Yearly Archives: 2019

Artist Commission: Your Point – External treatment and internal wayfinding

The Point, owned and managed by Eastleigh Borough Council is undertaking an Arts Council Funded Small Capital grant programme called Your Point throughout 2019. As part of this refurbishment and transformation, one of the strands of work is to light up the building from the outside making it more visible to visitors, audience and place it firmly as a vibrant cultural destination in Eastleigh town centre. The commission will also encompass internal wayfinding to ensure once visitors are within the building they can orient themselves and navigate from place to place with ease. This commission wishes to enable the design & implementation of a digital lighting treatment to the outside of the venue to make it visibly bolder using artist designed lighting and continue the work inside the building to ensure a connection between the external and internal environments.

Please send your submission digitally in PDF format by email to sacha.lee@eastleigh.gov.uk
By 12 noon on Monday 4th February 2019

The total budget for this work is in the region of £20,000 exc VAT. This is inclusive of design, materials, installations, all associated fees and expenses.

ARTIST COMPLETING HER 20-YEAR QUEST TO PAINT ALL THE WORLD’S OCEANS

Danielle Eubank’s 20-year quest to visit and paint the waters of every ocean on Earth will be complete in early 2019, when she ventures to Antarctica. This, the Southern Ocean, will be Eubank’s fifth and final ocean to visit and will cap her decades-long quest to paint every ocean on the planet, hence the name of her project: One Artist Five Oceans.

“Painting all of the Earth’s oceans is about showing, through art, that the oceans sustain us – literally and, for me, artistically,” says Eubank. “There is a unifying preciousness amongst these bodies of  water – and the people and animals that rely on them.”  

A Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant awardee and a member of The Explorer’s Club, Eubank’s relationship with ocean water began as a young girl growing up near Bodega Bay in Northern California. In her travels as a young artist, she was captivated by bodies of water. She focused on painting water in its myriad conditions, refining her techniques of abstraction and realism until she was able to render their ephemeral qualities in her own style.

Eubank’s 20-year quest to paint all five of the planet’s oceans started in 2001 in Andalucia, Spain after a bicycle accident forced her to abandon her travels and spend time in a fishing village, painting the Atlantic coast. This work led to an invitation to serve as the expedition artist aboard the Borobudur Ship, a replica ancient Indonesian vessel that rounded the Cape of Good Hope sailing from Indonesia to Ghana, in 2003-4. 

The experience cemented her commitment to paint the five oceans of the world and in 2008-2010, she sailed on a replica of a 2,500-year-old Phoenician ship that circumnavigated Africa, a trip originally made 500 years before the birth of Christ. Eubank most recently (2014) sailed aboard a barquentine tall ship on an expedition to the High Arctic that took her to the northernmost human settlement on Earth. 

In each of these journeys, the vessel she sailed on in the open sea inspired her to view the bodies of water in exciting new ways, capturing each ocean as an entity, with her work portraying individual portraits of mood and emotion. 

In February 2019, she is embarking on a rare voyage to the Southern Ocean, the fifth and final ocean for Eubank to visit and capture. This journey will complete her life-long quest and will inspire the creation of a landmark series of ocean paintings which will be exhibited beginning in 2019.

Eubank is exploring the consequences of the human footprint, including climate change, on seascapes all over the world. The body of work simultaneously communicates the preciousness of water and the impact of humans on the environment.

www.oneartistfiveoceans.com


Background:

The surface of the planet is approximately 71% wáter.

There are five oceans on Earth, as follows:  Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern.

Boroburdur ship at www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur_ship

The ship Phoenicia at www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_Ship_Expedition

Barquentine tall ship at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barquentine

Using Art to Empower Climate Action

by Susan Israel

I began thinking about using public art to engage people on climate issues in 2008. I was late to the party of climate artists, but not as late as the general public. I was practicing architecture at the time, and trying to build a green practice when I realized that I could offer green choices, but the client was the ultimate decision-maker, and there was little will to choose green. I heard confirmation at conferences – we have solutions but there is little interest in using them. We needed culture change on a massive scale, and I decided that I could have the greatest impact by working on that. I wanted to make a series of public sculptures that would generate renewable energy to create dialogue about renewables because data, and the way it was presented, clearly was not reaching people. In the US, there was widespread doubt about the veracity of climate change. When I would tell people of my idea of using art for climate engagement, they would look at me, puzzled. Art and climate?

ASK, Boston, MA, 2016.

Times have
changed. Although it may seem like Americans are still skeptical, according to a
report by Yale University
, 70% of Americans believe that climate
change is happening, and 62% are worried about it. Now when I talk about
climate engagement using art, people nod enthusiastically and even help make it
happen – “yeah, we want that.” I never did make the sculpture series, but instead
make ephemeral projects which can be done quickly, cost effectively, and are
scalable.

The first scalable project that I made was Rising Waters, which marks, in natural and built landscapes, future flood levels due to sea level rise and storms. The project is simple and direct, boiling down complex projections to three data points that you can relate to with your body as you walk past the lines. A lot of experimentation and 16 installations led me back to where I started – simple lines. Students helped make many of the installations, and going forward they will be made with local Rising Waters Chapters. The installations carry a URL to my website resources page which lists individual action items and links to research and other organizations.

Climate communicators – including climate artists – face a dilemma: show problems or show solutions? While it is tempting to show the problem, because that is what motivates us (climate activists), I try to link the impacts of climate change to information about personal actions. Climate change is a terrifying existential threat. Most people just want to shut it out, so only showing the problems can be self-defeating. But sometimes showing only solutions can make people feel like it is not an urgent problem, or they don’t need to take action.

Rising Waters, MacMillan Pier, Provincetown, Massachusetts, 2015.

Like many
climate artists, I turned to art so I could communicate information in a way
that allows people to absorb the message before they shut down, to appeal to
their emotions, and make data intuitive and personally relevant. We need
“both/and:” to show solutions alongside problems, empowering people to act.

ASK was an outreach project for the German Embassy and Transatlantic Climate Bridge that shows personal contributions to solutions. I made pith helmets with tiny wind turbines and sandwich boards that said “I’m a scientist, ASK me about climate change.” Companion information cards included individual action items and “Facts vs Myths” about the costs and benefits of renewable energy and aggregating small actions. I made ten sets, and volunteers wore them at public events. I addressed the question we hear so often – “the problem is so HUGE, what can I do?” While it seemed perhaps desperate to resort to one-on-one conversations, it really appeared to work. People would laugh at the hat, and then ask a question. The humor put them at ease, and allowed them to be receptive.

MISSING!, Boston, Massachusetts, 2016.

My projects
invite, and sometimes require, participation, engaging people at the outset and
providing some social buttressing. Rising
Waters
, Ask, and MISSING! involve people in the
making/distribution of the art, and give information about possible actions. With
MISSING!, people make missing pet
posters about endangered species. The activity is always offered in a social
group setting like public events or workshops. While they are deciding which
animal to draw, participants browse information about endangered species, effectively
learning without realizing it. By the time they finish their poster, I am
hoping they have made the analogy between their pet and a wild animal. Why do
we make a distinction between animals we care for and those we don’t? At the
end, they take home the poster to make copies and post in their neighborhood in
an effort to educate others. On the poster is a URL pointing to educational
resources on my website. Simple, direct, and fun while learning about
biodiversity, extinction and possible actions.

The response has been enormous and gratifying. So many people have told me how they remember the installations and have taken steps to have a lasting impact on climate change. I meet people who say they saw Rising Waters and now, whenever they are near the water, they wonder: “Where will the water be? How high and when?” These positive reactions keep me going.

MISSING!, Harvard Arts First, Cambridge, MA, 2016.

(Top image: Rising Waters, Courthouse MBTA, Boston, Massachusetts, 2014.)

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After 20 years of practicing architecture, Susan Israel founded Climate Creatives to make environmental issues accessible to the public, empowering and inspiring people to take action. Previously, she was a Founder and Principal at studio2sustain, Energy Necklace Project, and Susan Israel Architects. She is a licensed Architect, a LEED AP, ArtWeek Advisor, and long-time member of the Harvard Alumni Association Board of Directors. Susan speaks at events nationally and internationally. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College, Master of Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and attended the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston.

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

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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‘Connected by a Thread’

Arts Territory Exchange Residency in Sustainable Practice.

Submitted by Gudrun Filipska

The ARTS TERRITORY EXCHANGE is an organisation which facilitates creative exchange across borders and works with artists in remote locations and those whose work explores ideas of place, territory and environment. ATE’s work involves the pairing up of Artist’s across the world in creative long distance correspondences.

The first ATE Residency in Sustainable Practice took place on Art Aia’s Eco farm in Friulia, Italy this September and ran in conjunction with the Pordenone Litterary festival. The CSPA advised on the project and Meghan Moe Beiticks was on the selection panel alongside Veronica Sekules, art critic and curator at GroundWork Gallery, UK. Kelly Leonard in Australia and Beatrice Lopez in Norway had been corresponding digitally and by post for a year before they were selected by the panel and had developed an intriguing body of weaving and text based works forging a dialogue between their respective locations.

Work made by Beatrice and Kelly during their ATE correspondence. ‘ Shelter’ 2017 Maridalsvannat, Norway.

Image Courtesy Beatrice Lopez.

The idea behind the residency was for participants of the ATE to be able to meet face to face and spend a week intensively developing the work they had already begun, with specific focus on ideas of sustainability in its material and conceptual forms. The artists were provided with a series of contextual writings on ecology and arts practice and were encouraged to engage with some of the CSPA’s back editions.

Art Aia’s Eco farm in Fruilia provided an interesting backdrop through which to engage with ideas of sustainability extending beyond the materiality of the art world, the artists were able to visit vineyards and factories and discuss the crossovers of culture and sustainable agriculture with their host Giovanni Morassutti. Giovanni says his Art Aia residency space has its interests in ‘Creating the kind of connections between people that lead to collective civic action, political expression, community dialogue, shared cultural experiences’.

The artists already had shared interests in textiles, weaving, and installation as performative action in outdoor settings, performances which have political dimensions beyond the traditional uses of their chosen materials. Kelly installs woven works in the landscape around her home town of Mudgee, Australia – a location threatened by the open-cast coal mining. Her works are conceptual and ephemeral referencing 1970’s activist stitchers such Kate Walker and more contemporary iterations such as ‘Yarn bombing’, subverting the very domestic history of women’s tapestry weaving and stitching. They are guerrilla actions with serious messages about climate change and the destruction of habitats, stitched messages such a ‘resist’ and ‘Regent Honey Eater‘ – yet the works are sensitive to the local environment – photographed and then removed. This respect for the environment and the responsibilities of the artists within it was shared with co-collaborator Beatrice Lopez with her own practice, placing temporary compositions within the Norwegian landscape.

Beatrice and Kelly had already developed a number of ideas during their ‘digital’ and postal collaborations and began to adapt them in relation to the Italian landscape and residency space. Kelly Leonard says ‘Our year of working together in the virtual space meant we had a foundation to draw from when we met, we had a type of creative short hand already established’. Meeting in person the artists noted their physical differences in terms of, weight, body shape and age.

‘Sketch for a performance for two people’ Image Courtesy of the artists.

In the documentation of the performance works undertaken at the residency their height difference is particularly apparent, adding an interesting extra dimension to their performative works.

The artists made site responsive work in relation to a number of agricultural sites they visited, Beatrice says, ‘ Following a performance we did at the local biological vineyard, where we walked with a filtering fabric between us in front of a large deposit of processed soya that was used to create bio energy. The performance emphasised the necessity to filter and re cycle. It was also symbolic for our shared bond and collaboration for a sustainable future. The fabric was then hung up in the gallery space along with residue of soya.’

Installation in Art Aia Project space. Image courtesy of the artists.

Beatrice and Kelly share common interests in the politics of place and post colonial narratives, both researching, and feeling affinity with, the indigenous cultures of their homelands, Kelly, as an Australian of European heritage, acknowledging the cultural authority of the Wiradjuri people as the traditional owners of the land in which she makes her work.

Throughout their time working together the artists have used the phrase ‘Connected by a Thread’ as a motto through which to explore environmental causality and potential for spiritual affinity. In researching the cultures of Huichol Indians of South America, Beatrice had previously begun to work with ideas of ‘offerings’ made to the elements of the earth as a way of re dressing a balance tipped over by a culture’s obsession with production at the expense of the environment.

The Motif of the ‘offering’ is one which also comes through strongly in their collaborative work and is felt on a number of levels beyond symbolic reparations to nature. Their works are offerings to an audience, documents of performative actions, and act as residual templates of the artists physical experiences with the natural elements they work with. Regarding their work ‘Prayer Wheel’, one can imagine the performative and repetitive actions which led to its creation; the collecting of local grasses, the tying of grass bundles, positioning grass and read heads in a circle, winding sticks with colourful yarn… each wrapped stick containing a written instruction for an immersive call to action; referencing the prayers contained in a traditional Buddhist Prayer Wheel and offering potential for audience engagement.

‘Prayer Wheel’ Image courtesy of the artists. Art Aia Project space.

The ideas of repetitive and ritualistic practices are followed through in the other works made on the residency, In ‘Interconnected Walk’ the two artists walked over a three day period, in two large intersecting circles similar to a lemniscate symbol. (See a short Video documenting part of the performance Here). The work makes obvious reference to walking artists such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton but, is conceived as a walking performance for two. Watching the artists courteously side step each other as they cross paths at certain intersections is touching, saying perhaps more about their growing relationship with each other than the land scape they are marking with their repetitive footsteps.

In ‘Soft Touch’, Soft white Icelandic wool brought to the residency by Beatrice, rests on top of local detritus, broken leaves, feathers and sticks. The piece evokes both a nest and alter – the clean pristine wool, an offering to temped hands, to touch and lift its threads.

Another work ‘Water talks’ was made by recording ambient sound of water near to their residency accommodation, a land of damp earth and agricultural irrigation ditches. Overlaying the sound of water, the two artists recite a poem by Norwegian Poet Lars Saabye Christensen, Kelly in English and Beatrice in Norwegian.

The sound piece ‘Water Talks’ housed in a metal frame structure interwoven with Puzzlegrass and Reed heads.

Image Courtesy of the artists.

A further work ‘South North’, makes connections between the three countries, Norway, Australia and Italy; a silhouette of Kelly traced in pebbles is connected by a thread which runs across an antique map of Norway, out over the lintel of the window, into the Italian countryside… As well as connection between the three locations, disjunctures were also keenly felt, departing Australia at a time of drought, Kelly was shocked by how verdant Northern Italy was, saying, ‘I found the area of Italy to be too green, too rich, too comfortable…’. The impact of climate change is felt very differently in Europe, not as urgently perhaps, although a short train journey from Art Aia’s residency space, sea levels rise around a sinking Venice.

About
the artists.

Kelly Leonard

I first learnt to weave as a teenager from a German Master Weaver, Marcella Hempel,  in Australia. My art practice has been re-activated since moving back to my home-town two years ago; moving from a traditional craft based medium to one that is highly conceptual, collaborative and moves across art forms responding to the environment. My work is very much informed by environmental philosophy which provides a context for both making and showing the work.

I weave on a European floor-loom what I call props for the environment which are placed in site-specific locations around  Mudgee, photographed and then removed. The locations are chosen because they are under stress from the impact of the open-cut coal mines operated by the big coal mining companies. The images are exhibited on-line and one of  my goals is to develop some alternative broadcasting methods to reach a wider audience in the near future. The work I make is pretty much process driven and I derive a lot of satisfaction from thinking of the environment as a collaborator and audience.

I make work in Wiradjuri Country whose sovereignty was never ceded, I walk on traditional land.  I try to consider all aspects of a landscape by: how it smells, tastes, feels, sounds and the multiple narratives embedded into it. The landscape is never passive, always watching me make work.  It is also a collaborator, helping me to shape the work.

Beatrice Lopez

Beatrice is an artist that works in different mediums such as painting, installation and sound. Gaining a BA from Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan as well as an exchange from the Pratt Institute in New York. She has had a solo exhibition entitled `Ritual Lines` at Art Licks festival and taken part in various group exhibitions through institutions such as White Space gallery, MAMU galleria and most recently at Galleri Vanntårnet. Through her abstract paintings in ink and soft pastel, fleeting textures appear reminiscent of inner visions and organic forms. Her multimedia works are placed in nature, using thread and organic material to create curious compositions. Her continuous interest in nature and topographies has led her to take part in the Arts Territory Exchange, an ongoing collaborative correspondence project based on nature, ecology and topographies. Exchanging ideas by post with the artist Kelly Leonard based in Australia. They met for a one week residency this fall made possible by CSPA and ATE. Beatrice participated at Performance Art Oslo event `Contemplating landscape through art` this year at Steilene in Norway. Beatrice was born in 1986 and is currently based in Oslo.


Holding the ATE residency in Sustainable Practice at Art Aia In Pordenone was an attempt to forge connections between artists, farmers, eco entrepreneurs and members of the local rural community. A weaving together of conceptual and material iterations of ‘sustainability’, interests which ATE plans on developing in various forms and in different locations in future years. Thankyou to Beatrice Lopez and Kelly Leonard for their participation in this residency.


An Interview with Artist and Writer Susan Hoffman Fishman

I hope you and your loved ones are having a peaceful beginning of the year. 

This month, I’m thrilled to share a fascinating interview. Meet Susan Hoffman Fishman, an artist, painter, and writer whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Her latest projects focus on the threat of sea-level rise, the plastic in our oceans, and predicted wars over access to clean water. In 2018, her work was as resonate as ever.

You work with several different kind of materials. Please tell us about why and how you choose the materials you work with.

The materials I have used in my mixed media paintings have included: acrylic, pieces of documentary and original photographs, plastic, graphite, oil stick, charcoal, mesh, rags, cords, handmade papers, wallpaper, pieces of my old paintings that have been cut into sections and numerous others. For our collaborative installations and public art projects, my co-artist, Elena Kalman, and I have used polycarbonate film, parachute cord, corrugated cardboard, crayons, colored pencils, decorative papers and lengths of 2 x 4 lumber.

Because all of my work addresses social, cultural or political issues, I choose the materials for a given painting or installation that will enhance the content of and emotional reaction to the piece. For example, as part of my recent body of work entitled, Plastic Seas/Rising Tides, I completed a painting measuring 4 feet x 6.5 feet that is meant to pair the rising tides of plastic in our oceans with the rising tides of refugees seeking safety from drought, famine, violence and other environmental or political disasters. For that painting, entitled Rising Tides, #3, I used pieces of multi-colored plastic shopping bags from local stores that are swirling around and between waves of small World War II and contemporary photographs of refugees from all backgrounds and geographic locations (as well as graphite and oil stick). The result is a powerful, large-scale image of a roiling, abstract, plastic-refugee sea referencing the two critical rising tides currently impacting our world.

Much of your work addresses climate change and ecological disaster. What draws you to these topics?

For all of my career, I have focused my work on major events and situations that provide an insight into human behavior under duress. Early on, I completed a large body of work on the Holocaust (a catastrophe that has no precedent for the evil that was perpetrated against a single religious group) and its impact on 6 million victims. Later, in a series of paintings that I called Waiting Rooms, I addressed the intense fear and isolation that occurs during the process of waiting as disaster looms.

Then, in 2011, as I watched the waves caused by the tsunami originating in Japan travel throughout the world and reach even the shorelines of the western United States, it struck me in a visceral way that all of us are connected to one another, regardless of our religion, economic status, geographic location or culture, by what happens throughout the world to the air, water and land. That event was the catalyst for developing The Wave, a national, interactive public art project on water, a series of paintings and other work related to climate change, which ultimately became my primary focus.

Do you participate in climate activism beyond your artistic work?

Yes, I do, though primarily with groups that are concerned with water issues. Most recently, I participated in efforts by Save Our Water CT to prevent the Niagara Bottling Company from extracting 1.8 million gallons of water a day from the reservoir in my home town that supplies water to the Greater Hartford (CT) area. The deal, made in secret between the Metropolitan District Commission and Niagara, was done without regard to the needs of the local population in times of drought and will provide the bottling company with massive amounts of water at a marked discount from consumer prices.

The ultimate goal of Save Our Water CT, which has grown from a local group of volunteers to a statewide presence, is to “(1) support passage of the State’s first-ever State Water Plan; (2) prohibit discounted water rates and clean water project charges for water bottlers; (3) establish a permitting system for large commercial water bottling; and (4) prohibit the export of bottled water out of state when a Drought Warning is in effect.” I am participating in this effort to safeguard our water because I see it not only as an issue of local import but one, which in this time of climate change and its impact on global water reserves, that is playing out in many ways all over the world. At its core are three fundamental questions: Who ultimately owns the public’s water supply? Who gets to decide how that water is allocated? And what is our moral and civic responsibility to protect this vital public resource?

I was especially struck by Genesis Redux, your artist’s book on climate change. How did this project come about?

I undertook this project at this time primarily because of personal circumstances. In August of this year, I tripped over a concrete parking barrier and broke my kneecap, arm and nose just two days before I was to attend a retreat with the other four core artists/writers for Artists and Climate Change. Although very disappointed that I couldn’t attend the retreat, in pain and totally immobilized, I was determined to use my enforced convalescence in a constructive way. I normally work on large-scale paintings and installations but had been contemplating an artist’s book on climate change for a while and since I needed to work on a project that would accommodate my limitations, this was the time to do it. For those who are interested, I’ve written a post about the making of the book that was published on November 15, 2018.   

What do you hope viewers/readers take away from Genesis Redux?

I purposely left the ending of the story unfinished because I want readers/viewers to realize that each and every one of us needs to participate in solutions that limit the effects of climate change. We cannot leave it to political leaders who have their own political agendas to fulfill (most of which do not coincide with environmental reality). By using biblical language to describe the apocalypse that will come should we do nothing, I am suggesting that this new catastrophic “flood” will have been caused by the same evil, greed and lust that precipitated the flood in the story of Noah and his ark. Using simple images and text, my goal was to provide readers with a poetic and visual version of how we got in this mess in the first place. 

What’s next for you?

I have three projects in the works. The first is a major series of large-scale paintings that depict an abstract, chronological history of water from the origin of the planet to the present day, including references to water in various cultures and religions. The second project is a new interactive public art project on climate change and the third is another artist’s book. I’m also continuing to write a monthly series of posts for Artists and Climate Change, entitled, Imagining Waterwhich highlights artists of all genres who are working with the topic of water as a focus of their work and I’m researching publishing opportunities for Genesis Redux.

Read more about Susan Hoffman Fishman at her website.

This article is part of the Climate Art Interviews series. It was originally published in Amy Brady’s “Burning Worlds” newsletter. Subscribe to get Amy’s newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

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Amy Brady is the Deputy Publisher of Guernica magazine and Senior Editor of the Chicago Review of Books. Her writing about art, culture, and climate has appeared in the Village Voice, the Los Angeles TimesPacific Standard, the New Republic, and other places. She is also the editor of the monthly newsletter “Burning Worlds,” which explores how artists and writers are thinking about climate change. She holds a PHD in English and is the recipient of a CLIR/Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship. Read more of her work at AmyBradyWrites.comand follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x. 

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

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Poet Tyree Daye Writes on Ancestors, Floods, and Justice

Joining us in The Art House this month is North Carolina poet Tyree Daye. Tyree weaves together stories and voices from his family. He artistically expresses the collective trauma they have experienced and the deep insights passed down. Rivers, water, and flooding continually come up in his book of poetry titled River Hymns. Tyree talks about his poetry and reads both excerpts from the book as well as new poetry. His second book of poetry is coming out in 2020 with Copper CanyonPress. Tyree Daye is the winner of the 2017APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book River Hymns (APR, 2017). He is a 2017 RuthLilly Finalist and Cave Canem fellow, and longtime member of the editorial staff at RaleighReview. He received his MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University.

Coming up next month, singer/songwriter, Ashley Mazanec, talks about her album, Let’s Talk about the Weather and shares tracks with us.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

This article is part of The Art House series. 

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As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson will reissue The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org

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

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Guest Blog: Local perspectives on a global phenomenon & global changes in local places (Part III)

In the final blog of a three part series contemporary artist and researcher Sonia Mehra Chawla writes about the research she undertook in Aberdeen in June 2018 to inform an upcoming residency with Edinburgh Printmakers.

Local perspectives on a global phenomenon & global changes in local places – Talking about ‘scales’ and the urgency of the contemporary moment

Location and its influence on my artistic inquiry

My artistic practice is concerned with notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, conservation and sustainability. My art spans many other disciplines and areas, and I often find myself questioning, dissecting and re-imagining spaces that exist at the interface between art and science, nature and culture, production and perception, self and the other. My work over the past few years has often been a result of sustained collaborations with Scientific and Research Institutions, Non Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations and Trusts in India, as well as interactions with fishing, farming and agricultural communities, indigenous people, and tribal communities of rural and semi-urban regions of India.

In my opinion, local dynamics are worth worrying about, and localities can make a difference. Many of the individual phenomena that underlie environmental processes such as population dynamics, economic activities and resource use, for instance, arise at a local scale.

As a cultural practitioner and researcher it is imperative for me to consider how local places contribute to global changes, what drives those changes, how do these contributions change over time, how and where scale matters, what are the interactions between macro-structures and micro-agencies, and how efforts at mitigation and adaptation can be locally initiated and adopted.

These are also some of the vital questions that I attempt to address, probe and analyse through my research.

Guest Blog: Local perspectives on a global phenomenon & global changes in local places (Part III)

Exhibition view of Sonia Mehra Chawla’s film ‘Altered Growth: Inner Life of the Transformed’, from ‘The (Un) Divided Mind, International Art+ Science Residency at Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi. (2018) Image credit: Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi.

Interconnected processes & locale specific answers to global changes in climate

Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes. The current and ongoing phase of my artistic practice marks a close engagement with the present and future of India’s agriculture, with a focus on the impacts of climate change and salinity on rice ecosystems in coastal regions of India. This includes research on both indigenous and transgenic rice in India, climate adaptation and mitigation, and food and nutrition security.

Rice is one the most consumed foods on Earth. It is a staple in many countries including India where a large part of the population depends on the grain for sustenance. In fact, more than 90% of rice is produced and consumed in Asia. An enormous portion of rice production is lost to various abiotic stresses such as drought, flood, and salinity, and biotic stresses such as diseases and pests. In addition, changes in global climate are likely to make things vastly complicated for rice production in the future.

Essentially, fragility resulting from adverse environmental conditions linked to climate change, fundamentally alters the linkages between agriculture and nutrition outcomes. When margins are slender, vulnerability to adverse climate is magnified.  Sometimes this is a chronic and steadily worsening process that encourages migration with its own consequences, or even worse consequences with catastrophic climate events. Food shocks are a part of this. Then again, without the right kind of sustenance and security, climate refugees, people who are internally displaced today may become asylum seekers, refugees, or international migrants in the future.

Agriculture and rural development, on a local scale can make a strong contribution to meeting the global challenge of addressing large movements of refugees and migrants.

Again, if I look at my research on the impact of climate change on rice production and increasing sensitivity of rice to salinization, and because salinity tolerance in plants is a multi-genic trait, (which means that a single gene cannot confer the ability to be saline tolerant) there isn’t a single answer to the problem. The key idea then, is to raise a crop for locale specific as well as regional areas, which would provide locale specific answers to global changes in climate.

A work from Sonia Mehra Chawla’s ‘Scapelands’ series.

Work from Sonia Mehra Chawla’s ‘Scapelands’ series. Medium: Photopolymer etchings on archival paper. Printed in the UK in collaboration with London Print Studio. The research, production and International Residency at London Print Studio in 2014-15 was supported by British Council India and Charles Wallace India Trust. Image credit: British Council India.

A living vicious cycle of depredation

I have been exploring the fragile and endangered coastal and mangrove ecosystems along India’s Coromandel and Malabar coasts for over half a decade. The mangroves in India are over exploited and are declining and degrading rapidly. India has already lost over forty percent of its mangroves during the last century.  The Mangroves around coastal mega-cities in India like Mumbai for example, form a fragile ecosystem, and time and again, the rains in Mumbai and the disaster that follows has demonstrated the consequence of tampering with the ecology of these sensitive ecosystems.

The mangroves provide a preview of the challenges ahead for ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots across the planet. ‘Scapelands’ and ‘Critical Membrane’ are extensive series of works that I created between 2012 and 2018 on coastal and mangrove ecosystems of India. While ‘Scapelands’ explores the rich mangrove biodiversity of India, ‘Critical Membrane’ speaks about vast landscapes of loss, exploring past histories, politics, economics of consumption, and livelihoods and systems in flux. Documented extensively in degraded mangrove belts across India, these decaying ecosystems speak volumes about a living vicious cycle of depredation that is the tale of 21st century globalization.

Guest Blog: Local perspectives on a global phenomenon & global changes in local places (Part III) 5

Details from Sonia Mehra Chawla’s site specific installation ‘Residue’ at Yinchuan Biennale 2016. Image credit: Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China.

Through my work I hope to explore the relationship between the presented history and the contemporary moment and address such questions as: What does the current prominence of these works say about this moment in India’s history and society? How do the struggles of the past resonate with the protests of the present? Do these works represent a watershed year or a seminal moment in the representation of the nation’s history and culture? If so, what is the larger significance of these works and this historical moment?

A human centred approach – Connecting global, national and local standpoints

India is a supporter of climate justice. There is an urgent need to respect and protect human rights, and the rights of the most vulnerable while supporting the right to development, where the burden of climate change is fairly allocated and dispensed. Global warming is after all, not just environmental in nature, it is a political, social and ethical issue as well, which connects the local to the global, and developing nations to the developed nations of the world.

What we require most in a time of crisis is a human-centred approach.

There is an urgent need for a combined effort in mitigation and adaptation. Historical responsibilities matter and those who have greatest responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions and maximum capacity to act, must act in more meaningful ways to completely cut emissions.

Adapting to climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity. We need a cultural shift in our value-systems and ambitions to build a sustainable future block-by-block. There is an urgency to explore more inclusive, more flexible and more effective approaches to social transformation. A cultural shift provides a space for collective, improvisational and reflective modes of acting on, and thinking about a world of differentiated, multiple and uncertain futures, creating an emotional engagement and understanding needed to motivate meaningful change.

The artistic project (2018-2020)

I was invited to undertake the research arm of an artistic project with Edinburgh Printmakers in Aberdeen in June 2018. This research will inform an intensive print residency at Edinburgh Printmakers in spring 2019, and the outputs from this residency will be presented as part of a solo exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers beautiful new home at Castle Mill in 2020.

Edinburgh Printmakers will transform the former North British Rubber Company HQ- Castle Mills, into a vibrant new creative hub opening to the public in 2019.

Choosing focus areas

I hope this artistic project will serve as a platform and starting point for dialogue and conversations around some of the significant and pressing issues of our time such as the future of energy, the future of our oceans and marine life, society’s dependence on fossil fuels, just transitions, the global challenges of energy transitions, carbon reduction goals, as well as the human dimension of crisis.

End of Part III

This is the third blog of a three part series. Read Part I and Part II


Sonia Mehra Chawla is a contemporary Indian artist and researcher. She completed a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from College of Art, New Delhi in 2004-05. Her artistic practice explores notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, and sustainability. Sonia works in a variety of media including photography, printmaking, drawing, painting and video.

Sonia was a British Council India & Charles Wallace Scholar to the United Kingdom in 2014-15, for research in printmaking, and is currently the recipient of an International ‘Art+Science’ Grant Award instituted by Khoj International Artists’ Association India & the Wellcome Trust UK/DBT Alliance for 2017-18. She has recently been awarded a six-month Fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany for the Art, Science and Business Program. Her works have been exhibited at the Institut Fur Auslansbeziehungen, Germany (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations), Tate Modern, London, Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Austria, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China, Goethe Institut, Mumbai, India, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai, India, ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark, and Today Art Museum, Beijing, China.

The artist lives and works in New Delhi, India.

Further reading and information:

The artists’ official website: http://soniamehrachawla.in/

Edinburgh Printmakers: https://www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk/

On Turning Toward: ‘Critical Membrane’ by Sonia Mehra Chawla, Heather Davis looks at the work of Sonia Mehra Chawla, as part of her look into Four Figures of Climate Change, July 2017

http://theo-westenberger.tumblr.com/post/162458052219/on-turning-toward-critical-membrane-by-sonia

Down To Earth, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/

‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’, by Amitav Ghosh. Published by Penquin India.

‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought’, by P.Sainath. Published by Penquin India.

‘Ecology without nature: rethinking environmental aesthetics’, by Timothy Morton. Published by Harvard University Press.

‘Soil, Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an age of Climate Crisis’ by Vandana Shiva. Published by Penguin Random House.

‘Water Wars’, by Vandana Shiva.

‘From Green to Evergreen Revolution: Indian Agriculture, Performance & Challenges’, by Prof. M S Swaminathan. Published by Academic Foundation.

‘In Search of Biohappiness: Biodiversity and food, Health and Livelihood security’, by Prof. M S Swaminathan. Published by World Scientific.

‘Oil Strike North Sea’, by Mike Shepherd. Published by Luath Press.

‘The Klondykers’, by Bill Mackie. Published by Birlinn, Edinburgh (2006)

‘Old Torry and Aberdeen Harbour’, by Rosie Nicol & Particia Newman. Published by Stenlake Publishing Ltd, UK.

I am grateful for conversations and interactions with:

Dr. Prof. M S Swaminathan, Prof. Colin Moffat, Dr. Leslie Mabon Sass, Alison Stuart, Erik Dalhuijsen, Nicola Gordon, Dr. James Howie, Gemma Lawrence and Dr V.Selvam.

I am grateful to Edinburgh Printmakers. I extend my warmest thanks to Sarah Manning Shaw, Alastair Clark, Judith Liddle, and the brilliant team of Edinburgh Printmakers for their unfailing support, and look forward to a significant and meaningful collaboration over the next two years.

Contact:

soniamehrachawla.in

soniamehrachawla@gmail.com

admin@edinburghprintmakers.co.uk

The post Guest Blog: Local perspectives on a global phenomenon & global changes in local places (Part III) appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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OPPORTUNITY: The 34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition

34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019

Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea International Fine Art Competition. Selected artists will receive prizes and opportunities that will grant invaluable exposure, boost recognition, and promote career growth.

The 2019 competition awards are valued at more than $70,000. In addition to cash prizes, other awards include participation in the collective exhibition, featured magazine profiles, valuable PR opportunities, and an honorable mention. A portion of the gallery’s proceeds from artwork sales will be donated to the Children’s Heart Foundation.

The 2019 Chelsea International Fine Art Competition will be accepting submissions between February 5th and the deadline March 12th, 2019. Results will be announced on April 16th, 2019, with the competition exhibition slated for August 10–20, 2019.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Apply to be recognized by Agora’s reputable jury. Visit http://www.agora-gallery.com/competition for more information and detailed instructions on how to enter. You can also contact us at competition@agora-gallery.com.

The post OPPORTUNITY: The 34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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News: Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture

Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture features art, music and literature.

Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture explores the beauty and mystery of our world’s ice, and reveals the necessity of ice to our human survival. The project explores the traditions and cultures of people connected to ice from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, and raises vital concerns about climate change that can no longer be ignored. As climate change affects the weather and composition of our planet, our ice continues to melt. This reality affects all of us, regardless of where we live.

Ice Culture celebrates the physical and spiritual nature of ice. Ice has soul. It has a song. Ice radiates; it glows. It’s precious. Ice is a resource. Ice Culture showcases ice in all of its forms, from majestic glaciers to ice-carved musical instruments.

The diverse collection features art, music and literature by artists living and working in countries such as Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Germany, Norway, Japan and United States.

Check it out at www.blackcoffeevinyl.com.


Share your news!

This story was posted by Black Coffee & Vinyl. Creative Carbon Scotland is committed to being a resource for the arts & sustainability community and we invite you to submit news, blogs, opportunities and your upcoming events.

The post News: Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

The Birth of a Climate Commons for Theatre and Performance

by Lanxing Fu

On a weekend in June, I sat in a blackbox theatre for three days with a group of mostly strangers.

We talked. We ate. We laughed. We challenged. We listened.

I heard the same refrain over and over again those three days. Wow, I’m so happy to be with others for once. It’s nice to be… un-lonely.

The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening, hosted in Boston on 8-10 June 2018 gathered people together around a common purpose: to galvanize the community around making theatre and live performance in the age of climate change, to dissect and challenge the present ideas in this emerging field, and to distill all this talk into concrete, positive actions. Our earnest surprise at feeling seen and the joy of solidarity in people who felt they had spent years, decades, their entire lives talking into a void about the intersection of performance and climate are testament to how needed this convening was.

After we took some time to understand the landscape of this intersection of climate and performance, we broke off into groups to develop ideas for action. There were hard questions to ask and attempt to answer. Whose voices were not represented in the room that needed to be there? How can we use our collective power, and the many twisting, interconnected arms of this work to nourish our communities and our non-human brethren? What kinds of shifts in thought do we need to undertake ourselves as we work to shift larger consciousness? How can our collective action outrun the changing atmosphere? It was rich. It was inspiring as hell. The breadth of skills and knowledge expanded my mind like crazy. The voices in the room were beautifully articulate at calling in others who were not. It was far from smooth and sometimes contentious. We all fought the urge to perform when the microphone was in our hand and the cameras were on our faces. Some got lost in the language. Others struggled to be heard. We were as human as can be, as human as any group of humans trying to do something together— the weight of our own egos held in taut balance with strong, strong passion for our collective goal.

The weekend had started off with a cold splash of water to the face. We learned in our opening conversation that The Guardian’s Carbon Countdown Clock gives us just over eighteen years until we exceed the IPCC’s 2C carbon budget, if our emissions stay as they are now. Eighteen years to figure this mess out. Eighteen years to put systems in place to take care of people as the effects of climate change get worse and worse, to shift radically the way we relate to each other, our economy, and the land. In the same span of time as it takes the average American kid to journey from infanthood to adulthood, we need to “fucking save the planet.”

Lanxing Fu and other convening participants. Photo by Blair Nodelman.

From this urgency, this joy of togetherness, this friction of brains and bodies meeting, grew an idea like a sprig of bamboo racing towards the sun. One working group, though I cannot separate this group from the work of the group at large, seeded the idea of a Climate Commons for Theatre and Performance. An expression of our desire for horizontal connectivity, the Climate Commons takes its shape from mycelia, the underground, branching, threadlike fungal colonies that can grow to the size of 1600 football fields. We imagine that this is a network of interconnected nodes of activity at the intersection of performance and ecology, sharing knowledge, strategies, resources like mycelia share sustenance, across vast distances and through all forms of terrain. These nodes could potentially consist of geographic clusters of people already present at the conference; Miami, Boston, New York City, New Orleans, DC, Los Angeles, Standing Rock, Amherst, São João del Rei, London, Abu Dhabi. And it should necessarily expand to include people and geographies not present in the conference, in the Global South, in rural communities, in the Arctic, in the East. You can visit the HowlRound Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening page for updates on our progress with Climate Commons, and to learn how to get involved as it grows.

Convening participants. Photo by Carolina Gonzalez.

One big statement of intent that came forward is that we want to foster the kinds of imaginations that are needed in the future. We want to specifically examine what live performance can bring to the table in service of that pursuit. How do we tackle such a huge endeavor? Step one, understand what we have to work with. Because we were together for a short, intensive period of time, we left Boston having only scratched the surface of the wealth of knowledge and experience in the room. A few members of this group are leading an interview series, in which we who attended the convening interview each other, to dive deeper into the work we do in our home communities in order to gain a holistic understanding of where we are beginning. We want to uplift each other by tapping into and amplifying the abundance of energy, artistry, resilience, and skill that has been driving these kinds of revolutions for centuries.

Without knowing exactly where we are going, or what our ultimate goal is, we are moving forward with the knowledge that we want to keep connecting. We want to keep connecting because it’s easy to not. It’s easy to silo ourselves off into the narrowness of day-to-day life and keep putting on the lenses that already fit. Because the challenge of a global crisis demands that we be more expansive than we are individually built to be, we hope to establish a body that acts as a broker across distances and differences, bringing people together around the shared goal of using performance to change the story around climate and build a more equitable world.

(Top image: Convening participants having a small group discussion. Photo by Blair Nodelman.)

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on September 18, 2018.

For more on the convening, read MJ Halberstadt’s Art on a Damaged Planet: The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening.

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Lanxing Fu is a Chinese-American writer, director, and performer. She is the co-director of Superhero Clubhouse, for which she is program director of The Living Stage NYC and a co-creator of Pluto (no longer a play) and Jupiter (a play about power). She has collaborated on and led interdisciplinary projects on globalization and the environment through research in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Turkey, and the United States through The Center for 21st Century Studies, as previous associate director of Critical Point Theatre, and as an ensemble member of Building Home, working in the New River Valley. She participated in JACK’s “Creating Dangerously” series, led by Virginia Grise and Kyla Searle, has trained with SITI Company for two years, and is an alumnus of Orchard Project’s Core Company. She holds a B.A. in Humanities, Science, and Environment and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech.

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

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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