Yearly Archives: 2020

Reflecting the Social in Environmental Art: Signals of Nowadays, Museo De Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan

Signals of Nowadays on view at the Museo de Arte Puerto Rico is a striking reminder of how environmental art is deeply rooted in the social as well as the ecological. Included in the exhibition are three Puerto Rican artists who inhabit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and who have been dramatically affected by environmental devastation on multiple fronts—through “current social, economic and ecological deterioration,” states curator Juan Carlos Lopez Quintero. Today, island residents share stories over mofongo about where they were last month when the earthquakes seemed to hit each week. While nearby in an incredible four story building with marble floors and stained glass windows, and an awe-striking sculpture garden, artists Coco Valencia, Abdiel Segarra and Vanessa Rivera were invited last fall to reflect on the effects of the global environmental crisis. 

Simulacro by Coco Valencia

Facing the viewer at the back quarter of the gallery is a collection of seemingly identical dark shapes, like a swarm of large insects hung from dark strings. These shapes create clusters surrounding a largely empty center, as if they were collectively circling a prey. This is the work of Coco Valencia entitled Simulacro that confronts the viewer with a series of derogatory phrases such as Puerca (female pig), Pata (paw), and Latrine (toilet), that are shot out of the mouths of gun-shaped skulls like flares. The skulls and flares are painted in black on cardboard and the words are fueled by fire in bright reds, oranges and yellows. This work reflects on the fiery spirits that brought a corrupt governor to his knees last summer. It is discrimination that often keeps those who are in need, in the position of submission. Simulacro speaks loudly and in combat with those systems of oppression. A stark reminder that the ecological crisis is a result of socially dysfunctional human-made systems, which have left many Puerto Ricans without aid in the face of environmental devastation. 

things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern by Abdiel Segarra

In an eerie confrontation of consumer habits: on the left hand wall of the exhibition is a series of pieces entitled “things about that unbreakable (and unstoppable) consumption pattern” by Abdiel Segarra. The viewer finds a colorful array of geometric forms that reveal, upon closer inspection, that these are color-categorized materials that range from receipts to newsprint, to Adidas labels, or “material destined to be discarded,” states curator Quintero. There are undertones of constructivist and minimalist forms in this work that play against each other in an array of carefully organized consumer materials. A subtle pair of triangles together in a diamond shape have tones of grey and faded red from the receipts that they are made up of. Their organized forms reveal this perpetuating pattern of consumption that underlies the habitualized social elements of the environmental waste crisis.

detail by Abdiel Segarra

The most literal ecological work in the exhibition is that of internationally recognized mosaic artist, Vanessa Rivera. Rivera presents an installation of four hanging orbs, oracle like with dangling tentacles of cloth, including a mosaic and textile backdrop that presents a glowing blue entrance way. It’s simultaneously glistening, yet rugged, reflecting the surrounding area of the museum where new buildings are met with deterioration from environmental damage. The work resonates with the theme of groundwater, both as a lifeforce and a resource. The figures and mosaic doorway bring to question the crackled future, the elegance of the past, and the deteriorating present. In the meanwhile, people on the island are still struggling to find clean water to drink, and are told there will be more earthquakes to come over the next year or more. The new normal for the strong spirited Puerto Ricans, despite the damage in the end.  

Acuifero III by Vanessa Rivera

The exhibition [closed] February 16, 2020.

(Top photo: Interior view of Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein is a Cambridge, MA based artist/writer and ecoartspace member who recently made a visit to Puerto Rico.


ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Wild Authors: Ilija Trojanow

By Mary Woodbury

For this post, I explore the Antarctic via the novel The Lamentations of Zeno (Verso Books, 2016) by Ilija Trojanow. I had not reached out to Ilija before, though I read his book a couple of years ago and featured it at the Free Word Centre as one of my favorite novels that include the topic of climate change. For this series, we began a conversation through email. He sent me a photo from his current location – Samarkand, Uzbekistan – of a beautiful courtyard, with sunlight and shadow at sharply contrasted angles. In turn, I sent him a photo of a cedar in the rain covered in moss and lichen, indicative of the temperate rainforest where I live. With these introductions, we began discussing The Lamentations.

In the novel, Zeno Hintermeier, the main character, works on an Antarctic cruise ship as a tour guide to rather well-off people whose lifestyles of high consumption exemplify how we came about the consequence of climate change. This is in juxtaposition to Zeno’s sadness at the death of glaciers he has studied his whole life and at his marriage falling apart.

As the polar ice-caps melt, one man’s existential lamentations mirror our own personal and global crises. Zeno is not even a character we might like very well, but in a way, his collapse is like our planet’s, which reminds us that these dirges are natural. And the style of the novel is brilliant, seeping into us like cold meltwater. We are living in desperate times, and to gloss over the reality of it hints at a different sort of denial. Ilija faces it head on. What’s that old saying: when you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Verso Books describes the novel in this way:

The Lamentations of Zeno is an extraordinary evocation of the fragile and majestic wonders to be found at a far corner of the globe, written by a novelist who is a renowned travel writer. Poignant and playful, the novel recalls the experimentation of high-modernist fiction without compromising a limpid sense of place or the pace of its narrative. It is a portrait of a man in extremis, a haunting and at times irreverent tale that approaches the greatest challenge of our age – perhaps of our entire history as a species – from an impassioned human angle.

My conversation with Ilija follows.

Have you been to the area of Antarctica where your story takes place, and what is it like now?

Yes, twice: once before I started the novel and once after I had finished my first draft, both times on a cruise ship similar to the one in the novel. The Antarctic peninsula is melting faster than previously expected, but otherwise it is a humbling experience of facing nature in its pristine form, a very extreme and heart-wrenchingly beautiful landscape that appears untouched by human intervention, so it was a fitting location for the inner turmoil of Zeno, my hero.

The word “lamentations” reminded me that while we have to learn to adapt to climate change, we also have a lot of regrets due to diminishing landscapes, species, and biodiversity. What are Zeno’s lamentations?

He is a scientist, who used to believe that his work on glaciers and climate change would supply society and policy makers with a rational basis for their decisions. This, however, is not the case, so he starts questioning our system of decision-making, our priorities as a civilization (by the way, many of the leading climate scientists are becoming more radical and challenging capitalism itself because it seems incapable of rationality). As someone who has dedicated his life to glaciers, he is also a wounded lover, someone who cannot bear the destruction of these beautiful entities, each one of them unique with a soundscape of their own, constantly moving and changing, a symbol of life. Thirdly, he laments the fact that we destroy nature, the mother of all existence, in order to produce things that are often superfluous, to satisfy greed and stupidity, so he becomes increasingly misanthropic (recently an anthology of misanthropical writing came out in Spanish and Zeno was the last excerpt, the last nail in the coffin).

How important do you feel it is for authors to tackle climate change in fiction?

Good literature has always tackled the major issues of its time, be it war and peace or crime and punishment or pride and prejudice. So how could we not deal with the major issue of our epoch, the ongoing exploitation and destruction of our habitats. I am amazed how many journalists in Germany, a country that is supposedly on the forefront of ecological awareness, asked me why I had to write a novel about this subject, as if it were a weird choice. Not to write about it would be weird, would mean succumbing to the blindness of an age that is pillaging the present and burdening the future.

I agree wholeheartedly. Are you working on anything else right now?

Always, can’t stop. I am working on a utopian novel. We have had an enormous amount of dystopian narratives in recent years, not only in literature but also in the movies, on the TV screen. We lean back, munch popcorn and delight in the apocalypse. That’s pathological. To form a vibrant and dignified and truly humane future we need to imagine it first, we need utopian (or eutopian) ideas, concepts, narratives. We could do so much better, why not imagine it within a novel?

Thanks, Ilija. I am looking forward to the next novel!

Later Ilija sent me a link to a Guardian article titled “We’ve never seen this: massive Canadian glaciers shrinking rapidly.”

The article states:

Scientists in Canada have warned that massive glaciers in the Yukon territory are shrinking even faster than would be expected from a warming climate – and bringing dramatic changes to the region. After a string of recent reports chronicling the demise of the ice fields, researchers hope that greater awareness will help the public better understand the rapid pace of climate change.

These massive forever structures are shrinking away before our eyes and ears. Maybe we cannot see or hear them every day, but they are there. And it is a life that should be respected and a vanishment that should be grieved. It is true in both poles. Going back to the Antarctic, according to NASA, there is a ramp-up in ice loss and sea level rise:

Ice losses from Antarctica have tripled since 2012, increasing global sea levels by 0.12 inch (3 millimeters) in that timeframe alone, according to a major new international climate assessment funded by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency).

According to the study, ice losses from Antarctica are causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years. Results of the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

It is here that I will quote M. Jackson, whose book While Glaciers Slept moved me incredibly:

It is in these quiet moments that the glacier reveals herself in entirely novel and original ways. There is so much in life that can be missed if we don’t settle down for a bit. My life is full of distractions – deadlines, flights to catch, a smartphone that beeps away, life life life. Listening brings things to focus, and often times it is quite surprising what draws the attention of that quiet ear.

(Top image by Jože Suhadolnik / Delo. Downloaded from

This article is part of our Wild Authors series. It was originally published on


Mary Woodbury, a graduate of Purdue University, runs, a site that explores ecology in literature, including works about climate change. She writes fiction under pen name Clara Hume. Her novel Back to the Garden has been discussed in Dissent Magazine, Ethnobiology for the Future: Linking Cultural and Ecological Diversity (University of Arizona Press), and Uncertainty and the Philosophy of Climate Change(Routledge). Mary lives in the lower mainland of British Columbia and enjoys hiking, writing, and reading.


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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This Land Matters to Me – Terry Tempest Williams visits Sin City

“What I want you to know is that this land matters to me,” Terry Tempest Williams began to a packed auditorium on January 24 at the Historic Fifth Street School, open to the general public. She recounted how her early activism started in Las Vegas against the Nevada Test Site (NTS). At one point, she was protesting at the test site and was detained. An officer frisked her and removed her pen and notebook from her boot, asking what they were. “Weapons,” Terry replied. At that moment, she became a writer.

“Story is the umbilical cord between the past, present, and future.” Terry Tempest Williams
Today, Terry is an advocate for conservation issues across our national landscape with special emphasis on the desert southwest, which she calls home. She has written articles for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Orion, and the Los Angeles Times. Her latest book, Erosion, published in October of 2019, encompasses her love and appreciation for public lands as well as her spiritual tie to land and family. She’s currently at the Harvard Divinity School as a Writer-in-Residence.

Joshua Abbey, son of Edward Abbey

It’s been 20 years since Terry Tempest Williams visited Las Vegas. Joshua Abbey, the son of environmental writer and activist Edward Abbey, asked her to come and speak as part of the conservation events of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival. “This is Terry’s first-ever speaking engagement in Las Vegas. We never needed her words of wisdom, more than now” stated Abbey.

Williams read from her latest book, Erosion, with a Q&A session following with fellow author Téa Obreht. She began by discussing the reduction of Utah’s Bear’s Ears National Monument by 85% in 2017, and the impact that its had on the local Native American tribes. She then answered questions from the audience. A fourteen-year-old asked her, “what can young people do to have a voice?” and Williams responded “It’s really important that we have an intergenerational conversation, that we listen to the fourteen-year-olds and that we can be there to support them in what they’re doing. I also think that they’re equipped to handle this moment. I see the young people that I’m working with as pragmatic visionaries. They’re not sentimental, they’re not soft. They haven’t been spared idealism. They see what’s happening and I have tremendous faith in them.”

Terry Tempest Williams in conversation with Téa Obreht

The next evening at the Adelson Educational Campus, Williams moderated the screening of the film Wrenched, which documents the Earth First Movement. When talking about the film, Williams said “It’s more than direct action. It’s looking at our gifts. It’s a metaphor for what each of us has to offer in this open space of democracy.” She suggests we examine how will we use our gifts to create change.

After the film, Williams discussed her decision to purchase oil and gas leases near her Utah home in protest, with no intention of exercising them. This action would later cost her job, and the leases to be revoked. She’s appealing that decision, which is currently under federal review. When asked if she could turn back time, would she do it again, knowing she would lose her job and the leases? She said without hesitation, “Yes.”

Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a freelance writer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Top photo: Terry Tempest Williams, photographed by Joshua Abbey)


ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Playwright Chantal Bilodeau and Climate Change Theatre Action Radio Plays

By Peterson Toscano

Playwright Chantal Bilodeau returns to the Art House. Every two years to coincide with the UN COP meetings, Chantal and her team organizes an international event, Climate Change Theatre Action. They commission 50 short climate change-themed plays from 50 playwrights around the world. This past fall, over 200 communities organized events in 30 countries where they read some of these plays.

Chantal shares highlights along with good news about how the movement is growing both in and outside of the theatre community. A book with all 50 of the 2019 plays will be published in 2020. The collection of 50 plays from 2017 is available now.

The Art House is proud to present two of these Climate Change Theatre Action plays adapted for the radio. First, you will hear Dust written by Marcus Youssef and read by me.

It is followed by my play Bigger Love read by Jordan Sanderson and Israel Collazo, students at Susquehanna University. They play the parts of Kyle and Joey in their NYC apartment in the year 2028.

Photo: The cast of Climate Change Theatre Action 2019. Iowa State Daily—Britney Walters

Coming up next month, Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, a new book that fuses faith and personal narrative with climate action.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher Radio, Spotify, SoundCloudPodbeanNorthern 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.

(Top image: Performers Brandon C. Smith and Caiti Lattimer during “Climate Change Theatre Action: Setting the Stage for a Better Planet,” the official kick-off event of Climate Change Theatre Action 2019 in New York City. )

This article is part of The Art House series.


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 reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @


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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Opportunity: Zero Waste Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland seek filmmaker

Zero Waste Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland are seeking a filmmaker to be embedded within an exciting new initiative addressing how to move towards a lower consumption, circular economy in the context of the climate emergency. 

Zero Waste Scotland has recently formed an independent advisory group whose purpose is to analyse the challenges associated with decoupling our economic and social prosperity from the environmental impacts of resource production, consumption and waste in context of the climate emergency. As part of this Creative Carbon Scotland is seeking a filmmaker to be embedded within the group, following its journey, exploring the complex issues which decoupling raises, and making them visible and engaging to a wider audience.

Deadline for applications: 6pm, Saturday 14th March

This is an exciting, paid opportunity for a filmmaker interested in exploring the complex issues concerning Scotland’s transition away from a high consumption society driven by GDP, to a lower consumption, circular economy. It offers the chance to participate in and contribute to a group comprised of experts from a wide range of fields including environmental economics, social justice, and circular economy, and to support wider engagement with an area of growing importance in global efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

Demystifying Decoupling Advisory Group

Decoupling refers to the ability of an economy to grow or prosper without corresponding increases in energy and resource use and environmental pressures. Decoupling is seen as a central part of the transition to a circular economy. Despite this there is no evidence to show it has been achieved anywhere near the scale needed to deal with environmental breakdown or that it is likely to happen in the future (Decoupling Debunked, The European Environmental Bureau).

An advisory group has therefore been formed to undertake a critical assessment of the viability of decoupling at the rate necessary to address the climate emergency and biodiversity loss crisis. Key challenges which the group will address include:

  • The lack of clarity on what decoupling means for Scotland: what indicators are used, at what scale and over what time period, as well as how it fits into relevant environmental thresholds such as the nine planetary boundaries and policy targets
  • How to overcome the challenges associated with decoupling such as rebound effects and problem shifting (Decoupling Debunked, p.40 – 42)
  • What role decoupling can play in wider societal transition. It is necessary to consider how decoupling is linked to other topics such as the wellbeing economy,the Green New Deal and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and whether it can be pursued to build a fairer and more prosperous society now and for future generations.
  • Key actions or next steps required in order to achieve decoupling

The members of the advisory group will be asked to provide expert advice and input through various formats and their responses will help inform Zero Waste Scotland and the public on how best to tackle the challenges associated with achieving decoupling.

The whole project will run from April 2020 to January 2021.

Filmmaker brief

We are looking for a filmmaker to apply their skills in conceptual thinking and storytelling to document and explore the journey of the group over the course of the project, connecting individuals with their motivations for joining and drawing links to wider societal themes. These could include carbon footprinting and resource consumption, wellbeing and just transition.

As well being an active participant and contributing a different, cultural perspective to the group, a key outcome of the filmmaker’s role will be the production of a short film (approximately 10 minutes in length).

The purpose of the film will be to help make visible the complex issues surrounding decoupling and Scotland’s transition to a lower-consumption society. The target audience will be a wider network of stakeholders engaged in fields including academia, NGOs, industry, public sector, youth and equity, with the aim of building momentum behind the discussion and recommendations made by the advisory group. Social media will be the primary platform for distributing and sharing of the film.

The anticipated time commitment is 14 days over the whole project. This will include:

  • Attending an introductory meeting with Creative Carbon Scotland and project partners
  • Preparing for and participating in four half day advisory group meetings in the central belt:
    • Meeting 1: Friday 24th April
    • Meetings 2, 3 & 4 – Between April and December 2020. Exact dates to be agreed by group at first meeting
  • Participating in regular catch up meetings with Creative Carbon Scotland and partners
  • Leading on the production of the short film with input from key project members
  • Working with the Zero Waste Scotland communications team to produce shareable edits for social media
Filmmaker fee
  • The filmmaker will be paid a total of £4200 for the 14 days’ work. This fee is based on an artist with 5+ years experience in line with the Scottish Artist Union recommended rates of pay.
  • A small materials budget of £250 will also be available.
  • Travel expenses to and from project meetings within the central belt will be covered with a rough travel budget of up to £25 per meeting.
  • The filmmaker will be expected to provide their own film and sound recording and editing equipment and software, and insurance.
Filmmaker specification

The role is envisaged for an experienced filmmaker based in Scotland, looking to use their creative skills and experience to contribute to wider society. We anticipate an individual with 5+ years film-making experience will be most appropriate for the role.

The skills and experience that will be beneficial for this project include:

  • Experience in planning, shooting and editing high quality film content: ability to plan and manage own time and deliver key tasks within budget;
  • Skills in analytical thinking: an interest in and ability to research new topics, work with complex information, and identify underlying questions and issues;
  • Experience in storytelling and narratives: an interest in and ability to bring together diverse forms of knowledge and understanding, and to develop narratives which help make the issues accessible and engaging to wider audiences;
  • Interest in and experience of working collaboratively with diverse groups and in non-arts contexts. For example, regeneration, environmental, educational, social, healthcare contexts;
  • Knowledge of sustainability-related issues, including climate change. 

The filmmaker must be available for the full duration of the project and key event dates as agreed with the project team.

Key dates
  • 6pm, Saturday 14th March – Applications close
  • Thursday 19th March – Interviews held in central Edinburgh
  • Friday 24th April – First advisory group meeting
  • April – December 2020 – Group meetings 2, 3 & 4 held. Exact dates to be agreed by group at first meeting
  • December 2020 – Delivery of short film
How to apply

Please read carefully through the required skills and experience as outlined in the brief to ensure you meet the required experience and abilities.

To apply: complete the online application form

The form will ask you to include:

  • An anonymised CV demonstrating appropriate skills and experience (max 2 pages)
  • An anonymised covering letter (max 2 pages) which makes clear:
    • What it is about the post that caught your interest
    • How your experience and skills match those outlined above
    • How you will contribute to the project aims and tasks
    • Provides details of projects where you have contributed to an interdisciplinary project team including working with non-arts partners to help achieve its aims
  • 2 examples of relevant previous work
  • You will also be asked to confirm completion of the Creative Carbon Scotland Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

If you would like to discuss the role or if you have any questions please contact

Deadline: Applicants should complete the online application form by 6pm on Saturday 14th March

Interviews will take place on Thursday 19th March in central Edinburgh and with shortlisted applicants being notified at the beginning of the week commencing 16th March.

The post Opportunity: Zero Waste Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland seek filmmaker 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

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The Show Anything Show 2020 is an open call for artists to exhibit simple, fast, vibrant, insightful and diverse work. We want to invite artists to present art and performance at the iconic Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh.

Anyone who would like to be involved must arrive on the 20th March between 12 pm – 3 pm to install work and then enjoy a magnificent evening! We accept work from emerging and established artists as well as performers and anyone working outside the conventional art boundaries.

Note: only video-work is accepted via WeTransfer from artists outside Scotland who wish to take part but cannot attend the event.

The ‘Show Anything Show’ is a chance for artists, at all stages of their career, to get involved, get feedback on their creative endeavours and meet other artists. On the night, we are open to artists giving a 5-minute talk and testing out new performances and poetry.

The ‘Show Anything Show’ does not want to be a pristine and beautifully curated exhibition, but a gathering of creative endurance. Alternatively, if you can’t bring work, bring yourself and make on the day!

It is free to submit work to this event, and all you must do is bring (or send) the artwork.

What to do if you would like to take part in this one-day event:

1.       Bring some work or make some work
2.       Bring some friends
3.       Fill the artist sign-in sheet so we can promote you online
4.       Install some work
5.       Enjoy the art
6.       Have a great time
7.       All participating artists will be respectfully presented online after  the show

Install: 12:00-4:00 pm

Opening time: 4:00-6:00 pm

De-install: 6:30-8:00 pm

Conditions of Participation:

– Artists must be over the age of 18 to submit work
– Due to the unpredictable nature of this event, i.e. (nudity), it is at any carers discretion to bring children to this event
– Bring any tech that you need to show your work
– The whole show will be live-streamed as part of SHIFT
– Respect the space. Anyone who damages the space will be held accountable, so please respect the Wee Red Bar and surrounding areas
– Respect each other
– Respect the artwork

Artist-curator Ayshia Taskin organises this exhibition in association with [SHIFT:ibpcpa]

Instagram and Twitter @ayshiataskin and @shift_ibpcpa

A Journey Around the Globe with Portes

By Portes

You may not know me yet, but I’m Portes. Nice to meet you. Portes came into being in the summer of 2018, like Venus coming out of the ocean riding on her seashell. Portes is the exploration of a new music identity that finally feels comfortable. I’ve been singing and songwriting for decades. I’ve had bands in the past, but eventually decided to go solo to have more creative flexibility, and sing and create the kind of music that I enjoy listening to and playing. I didn’t want to sing other people’s songs anymore; I wanted to sing my songs.

What does Portes sound like? I think the answer lies in whatever is inspiring me. No pigeonholes here. Before transmuting into Portes, there was more folk music in my song catalogue. But with the development of my artistry, I’m happy to find that sweet spot in dream pop, synth pop, electronica, and ambient music. That’s not to say that it’s where I reside all the time. There’s R&B as well. And, with all my fond high school memories of listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana in the 1990s, I simply love that “grunge” sound and am making my way back to it with my own personal Portes touch, especially in my upcoming album, “National Anthems,” slated for President’s Day 2020. 

I have a diverse family and educational background that informs my music. I was born in Guatemala and adopted as a baby. I came to the United States at six-month-old and was raised in Littleton, Colorado. After graduating from high school, I attended the University of Denver where I studied Art History and Anthropology. I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Europe during my junior year and I had amazing cultural experiences. I love to travel, and I fell in love with Germany. After college graduation, I worked various jobs and after being in retail and traveling around the country for jewelry shows, I decided to return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Genetic Anthropology and International Development from Colorado State University. 

My degree included a research internship in Haiti. I lived there in 2007, in the mountain town of Fermathe. My home base was a residential facility called Wings of Hope. Children and adults with disabilities lived there and were cared for by Haitian staff and medical providers that visited from the US, Canada, and Europe. I traveled throughout the country, studying how individuals with disabilities and genetic disorders were treated within the Haitian culture. It was a life-transforming experience that brought joy and purpose to my life. I also made wonderful friends with whom I have stayed in contact to this day.

The night I came home from Haiti, I woke up in a cold, panicked sweat, disoriented and not knowing where I was. I hit the pillow again and realized I was home… but home now felt foreign. I walked down the aisle of my local grocery store and felt exactly like Jeremy Renner’s character, Staff Sergeant William James, in The Hurt Locker. I was completely overwhelmed by American affluence after three intense months living much more modestly.

Fermathe, Haiti

While living in Haiti, some days we had electricity, other days we didn’t. Some nights, Wings of Hope ran the generator so we could watch TV, or, in my case, work on my graduate thesis on my laptop. Other nights, my roommate Gretchen and I would light candles and play cards, talk about life, love, faith, or play backgammon with a kind, but grizzled old man named Claude. He was a character for sure. He wore a patch over his left eye and was a “fixer.” He would fix all kinds of things for the children and adults at Wings of Hope.

Haiti lacks infrastructure in all senses of the word.  Very few roads are paved. There are only a few light signals in Port-au-Prince. Public transportation is an unorganized system of vans, buses, and trucks called “Tap Taps” because you literally tap on the side or the roof of the vehicle to indicate a stop. These are often brightly colored with music blaring. I’ve ridden on the top of a bus in the middle of the night with a “boyfriend” I met there. 

In the mountains of Fermathe, staff would collect trash and toss it down the hill behind the building. At first, coming from my privileged background of waste management every Wednesday morning, this was appalling. Sometimes animals, such as goats, would scavenge the land looking for remnants to nibble on. 

The coined phrase, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down,” never rang truer than while living there, except the one time I was visiting Port-au-Prince and had to use a communal toilet

There was no home for trash in Haiti and refuse would spill down the hillsides and flow to the shores and sea after a rain. Some Haitians would use their ingenuity and create art from the trash, to make valuable commodities for others, or, on the most basic level, to feed their families.. That is one thing I miss from living there: all the vibrant colors on canvases sold on the streets to tourists; reclaimed wood resembling a Christ figure or a “Restavek” in tattered clothing (the word comes from the French “rester avec,” which means “to stay with,” as in a slave, usually a child), or an animal. Some artisans reused old steel metal drums to create beautiful pieces of metal work with intricate details. 

Forward to today, it’s starting to feel like our trash is out of control even here in Denver, Colorado. I obsess over recycling to the point of feeling guilty if I miss an item. I hear reports that China doesn’t want our recycling anymore. So, what’s the long-term plan? I think about this often and I’m trying to find ways to reduce my plastic usage even more. One of the things our household is considering is purchasing glass containers rather than using plastics to hold food. We use canvas bags for groceries, rather than plastic or paper bags. I’ve also been researching homemade recipes for shampoo and other hygiene products to avoid buying plastic bottles. And there’s always the option of not buying so many products wrapped in plastics in the first place. 

After those three months living in Haiti, I changed several personal habits of mine including unplugging most electronic devices, recycling more, driving less, using less water while brushing my teeth, and turning off lights in rooms unoccupied, just to name a few. You don’t have to have lived in Haiti to make your own changes in the world. I encourage each person who listens to “Human” to find that one thing that motivates them to make the world a better place and to get involved in a way that makes sense and that brings out their own passion for change. “Human” is just one part of my contribution to art and climate change. What will yours be? 

To learn more about the political turmoil and current revolution in Haiti, see “Demonstrators in Haiti Are Fighting for an Uncertain Future” in The New Yorker and listen to the Haitian band Anmwey.

(Top image: Photo by Sierra Voss)

Denver-based singer-songwriter Portes is not afraid to go head to head with controversial societal topics in her latest single, “Human.” She uses her angelic, lullaby-style singing to weave thoughtful, reflective lyrics into a striking song that implores the listener to unify and take action to improve human rights and global warming. Can you make a difference? She and her son, who joins her on “Human,” believe that you can.


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.

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