ecoartscotland

Trees, mother trees and interactions

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This short film opens up a different understanding of forests and the interactions between trees facilitated by fungi – inspiring stuff reinforcing the importance of respecting the complexity of forests across both species diversity and age diversity.  Professor Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia highlights the importance of Mother or Granny Trees in these networks.  Thanks to Jan Van Boeckel for highlighting this video.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Dirty Water – new issue of WEAD online magazine

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One of the few publications that focuses on giving voice to artists involved in ecological work, the magazine of the Women Environmental Artists Directory has just published a new issue entitled Dirty Water.  The issue features essays by artists including Betsy Damon, Stacy Levy and Jackie Brookner, as well as Chris Drury. Activist, writer and poet Jourdan Imani Keith provides a personal perspective and Linda Weintraub provides a survey of practices. This is essential reading for anyone interested in artists and water. Previous issues are well worth checking out.

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

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

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James Brady suggested that the Soil Arts Call might be of interest to readers of ecoartscotland (and Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts).  Alex Toland who is behind the site is a visual artist and environmental planner.

The Soil Arts Call says: If you have used earth materially or symbolically in your creative practice, or in some way addressed the value, function, or meaning of soil in your art, we invite you to submit work to our blog.

There are already some really interesting and diverse examples of work in the links section.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Footings and Entanglements

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Capture-d’écran-2012-11-05-à-16.25.57-e1352129233588

Dave Borthwick highlights two new books of poetry.  Entanglements is an anthology for which Dave wrote the Introduction, and includes work by amongst others Alec Finlay, Gerry Loose, Em Strang and Jim Carruth.  You can find out more and order from Two Ravens Press.

Footings is a new collection of specially commissioned poems focused on walking and comes from Longbarrow Press in Sheffield.  Dave has kindly provided this review for ecoartscotland.

Longbarrow Press is a small publisher of a suite of experimental poets, producing a creative output whose eclecticism is its hallmark. Longbarrow believes that the poem should dictate the output, and has to date produced publications in the form of acetates, maps, and matchboxes. This commitment to formal and thematic experimentation is carried forward into its newly-published anthology The Footing, a collection of commissioned poems on the theme of walking and landscape.

This is not a walker’s collection in the sense of exploring pleasing prospects or aesthetic epiphanies, though, but rather a series of often weary journeys where history and memory make uneasy fellow travellers, where ‘Night settles over everything’, ‘the single row of shuttered shops. / 2.00am, deserted streets and cul-de-sacs’ (James Caruth, ‘Nocturne’). Less rooted in, but emanating from, Sheffield these are poems that move through edgelands and riparian zones, a hauntology of locations where the walker is perpetually disturbed, moved on, and so moving off. Andrew Hirst’s ‘Three Night Walks’ has the poet ‘scuttling along the curb’s ledge / alone, unsettled, residual.’

Rob Hindle follows ‘Flights and Traverses (5 itineraries)’ including ‘the supposed migration of Richard Marsden, an ancestor’ in 1782, the sequence ending on ‘a descent in the traces of the first of the Luftwaffe raids on Sheffield’. Chris Jones’ ‘Death and the Gallant’ reimagines the Reformation—with its destruction of artwork and symbolism—as seen through the eyes of a traveller contracted to daub and destroy iconography: ‘we’re pilgrims too’, he explains. Fay Musselwhite’s excellent poems are the voices of the Rivelin’s latter-day spirits ‘tunnelling / under a low stone bridge’ or trekking ‘though woods’ winter skeletons’ by the riverside.

The Footing’s seven poets each explore their territory with sensitivity, but without sentiment, their psychogeographical mappings manifesting the interconnections of territory, memory and experience in vivid, and wonderfully unsettling, terms.

Angelina Ayers, James Caruth, Mark Goodwin, Rob Hindle, Andrew Hirst, Christ Jones, Fay Musselwhite, The Footing (Sheffield: Longbarrow Press, 2013). pp. 95. £12.  See also http://thefooting.wordpress.com/, with links to SoundCloud recordings of poems.

David Borthwick teaches literature and the environment at the University of Glasgow’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Dumfries. His current research at the Solway Centre for Environment and Culture explores contemporary ecopoetry.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Tiny Geographies by Chris Dooks

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Artist Chris Dooks has worked in 4 key locations, producing 4 short films of each area for Atomic Doric http://www.woodendbarn.com/atomic-doric/. He has interviewed different people who connect with the places – young nature groups, walkers, rangers etc – recording sounds, photographing and filming with them.

Tiny Geographies has created several hours of material including interviews and photographs, field recordings and more. Watch the trailer here:

The film premieres Friday 29 November 2013, 7:30pm at Woodend Barn with support from Edinburgh’s Drew Wright aka Wounded Knee.

Morag McFarclane (69) author of idiosyncratic text ‘The Aberdeenshire Field Book of The Exhausted Artist’ [Wodebooks 1971] writes in the written programme which accompanies this film:

This short trailer previews artist Chris Dooks’ [near feature-length] Year of Natural Scotland commission “Tiny Geographies” – a project managed by Woodend Barn in Banchory, Aberdeenshire as part of the ‘Atomic Doric’ season of commissioned works by artists and musicians.

The experimental ethos of the film was to ascertain to what degree could diverse audiovisual footage be gathered from several accessible environments just a few square metres in size. These ‘tiny’ geographies were made to see if there was any advantage to being unable to scale a ‘Munro’ or even a small hill – and try and make the best of out limited energy.

Using DSLR-sourced montages alongside the latest fangled GoPro camcorder [shooting at high speed], with microphones and hydrophones, Dooks employs the technology as friend of the ‘exhausted practitioner’ to spy, scope-out and mine the environment without touching it – or as Chris says ‘the only thing I like to shoot a deer with, is a Nikon lens.’

Inspired by photographer David Liittschwager’s ‘One Cubic Foot’ nature project (see tinyurl.com/onecubic) – the project is about depth over breadth and results in neither a ‘disability’ project nor a film about the extremes of exploring the wilderness. It’s about everyday people and everyday landscapes, but once peered into, there’s nothing everyday about either.

Over two months, digital montages of the areas were shot to a soundtrack sourced from over forty interviews with the public across national parks, reserves and estates in Aberdeenshire. Questions were asked of willing interviewees to use their answers as musical and regional source material. This large degree of public engagement has resulted in a work resembling something between a kind of sensory documentary and a suite or ‘movements’ akin to seasonal changes in the environment or a kind of extended overture to a particular (even peculiar) slice of Scotland.

A thin sliver of Chris’s personal life also makes it into the final cut not just because of the ease of clearing images of people and woodland wanderers, but also because this is not a cold ethnographic study of accents and hills.

Five areas were chosen, each a few miles from each other (and one fifty miles further) where the different technologies are part of this beautifully strange world.

The film was shot primarily over Aberdeenshire; Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne, The Linn of Quioch near Braemar, Tomnaverie Stone Circle near Tarland, Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve near Dinnet and St Cyrus National Nature Reserve near Montrose.

TINY GEOGRAPHIES WAS FUNDED BY:

Creative Scotland

Aberdeenshire Council: Be Part of the Picture

Visit Scotland

Project managed by Woodend Barn, Banchory

with support from Discover Royal Deeside and Cairngorms

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE FROM

chrisdooks.bandcamp.com

from December 2013

woodendbarn.co.uk

dooks.org

idioholism.com

All material © Chris Dooks 2013

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Final Straw

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Final Straw by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang, 26 November 2013, 5pm, Evolution House, ECA, West Port, Edinburgh.  Final Straw is a work in progress.  On the 26th there will be a panel discussion with Emily Brady, Mike Small and Ben Twist, Chaired by Chris Fremantle.

Since the Autumn of 2011, environmental artist duo Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang have been researching, traveling, filming, and interacting with consumers and are now in the final post-production stage for the Final Straw documentary. Due for initial screening in Spring of 2014, Final Straw is a cinematic exploration of Japanese natural farming, and a philosophical ride through the minds of amazing individuals who offer simple solutions to modern issues of sustainability, both on the farm and in the city. The film interacts with a cast of office workers, chefs, musicians, and farmers alike, all of who are students of the late Japanese farmer/philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Methodologies: HighWaterLine

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Patricia Watts of ecoartspace recently highlighted the collaboration with artist Eve Mosher producing an Action Guide for HighWaterLine.  Eve Mosher developed HighWaterLine as a personal project, but following Sandy’s impact on New York it went viral (covered by the New York Times and the New Yorker), and rather than travelling around the world doing projects, Eve has worked with ecoartspace to produce an action guide so that people can do it for themselves.  ecoartspace are promising 10 of these based on artists’ projects.

Artists such as Eve increasingly recognising that making their methods explicit so that other people can adopt them is important.  You can find the guide that Eve and ecoartspace have developed here http://ecoartspaceactionguides.blogspot.co.uk/ and more will follow.  We will also categorise posts where methodologies are explicit and reproducible.

Eve just spoke as part of the Marfa Dialogues in New York, and this is how it was described,

Artist Eve Mosher will tell the story of her public art project titled HighWaterLine where she marked the ten feet above sea level line in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn with a baseball line marker over the summer of 2007. Mosher receives many requests to fly to cities around the world to duplicate this project. Since this would be an impossible task, she has recently collaborated with ecoartspace to develop an ACTION GUIDE so that communities around the world can learn about her work and now mark their own line using Mosher’s HighWaterLine as inspiration. The guide was developed for educators, nonprofit organizations and individuals, combining art and science to engage aesthetics while addressing environmental issues. Guide author Patricia Watts and curator Amy Lipton will participate with Eve Mosher for this discussion.

ecoartspace High Water Line

There’s a good video on the project

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Cape Farewell Northern Isles expedition 2013 – Orkney and Shetland

The Swan at sea, Photo James Brady with permission

The Swan at sea, Photo by James Brady with permission

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

James Brady, artist and curator, member of the ecoartnetwork, sent us this short report on the Cape Farewell Northern Isles expedition

‘Journeying from Orkney to the Shetland islands via Fair Isle, the expedition
will consider the relationship between people, place and resources in coastal
and island environments, with emphasis on the role of community agency
and local knowledge in developing social and ecological resilience.’

www.capefarewell.com/2013expedition/

Between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the swells and tides brought with them a cascade of complex emotions which we (the visiting crew of The Swan) all precariously navigated over the three-week course of this extraordinary, interdisciplinary research sailing expedition.

The expedition itself is a beautiful work of ecological art, in my opinion, and curated with a rare sensitivity and grace. Journeying and exploring becoming mindful ways of knowing and ways of being. Collectively we encountered and investigated the layers of histories and ecologies, entangled within the fabric of the islands’ environments and their communities (human and non-human).

From the large-scale wave and tidal renewable energy research projects and the extensive Neolithic archaeology of the Orkney Isles, to the indigenous craft cultures and fishing heritage of the Shetlands – we encountered the shifting, contested grounds between tradition and the modern, development and sustainability, the global and the local, renewables and fossil fuels…

I was astonished how willing the local people on each island were to engage in conversation, open to questions and having their generational stories recorded – fishermen, musicians, farmers, poets, teachers, knitters, etc. It’s a fascinating paradox, because these folks are both resilient and vulnerable to ‘change’ – certainly a characteristic of small, remote communities across our planet.

One of the leading characters in our expedition story was The Swan – a beautifully restored, century-old herring drifter – a community-run boat based on Shetland. She nurtured a fascinating and dynamic social energy amongst the crew. I was privileged to be in such esteemed company – a wonderful mix of creative and scientific minds so willing to share and exchange inspiration and knowledge.

Sea Change the exhibition is on at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (John Hope Gateway), 8 November 2013 – 26 January 2014. www.rbge.org.uk/whats-on/sea-change

James Brady was a member of the first Northern Isles expedition crew. He is an artist and curator based in Merseyside, England. www.capefarewell.com/2013expedition/crew/james-brady/

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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The Archivist

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist with George Wyllie’s Spire, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

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How do you represent ideas that are far away, remote or don’t exist yet? The Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) was spread across rural Dumfries and Galloway, but its ambition was to represent environmental art ideas from much further afield.

Exhibitions of ideas in the form of documentation can be very problematic, even if they include models and drawings, photographs and plans, video and archives. They can frankly end up being dry and boring for anyone not deeply interested in the ephemera of environmental and social practices.

Two artists addressed this challenge beautifully for the Festival. Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman came up with a genius solution by assuming that this was a performative problem rather than a problem of display.  They describe The Archivist as a collaboration with performer David Giblin.

We met The Archivist at the village hall in Gretna Green, just across the road from one of the tackiest parts of the Scottish tourism industry – the Old Blacksmith’s Shop.

The Archivist had his audience in the palm of his hand. He was talking to a group of school children, introducing them to the Archive. He was elegantly dressed in a frock coat and cravat, clearly channelling the antiquarian who has researched the obscure world of artists and designers working on environmental issues. Dumfries and Galloway is of course home turf for antiquarians, researching the monuments of neolithic, bronze and iron age, and Celtic cultures.  But the school children were entranced and more importantly engaged with complex ideas and creativity. What more could you ask for?

The Archivist was showing them one of George Wyllie’s (1921-2012) Spires. He captured Wyllie’s spirit in his demonstration of the simple idea of equilibrium.

George’s spires which, from 1982 onwards, he positioned throughout the UK as well as Europe and the US too, celebrated “the places on which they stood. The spire was a very basic structure with the rod going upwards, counterbalanced by a stone and set on a tripod of steel or wood to enable it to move about, like the sails of a ship. In simple rhythm with nature and without complications, the spire freely compromises itself to praise the planet. Air, Stone, Equilibrium, Understanding.” (from the George Wyllie website)

The Archivist had a large, velvet lined trunk next to him which was filled with ideas in the form of iconic ephemera. You could ask him about any of them and he’d pull out the object and set it on the elegant and slightly anachronistic brass tripod. He’d demonstrate how the particular thing might work, explain what it meant and ask his audience about their ideas.

Another example from his trunk was a model of a high voltage electricity transmission pylon covered in vegetation, a proposal by Andrea Geile who is concerned with “replacing lost forests and ever decreasing eco-systems by colonising existing man made structures in the environment.”  For a full list of the ideas that The Archivist was working with see the EAFS website.

Usually it’s performance that is the problem, the thing that can only be experienced through documentation. This reversal, using performance as a means to release new life in artworks which only exist as ideas, succeeds because it focuses on the interpersonal experience. These types of ideas are normally shared and discussed in small groups working to make them happen. It’s in discussions between artists, curators and producers, clients and funders, that these ideas are brought to life, literally brought to reality in often long process of negotiation and project development.  The Archivist was using one of the methods that normally exists in that process – the maquette.  A maquette is a model for a sculpture.  Everything in The Archivist’s trunk was a maquette for an idea, i.e. not necessarily literally a miniature of the proposed work, but rather a useful physical manifestation of the idea (the two highlighted above are literally maquettes).

Within the territory of the visual and applied arts, it is usually the artist’s voice which is foregrounded, and if not the artist’s then the curator/producer is the interlocutor of choice.  To involve a performer to represent the ideas of a visual artist is provocative, but what it necessitates is the foregrounding of methodology and the clarity of the idea.  Environmental and social practices are perhaps more interested in the pedagogical dimensions of the work, and also owe more of a debt to performance art for their aesthetic, as Claire Bishop has recently suggested.

If there is a key reference point for this as a work in itself, it is surely Allan Kaprow’s Gallery in a Hat.  As I remember it Kaprow would approach someone in a bar for instance and say “Would you like to see the gallery in my hat?”  He’d proceed to take objects out of the hat and relate the stories associated with each.  Kaprow’s work in turn relates back to dadaist and surrealist poetry created by pulling words or phrases out of a hat (and of course to William Burroughs’ Cut-Up technique).

We look forward to meeting The Archivist again.

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

The Archivist, Performer David Giblin, Photo Kim Ayres

Chris Fremantle’s review of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland will be published in the International e-Journal of Creativity and Human Development (the link will be updated when the article is published).

You can contact Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman to explore how The Archivist might help you with communicating your ideas to your audiences through Jo’s website

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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The Harrison Studio presents Wilma the Pig – YouTube

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Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison tell us the story of the original Hog Pasture and why it matters that there is a pig in the MOCA Exhibition Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974.

To understand the relationship of Hog Pasture (1970-71) as #1 of the Survival Pieces to the larger scale works such as The Lagoon Cycle (1974-1984), The Endangered Meadows of Europe (1994) and Peninsula Europe (2000-03) it’s useful to look at the text Harrisons – On the Survival Pieces 1970-72 which was published in the catalogue of the Radical Nature exhibition a couple of years ago,

It shows how a life of making art is a life of learning.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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