Period 2019.11.19 [Tue] – 2020.3.29 [Sun] Open every day
Open Hours 10:00-22:00 (Last Admission: 21:30) * 10:00-17:00 on Tuesdays (Last Admission: 16:30) * Open until 22:00 on Tuesdays of November 19, December 31, 2019 and February 11, 2020 (Last Admission: 21:30)
Venue Mori Art Museum (53F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Tokyo) Access
Admission Adult 1,800 yen University / Highschool student 1,200 yen Child (Age 4 up to Junior highschool student) 600 yen Senior (Ages 65 & over) 1,500 yen
Advance ticket Ticket Pia [P-code: 769-948] (* In Japanese-language only) Adult 1,500 yen Available until 2020.3.29 [Sun]
ASOVIEW (* In Japanese-language only) Adult 1,500 yen et al. Available until 2020.3.29 [Sun]
Advances in technology over the past few years are now starting to have a significant impact on various aspects of our lives. It is said that not too far in the future, human beings will be entrusting many of their decisions to AI (artificial intelligence) which will then supersede human intelligence; the advent of “singularity” will potentially usher in enormous changes to our society and lifestyles. Another development, that of blockchain technology, looks set to build new levels of trust and value into our social systems, while advances in biotechnology will have a major impact on food, medicine, and the environment. It is also possible that one day, we humans will be able to extend our physical functions, and enjoy longer life spans. The effect of such changes may not be necessarily and universally positive, yet surely we need to at least acquire a vision of what life may look like in the next 20-30 years, and ponder the possibilities of that new world. Doing so will also spark fundamental questions about the nature of affluence and of being human, and what constitutes life.
Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life – How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow, consisted of five sections: i.e. “New Possibilities of Cities;” “Toward Neo-Metabolism Architecture;” “Lifestyle and Design Innovations;” “Human Augmentation and Its Ethical Issues;” and “Society and Humans in Transformation,” will showcase over 100 projects/works. The exhibition will aim to encourage us to contemplate cities, environmental issues, human lifestyles and the likely state of human beings as well as human society – all in the imminent future, via cutting-edge developments in science and technology including AI, biotechnology, robotics, and AR (augmented reality), plus art, design, and architecture influenced by all these.
Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life – How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow
Mori Art Museum NHK
In Association with
Embassy of Switzerland in Japan
Adam Mickiewicz Institute / culture.pl Australian Embassy Tokyo The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
OBAYASHI CORPORATION Delta Electronics (Japan), Inc. JUT Group (Taiwan) MAIN MGM Resorts Japan Thai Beverage Public Company Limited SANKEN SETSUBI KOGYO CO., LTD. mixi, Inc. IHI Transport Machinery Co., Ltd. KUME SEKKEI Co., Ltd. NIPPON PMAC Co., Ltd. NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORPORATION AMANO Corporation SHINRYO CORPORATION
ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD. Champagne Pommery
TAKENAKA CORPORATION NIKKEN SEKKEI LTD NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. GE Healthcare Life Sciences ASTRODESIGN,Inc.
Nanjo Fumio (Director, Mori Art Museum) Kondo Kenichi (Curator, Mori Art Museum) Tokuyama Hirokazu (Associate Curator, Mori Art Museum) Honor Harger (Executive Director, ArtScience Museum, Singapore)
SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia The Mori Memorial Foundation
Lead Editor’s note: We will be publishing excerpts from Q18: dis/sustain/ability, guest edited by Bronwyn Preece, in order to make the content accessible to blind readers with audio screen readers. We’ll also be including audio descriptions of the Quarterly’s original layout designed by Stephanie Plenner, described by Katie Murphy. Please stay tuned for future posts and share widely.
In this our fifth chapter, Neil Marcusshares thoughts on disability, theater, hope and embedment.
CREATIVITY, SUSTAINABILITY, DISABILITi
“You don’t have to quote me unless I say something relevant. I am just myself.”
Photograph from a talk on “Disability Culture” by Petra Kuppers: “The Olimpias” Art Collective at Portland Art Festival, May 2008
IS YOURS THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF II?
my thoughts on theater and disability its about making sense of chaos. its about making the spirit visible. its about discovering all the connections and linkages that make us human together and describing them. disability as having a meaning in disability, has no meaning.
“it doesn’t rain disability.”
…in a Godzilla world in the location of Manhattan…Godzilla roams the city streets with huge car sized footsteps. Car alarms go off constantly. Godzilla is upset by the ruckus.
wheeee yuhhh wheeee beeep beep!! A big nuisance. irritant…bother.
in a Godzilla world, everything topples around her. towers, freeways, stores, trees. and Godzilla spits fire. ssss…
THOUGHTS OF POETIC EMBEDMENT
Hello dear friend of the petrified wasp-in-pine sap: I heard of your search for documents or documentability. I search for the same. Striving for clarity and new forms of expressions in my own ‘disability’ [bad word] related prose poetry/theater of life. Personally, I like the words hypertext, subtext, metaphor link and offshoot: where words and ideas constantly embark on spin off words and ideas and movement shakes and dances out of every crevice of thought.
I often work off graphic images. A sign reading ACCESS TO PLANETARIUM with appropriate stick wheelchair figure mid sentence prompts my bodythinking.
Hence pictures take us to words, ideas to explore.
“Department of English, University of Michigan” Photo by Neil Marcus
WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE?
Email exchange: Neil Marcus66<!– (10:46:23 AM)–>: doing art……living artistically I think helps me …………………it gives me good direction Neil Marcus66<!– (10:48:29 AM)–>: I as always fascinated by movies about prisons. how people cope? Ester — (10:49:04 AM)–>: With? Neil Marcus66<!– (10:51:01 AM)–>: difficult situations.. another favorite topic…………..marooned………….. Ester– (10:52:36 AM)–>: Themes of isolation? Separateness? Neil Marcus66<!– (10:54:22 AM)–>: yes definitely and discovering tremendous resources………….
Picture = 1000 words Idea = staff of life Poem = 1000 ideas
Art on the walls. Art in the trees. Art in the gaze. Art in the clay.
Art in the flesh. Art in the move. Art in the stroke.
I am doing my criptography (the painting of brush stroke simple figures that in my mind are all representations of disabled people moving) the view of the view of the view of the view of the view:
SELF SUSTAINING ACTS
to insinuate oneself onto to insert ones self into public discourse/sphere appropriate popular culture with culinary delights sandwiches made with garden fresh tomatoes peanut butter and homemade jam To be spastic to be proud To boldly go where … you want to go in this intrepid universe with great enterprise
I found this road sign on the campus of the National University of Australia outside of the Chefly Library. It was lovely to run into. As far as I know, it is a one-of-a-kind artwork and/or perhaps a ‘public work of art,’ as Australia is famous for government-funded art in public spaces.
I have never seen the universal access sign in this format.
I imagine someone had walked by it one day and saw the need to humanize it a little. This was truly a revolutionary act to me. With a flower, no less.
Thoughts about the importance of road signs and getting the message right.
The flower presented here really undermines the static purely ‘functional’ representation of disability.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.”
–Replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner
We don’t always remember how glorious it is to be human…what we live
through and how we come out. It is hard to speak of such experiences
but we all do have them.
I quote Blade Runner above because I think the android’s view of life
is well articulated. I look to the outsider for commentaries on the
human life. Aliens androids prisoners: the disenfranchised.
Humans often can feel our own lives and struggles outside our numbness
if given a bit of distance/perspective. All of us have exceptional
things to express. Moments that have touched us deeply. I see access
to these memories as being our only limit.
Do we believe we are artists and philosophers?
Do our lives have meaning?
Do we have something to say?
‘Meteoric’ Neil Marcus, Sketch from Superfest Film Festival SPSU, 2016
EXAMPLE OF RELEVANCE
After the evening show, we have the Q and A with the audience and in front of 200 people, a woman asks me: “What kind of woman do you like, I mean you say you are a lover and all. I was just wondering?” I fumble A LOT and say “friendly ones” then “next question please.” Matt makes a joke saying, “what’s your phone number?” He continues, “You have such perfect timing Neil and such control. Is there anything you can tell others to help them?” I answer, “Well…to appreciate ones body no matter what it does or doesn’t do, helps.”
During the night and the next day, I think about that first question. I think about who I am, the position I’m in and what I’m doing. Part of it is FEEDBACK. It’s sustenance. I’ve created a situation. Me performing audience. Inspired dialogue. It’s a situation where no matter what I think, act or do, I cannot fail. It’s failsafe. Because I’m always out there doing my best. WOW. And I usually always get applause. What does this tell me? I’m telling you this because I think it is to be a model of physical therapy. Emotional therapy. Self help.
A dancer’s foot. My foot.
In an oral history interview of artists with disabilities, using the technology of ‘instant messaging’ I was able to articulate:
“Medusa” by Neil Marcus. Touch pad art. 2012
Neil Marcus66<!– (11:00:58 AM)–>: I’m a human bridge in a moment of time spanning as far and as relevant as my thoughts will carry me Esther – (11:04:58 AM)–>: I’m a human bridge in a moment of time, spanning as far and as relevant as my thoughts will carry me.
MY AUTO CORRECT ON “DISABILITY”…:
“disability/ disabled”: an un quantifiable concept, immeasurable, non-poetic, medicalized word that represents no thing or no body EXCEPT as a idea in need of revolution.
The concept of “Disability” is non sustainable.
love joy art …sustainable self renewing
I listen to the waves at the seashore and watch them roll in. in and out. They never stop. My mind wanders. I think of love. I smell the sea life air. I think of grains of sand slipping through my wet toes. I think of starry nights and streaming comets and glowing rounded moons. I think of thousands of fishes that will run with the tides at a certain season and time each year. There are moments in my life when everything is so completely and totally understandable, all I can do is gasp in wonder and cry a special brand of joyous tear and try to tell someone all about it. There is a postcard that I TREASURE. I found it in a postcard store in 1984. It totally says a lot of what I want to say. Maybe it says everything! ! the card stock is braille with braille dots as the postcard “scene” thats raised little “bumps”on a white background. The effect is that you are sending this postcard to someone and its so complete that at first glance…it seems like nothing is there. To a sighted person, the card seems blank. It’s all white. Turn it over. In very small print it says , ”I often imagine myself being here. Sitting on the beach, listening to the waves, feeling the salty air upon my face and tongue. Everything seems possible. i wish you were here” so.. it’s not blank. The front is the poem translated into braille. Touch. speaks a language that is very real but is little known. What could be more communicative than a fingers touch. And the artistic statement is so strong. my words don’t do it justice.
Neil Marcus is a Spastic artist and performer living in Berkeley, California, USA. His books include Special Effects: Advances in Neurology (2011), and Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (2010), and The Princess and the Dragon (a disabled fable) (unpublished). His most performed play is Storm Reading (1988).
100 million miracles [flower drum song] Dir. Gene Kelley
the mothers of invention
re evaluation counseling
Cyrano de Bergerac
body as art
idea … weaving
At age 13 I began learning co-counseling. Theories of liberation and oppression. This enriched my thinking. My world. I could live. I could give. I could love. I had a brush with which to touch-up the world. Ideas popping. I was radicalized. I had a vibrant self. I had expression. I had raves.
Filming: “disability/disabled country”
Smithsonian video by Neil Marcus/filmed and edited by Jai Jai Noire,
Description (State Studio, Berlin,14 December 2019) For the fourth and final event of the Berlin part of WE ARE OCEAN at State Studio Berlin, an independent project space for art and science, we are presenting for the first time in full length the film “WE ARE OCEAN – A film made in collaboration with secondary school students in Berlin and in Brandenburg” by Berlin-based artist Lisa Rave, which was created during a series of WE ARE OCEAN workshops with students this summer. In the afternoon we will conduct a final student workshop, which will formulate future scenarios for the climate protection of the oceans (please register for workshop participation at email@example.com). The students will present their findings following the film presentation in three short interviews with one member of the WE ARE OCEAN team, one of the participating educators and the audience, and formulate further questions for the project to continue in other cities. Afterwards, the bar of the State Studio invites for a more informal exchange. Throughout the duration of the event, the basement features the approximately one-hour program of artistic short films on the theme of the sea and ecology, poetry and politics that has been put together specifically for WE ARE OCEAN (presented in a loop).
3 – 6 pm A workshop for registered school students (workshop room).
3 – 8 pm A screening of WE ARE OCEAN curated film program with artistic short videos by Ursula Biemann (CH), Forensic Oceanography (GB), Tue Greenfort (DK), Michelle-Marie Letelier (CHI), Parvathi Nayar (IN), Ana Vaz (BR), Susanne M. Winterling (D), Marina Zurkow (US) (in the basement)
6 – 6:30 pm Lisa Rave: “WE ARE OCEAN – A film made in collaboration with secondary school students in Berlin and in Brandenburg” (first floor)
6:30 – 7:30 pm Dialogue situations with selected participants (first floor): Christian Rauch (STATE Studio), Julia Moritz, Lisa Rave, Anne-Marie Melster, Students and teachers of: Schule am Berlinickeplatz, Barbara-Zürner-Oberschule Velten, Montessori Gesamtschule Bernau
7:30 pm onward Open bar
Webinar Virtual Blue COP 25
“Can the arts mobilize youth for the preservation of the Ocean?”
Description (Webinar) We decided to contribute something CO2-emissions-reduced to this year’s Climate Conference COP25 in Madrid: Virtual Blue COP25 invited us to hold a webinar on WE ARE OCEAN.
The webinar WE ARE OCEAN on 07 December 2019 has the transdisciplinary project WE ARE OCEAN by ARTPORT_making waves as a point of departure and will illustrate and discuss the role of art, education in combination with science in the implementation of environmental awareness in the broader public. The activity will have two different components: The screening of an excerpt of the artistic video by Lisa Rave created as part of her commissioned WE ARE OCEAN workshops in and around Berlin and a panel discussion with Anne-Marie Melster (ARTPORT_making waves, moderator), Julia Moritz (Co-curator of WE ARE OCEAN), Nick Nuttall (Earth Day Network), Nancy Couling (BAS Bergen School of Architecture).
ARTPORT_making waves is proud to announce that Nick Nuttall is joining our Advisory Board. Nick is the Strategic Communications Director for Earth Day 2020 and Former Director of Communications and Spokesperson for UN climate change and UN Environment.
Nick Nuttall has over 40 years’ experience in communicating climate and environmental issues. He was the Director of Communications and the Spokesperson for the 2015 Paris Agreement and spearheaded the communications and outreach for the UN Environment from 2001 to 2013. Before that Nick was an award-winning journalist with The Times newspaper in London. Throughout his career, and in his personal life, art and culture have been significant companions. In the United Nations, he led several communications initiatives in which artists were engaged including a Song for Paris involving young musicians.
Nick has supported the Save the World Festival which brings together international artists from many disciplines with scientists and experts on sustainable development and recently was an advisor to the play Tornado. As Director of Communications of the Global Climate Action Summit in California in 2018, Nick promoted artistic and cultural engagement. Earth Day, which in 2020 marks its 50th anniversary, is actively engaging artists under its Artists for the Earth initiative.
In his private life, Nick has performed with the Bonn Players and Bonn University Shakespeare Company is lead singer and guitarist with the band Sleepers Den while being a backing singer for the German artist Bernadette La Hengst. His other passions are tennis and his childhood English football team, Burnley.
ARTPORT_making waves Staff Picks
The ARTPORT_making waves Staff Pick is exactly what the name implies, a selection of recent articles, videos and content that have been curated by the staff at ARTPORT_making waves. Explore, Learn and Discover the world of climate change mitigation and climate action.
Youth across the country and the world are once again striking for Climate Justice. Some folks already went on strike last Friday; many more are preparing to strike this Friday, December 6th. No matter how old or young you are, we invite you to join!
After the global record-breaking September 20th strikes, we know that the upcoming strikes will be smaller. As communities build and shore up for the long haul, the strikes are deepening too. Town by town, coalitions are organizing, deepening youth leadership, crafting bigger visions and clearer demands of politicians, and taking bolder risks. If you haven’t joined the climate strikes yet, now’s the perfect time to show up with your loudest cheer and friendliest smile, to make your own sign or to just show up and be present with the youth.
Why does the USDAC go on strike? Because the climate crisis is a crisis for our culture—it’s a crisis for our values, for our communities and the people we love. It’s also an opportunity to bring our creative gifts into the streets. As artists and cultural leaders, we invite you to join us in taking a stand: send information to your friends and neighbors, bring creative action to the fight for climate justice in to your work and your life. Walk out of your offices, buy nothing, create something, stay home from school, attend a rally, start a conversation.
And if this week doesn’t work, set your eyes towards the spring, as the next global climate strike will be on Earth Day: April 22, 2020! With the months ahead to plan, we ask: who could you be standing with at the April Earth Day strike if you start preparing now? If you are a teacher or a convener of any sort, can you integrate preparations for the strike in to your curriculum or organizing plan? What visions of creative participation might we spend our winter hatching together?
Here are some other concrete ways you can show up for the climate strikes:
Pollution Pods at COP25, Madrid 2-13 December, 2019
Visitors to be immersed in choking smog as part of a drive to urge world leaders to take action on air pollution
One or two minutes inside artist Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods and visitors might begin experiencing shortness of breath, but there’s nothing dangerous in the air in the pods. Safe perfume blends and fog machines imitate the air quality of some of the world’s most polluted cities – London, Beijing, São Paulo, New Delhi – as well as one of the most pristine environments on earth, Tautra in Norway.
As part of World Health Organisation’s BreatheLife Campaign, which mobilizes governments and communities to reduce the impact of air pollution on our health and climate, this viscerally powerful art installation will be installed at the COP25 climate summit. Negotiators, observers and world leaders attending the summit will be encouraged to walk through the pods, which are being brought to Madrid by Cape Farewell, WHO, Clean Air Fund and Ministry of Ecological Transition, Spain.
“The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs. The health burden of polluting energy sources is now so high, that moving to cleaner and more sustainable choices for energy supply, transport and food systems effectively pays for itself,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “When health is taken into account, climate change mitigation is an opportunity, not a cost”.
Aquarium of the Pacific Presents “Ocean Resiliency”
See Eubank’s paintings of all 5 oceans, attend two talks, and help the oceans, at the prestigious Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. Join us for the opening of “Ocean Resiliency: The Art and Expeditions of Danielle Eubank” on November 5 with an oral presentation at the Aquarium.
“Oil on Water: Painting on Linen, Danielle Eubank” opens today at The University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine. It features 4 of Eubank’s largest and most noteworthy paintings to date. Gifts of Art is one of the “most comprehensive arts in medicine programs nationwide….The arts have the power to nurture and engage… to assist and enhance the healing process, reduce stress, support human dignity and renew the spirit.”
Slate Contemporary Hosts First Antarctica Paintings
Join Danielle at Slate Contemporary Gallery in Oakland on October 4th for the opening of “State of Change” with the incomparable Audra Weaser and David Ruth. This show features the premiere of Eubank’s first big oil paintings of Antarctica.
“One Artist, Five Oceans”, a massive exhibition featuring paintings of all 5 oceans, is the first time Eubank’s paintings will be exhibited at a Long Beach gallery. It will encompass the exhibition, a Call to Action to support our oceans, and other events. More details to come.
Here are the best articles from this year from The Guardian and KCLU, NPR for the California Coast. Also, Danielle Eubank will be included in KPCC’s Unheard LA, a “curated lineup of real people sharing true stories of life here in Southern California” In October or November. Please email Danielle Eubank if you want to hear the date and time.
“Oil on Water: Painting on Linen, Danielle Eubank” University of Michigan Gifts of Art Gallery – University Hospital Main Lobby, Floor 1 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 September 16 – December 6, 2019 Open daily from 8am – 8pm An informal artist’s talk, date TBD
“State of Change” Slate Contemporary Gallery 473 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612 510.652.4085 October 3 – November 30, 2019 Opening Reception + Artists’ Talk: Friday October 4th 6:30pm
“One Artist Five Oceans: Danielle Eubank” C Gallery Fine Art 441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802 November 1 – December 15, 2019 Opening Reception date TBD
“Ocean Resiliency: The Art and Expeditions of Danielle Eubank” Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 November 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020 Opening Artist Talk, “One Artist Five Oceans” Tuesday, November 5th 7:00-8:30pm. Get tickets. “Ocean Resiliency: Call to Action” November 12, 2019. Tickets available soon.
Three things we can do to help the oceans right now
I will install rain barrels around my house. They help capture water for my garden, putting less stress on municipal systems and replenishing underground aquifers. Source: worldwildlife.org
I will wash clothes in cold water. Approximately 90 percent of the total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions produced by a single load of laundry come from warming the water. Plus, studies have shown that washing in cold water is just as effective. Source: coldwatersaves.org
I will recycle and donate my used things to charity instead of throwing them away. The average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. It may not seem all that astonishing on the surface, but with323.7 million people living in the United States, that is roughly 728,000 tons of daily garbage, enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. Source: saveonenergy.com
You can help raise awareness about our effect on the climate and oceans. Send these suggestions to your friends! If it gets ONE person to think about how they can help the environment in their everyday life, it will be worth it.
(Top image: Carthage VII, Oil on linen 10×30 inches, 2018)
Please join us if you are in the area, the event is free and open to the public. I would love to connect and see you there!
Blued Trees Symphony
The Blued Trees Symphony launched on the Summer Solstice, June 21, 2015, with an overture in Peekskill, New York. It is now installed in many miles of proposed pipeline expansions, and each 1/3 measure of those miles has been copyrighted for protection. Variations of each movement are based on an iterative score created for the overture. All installations are created at the invitation of landowners. The overture was accompanied by an international Greek Chorus at a total of twenty sites internationally. Individual trees were painted and musical variations of the score were performed to echo the theme of connectivity to all life. The score is simultaneously spatial and acoustic and will conclude with a coda, a final movement that recapitulates and resolves previous themes, on the American presidential Election day, November, 2016.
The Peekskill site was chosen because the pipelines would be 105 feet from the infrastructure of the failing Indian Point nuclear facility, 30 miles from New York City. The score corresponds to a pattern that prevents the movement of heavy machinery. The paint for each vertical sine wave is a casein slurry of non-toxic Ultramarine blue and buttermilk that grows moss (based on a Japanese gardening technique).
The Aquarium will display art by painter Danielle Eubank resulting from her twenty-year quest to capture all the world’s oceans
The Aquarium of the Pacific will display an exhibit of paintings by artist Danielle Eubank from November 5, 2019, to January 5, 2020. Eubank is exploring the relationship between abstraction and realism. For her One Artist Five Oceans project, she has sailed and painted all of the oceans on the planet. Her process of documenting the world’s oceans has included expeditions aboard replica historic ships. In the exhibit at the Aquarium, Eubank’s paintings will be paired with messages about what people can do to help the environment. On November 5 at 7:00 p.m., Eubank will present a lecture as part of the Aquarium’s Guest Speaker Series. She will discuss the process of documenting the world’s oceans and her travels.
Eubank holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and exhibits widely in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia. She is a former director of the Women’s Caucus for Art, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant awardee, a member of The Explorer’s Club, a 2018 Creative Climate Awards nominee, and the awardee of the 2018 WCA/United Nations Program Honor Roll. Her paintings are on exhibit at C Gallery Fine Art in Long Beach.
WHEN: November 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
COST: Free to Aquarium members and included with general admission for the public – General admission: $34.95 adult (12+), $31.95 senior (62+), and $24.95 child (3-11)
AQUARIUM: The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the new Pacific Visions wing, Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, and the Tentacles and Ink and FROGS: Dazzling & Disappearing exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. Field trips for schoolchildren are offered at a heavily discounted rate, from $7 to $8.50 per student. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits. Convenient parking is available for $8 with Aquarium validation.
Lead Editor’s note: We will be publishing excerpts from Q18: dis/sustain/ability, guest edited by Bronwyn Preece, in order to make the content accessible to blind readers with audio screen readers. We’ll also be including audio descriptions of the Quarterly’s original layout designed by Stephanie Plenner, described by Katie Murphy. Please stay tuned for future posts and share widely.
In this our fourth chapter, Dee Heddon and Sue Porterdiscuss the reframing of walking practices for wheelchair-bound participants, along with ideas of interdependency.
It is the summer of 2012 and Dee is walking across Belgium with The Walking Library, a library filled with books considered good to take for a walk and carried on foot. The Walking Library is an artwork created for Sideways festival, a month- long peripatetic festival aiming to renew attention to the ‘slow paths’ – the underused and thus endangered network of footpaths crossing the country – by walking some 334 km along them. 1
In a tent in a field somewhere in the Flanders region Dee’s phone accesses wifi and emails are downloaded. One of them is from Alison Parfitt, a collaborator with Dee in a 2010 research network which explored site-specific performances’ relationship with environmental change. Alison introduces Dee to her friend and colleague, Dr. Sue Porter, a researcher at the University of Bristol. Sue is in the process of putting together an interdisciplinary research grant application for a project which would explore disabled people’s everyday experiences of landscape and environment to surface everyday wisdoms and expertise. Sue’s interest in using walking as a research method had prompted Alison to connect then, given Dee’s enduring interest in walking art. 2 From the tent in the field in Belgium, battling the erratic internet connection, Dee sends Sue an email, signalling her enthusiasm.
In 2014, the project Walking Interconnections: Researching the Lived Experience of Disabled People for a Sustainable Society was launched. Walking Interconnections, led by Sue Porter, was a year-long interdisciplinary study that responded to the demonstrable lack of connection between disability and environmental movements. More pointedly, it was motivated by the marginalization of disabled people within and by environmentalist discourse, which most often presumes, figures and reiterates a normative, undifferentiated and able-bodied subject, revealing what Sarah Jacquette Ray identifies as a “corporeal unconscious”. The ‘environmental subject’ is one who is independent, self-sufficient, fit and healthy. 3 Walking Interconnections took walking as its primary methodology in part because it is immersive and fosters convivial exchanges, 4 but more importantly because placing walking at the centre challenged a corporeal unconscious which figured the ‘walking’ body as a body walking upright on two feet. As one of our co-researchers, Liz Crow – a wheelchair user – commented on the Walking Interconnections blog in June 2013, she bit her ‘tongue at the word walking (because I’m not, am I?)’. Notably, six months further into the project, Crow’s use of the word walking, though still hesitant, indicates an importantly expanded signification:
Speaking personally, so many years of medical history have been of doctors telling me I should walk – that is, functionally, place one foot in front of the other in order to move from one point to another. In almost 30 years of using a wheelchair, I’ve never yet seen a doctor who understood that that’s not what walking ever represented to me. It was moving through space, connecting with natural and social environments, relationships, meditation, relaxation, pleasure, mental health, tactility, and more. Those are the really important features of walking and it remains all of those things when I ‘walk’ with wheels. 5
Walking Interconnections emerged from an earlier scoping essay by Porter and her academic colleague David Abbott. 6 In this, the authors asked whether physically disabled peoples’ experiences might enable them to become valuable contributors to planning initiatives directed towards environmental hazard, rather than marginalized by the dominant perception of disabled people as singularly vulnerable. The authors didn’t deny that disabled people were vulnerable – that is, ‘disproportionately affected by the consequences of all kinds of natural and human made hazards’ 7 – but their contention was that such vulnerability is a product of neglect (for example, structural attitudes position disabled people as the least worth saving) and also by design (the needs – and skills – of disabled people are not fully acknowledged – for example, planning responses are often ablest in their assumptions, privileging normative notions of bodily abilities).
Seeking to problematize the perception of vulnerability, Abbott & Porter proposed an alternative hypothesis, one paying attention to disabled people’s ‘intricate, daily negotiations with risk, hazard and barriers’. 8 As they argue, ‘disabled people may have lived experiences which bestow expertise which could significantly contribute to discussions about and planning for environmental risk’. 9Walking Interconnections aimed to identify such expertise in order that it could be recognized and valued and could contribute to wider discussions around sustainability.
Over the course of a year, a research team worked with 19 co-researchers from Bristol who self-identified as either physically disabled or environmental activist – tellingly, only one co-researcher self-identified as both. Each co-researcher was asked to invite another co-researcher to accompany them on a walk of their choice. Walking pairs were often also accompanied by Personal Assistants and/or assistance dogs. A variety of walking aids were used, from a trike, to scooters and sticks. Each walking pair carried a digital voice recorder. More than 20 hours of audio material, mostly recorded on the move, was transcribed and edited and re-recorded into a 30-minute verbatim audio play-reading, ‘Going for a Walk’. This can be downloaded from the project’s website; here, I offer just a few extracts taken from across different scenes. 10
SCENE 2: PLANNING Jane: Have you got a walk in mind? Hayley: Yes, Baydock Woods. There’s quite a few little walks round there, but there is one on the level up round the top, which you can basically just go round in a circle. Neil: I was thinking about walking round my allotment site. Hayley: Are there places to sit? Neil: Good question. Not readily, no, there are not. Jane: Has it got a path? Neil: Yes, there’s a path. Jane: Tarmacked? Neil: Not tarmacked, ehm, a combination of sort of hard sort of gravel and grass. Hayley: And level? Neil: There’s a very slight incline, as you go up, but nothing. Hayley: Nothing major. Neil: Yeah, pretty much level. Sue: Well what you find with disabled people is that they have to plan very meticulously if they don’t want to get caught out. This is why I chose this walk today. We came and reccied it after our meeting and made sure I could see where I could get on. Sharon: So from the bridge if you go up the hill it takes you somewhere else. But it’s a bit steep and I don’t think the buggy will manage it very well, and it’s a bit rockety so I don’t think we will go up there. Tony: There’s this bridge, that’s a footbridge, so these are all footpaths, these purple colored things on the map, so we could maybe investigate that? Sue: As long as we’ve got some options in case it doesn’t work.
SCENE 4: MAKING CHOICES Julie: The reason I’ve chosen this walk today is, one, they’ve got good facilities. Obviously you’ve got the café, and the toilets for disabled which you can access them with a radar key, most of the footpaths are quite level, and obviously it’s good for Billie to run around and there’s various walks to do with Blaise Castle. I’ve chosen this walk because we can go, almost complete it. Dale: I like walking around the dock area. It’s a big, wide open space and there’s lots of different things to look at, like boats, and ships and the harbor side. And for me it expresses the freedom of walking. Because you don’t get a lot of traffic down there, it’s much easier and accessible for people like myself. Sharon: I chose this one because I’d been there before. It’s quite a nice walk. It’s not too far, and they have loads of lovely trees and there’s always people in there walking their dogs and it’s just very peaceful in there. Sue: I think I chose it because I knew it was flat. And you’ve chosen it to accommodate me, really. Tony: Partly, but I just like somewhere near water. I think anywhere near water I quite like.
SCENE 6: THE STEPS GOT US Glenise: Ah, there’s steps up here. […] Julie: Sometimes, people take things for granted. All the walks here aren’t fully accessible. Anais: Clearly you wouldn’t go through there? Julie: You wouldn’t, because of the dip. […] We couldn’t go up to the mill. That’s one of the things that we couldn’t access. There’s going to be other things. Anais: For example, going to the path on the left, which is too steep. Julie: Yes, too steep. Liz: Ok, so we’ve come past the nature reserve and got onto a track that we were both getting really quite enthusiastic about, it’s one of those very sustainable tracks, tramped down earth and my trike has coped just about with the loose gravel surface on it. And beyond this gate we’ve come to what looks lovely, real potential for open countryside but we’vecome to one of those kissing gates which is impassable. I would probably get stuck in and left there because I think I would get wedged. And there’s a lovely big gate next to it – but unfortunately that’s padlocked – so that’s the end of this route. So – now we are going to backtrack.
Key aspects of the transformation towards sustainability are the abilities to cope with and adapt to new challenges arising from changing environments. 11 Going for a Walk reveals repeated practices of planning, mitigation, risk taking, deviation, adaptability, problem solving, persistence, commitment, attentiveness and creativity and interdependency. The dominant discourse of ‘independence’, particularly as this is attached to the field of disability policy and practices, belies the reality and necessity of interdependence – interdependence offering alternative and useful conceptions of ‘sustainable living’. Repeatedly observed in our project were interdependencies’ attendant practices, including trust, negotiation, collaboration, reciprocity, mutuality, and co-operation. The inter, we suggest, is surely part of an environmental ethic, contesting as it does the story of the subject as self-sufficient and singular. Whilst interdependency is perhaps more apparent because more explicit in the relationships of (some) disabled people (some of the time), Judith Butler has insisted that as ‘socially constituted bodies’, ‘we are fundamentally dependent on others’. 12 Vulnerability and interdependency are two sides of the same ontological coin, far removed from the idea of the ‘masterful’, omnipotent subject. Borrowing from Butler again, greater recognition of our ‘inevitable interdependency’ might very well provide the sustaining grounds for what she calls a ‘global political community’. 13 Such sustaining grounds are surely the foundations for sustainability? Acknowledging our vulnerability might just allow all of us to practice our interdependency better, a process of resilience necessary to sustaining a diversity of assembled lives, human ones included.
Dr. Sue Porter died suddenly on 11 January 2017. Nevertheless, this piece of writing is interdependent, the product of conjoined labor, written and rewritten as a collaborative act. The ‘I’ is a ‘we’. I last saw Sue in July 2016. She gifted me a book for The Walking Library for Women Walking. The book was Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers. 14 Sue wrote:
The reason I chose the Examined Life book was particularly for the chapter that is the walk Sunaura Taylor and Judith Butler take in San Francisco – where we hear what makes a city inclusive and therefore accessible, in city planning terms and, more importantly for me, the exchange between these walkers on the ideas of ‘what a body does’. They speak to me of the importance of ‘belonging’ and the value of asking again and again, ‘who is it that belongs here?’ I also love hearing the relationship that evolves between them, the gaze, the touching, the making of a shared pace.
Dee Heddon holds the James Arnott Chair in Drama at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of numerous books, essays and articles, many of which engage with walking as an aesthetic practice.
Sue Porter was a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol. Sue wrote widely about disability, justice and equality. She lived her life as a scholar, an activist and an artist.
The Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida Nov 21-24, 2019 Thu: 5:15pm-7:00pm, Fri & Sun: 10am-5pm, Sat: 10:30am-5pm Fee: $250 / $225 museum members / $125 students Leader: Chantal Bilodeau
Calling all artists, activists, scientists, and educators who want to engage or further their engagement with the ecology through artistic practices! Join The Arctic Cycle for the Arts & Ecology Incubator, November 21-24, 2019 at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. All disciplines are welcome and individuals from traditionally underrepresented populations and communities are encouraged to attend. The Incubator is an inclusive environment that supports diverse perspectives.
During this 3-day intensive, participants interact with accomplished guest speakers from the hard and social sciences, and with local artists who have in-depth knowledge of the Florida ecology. Conversations and work sessions allow everyone to dig deep into the challenges and concerns of working at the intersection of arts and a rapidly changing ecology, such as creating narratives that acknowledge inevitable losses but leave room for the possibility of a thriving and inclusive future.
All sessions take place at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243. Limited to 20 participants. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis.
Full museum admission, from November 22-24, is included with the Incubator. Parking is free. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Discount hotel rates available for out of town participants. For more information, visit the Ringling Museum website.
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.