ecoartscotland

On Water Rights Residency

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

This is the final blog from Holly Keasey written in October some months after her return from Santa Fe. Holly reflects on her apparent diversion from her intentional misunderstanding of the ‘rights’ in Water Rights to be equivalent to the ‘rights’ in Human Rights. The delay in publishing it is entirely the responsibility of the ecoartscotland editor.

We have come a long way. But we still have a long way to go. There is still today a frontier that remains unconquered — an America unclaimed. This is the great, the nationwide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear.

President Roosevelt, radio address on the Third Anniversary of the Social Security Act, 1938


Taken at the Bradbury Museum, Los Alamos.

It has been over three month since I left Santa Fe and a month since my first attempt, to write this final post – an attempt that hammers home the difference of focused residency periods and trying to creatively think in between paid employment. To try and find my way back into the particular space I created for myself whilst at the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI), I turned my attention to questioning why – when I set out to investigate how to establish a role for critical public art practices, and what shifts in public arts policy are necessary to facilitate such practices by focusing on the role of policy and particularly water rights – did I end up spending the majority of my time in New Mexico conducting an ‘Atomic Tour’. Is there a reasoning to this shift or did I get distracted?

Whilst in New Mexico, I had the pleasure of meeting Sherri Brueggemann, the Albuquerque Public Arts Officer, who explained that the Albuquerque Public Arts Policy, though drafted as an adaptive policy, is predominantly dictated by a requirement of acquisition by the Albuquerque City Council. In short, the commissioning of object-based art that therefore has a long-term economic value and can be seen as a physical addition to their public art collection. For me, this legally stated requirement, and simultaneous reduction of public art to the manifestation of an monetarily-valued object, presents a clear link to a mind-set that is embedded in property.

As has been reiterated in a previous post, water rights are also directly linked to property, and hence property rights, in that they are focused on a possession-to-use/entitlement-to-ownership ethos. Yet, due to an on-going interest in the expansive role of water, I was interested in how this could be swung into a relation with human rights ( the “rights” inherent in being human, to do or to have simply because they are human) through a simple play-on, or rather, intentional (mis)interpretation of language. What is water allowed to be, to do and to have simply because it is water? And how could such an ethos be applied to all living beings and elements of the Earth? And what effect would this have on humanity’s current resource-focused trajectory if we were to accept and take on board such rights? This led me to consider if non-specialists in policy could misinterpret a policy – or rather interpret it differently whilst legitimising their reasoning for this interpretation of language. Is there a potential to give and in giving policy multifaceted meanings?

To understand the potential of this shift (or strategy of misinterpretation), I chose to conduct site-responsive re-search into the role of water and property rights in New Mexico, which in turn led me to be ‘willingly lost’ in the history of the nuclear as a significant specificity to New Mexico’s history. An inescapable element of my ‘Atomic Tour’ was the development of nuclear weapons and a need to understand what drove such an invention, its use and continued use as a method for ensuring maintained peace – a peace facilitated by threat and fear.

The construction of ‘property’ and it’s relationship with fear also led me to the ‘Atomic Tour’. In 1900, over 12,000 Japanese citizens immigrated to the U.S. mainland, many just released from indentured labor with Hawaii’s 1898 annexation. California became a focal area for settling and farming a key economic foundation for the Japanese population. However, the sudden increases in Japanese immigration spurred the spreading of the xenophobic theory of the ‘Yellow Peril’, with some fearing that the Japanese were attempting to overtake white control of California’s farmland. This resulted in the implementation of The California Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920, that prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning agricultural land or possessing leases over it or owning of stock in companies that acquired such land.

Although only one early action in an extensive web of global imperialist territorial power struggles, trade route deals and resource embargoes that ultimately led to the attack on Pearl Harbour and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively – the California Alien Land Law, for me, epitomises the driving relations in a number of dimensions. The Act highlights the role of policy in the formation and maintenance of a static national identity as a meditation on the significance of land as property. Finally it makes clear the invisible violence located in such policy-making that is implicitly driven by a fear of the ‘other’ or how I would term a fear of the uncontrollable potential located in difference.

Psychological Operations leaflet. Image taken at the Bradbury Museum, Los Alamos.

Nicolas Bromley writes that, ‘…force and violence are the nemesis of property and their frequent use is a signal that a property regime is faltering…’ and yet that, ‘…law requires the construction of a constituted outside with reference to, and against which, it sets itself apart. And violence is integral to its construction.’ The development, imagined-threat, use and now threat-as-use of the nuclear bomb, therefore could be seen as the site where literal and imaginings of the extremes of globalised property as an individual right, and therefore the fear such a notion requires and perpetuates, are given location.

From such a large-scale look at property, I return to looking further at the current implications of gentrification in which the antithesis to property is embodied by the indigent, the homeless and the renter,

‘…the poor are, if anything, imagined as a threat to property, not only because of their assumed complicity in property crime but also because, by their presence, they destabilize property values, both economically and culturally.’

It is in this act, of identifying ‘threats’ and establishing a legal policy of property rights to ensure security, that simultaneously identifies a feared ‘other’ that must always sit out-with a law in order to maintain the need for a law, that I feel there is a use in noticing a scalable relation between gentrification and the emotional underpinning of the nuclear. Yes, gentrification is embedded in a capital-based power system that thrives on establishing replicable exclusivity and social divides, but in order to dream of an alternative, maybe there is use in investigating how we approach and deal with that which we fear, especially in relation to difference and our prioritised entitlement to survival which currently manifests as possession-to-use.

From the above approach, I wish to move from property back to water, and water rights. In a previous post, I spoke of the Santa Fe River as a site of complexity. Site as verb – the act of giving location. This understanding of the river, and water more generally, does not so easily allow a single concept of rights as the regulation of distributing powers to control valued resources.

I wonder if it is here that I am also able to locate a site to develop potential towards ecological-sensitivity in developing multi-faceted interpretations of policy, through a focus on water rights? A form of policy that is shaped through giving location to difference and hence not responding to fear as something to be excluded, but rather an emotion we must learn to sit with until difference itself, rather than specifically that which is identified as different, unknowingly shifts to the familiar. Could the formation of such an idea be developed by reflecting on my own process of overcoming the fear of feeling out-of-place, due to constant travelling? By allowing myself to get lost and over-time become familiar and give-site to my fear through a relational and scalar approach to the fear embedded in the nuclear? And how could the development of a critical public artwork that focuses on policy, gentrification and property act as a generative challenge to legal regulations that stipulate that Public Art practices must result in an acquisition, either as an object or even as Culture for the purpose of increasing capital-attractiveness of an area?

I will continue to develop this as part of my body of work that considers Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) as a theoretical modelling system for alternative forms of urban planning and where my practice, that focuses on water as a tool to criss-cross theory and ecological concerns, could be situated within such a model as a challenge for critical formations of public art practice.


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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Reviewing the past, planning the future

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

During 2017 we published articles on a wide range of projects ecoartscotland is involved with, new commissioned writing, reports from various artists, as well as sharing articles from other blogs.

As part of ecoartscotland’s ongoing work with the Land Art Generator Initiative we toured the exhibition of the Glasgow project to the Tent Gallery at Edinburgh College of Art and also to the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Newton Harrison working with The Barn, Banchory on the ecological health of the Dee and Don Valleys. The video of the lecture Newton gave has now been put online.

  • We helped the Wetland Life project recruit artists and we look forward to providing an update on this work during 2018.
  • We published a number of guest blogs including,
  • Focusing on ‘wonder’, we published a curator’s reflection on the Murmur exhibition by Jonathan Baxter.
  • The Connecting with a Low Carbon Scotland conference, the culmination of the research programme funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh was written up by Professor Anne Douglas. The Research Report is due to be published in the Spring.
  • We reported on The Same Hillside,  the result of the art science collaboration between Professor Pete Smith and Gavin Wallace focused on ecosystem services assessment, and on A Field of Wheat, Culhane and Levene’s project that enabled us to participate in producing food.
  • Juliet Wilson reviewed Camilla Nelson’s Apples and Other Languages.
  • Minty Donald reviewed the Collins and Goto Studio exhibition A Caledonian Decoy.
  • Ewan Davidson reviewed the Center for Genomic Gastronomy’s Gut Gardening.
  • The year started with a series of blogs from Holly Keasey during her participation in the Water Rights residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute which you can read backwards by following this link.
  • We also appear to have failed: we tried to persuade the Leverhulme Trust to maintain its Artist in Residence Award Scheme – unfortunately there is no sign that this worked although a lot of people wrote letters and a-n also commissioned a piece from us.
  • During 2018 we have a number of articles in the pipeline including:
  • A report on the Landscape Research Group’s recent Landscape Justice Debate
  • More on wetlands including blogs from Hannah Imlach who was in Flow Country in the North of Scotland and Rob Mulholland from Cheng Long Wetlands in Taiwan.
  • The final reflection from Holly Keasey on her Water Rights residency.
  • A review of Marlene Creates: Places, Paths, and Pauses.
  • A response to A Non-Cartography thinking through the social mess of climate changeJournal of Aesthetics and Protest Issue #10
  • More on the work with The Barn and Newton Harrison.

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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Beautiful Renewables

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Wind Forest, ZM Architecture Team

Can renewable energy become not merely infrastructure but a feature of place-making? What can architects, artists and designers bring to the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy? Can creative approaches contribute to the commercialisation of new renewable technologies? These are some of the questions that the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is asking and why ecoartscotland partnered with them.

The exhibition of the Land Art Generator Glasgow project along with examples from other LAGI competitions is currently installed on the Concourse of the Sir Ian Wood Building, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

It has previously been exhibited in The Lighthouse, Glasgow; Exeter University Innovation Centre; and Tent, Edinburgh College of Art.

The LAGI Glasgow project focused on Dundas Hill, a former distillery and power station site just north of Glasgow City centre. Dundas Hill is now a regeneration site being developed by a partnership between Scottish Canals and BIGG Regeneration supported by Glasgow City Council.

The three short listed teams were led by architects and landscape architects (ERZ, Stallan Brand, ZM Architects) and involved engineers, designers and artists (Daziel+Scullion, Alec Finlay, Pigdin Perfect).

The Land Art Generator Initiative will be releasing the Brief for it’s next International Open Competition for a site in Melbourne in Australia in January 2018.

Chris Fremantle, who established ecoartscotland in 2010, is a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice at Gray’s School of Art. Outputs associated with this work have been clustered into a ‘project’ by the RGU Library Service on OpenAIR here. They include a chapter in the book of the LAGI Copehagen Open Competition in 2014, a conference paper at PetroCultures 2016 conference as well as the citation of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Managers (CIWEM) Art and Environment Award made in 2016.

 


About EcoArtScotland:

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

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

Go to EcoArtScotland

LAGI Glasgow Exhibition

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Land Art Generator Glasgow exhibition
Tent: Art, Space and Nature, Edinburgh College of Art
8-21 September 2017

The award winning Land Art Generator Glasgow project, developed in collaboration with ecoartscotland, explores creative approaches to using renewable energy in urban contexts as part of place-making approaches to regeneration.

The Land Art Generator Glasgow project focused on the Dundas Hill regeneration site just North of Glasgow City Centre. The project has been develop in partnership with Scottish Canals, BIGG Regeneration and Glasgow City Council.

The exhibition includes the designs by teams led by landscape and architectural practices in Glasgow including ERZ, ZM Architecture and Stallan Brand, and also highlights examples from the Land Art Generator Initiative Open Competitions.

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) brings together artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, engineers, and others in a first of its kind collaboration. The goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative is to stimulate the design and construction of public art installations that uniquely combine aesthetics with utility-scale clean energy generation.

As we aggressively implement strategies towards 100% carbon-free energy and witness a greater proliferation of renewable energy infrastructures in our cities and landscapes, we have an opportunity to proactively address the aesthetic influence of these new machines through the lenses of planning, urban design, community benefit, and creative placemaking.

ecoartscotland and the Land Art Generator Initiative were awarded the 2016 Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM) Arts, Water and Environment Award. The Nick Reeves AWEinspiring Award is presented annually by CIWEM’s Arts and the Environment Network in association with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW). The award celebrates projects or practitioners who have contributed innovatively to CIWEM’s vision of “putting creativity at the heart of environmental policy and action”.

Dave Pritchard, Chair of CIWEM’s Arts and Environment Network, said: “The quality of nominations for this year’s Award was wonderful. LAGI and ecoartscotland’s work is a superb example of our belief that arts-based approaches offer massive potential for more intelligent ways of responding to environmental challenges”.

The Land Art Generator Initiative’s programme includes in addition to the Glasgow project, a programme of Open Competitions, the next of which will be focused on Melbourne, Australia, in 2018.

There will be a discussion event at MFA Art, Space and Nature 3pm on 21 September. The event will be an opportunity to discuss the role of renewable energy in urban environments, as well as the opportunities presented by the Land Art Generator 2018 Open Competition in Melbourne. Allison Palenske, Alumni and member of the Art, Space and Nature based team that was a featured finalist in the 2014 Copenhagen Open Competition, will discuss making a successful Competition entry.

Please RSVP here 

For further information please contact Chris Fremantle on 07714 203016

Publication from the Land Art Generator Glasgow exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 9 June – 29 July 2016

A5-LAGI-Glasgow-Brochure-16pages


About EcoArtScotland:

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

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

Go to EcoArtScotland

Understanding a place “without shortcuts”: exploring the Tim Robinson archive 

This Post Comes from The Hollywood Story : An Eco-Social Art Practice | Co. Carlow Ireland | Authored by Cathy Fitzgerald:

I’m staying near Bearna village, which is on the edge of the ecologically significant Moycullen bog area in the West of Ireland.

On such occasions the basic act of attention that creates a place out of a location would be renewed, enhanced by whatever systems of understanding we can muster, from the mathematical to the mythological, by the passion of poetry, or by simple enjoyment of the play of light on it. Here is a gateway to a land without shortcuts, where each place is bathed in the sunlight of our contemplation and all its particularities brought forth, like those mountainside potato plots gilded by midwinter sunset in the valley of the stone alignment.

Tim Robinson ‘A Land without Shortcuts’, The Dublin Review 46 (Spring 2012), p.43

2017 has seen me spending many months away from Hollywood forest. Now, I find myself exploring a remarkable archive, a body of work created over four decades by Tim Robinson, that celebrates some of the most iconic land and marine areas of the West of Ireland. I thank Dr. Nessa Cronin of the Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, for inviting me to apply for a month-long Visiting Fellowship that is giving me access to Tim Robinson’s remarkable legacy. Also thanks to Dr Iain Biggs, my PhD supervisor, who encouraged me to take this opportunity.

Since 1972, Tim Robinson with the support of his partner Mairead, has created a nationally acclaimed body of work that celebrated and mapped the Aran Isles, the Burren and Connemara.

Initially, I was a bit unsure how my creative practice and research would connect with the archive. I was thinking how would I relate to the tree-less landscape that is the West of Ireland, but I was soon intrigued how Robinson developed an extraordinary ecology of creative practice.This practice, developed over these decades, embraced map-making, ecological and archaeological studies, local histories and folklore, and writing to deeply map and highlight overlooked values of these areas. Reflecting the significance of Tim’s work to the Irish nation, is that he is a member of Aosdana (an affiliation of artists who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland) since 1996, and he  is a fellow of the Royal Irish Academy since 2011.

Robinson, drawing on his background in visual arts, mathematics and physics, and perhaps freshly enthusiastic about Ireland as he was as a visitor to this region (he was born in Yorkshire), created a practice that is far from a simple study of landscape.

An important recent book to understand Robinson’s many faceted practice is  Unfolding Irish Landscapes Tim Robinson, Culture and Environment (2016). A contribution from Irish art and architect researcher Catherine Marshall, indicates that Robinson’s wide-ranging creative practice is less appreciated in the art world than might be expected. She writes that Robinson’s work has been more often examined by literary critics, geographers, historians and other writers (Marshall, 2016, p.191).  Notably, she understands that Robinson’s mapping and collation of histories and place names inevitably led to his writing several acclaimed books, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (1986), Stones of Aran: Labyrinth (1995), Connemara: Listening to the Wind (2006), Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness (2008), Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom (2011) and yet, how his practice was informed ‘by an artist’s eye at all times’ (p.198) (a sense of Robinson’s work can be seen in the video below). She recognises that Robinson’s aim was to find a way to link the particular to the global and the mythic (p.197), and she briefly mentions how his work connects to other’s creative practices as established by Deirdre O’Mahony and Alan Counihan and Gypsy Ray who have created similar wide-ranging and comprehensive eco-social ‘mapping’ projects in Ireland (p.199). However, the final contribution in this book by ecocriticism researcher, Eoin Flannery in his ‘Essayist of Place: Post-Colonialism and Ecology in the Work of Tim Robinson’, signals how Robinson’s constellation of practices are now viewed as contributing significantly to the developing ecological (environmental) humanities discipline, of which ecological art practice is increasingly recognised as a vibrant field of enquiry.

Extract from the documentary film Tim Robinson: Connemara (Director, Pat Collins, Harvest Films, 2014), it ‘is a sixty minute film based on Robinson’s three Connemara books and a visual interpretation of his work as a map-maker and writer. An exploration of landscape, history and mythology – this film acts as an intersection between writing, film-making and the natural world.’ (Harvest Films)

To my mind, Robinson’s creative work is an exemplary example of a developed ecological practice.  Ecological art practices are perhaps better described as eco-social art practice (as they bear similarities to social art practices). Such practices involve organising activities and insights from lived (lifeworld) experience and diverse disciplinary knowledge, and are motivated by ethics, learning and action. Practitioners of such practices are not to the fore of such projects, rather they work transversally to encircle an emergent ecosophy, a philosophy of living well in a specific  location (originally described by French therapist, political activist and theorist, Felix Guattari). They foster a reflective, collaborative and comprehensive effort,  “without shortcuts”, as Robinson says, to understand our cultural values, or lack thereof, to our life-supporting environments.

Iain Biggs, who also undertook a Moore Institute visiting fellowship in 2014, has explored such ecosophical projects (looking at the creative practices of Deirdre O’Mahony, Pauline O’Connell and my own) in his research article ‘”Incorrigibly plural”? Rural Lifeworlds between Concept and Experience’ (2014). Biggs details how these creative practitioners develop and share  workings for their audiences as a result of them inhabiting ‘polyverses’: that these multi-constituent practices champion openness and plurality as they welcome and explore many different ways of appreciating often marginalised rural lifeworlds (Biggs, 2014, p.263).

And fostering sensitive, inclusive, region-specific creative practices is important for all our futures given the unprecedented eco-crises we all face (although in Ireland, understanding that culture is 4th pillar of sustainability is still little acknowledged, Fitzgerald, 2017). I can illustrate this further by considering two creative projects detailed in articles sent to me by colleagues this week, one from Ireland and one from Australia. The Irish article, in yesterday’s Irish Times, ‘Connemara village writes its own positive obituary’ (Siggins, 24 August 2017) reveals a local community that feels abandoned by the Irish Minister for Rural Development. However, this community, with the help of creative film-maker and television producer, Sean O Cualain, has set up a bilingual online interactive map and archive of this area’s place-names and rich heritage, that honors it’s ancestors’ livelihoods. Such efforts contrast what the Irish Times writer Siggins identifies as the official, “the land is worthless” narrative, that is often heard by those, like the villagers in Connemara, who are trying to maintain a sustainable relationship to their land. The Connemara village’s Loughaconeera Heritage website highlights Coiste Scoil Loch Con Aortha, their  voluntary organization and their efforts to secure funds to develop an old school as a community facility (you can make a donation here). It’s more than telling  that this article ends with a note that a Fine Gael Councillor resigned in April from the post of chairman of the Western Development Commission in protest over government inaction.

Likewise, Australian sociologist Laura Fisher in ‘Ecologies of Land and Sea and the Rural/Urban Divide in Australia: Sugar vs the Reef? and The Yeomans Project’ (2017) documents similar narrow-minded, city-based agendas that little reflect or consult with rural realities. She argues the potential for embedded eco-social art practices to offer valuable insights to seemingly intractable farming versus environmental debates. Her research reviews the live, ongoing multi-dimensional creative Sugar vs The Reef? Project (begun 2016), in which creative practitioners Ian Milliss, Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams, listen and gather overlooked diverse local knowledge to map a regenerative farming appropriate for this specific environment, that borders the sensitive and declining Great Barrier Reef. Having followed Lucas Ihleins’ doctoral research (and I met with Lucas last December), I also admire their use of a blog  sugar-vs-the-reef.net to creatively collate and make this project open and  accessible to local and further afield audiences. Similarly, I recognise blogging as a creative audio-visual discursive practice that has an immediacy  perhaps more readily engaging than Robinson’s preference for detailed literary endeavors, although, of course, both have value (I wondered the other day in the reading room looking at the physical archive how will blogs be archived in the future). Overall, Fisher’s analysis concludes that these ‘projects show that generating compelling, localised, cultural meanings around land use has the potential to be as decisive as scientific intervention or environmental legislation’ (ibid).

Fisher’s research confirms others extensive studies, such a sociologist Sacha Kagan’s Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity (2011) which analyses that ecological art practices are a significant contribution towards developing relevant instances of sustainability. However, I concur with Marshall above, that such wide-ranging practices are less known than they should be. My recent doctoral research and practice has tackled why these practices pose challenges to contemporary art practice. Importantly, I see common aims and strategies in how these projects develop and are maintained. My research has helped to articulate these processes and I hope to apply my theory and methodology framework to understand Robinson’s and others practices more simply.

But first, I think I might go out and experience the bog outside my front door. And that’s the first step, gathering experiential knowledge of being in a place, and art has a key role to translate these experiences in new and engaging ways to audiences. I’ll post more on this in my next post from the bog 🙂


Biggs, Iain (2014)’”Incorrigibly plural”? Rural Lifeworlds between Concept and Experience. Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Special issue, “Text and Beyond Text: New Visual, Material, and Spatial Perspectives in Irish Studies”. Vol. 38, Nos. 1+2, 260-279.

Fisher, Laura (2017) ‘Ecologies of Land and Sea and the Rural/Urban Divide in Australia: Sugar vs the Reef? and The Yeomans Project’. Available at https://www.academia.edu/33371306/Ecologies_of_Land_and_Sea_and_the_Rural_Urban_
Divide_in_Australia_Sugar_vs_the_Reef_and_The_Yeomans_Project
 [Accessed 23 August 2017]

Fitzgerald, Cathy (2017) ‘Creative Carlow Futures: Art and Sustainability for County Carlow’. A Carlow Arts Act Award study report. In press.

Kagan, Sacha (2011) Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity.

Siggins, Lorna (2017) ‘Connemara village writes its own positive obituary’ 24 August 2017 Irish Times. [Accessed 24 August 2017].


Thanks to digital archivist Aisling Keane and Prof Daniel Carey, Director, of the Moore Institute for welcoming me to the Robinson archive. Thanks to Mary Carty and Lucas Ihlein for sending me the above articles.

Newton Harrison at Woodend Barn, Aberdeenshire

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland 

Invitation

The Dee and Don Catchment Area
Creating Resilience to Climate Change

The Barn, Saturday 26 August 2017
7-9pm. Refreshments from 6.30pm

We are pleased to confirm that Newton Harrison’s visit to Aberdeenshire has
now been fixed and we are delighted to invite you to an evening of discussion
in his company on 26th August.

Newton Harrison of the Harrison Studio (USA) is an internationally acclaimed artist, who, along with partner Helen Mayer Harrison, has championed art & ecology across the globe since the early 1960’s.

The Barn has invited Newton to visit Aberdeenshire to open a conversation, involving local agencies and communities in exploring the impacts of climate change on our local environment, centering initially on the catchments of the Dee and Don rivers. Following the Harrisons’ methodology, we hope to create a space where all voices can be heard and practical strategies can be formulated and shared.

This partnership forms the core of the Barn’s Art & Ecology programme for 2017-19, and will engage with environmental agencies, farming, fishing, forestry, government, academia, local communities and, not least, the creative sector.

We very much hope that you would like to be involved in supporting this project from the outset, and are able to join us for this opening event with Newton Harrison at the Barn.

Lorraine Grant, Anne Douglas and Mark Hope

RSVP to mail@thebarnarts.co.uk tel 01330 826520

For further information on the Harrison Studio please visit
http://theharrisonstudio.net/

Banner image: Chris Fremantle. Photograph: Mel Shand

 

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.</ br></ br>

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‘After Coal’ Screening and discussion

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Documentary exploring climate justice to screen at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on 3 September 2017

What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive?

After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and south Wales. The hour long documentary will screen at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts at 3pm Sunday 3 September. Director Tom Hansell will attend a question and answer session after the screening.

The film features ex-miners using theater to rebuild community infrastructure, women transforming a former coal board office into an education hub, and young people striving to stay in their home communities. The stories of coalfield residents who must abandon traditional livelihoods bring viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels. Music plays a major role in this documentary essay, linking the two regions and providing cultural continuity that sustains communities through rapid change.

Director Tom Hansell has made a career of documenting energy issues in the Appalachian coalfields of the United States. His previous films Coal Bucket Outlaw (2002) and The Electricity Fairy (2011) screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts is Glasgow’s hub for the arts. Their year-round programme includes cutting-edge exhibitions, film, music, literature, spoken word, festivals, Gaelic and performance. At the heart of all activities is the desire to work with artists, commission new projects and present them to the widest possible audience.

For more information, contact the CCA box office at  boxoffice@cca-glasgow.com, phone 0141 352 4900 or contact the filmmaker directly at thansell@gmail.com

To book tickets electronically, go to: http://cca-glasgow.com/programme/after-coal

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.</ br></ br>

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Jonathan Baxter: Murmur – Artists Reflect on Climate Change

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Sarah Gittins, Chloe Lewis, Ellis O’Connor, Meg Rodger and Saule Žuk

5th August – 16th September 2017
10am – 5pm, Free Entry
An Talla Solais, West Argyle Street, Ullapool, IV26 2UG


‘The word “urgency,” rather than crisis, is an energetic term for me. Urgency is energizing, but it’s not about apocalypse or crisis. It’s about inhabiting; it’s about cultivating response-ability.’
(Donna Haraway in conversation with Martha Kenney)


When thinking about this exhibition – the reality of climate change, the devastating impact it’s having and will continue to have on the ecosystems that we all, human and non-human, depend on – the word ‘urgency’ comes to mind. So why is this exhibition entitled Murmur – Artists Reflect on Climate Change? Shouldn’t these artists – like all of us – be shouting out a warning or taking direct action?

It’s tempting to think that action is what we need. (And, of course, we really do need action to address climate change.) But before we act we need to notice there’s a problem. And before we notice there’s a problem we need to notice the wonder: the abundant multiplicity of lifeforms and living systems that make up this teeming planet.

One way to take notice is through art. Both the making of art and the engagement with art. Indeed, as Anne Bogart has written, ‘the true function of art’ is ‘to awaken what is asleep’.

This chimes well with the artists who have made work for this exhibition. When asked what they hoped the exhibition might achieve – knowing full well that art is only one part of a multifaceted response to climate change – their individual answers, although nuanced, were of a piece.

In the interests of opening up the conversation I share some of their responses here (edited and in the order in which we exchanged them):

Saule:

I would like the exhibition to be a space to stop/slow down, to listen to ourselves deep inside and to listen to our environment, to feel what is truly important to us, to feel nature’s impact on us. The only way my work can create a feedback loop is through people, if it pokes or touches them in some meaningful way so they can carry on the ripples … For me, the process of making work for this exhibition does create ripples in my life, and I hope that the workshops and talks will do a similar thing for the audience.

Sarah:

I would like it if my experiences and explorations during my research residency were in some way shared by the viewers of ‘the book’. My conversations and encounters opened up some understanding of what it can mean to work for your livelihood on, in or with the sea. I began to understand how this work depends on a finely balanced ecosystem, how it is being and will be impacted by climate change and how changes in the marine environment set off a chain reaction that is so complex it cannot be fathomed completely, and this complexity is a source of wonder that inspires respect.

With Murmur as a whole I agree with Saule that the exhibition could be a space to slow down, listen deeply and consider. What I wouldn’t like is for the exhibition to temporarily awaken an awareness of climate change that is so gentle as to wash over a person and fade away again quickly. I would love it if it was strong and deeply affecting in a way that makes the questions alive and ignited for the long-haul. If the exhibition inspires deep engagement then that will be a success I think.

Ellis:

I would like people to be challenged by the idea of what they think environmental art should be. I want Murmur to be about communicating climate change through various mediums, creating a dialogue in which people can connect with and understand that there are many layers to the question of climate change and sometimes it’s not about the macro but the micro. The smaller details, the stories, the layers of evidence that are often overlooked are sometimes the most important part of creating a conversation and conveying the evidence of climate change.

Chloe:

I’d like people to make a connection with the natural wonderland, kind of like bridging the gap, reconnecting and reminding the viewer of natural beauty in a positive way. For the exhibition as a whole, I like the idea of people ‘slowing down’ and allowing them to be drawn into the work. But I also think the exhibition should be a place to inspire conversation and interaction between the viewers, to create a buzz of opinions and questions revolving around climate change. Art about climate change can often be negative and uninspiring, leaving people feeling helpless and unmotivated. I hope the exhibition, workshops and talks are going to make a fun and uplifting experience for everyone involved.

Meg:

My work is not political, it is not a call to protest. However, so much of contemporary life is caught up in work, sitting in cars or at desks, taken up with a digital lifestyle. I guess my work is simply a call for us to spend more time outdoors. To breathe the air, to sit quietly and listen, watch, smell and touch … to be. To look closely at small creeping insects and delicate fungi, to watch the clouds and predict the weather, to listen to bird call. By doing so we may start to be more appreciative of what we have around us, what it gives us and what we are set to lose through climate change. By caring more, maybe we can all make changes to how we lead our lives and collective change can make a difference.

It seems unnecessary to add further interpretation. The artists have stated their aims. The rest is an invitation: to slow down, sit quietly and listen, to watch, smell and touch, to ask questions and enter the conversation. Each work is a ripple to inspire further ripples, a murmur growing louder with each call and response.

Jonathan Baxter, Curator


Accompanying the exhibition are a series of workshops and related events. For full details see http://www.antallasolais.org/activities.

Meet the Artists – Family Open Day
5th August, 10am – 12.30pm

From Here to There – Community Print Workshop
led by Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins
15th – 18th & 21st – 24th August, 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm
See the ATS website for timetable updates

Jewellery for Change Workshop
led by Chloe Lewis
12th August, 2 – 5pm

Creative Conversations #4
The Highland Youth Arts Hub in collaboration with An Talla Solais
18th August, 10am – 12pm

Ullapool Green Tease – To see, know, and act
presentations and conversation exploring creativity, climate change and community resilience
Creative Carbon Scotland in collaboration with An Talla Solais
19th August, 2 – 5pm

Deep Time Biodiversity Walk
led by Wayne Fitter (Scottish Natural Heritage) at Knockan Crag
25th August, 11am – 1pm

Deep Time Talk and Film Screening
talk by John McIntyre followed by Fabrizio Terranova’s film Donna Haraway: Storytelling for Earthly Survival
25th August, 7 – 10pm

Deep Time Drawing Workshop
led by Ellis O’Connor at Knockan Crag
26th August, 10am – 4pm

 



About EcoArtScotland:

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

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

Go to EcoArtScotland

Open Call: Adaptation Scotland

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Community Engagement Pioneer Project

Support and funding of up to £10,000 is offered for one Community Engagement Pioneer Project to be developed and run as part of the Adaptation Scotland programme between September 2017 – March 2018.

This opportunity is open to all organisations and community groups based in Scotland. This includes public, private and third sector organisations and community groups based around particular locations and/ or interests.

Read more here including Case Studies.

Download the application form here – application deadline Friday 11 August 2017

 



About EcoArtScotland:



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

Go to EcoArtScotland

Bibliography on critical approaches to toxics and toxicity

This post comes to you from Discard Studies:

Thanks to the excellent Discard Studies for this important bibliography

Critical approaches are those that question premises, assumptions, and ways that things become normal or stable. Toxicity, toxins, and toxicants are areas of critical concern because controversies over what they mean, how they act, how they come into being and where, and what counts as evidence have high stake ramifications. Contrary to popular adage, the meanings and methods of toxicity weren’t decided by Paracelsus in the moment he declared, “the danger is in the dose.” Rather,as a description of chemical harm, toxicity is constantly being upset, resettled, and contested. These texts offer critical insights into these processes.

·       Aftalion, F. (2001). A history of the international chemical industry. Chemical Heritage Foundation.

·       Ah-King, M., & Hayward, E. (2013). Toxic sexes—Perverting pollution and queering hormone disruption. O-Zone: A Journal of Object Oriented Studies1.

·       Allen, B. L. (2003). Uneasy alchemy: citizens and experts in Louisiana’s chemical corridor disputes

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