On a Clear Day I Can See To Elba by Eliza Bent at ICE Factory 2016.

Brittany Williams (Performer) Unimpressed Shakespearean Blerd, Belter of High Notes, & a New Yorker by way of Baltimore, DC, Hong Kong, and London. Favorite credits: Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Nansi – Helen Hayes Award Nom.), Mac Rogers Universal Robots (Helena), Antony and Cleopatra (Soothsayer/Clown), & Lear (Cordelia/Fight Captain). MA: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama; BFA: Howard University. Twitter & Instagram: @BrittanyActs www.brittanynwilliams.com

Courtney Gabrielle Williams (Performer) Courtney loves working on pieces that show complex and diverse stories that encourage conversation with the present times. Theater credits include: Pussy Sludge (HERE Arts Center), Beyond the Horizon (The Brick Theater),The Clockwork Boy (Hudson Guild Theatre),The Voyeurs (Saturdays at Brooklyn Bridge Park), The Tear Drinkers (The Kitchen NYC), Go Forth (PS122 Coil Festival). Educational : The Owl Answers (Daniel Alexander Jones), Agamemnon (Tea Alagic), Ruined (Isis Misdary). Theater BA Fordham University. courtneygwilliams.com.

Jumping Rope With the Wind

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Our Renewable Energy Artworks series continues this month with an introduction to the prolific Dutch artist/architect/innovator Daan Roosegaarde, a self-described “futurist-focused-on-the-present” and founder of Studio Roosegaarde based in Rotterdam, with a new satellite “pop-up” studio in Shanghai.

It’s hard to keep up with Daan Roosegaarde, the internationally acclaimed visionary creative change-maker whose nature-driven social design lab, Studio Roosegaarde, functions as an interactive incubator to create site-specific installations exploring the dynamic relation between people, technology and space.

Fresh on the heels of his TED2017 lecture last month in Vancouver, Roosegaarde just won yet another international award, this time for his mind-bending Windlicht (Wind Light) project, eloquently described by one spectator as “jumping rope with the wind” in the video below:



Inspired by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attractions where 19 windmills were built between 1738 and 1740 to help manage water levels, Windlicht celebrates the invisible beauty of clean energy while creating a “missing link between the Dutch and the beauty of our new landscape.”

According to Slate, Roosegaarde worked with a team of designers and engineers to create special software and tracking technology to detect the movement of wind turbine blades rotating at 280 kilometres per hour (174 mph). He visually connected the turbines in the evening sky using a series of dancing green laser beams whose movement was choreographed into what Roosegaarde calls “a dynamic play of light and movement.”

wind, energy, renewable, daan, roosegaarde, laser

The first Windlicht light show was visible over four nights in March 2016 at the Eneco wind farm at St. Annaland in Zeeland. Future international Windlicht sites are planned and will be announced on Studio Roosegaarde’s website and social media.

I first started following Roosegaarde back in 2014, when his gorgeous solar-powered, glow-in-the-dark Van Gogh-Roosegaarde bike path opened in Nuenen, NL, to international acclaim.

Inspired by Van Gogh’s 1889 painting The Starry Night, this 600-metre stretch along the 335-km-long Van Gogh cycle route contains 50,000 pebbles coated in a phosphorescent paint and solar-powered LEDs, both of which collect solar energy by day and illuminate by night. The swirling patterns provide cyclists enough visibility after dusk, with minimal intrusion on local animal habitat. By incorporating lighting directly into the surface of the bicycle path, additional street lighting is unnecessary.

In a must-read in-depth feature on Roosegaarde published last month in Wired, Yves Béhar, the San Francisco-based entrepreneur and founder of design firm fuseproject said: “Designers can choreograph the world to make a statement or tell a story. The air, the wind, and the Earth are Roosegaarde’s canvas.”

Roosegaarde’s bike path project has already inspired the construction of a similar bike path using slightly different solar-sensitive materials in Poland, as shown below:

Poland, Roosegaard, solar, bike path, Van Gogh

It is just a matter of time before more photoluminescent cycle paths appear in countries across the world. Studio Roosegaarde has already received enquires from Dubai, China and Turkey. This innovative project is part of a larger smart roads project in collaboration with Heijmans to create safer, more efficient roads using solar energy. I will write more about this important project in a future post, right here on Artists & Climate Change’s Renewable Energy Artworks monthly series.


 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

Digging Deeper

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

It was always there, the fascination with life and the world around me. It stayed with me all through my childhood. There was even a time when I decided that the answer to the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up was clear… I wanted to be a biologist! I remember a drawing contest: Draw your dream occupation. I was eleven years old and my efforts resulted in a piece that featured a big magnifying glass showing enlarged insects, blood plasma, and amoebae. It won me a first prize. Afterwards, the jury commented that if I didn’t become a biologist, I could always try to do something with art. So, well, here we are….

As I grew up and attended art school at the turn of the 21st century, my love for nature faded to the background. Sustainability, climate change, cradle-to-cradle, bio-based, and other now common terms were unheard of then. The only time the word “nature” was mentioned to me as an art student was in negative criticism… My drawings and paintings were seen as being too close to nature. (This was at a time when conceptual art ruled the art scene…) I stopped painting altogether and opted instead for a degree in stage design, and another degree in education.

After finishing those studies, I slowly found my own path and decided it was time to pick up the paintbrush once again. But I was disappointed with my materials; they didn’t reflect who I was and what I loved. To address this problem, I specialized in old painting techniques. That’s where I finally found the missing piece: my love for natural materials.

A collection of inorganic pigments found in soil, earth layers, rocks and stones. I use a mortar to grind the first time, then sift and grind again…repeating the process until I’m satisfied with the result.



As the years passed, I searched for beauty in simplicity, concentrating on the little things… in my professional career as an artist, but also in my personal life. More and more, nature found its way back into my life, into my work, and it widened my perspective. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” Albert Einstein said many years ago, and how right he was. Suddenly all was clear. I had come full circle and it was time to fully reclaim my fascination with nature!

I started to dig deeper. The relationship between human, nature, and sustainability became recurring themes in my work. I found beauty in the rough, pure burlap, the homemade gesso, the pigments. I cherished these materials, the craftsmanship, and the cradle-to-cradle way of thinking and working because for me, image and content should strengthen each other, not contradict. Art that explores a theme like sustainability but is made with non-sustainable materials is, in my opinion, a contradiction in terms and a paragon of hypocrisy. It’s bad art no matter how beautiful it is. Harsh? Maybe, but for me that is the underlying principle of sustainable art – it should not become waste! I believe the art world should be progressive and innovative, but in recent years of doing research and treading my path, I have found mostly shut doors, frowning faces, and laughing gallerists unwilling to take this issue seriously. I came to the conclusion that when it comes to sustainability, the art world painfully lags behind.

A display of colors showing the process of the stone becoming paint: Stone, ground roughly, ground into fine pigment, paint sample.



There is still so much art being created with non-sustainable materials, even toxic materials, and artists aren’t taught to think about their production process. It is the art/end product that counts, the art world doesn’t allow itself to see work as possible waste. While we have seen positive change, integration of circular systems, and cradle-to-cradle production in many other fields like design, architecture, manufacturing, and engineering, somehow there is no room for discussion in the arts. Yet we live in a time where there is more art being created than ever before, by professionals, amateurs, hobbyists… It’s an illusion to believe that all of it will be preserved for future generations. Some of it will be worth hanging on to, but let’s face it… most of it will become waste. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Much could be accomplished if the art world was willing to broaden its focus and consider the impact of the artmaking process and the afterlife of artworks in addition to worrying about the end product.

As my work continues to evolve, I am increasingly committed to concentrating not just on the production of an image, but also on the creative process, the source of the materials I use, and on searching for natural and sustainable alternatives. It may sound strange, but I am very proud of now being at a stage where my work process is completely sustainable, the end result cradle-to-cradle. This means that my paintings are completely biodegradable, yet they can be conserved for centuries as well.

A collection of pigments ready for a heating/burning experiment. First I made a little clay mould and added the unrefined pigments. They will be heated in different batches and different temperatures to see whether they change in color and if so, at what temperature. They will be burned until they reach the point of transformation… For example, pigments containing iron oxide will turn into iron at a certain temperature…



Sustainability, climate change, our relationship to the earth we live on and the species we share it with – these are the defining issues of my generation and of the generations to come. The art world should take a stand. It has an important role to play in this changing world.

Art about subjects such as climate change, mass extinction, and wasteful consumption doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. I have found that real, meaningful change stems from positivity. My art is about reconnecting with nature, reviving that sense of wonder and care for all that surrounds us. My art is me, digging deeper, finding a new path, pioneering, inspiring others, doing my bit, hopefully sowing some seeds of change.

Raw burlap, partially covered with homemade gesso. The gesso is made according a very old recipe: with water, bone glue and Bolognese chalk, but I add some clay soil to make for a richer/fatter gesso so it cracks less easily on the burlap.



(Top image: Detail from Down to Earth, 100cm x 100cm, made with natural pigments only and painted on burlap prepared with my own gesso. The painting is 100% biodegradable, so it will never become waste! It can however be kept in a good condition for centuries…)

______________________________

Dorieke Schreurs currently lives in Maastricht, in the very south of the Netherlands. She studied Fine Arts, Stage Design, Art Education, and specialized in old painting techniques, and combines art with research, science, and education. Optimist and realist, she focuses on sustainability, cradle-to-cradle, nature-inspired solutions, and innovation in work and personal life. She lives a trash-light lifestyle with her husband and sons in a renovated old farmhouse, on a patch of land with fruit trees, vegetable garden, and chickens.


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

Social Enterprise Census 2017

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

As part of the Scottish Government’s 10 year Social Enterprise Action Plan, charities and social enterprises are invited to complete the 2017 Social Enterprise Census.

The census helps shape future Action Plans, and is the second such survey (with the first taking place in 2015).

Organisations wishing to take part should be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

– Does your organisation have social or environmental goals?
– Are you earning income from selling goods, charging for services, or delivering contracts?
– Do you aspire to greater financial independence through earned income (reducing reliance on grants)?
– Do you reinvest your surpluses and retain assets to further your social/environmental goals?
– Are you operating independently (not as a public body)?

The census should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.



The post Social Enterprise Census 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

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Participatory Performance, Activism, and the Limits of Change

This Article Comes From HowlRound

At HowlRound, we continue our exploration of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change with more urgency than ever. With the looming eradication of climate science data from US government websites and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has indicated in no uncertain terms that the health of the planet and its inhabitants are of no concern to him. As theatre artists, how do we respond? Kenn Watt discusses how environmental participatory performance can point to a desirable future inclusive of humans, nonhumans, and matter, and incite communities to take steps towards realizing this vision.    Chantal Bilodeau

In a shady grove in the middle of the Civic Action installation at Socrates Sculpture Park in the summer of 2012, an imposing, incongruous structure on massive iron pilings rose through the treetops. What at first appeared to be construction scaffolding was revealed as a solidly engineered tree house with metal stairs climbing twelve feet to a plywood platform, a laminated table, and four office chairs bolted to its deck. It was equipped with Wi-Fi. With a direct view of Manhattan across the East River, Natalie Jeremijenko’s TREExOFFICE was open and remained in use during the park’s long summer hours. Its open-air exposure grandly surrounded the venerable oak tree that formed its central pillar and canopy, shading it with leaves. There was ample space to hold a dozen people without crowding. Occupying the space for more than a few minutes inspired several identifiable effects. We were amid the inquiring eyes of children and their guardians below, and the milieu began to feel like a performance. It was a kind of “invisible theatre.”

Yet, unlike Augusto Boal’s interventions in civic politics that model alternative responses to power and subjectivity, TREExOFFICE was a site of direct enactment of an alternative form of living, a witnessing of immersion into nature. Our presence there represented a proposition for a healthier future, a philosophy of sustainability in embodied form conceived at the fundamental level of where and how we work. We were modeling the behavior of the office worker of some utopian, restorative vision of the artist, meant to remediate the environmental health of Long Island City in summer 2012.


“These performative acts are meant to be generative, to point to possibilities. They are direct enactments of wished-for conditions, propositions that assert an alternative reality… They are invitations to affirm new configurations of networks among humans, nonhumans, and the material world.” 


As part of Jeremijenko’s contribution to the Noguchi Museum’s Civic Action project, the tree was conceived to be its own owner and landlord, modeled after a historical contract from the early twentieth century in which a Georgian landowner created a deed of trust for a favorite tree to sustain the tree’s presence and health in perpetuity. In an act of playful ventriloquism, Jeremijenko made the tree “speak” via wry tweets—able to enter into contracts, to determine its own use of resources, and to be in dialogue with human partners. In the exhibition catalog edited by Julie V. Iovine, Jeremijenko writes:

“Under the new property ownership regime of UP_2_U, trees can of course exploit their property for their own uses.…Further, the current technological opportunity transforms trees’ capacities to self-monitor and report, tweet, and account for their uses by people and other organisms…Using simple, inexpensive sensors, the trees assume their own voices and capacity to exert corporate personhoods within this new structure of ownership.”

Sometimes theatre enacts what it pretends to convey. Historically and traditionally, theatre has often been associated with the creation of a public commons, and the formation of citizenship. Artists working in environmental participatory performance experiments are on the edge of theatrical avant-garde, returning to these kind of concerns, along with activist political imaging and the incorporation of digital networking.

Jeremijenko’s work is one example of performance’s return to community, but with an important difference. The community on offer is triangular, encompassing humans, nonhuman animals, and the material world. This community even grants inanimates—trees, animals, matter—their own forms of agency that conditions, relates, and determines the survivability of the human within the context of the entire triangle. The work is political and the community of networks (animal, human, and material) are a response to environmental damage as a solution, a remediation, and a philosophy of survival. And yet, how is this inventive work performance? Paraphrasing Josette Féral at the Université du Québec à Montréal from “Theatricality: The Specificity of Theatrical Language,” we might say that TREExOFFICE offers several key theatrical aspects: separation from ordinary environments; opposition of the fictional (theatre) to the real (performance); and an alteration within the spectator, who can “perform” a new environmental personhood. We can almost imagine this display of forward-looking, environmentally conscious behavior on display as an exhibit in some kind of new world’s fair—reminiscent of unveiling the “kitchen of the future,” or the automobile with the space-age design. Except the new thing on display here is behavior and community, not a commodity behavior that represents direct performance, activism, and an ongoing commitment to redefining community as a form of environmental citizenship.

Naturally, the conditions for a “lifestyle experiment” like TREExOFFICE are not yet optimal. Enormous practical concerns are unresolved, such as engineering of public space, cost, transportation, seasonal weather, and communications, which prevent a tree office from being realized now.

But as theatre, the tree provokes responses that question the status quo, open new vistas, and point us in the direction of how much utopia can be realized in the near term. The “performance” fails to realize what it represents, but succeeds as a leader of newly imagined communities and landscapes. It is a kind of “performative failure,” failure here not indicating a lack of success, but a conscious strategy on the part of the artist to gesture towards outside the performance space. Personal health, improved air and water quality, soil remediation, and increased use of urban farming and inhabitation with other species were clearly delineated as shared goals. These performative acts are meant to be generative, to point to possibilities. They are direct enactments of wished-for conditions, propositions that assert an alternative reality rather than lobbying for, or requesting such futures. They are invitations to affirm new configurations of networks among humans, nonhumans, and the material world.

An office was created around a tree trunk in London, 2015. Photo by Natalie Jeremijenko.

If not full realizations, Jeremijenko’s designs capture the full potential of imaginative placemaking. They feature a radical democracy of species and a palpable sense of individual becoming. She offers a fluid aesthetic, situating spectator-participants within environmental remediation, in which the role to be played is that of socially aware, right-sized steward.

Jeremijenko’s work can be read through the lens of current trends focusing on sustainability models and greening practices within the theatre. Unlike the Broadway Green Alliance in New York, or Julie’s Bicycle in London, the XClinic does not publish scientific studies or simply advocate for better practices of reusing material waste. Advocacy, journalism, legislation, and data reporting are left to those better positioned to be effective in those areas. The set of practices organized under the umbrella of the XClinic are a powerful expression of a new hybrid medium, environmental arts activism.

Other artists also use performance, spectacle, and participation to situate the viewer as co-creator of environmentally-responsible citizenship. For example, Earth Celebrations is led by Felicia Young, another New York artist. Since 1991, Earth Celebrations has presented pageants, performances, workshops, residencies, the creation of community gardens, and partnerships with NY-based schools and community groups. All events, which have reached over 10,000 individuals, address climate change, river restoration, the preservation of habitats, and a healthier urban environment.

Young’s river-based pageants, featuring dozens of actors, dancers, puppets and musicians, have performed with audiences to draw attention to the state of rivers, from the Hudson, to the Vaigai River in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India, which is in a severe crisis due to pollution, waste dumping, and the drying effects of climate change. Anyone can sign up to participate in the events on the organization’s website. The critical attention and publicity the events have generated have helped these community celebrations reach more artists and volunteers every year, and have been the subject of a documentary. Working alone as artistic director and producer, Young has built an impressive consortium of community partners over the years including: PS41, The River Project, Solar One, NYU, The New School, Greenpeace, The Hudson River Park Trust, various high schools, and many others.

Here, the focus is on commemorating threatened waterways, and another form of community arts activism. Unlike Jeremijenko’s alternative spaces, Young encourages a more overt arts focus, promoting a different, more familiar form of environmental connection that follows the counterculture traditions of Happenings, Fluxus works, and Bread and Puppet Theater. Jeremijenko’s work draws from more recent forms of work like the tactical media events of the late Beatriz da Costa and Critical Art Ensemble, which combined citizen science demonstrations and performances, scholarship, installation, and art as social demonstration. Earth Celebrations prefers the adoption of fictive, fantastical costume, and performing of spectacle and pageantry, music, dance, and community discussion, supported by workshops for all ages.


Environmental participation, comprised of actions touching on stewardship, consumerism, and concern for our shared existence is, by its very nature, political in orientation. In recent years, as prospects for a sustainable environmental future become more threatened and mounting scientific evidence that climate change is inevitable and has already progressed beyond our ability to control its effects becomes more evident, a new form of citizenship has been conceptualized, one that responds directly to a shared sense of commitment and responsibility to planetary unity. Andrew Dobson and Derek Bell’s recent text Environmental Citizenship offers numerous versions of actions stemming from concern for both local and global territories drawing on constituent elements of the citizen. Adopting an ethics-based approach to the twin concerns of altering people’s behavior and attitudes, Dobson and Bell introduce the concept of individual practices as an alternative to the state-sponsored, market-based incentives that have been, until recently, the primary tools for encouraging public actions that harm the environment. Holding to the idea that environmental citizenship is an inflection of historical ideas of citizenship, they and the other authors in their essay collection seek a balance of liberal, rights-based, and republican notions of what constitutes a citizen, stressing virtue and responsibility.

Both Jeremijenko and Young’s projects are a form of citizenship, and they strategize through what I call “performative failure.” In other words, not failure per se, but as incomplete realizations of the utopian worlds they present. This sense of incompleteness should not be viewed pejoratively, but rather as a call to further action and as a version of Alice O’Grady’s “risky aesthetics”—performance “designed to produce a sense of critical vulnerability in the participant to achieve affect, transformation or attitudinal shift.” They are offers of complicity, co-authorship, co-responsibility, and a contract of temporary community that serves as a blueprint for collective political activism.

Participatory performance is decidedly difficult to produce. One risks being trapped by the twin poles of performance versus activism. If the production were completely successful, one might ask: would it still be theatre, or would it become something else? As scholar Claire Bishop has written about such performance, one can’t rely entirely on good intentions or politics; there must still be an artistic object, something separate from the participants, to evaluate critically. These productions, and others like them, are raising those questions, asking how performance can be both art and activism, and beckoning us to answer them for ourselves.