Yearly Archives: 2018

Imagining Water, #7: 2-Minute Shower Songs

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

The seventh in a year-long series on artists who are making the topic of water a focus of their work and on the growing number of exhibitions, performances and publications that are popping up in museums, galleries and public spaces around the world with water as a theme.


Music reflects the cultural mood of a society and, at the same time, is a powerful medium for promoting change and encouraging action. Throughout American history, songs of dissent have influenced the outcome of wars and social movements. During the 1960s and 1970s, voices like Woody Guthrie, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and numerous others engaged an entire generation in protesting against an undeclared war with no end in sight and for civil rights with songs like We Shall Overcome, The Times They Are a Changing, Ohio, What’s Going On, Change Gonna Come and We Shall Not Be Moved, etc. Outside the United States, inspiring songs such as L’Internationale, a 19th century anthem of revolution worldwide, continues to call to the oppressed to rise up against tyranny. Today, artists like Beyoncé (Freedom) and Kendrick Lamar (Alright) are reaching global audiences with current anthems of discontent against racial and social injustice. By embedding a message in music, a single voice can inspire millions.

Understanding just how effectively music can shape public opinion and behavior, the government of Cape Town, South Africa, in partnership with the finance firm Sanlam, has sponsored an innovative project that directly impacts the conservation of the city’s critically diminishing supply of water. They commissioned ten of South Africa’s leading musical stars to adapt their existing songs into a 2-minute format to help residents limit their daily showers to exactly 120 seconds in compliance with current regulations. The 2-minute songs were consolidated into an album that is free and easily accessible for downloading on a dedicated website and on YouTube. According to instructions on the 2-Minute Shower Song website: “start the song and turn up the volume…when the song ends, so should the shower.”


South African rapper Kwesta recording a song for the “2-Minute Shower Songs” album. Courtesy of Sanlam.

The 2-Minute Shower Songs are not merely a response to the abstract concept of conserving water for a shortage projected to occur sometime in the distant future. Cape Town is on the verge of becoming the first major city in the world to completely run out of water within a few months. Day Zero, the date when the city’s reservoirs fall to 13.5 % capacity, is currently set to occur on July 15, 2018. The city’s drastically reduced water supply is the result of three consecutive years of very low rainfall. Of the 50 liters or about 13 gallons of water a day that is the recommended allotment to residents, 20 liters or 40% of the daily water limit is consumed during a 2-minute shower. Without severe conservation and significant rainfall, the taps will be turned off on Day Zero, forcing the entire population of 4 million to line up for daily water rations.


Theewaterskloof Dam, a major source of water for Cape Town on January 25, 2018, in Villiersdorp, South Africa. Courtesy of Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, Getty Images.

The 2-Minute Shower Song project is the brainchild of the King James Group, a creative team that developed the original concept of a billboard campaign into a way of “tapping into almost everyone’s hidden pleasure of singing in the shower.” In a February 8, 2018 interview for the South African on-line publication, Bizcommunity, Susan van Rooyen and Moe Kekana of King James Group explained the creative process behind how the campaign was devised:

The project originally began as a billboard brief, trying to figure out how we could communicate or give people a way to save water. And when the City of Cape Town urged everyone to cut down water in the bathroom specifically, we found our insight: Many of us, whether we like to admit it or not, sing in the shower. And if we could use that to manage how long people spent in the shower, we could help save water. But an idea that size wasn’t going to fit on a billboard. And so, the #2minuteshowersongs were born: Songs you can sing along to, but that also tell you when your shower time is up.

Rooyen and Kekana noted that the artists’ commitment to the project was “phenomenal.” In response to a question about the recording process and the results of the campaign, they summarized:

In just four days they recorded the ten songs and produced an album in under two weeks. The sense of urgency in the songs, the urgency to make it happen, was a reflection of the crisis. There is something so pure, yet so powerful about music. And that’s what we needed to really make our message heard.

Our campaign spread further than we anticipated. Not only were Capetonians singing along to shorten their showers, but they were singing on the radio, and even created their own versions of our shower songs in an effort to keep water use down. Word also spread across international waters with our campaign being featured on the climate change section of and on BBC radio.

The ten artists and their songs include: Kwesta (Boom Shaka Laka); Mi Casa (Nana); Good Luck (Taking it Easy); Fifi Cooper (Power of Gold); Francis Van Coke (Dit raak beter); Jimmy Nevis (Day Dream); Rouge (Déjà vu); Desmond & and the Tutus (Teenagers); Youngsta (Wes Kaap); and Springbok Nude Girls (Bubblegum on My Boots).


Promotional photos of artists, courtesy of Sanlam.

The 2-Minute Shower Song website includes all of the songs and a “Behind the Scenes” video showing a brief excerpt of the recording process. Musician Good Luck expressed his motivation for participating in the project by stating, “I worry that if everyone stays nonchalant about the seriousness of the situation, then they’re going to wake up one day and realize there’s no water coming out of the taps.”

(Top image: Courtesy Associated Press.)


Susan Hoffman Fishman is a painter, public artist, writer, and educator whose work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries throughout the U.S. Her latest bodies of work focus on the threat of rising tides caused by climate change, the trillions of pieces of plastic in our oceans and the wars that are predicted to occur in the future over access to clean water. She is also the co-creator of two interactive public art projects: The Wave, which addresses our mutual need for and interdependence on water and Home, which calls attention to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our cities and towns.


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

Opportunity: Going Green Survey 2018

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums (SEFM) and Stephen Mellor would like to invite you to complete the on-line Exhibitions – Going Green Survey 2018 – Ten Years On, through the following link:

SEFM is a UK-based informal network of museum and gallery professionals who want to promote and encourage sustainability in all we do in this field, with a particular focus on the production and staging of exhibitions.

We are looking for survey responses from museums or galleries of any kind – multiple sites may want to submit by each major site. We wish to once again review our industry to assess how environmentally sustainable or ‘green’ our work practices and institutions are, and how our approaches to exhibitions have changed in the last ten years.

To see the results summary of the first survey issued in 2008 follow the following link to the report pdf:

All of you willing to take this survey are encouraged to review the 2008 report as this will also give you a good overview of and preparation for this follow-up survey before you start.

This 2018 Survey is based on the original 2008 Survey so we can analyse ‘like for like’. We recognise though we may have advanced quite some way since then and that the questions/topics may have been overtaken by progress.

Most questions are ‘green’ and a few new ones ‘financial’ as we are taking this opportunity to see how universally tight budgets have affected exhibition programming and museum operations – perhaps with green benefits.

The actual survey will take roughly 30 minutes but you may need extra time to gather information. You can stop and start until finally selecting the ‘Submit’ button.

The survey will close on Sunday 30 September 2018 at midnight GMT.

The results from this 2018 survey will be added to and compared with the previous 2008 data we have collected and will be shared in November 2018. All respondents will be sent the survey analysis report by email in due course.

We understand how pressured your work-time is, so thank you in advance for your input. If you have any enquiries or questions about the survey, please

Please forward this invitation and links to any contacts you have and who you think might be interested in taking the survey – we want to share/connect as widely as possible across the world and join up the many green initiatives, supporters and enthusiasts that are already ‘green exhibitions’ advocates.

Stephen Mellor, formerly Exhibitions Co-ordinator at Tate Modern, London and a committee member of the International Exhibition Organisers group, is managing this 2018 survey in association with Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums (SEFM).

This survey is a volunteer initiative and any views or information are offered in good faith.

The post Opportunity: Complete the Exhibitions – Going Green Survey 2018 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


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

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

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

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

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

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

The ‘Climate Atlas’ and the cost of belief

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

“Climate change is often described as a ‘wicked problem.’ One of its wickedest aspects is that it may require us to abandon some of our most treasured ideas about political virtue: for example, ‘be the change you want to see.’ What we need is instead is to find a way out of the individualising imaginary in which we are trapped.” Ghosh, The Great Derangement, 2016, p135.

Amitav Ghosh is struggling with the role of literature and why he and other authors find it difficult to in any way speak to the climate crisis even as it unfolds around us. His contention in The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016) is that the novel, the primary form of literature, developed in precise alignment during the 19th Century with “the regularity of bourgeois life” (p25). He argues that it is this concern with regularity as well as a focus on the individual which makes the novel a form ill-suited to dealing with the magnitude and strangeness of the planet speaking back to us.

But this might be only one way in which the arts are implicated in the climate crisis as it is manifest around the globe. Ghosh asuggests that the visual arts (along with film and television) have found it much easier to address climate change (p83).

But what Ghosh perhaps doesn’t account for is that some people are ‘being the change’ specifically experimenting with ways out of the trap of the individualising imaginary. The political virtue of ‘being the change’ can take the form of collectivism and acknowledging the agency of all things. Climate Atlas, the current issue (#10) of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, is concerned with exactly the same challenge, not of what literature can do, but of what we can do. And it is also concerned with the dangers that in the arts we might think we stand aside from the climate crisis, drawing attention to it, but not responsible for it. It offers both small flickers of hope and also warnings.

The first thing we need to attend to is that the arts do not have a monopoly on imagining the world differently and showing ‘on the ground’ what that might look like. David Haley reminds us that the root of the word ‘art’ is in the Indo-Aryan noun/adjective rt which meaning ‘the dynamic process by which the whole cosmos continues to be created, virtuously.’ Thus art is not the property of people who identify themselves as professional artists, or even of people who would describe themselves as making art.

That being said when editors of the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest sent out an open call in December 2015 they explained that this was,

“…a project charting concrete and abstract ecological relations that people operate within to address, bolster and alter (through creative work) their relationships to a changing world. The project will use the metaphors of geology to add to a conversation about what it is to live, create, and challenge our changing world. We aim to locate these tectonics and humors, and identify the characters of forces working to sustain and reshape our ecological world.” (from an email received 3 December 2015)

Ghosh says speaking about the world we are living in,

“For these changes are not merely strange in the sense of being unknown or alien; their uncanniness lies precisely in the fact that in these encounters we recognize something we had turned away from: that is to say, the presence and proximity of nonhuman interlocutors.” p30.

Both are seeking a different configuration, not wholly bound up in the human. The fifty eight projects hand-transcribed presumably from emails and then risographed onto A3 landscape paper that make up the body of Climate Atlas submitted in response to the call are all experiments at various stages and scales in imagining and making new relations between people, other living things, and contexts.* They are only the tip of the iceberg – for every project included, there are certainly 10, probably 100 and maybe 1000 like them. They range from small projects – activities that last a few months and are driven by an individual – to things like the ZAD and La Via Campesina, organisations and resistances which are multi-dimensional ongoing examples of being the change.

In addition to examples there are 5 essays which provide a measure of the challenges, for being the change at this point requires careful attention to several dimensions of imbrication: of the business of art; of “Escaping the apparatuses of capture such as the nuclear family, class condition, gender, identity, etc”; of the intervention by the state using militarised police against activism; of seeking ‘the other’ as a way to become alert to petro-subjectivity; and finally to understand that our ‘being the change’ is not appropriate to impose on other cultures and ways of living on this planet.

It is vital to recognise that the arts are the culture which needs to change. The arts are the problem as much as corporate capitalism is the problem. Art changes culture. But if art doesn’t change then culture doesn’t change either.

Ghosh is clearly deeply concerned that the primary literary form, the novel, may actually be part of the problem as a form, not merely in its instantiation in any particular novel. But the Climate Atlas opens up some other dimensions, each of which is an issue worthy of detailed attention. Each is worth exploring. One is the sponsorship of the arts by business, specifically in this case the sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale by Transfield, a corporation holding contracts for the mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refugees. But the trajectory of the critique following on from the action which forced Transfield to withdraw is into the formation of neo-liberal capitalism and the ways in which artists in particular behave has homo economicus,

“The point is not just that all artists must now also perform their artisthood but that the economization of culture and the culturization of economy involves distinctive forms of value creation.”

The Sydney Biennale Working Group is one of a number of activist groups including also the Gulf Labor Coalition and Liberate Tate deeply questioning the economics of the cultural industries. By any measure these political action has been successful – not only did Transfield cease sponsoring the Biennale, but it also had to rebrand. The Tate no longer accepts sponsorship from BP. Ways in which the arts have become bound up with migration and migrant labour are brought into the visible realm. The social license to operate provided by the cultural sector to business has been challenged. The bigger question of whether the culture of growth – bigger museums and bigger exhibitions – is being effectively brought into question remains unanswered as yet. Can we imagine a degrowth agenda for the cultural industries?

Another is focused by the conflicting assumptions between western liberal cultures and indigenous ways of life including seal hunting. This brings us up against so many assumptions, of ethical supremacy over savagery, of the ‘White-Saviour Industrial Complex‘, assumptions about sustainability and the need for predators within an ecosystem. Many indigenous peoples’ languages have no word for ‘art’. The things that have more recently come to be called ‘art’ are for indigenous peoples ways of understanding the world and communicating that understanding to each other. Those ways of knowing and being in the world are in complex relationships with other living things, complex relationships which urban metropolitan colonial settler culture doesn’t understand. But we still make judgements. We accept the privatisation of detention centres but we condemn killing seals. Our hypocrisy is boundless. Our effort to live differently minimal.

Just as this essay calls for setting aside assumptions and asks questions about our understanding, so the whole of Climate Atlas asks us to invest in doing something differently, and to be attentive to our imbrications. The introduction to the Issue says,

“…this issue recognizes thought and action that exceeds its own logics by insisting upon the central need for space of variation and for the other. So, while it is possible and useful to concisely order thought, in this curatorial space we have chosen to instead focus on how pieces sit rather than how they are organised. In the face of climate change, we prioritize lifes’ capacity to organize its own variation. To what end is one meaningful question.”

Art is powerful – we shape the world through the stories we tell ourselves and the arts comprise the best stories. We may try and take the canon to pieces, redraw its boundaries, question its white male privilege, its heteronormativity, but art still comprises the best stories. Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, eminent post-conceptual ecological artists and great storytellers say,

“Our work begins when we perceive an anomaly in the environment that is the result of opposing beliefs or contradictory metaphors. Moments when reality no longer appears seamless and the cost of belief has become outrageous offer the opportunity to create new spaces – first in the mind and thereafter in everyday life.” Quoted on accessed 10 November 2008

Climate Atlas draws attention to examples of people creating new spaces in the mind and in everyday life. It addresses the cost of belief and brings together examples of ways of facing the multifaceted crisis of climate change, the sixth extinction and rapid sea level rise. It draws attention to several of the large cracks in our reality.

* And remember David Haley also reminds us that ‘ecology is he study of organisms in relation to one another and to their surroundings, derived from the Greek word, oikos, meaning house, or dwelling.’


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

Persistent Acts: What is Enough?

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Through Persistent Acts, I look at the intersection of performance, climate, and politics. How does hope come to fruition, even in the most dire circumstances? What are tangible alternatives to the oppressive status quo? My Persistent Acts series considers questions of this nature to motivate conversations and actions on climate issues that reverberate through politics and theatre. The Persistent Acts series continues, juxtaposing questions from Naomi Klein’s recent book No Is Not Enough with Blake Sugarman’s solo performance, Prelude to the Apocalypse (For What It’s Worth).


Climate change. Refugee crisis. Gun control. Globalization. Reproductive rights. Hunger. Poverty. Obviously, this isn’t the first time in history that systems have gone awry. As I consider our current political climate and the facts of climate science, I wonder what the tipping point will be: when the higher education bubble will burst, when Social Security will run out, when racial and economic divides will become full-on civil wars, when the Earth will no longer sustain life as we know it. When will the systems that have gotten us to where we are collapse, or, ideally, when will power and resources become equitably and sustainably redistributed? I wonder when my society will utter a collective “enough” with the destructive status quo, and the work of activists and progressive organizers will become the norm.

I also think about “enough” in terms of what I do to thwart the daunting “when” questions. Am I doing enough? In the midst of the current political shitshow, I’ve turned to Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. In addition to outlining the atrocities of the current US administration, and therefore justifying my anger, Klein highlights successful resistances to oppressive and pollutive systems, including instances of unionizing laborers, countering exploitative globalization, and more. She combines her experiences in journalism and activism to unpack the power dynamics that led us to our current socio-political system. Klein especially criticizes neoliberalism, an ideological project which, as she describes, “holds that the market is always right, regulation is always wrong, private is good and public is bad, and taxes that support public services are the worst of all.” As a major influencer on global policy, neoliberalism has structured cultural and political values around capital, which is to say not ecosystems and especially not sustainable energy. The thesis of No Is Not Enough posits that in undoing the damage of hierarchical ideologies like neoliberalism, we must not only say “No,” we must forge realistic alternative value systems – a series of “Yeses” to rally behind.

Illustration © Oliver Stafford

Illustration © Oliver Stafford from “Naomi Klein’s Guide to Resisting Power” on Huck Magazine.

Klein offers an option, composed by activists and union organizers, called The Leap Manifesto: A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another. A project spearheaded by sixty movement leaders in Canada, The Leap Manifesto is focused on “building a world based on caring for the earth and one another.” It looks to restructure cultural values, prioritizing Indigenous sovereignty, clean energy, and public infrastructure. Jobs that are already low-carbon, such as teachers, nurses, social workers are valuable in our culture and should be treated as such. This looks like, in one of my favorite examples, the expanding purpose and value of a postal worker, who is not only responsible for delivering mail in a green vehicle, but can also deliver fresh meals to the sick and elderly. Taking a step further, The Leap, an ongoing project that has grown out of The Leap Manifesto, seeks to build places like post offices as community hubs, “where residents can recharge electric vehicles; individuals and businesses can do an end run around the big banks and get a loan to start an energy co-op.” The Leap Manifesto, by placing value on jobs outside of the carbon economy, lays out realistic ways to leap Western culture into sustainable systems, because we don’t have the time for incremental change. This is where my theatre practice comes in, because I utilize and participate in theatre to instigate difficult conversations and practice alternative, sustainable realities, which The Leap exemplifies and offers. My introduction to The Leap is juxtaposed by my recent theatregoing experience at Prelude to the Apocalypse (For What It’s Worth) by Blake Sugarman.

I met Blake working on Theater In Asylum’s The Debates. Blake is an artist and activist who uses his solo performances to interrogate dominant ideologies, similar to the ones dissected in No Is Not Enough. I am continually motivated by the ways in which he brings his activism to his art, and vice versa. For Prelude to the Apocalypse, Blake’s activism is heavily featured, as his program note shouts out to Sunrise, a burgeoning movement of young people fighting for climate action. Knowing that Sunrise was in the context of the show, I was curious to see what stories, questions, and feelings would arise.

Part of the show dropped me into despair, as Blake juxtaposes stories of climate deniers with the hard facts of climate science. Tackling climate issues raises all kinds of questions, which Blake posits throughout the show – from how we relate to one another, to what effect time has on us, to whether we’re paying attention. By the end of the performance, Blake fully breaks the fourth wall, coming into the audience, offering a “penny for our thoughts” in response to the question “What is enough?” This was at once a vulnerable and powerful position to be in: the opportunity to voice my politicized view with a room of strangers.

I shared that my go-to thought of “enough” is life off the grid. That “doing enough” looks like “unplugging” myself from our current energy grid, living without a cell phone, or any other mode of digital communication. In other words, to do “enough” on climate change is to forgo my life as I know it. But would taking my own life off the grid have an impact on our national or global energy policy? To me, the disaster of capitalism is the underlying factor in human-caused climate change, and so my individual choices won’t undo such a deeply ingrained system that puts economic profits over people’s lives. So, is it enough to take an ideological stance against a capitalist structure? If such an ideology is backed up by realistic alternatives, then yes, in my mind that is enough to get us started on the work of publicizing and modeling a more equitable way of life.

Yes, it does feel like we’re presently in a prelude to the apocalypse. But as Blake illuminates, that’s only for what it’s worth, not an end-all-be-all outlook. Something is happening here, and it’s up to the people – not greedy governments – to build the world we need, one that is equitable for all beings, one that is sustainable for future generations. This work is happening, especially in grass-roots organizing, so that whether or not that tipping point or the apocalypse arrives, people are working to take the future into their own hands.

Take Action
Learn more about and support The Sunrise Movement
Get involved in The Leap

(Top image: Blake Sugarman.)


Julia Levine is a creative collaborator and vegetarian. Originally from St. Louis, Julia is now planted in the New York City downtown theatre realm. As a director, Julia has worked on various projects with companies that consider political and cultural topics, including Theater In Asylum, Honest Accomplice Theatre, and Superhero Clubhouse. She is on the Marketing team at HERE Arts Center and is Artistic Producer of The Arctic Cycle. Julia writes and devises with her performance-based initiative to bring questions of food, climate, and justice into everyday life.

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

The Living Stage

This post comes from Ecoscenography

After an exciting season on the Lower East Side in New York, The Living Stage is returning home to Victoria (Australia) — this time to the coastal town of Lorne. A centre piece of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, the project will provide a platform for celebrating the town’s vibrant and eclectic mix of flora and fauna, as well as hosting performances by local artists and musicians.

27072903_10156305866841833_7280562264386017950_nFor those of you that are new to The Living Stage, my original idea (conceived during my PhD in 2012) centred on creating a recyclable, biodegradable, biodiverse and edible performance space that combined stage design, horticulture and comunity engagement. Part theatre, part garden and part growing demonstration, the Lorne project will feature a portable plant-lined stage amongst a corridor of suspended botanical sculptures.

Since its inception in 2013, I’ve been incredibly lucky to see the project grow and take shape over multiple interations. The Living Stage (Lorne) is our sixth project and it is a concept that continues to travel the world. However, as each living stage evolves out of a direct response to the localities of site, ecology and community, no project is ever the same.

26903831_10156305866576833_5365080898599036411_nThe Lorne project has been created in collaboration with Ashlee Hughes, assistant designer Pia Guilliatt and the local community. Lorne residents, Helen Smith and Colin Leitch have been particularly instrumental in procuring soil, plants and objects for the stage, with more than 45 boxes of plants actively growing in preparation for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale Opening on the 17th of March.

The Living Stage will include a series of performances by local artists over the three weekends from 17. March to the 2nd April. I’m super excited to announce our  current line-up for The Living Stage performances: including local musicians and dancers that will respond to the unique space that surrounds them. Information about our artists are listed below:


Saturday 17th March: Mountain Grey (live music) 3-5pm

13391404_1177698585584102_678071114202492654_oImmerse yourself in the heart of the Blues on The Living Stage. Join us in celebrating an appreciation for all things nature through the lyrical poetry of front man Mike Robinson Koss (vocals/harmonicas/lyrics) and his dynamic ensemble. Complete with vintage guitar tones and bluegrass/ragtime style, this local band combines environmental themes with character and pizazz that will have you tapping your feet and asking for more.


Sunday 18th March: Randall Forsyth ‘In search of an acoustic shoreline’ (live music) 1-3pm

RandallRandall has a long history of playing guitar on the south west coast in various incarnations, most notably with the Beachniks since the early nineties. The Living stage provides a perfect opportunity for him to explore a more ambient side of his palette. Drawing on the natural sound elements of wind, ocean and forest, he hopes to compliment the natural soundscape rather than dominate with a series of acoustic guitar loops composed and created in real time. Links to contemporary songs may intercede in the overall context of exploring the tidal qualities and interwoven duality of landfall.


Helen Duncan in The Texture of It by Elanor Webber. Photography by Gregory LorenzuttiEASTER Weekend: 31st March & 1st April: Helen Duncan & Sofie Burgoyne (Dance performance) 9:30-2:30pm (final performance: 2pm)

Two highly skilled dancers will inhabit The Living Stage to grow an original performance piece over a two-day creative development period. Sculpted live during the Easter Weekend, these performers will develop a site-specific, experimental work in response to lush design of living plants. Bring your picnic, kids and your coffee, relax in front of the stage as these performers work hard to create your show. Stop by and have a chat to them and maybe offer some creative ideas. See what has evolved when they perform a final showing for you on Saturday 31st March and Sunday the 1st of April at 2pm.

Sponsored by: the Thrive Research Hub (Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne), the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and Graham Blashki & Evelyn Firstenberg. This project has been made possible by the community of Lorne, including: Helen Smith, Anne Nadenbousch, Colin Leitch, Sue Grant and Grace Nicholls. Assistant designer: Pia Guilliatt. Set builder: Tim Denshire-key. Plants donated by Batesford Nursery, Bushland Flora, Flinders Nursery, Tavistock Nursery, Tree Growers Advanced (TGA), Warners Nurseries, Rhodo Glen Nurseries. 

Photo credits:

Community workshops in Lorne. Photos by Tanja Beer and Grace Nicholls. 

Helen Duncan in The Texture of It by Elanor Webber. Photography by Gregory Lorenzutti’

The post, The Living Stage (Lorne), appeared first on Ecoscenography. has been instigated by designer Tanja Beer – a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, Australia, investigating the application of ecological design principles to theatre.

Tanja Beer is a researcher and practitioner in ecological design for performance and the creator of The Living Stage – an ecoscenographic work that combines stage design, permaculture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable and edible performance spaces. Tanja has more than 15 years professional experience, including creating over 50 designs for a variety of theatre companies and festivals in Australia (Sydney Opera House, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Queensland Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Arts Centre) and overseas (including projects in Vienna, London, Cardiff and Tokyo).

Since 2011, Tanja has been investigating sustainable practices in the theatre. International projects have included a 2011 Asialink Residency (Australia Council for the Arts) with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and a residency with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London) funded by a Norman Macgeorge Scholarship from the University of Melbourne. In 2013, Tanja worked as “activist-in-residence” at Julie’s Bicycle (London), and featured her work at the 2013 World Stage Design Congress (Cardiff)

Tanja has a Masters in Stage Design (KUG, Austria), a Graduate Diploma in Performance Making (VCA, Australia) and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne where she also teaches subjects in Design Research, Scenography and Climate Change. A passionate teacher and facilitator, Tanja has been invited as a guest lecturer and speaker at performing arts schools and events in Australia, Canada, the USA and UK. Her design work has been featured in The Age and The Guardian and can be viewed at

Go to EcoScenography