The Greening Arts Practice Guide [GAP Guide] is a guide for artists and arts organisations who want to develop a more environmentally responsible arts practice. The guide is free, and can be downloaded from the Chrysalis Arts Development website. An online version will follow in the near future. It brings together what we at Chrysalis Arts have learned about addressing the cli-mate crisis, and other related issues, through over a decade of work in the area. It also features 11 case studies from a diverse range of artists and some examples of our own recent work.
The Guide aims to offer a range of entry points and approaches for artists at different stages in their creative practice. It is not intended to be a ‘how-to’ or a definitive tool kit, but instead aims to create an opportunity for artists to question and develop their work, supported by the range of knowledge we can share. We hope that the Guide will help artists to tackle the issues and constraints which will inevitably arise in their practice by learning from the direct experiences and reflections of others.
As we all try to become more environmentally responsible, sharing the knowledge we have is of upmost importance. We plan to evolve the Guide over time, as we continue to focus our efforts in this area.
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. Please stay tuned for future posts and share widely. In thischapter, Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi describes the process for the work “Skinny.”
Making art about Crip bodies has always been an urge to not only explore the meanings of our existence — and the social relationships with others — but also as a deliberate choice for constructing visual and tactile languages to document disability as a cultural phenomenon and familial history.
Rahnee (named used with permission) and I are sisters, not by blood, but by our connections to disability. Our contractured fingers and toes, and our Asian blood, made us sisters. Rahnee is half Thai and half white; I am a Taiwanese. Rahnee has psoriasis and I was born with two fingers and toes.
As a personal assistant, I help Rahnee with personal hygiene, including showering, applying lotions, massaging her skin and dressing. Sometimes I use my finger tips to peel off the excessive skin to relieve Rahnee from her swollen and inflamed skin. I would feel the body fluid rushing out of her skin between my nails and finger tips, then I would massage her skin with a thick layer of lotion. We often talk throughout this process as peer support time: sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we are just exhausted together.
It always felt like I was making sculptural art with Rahnee’s body: our conversations — languaged through strokes of hand — became a part of the stories woven and shared by each other. At the end of each “hygiene-care art” sessions, I would sweep the skin flakes off the bed sheet and on the floor, and form mounds of them before tossing to the bin.
Most of us have taught to see disability as something negative, debilitating, weak, incapable or vulnerable. it is something that people try to get rid of. Peeling and tossing away Rahnee’s skin are actions of relieving her from pain and itch, but are they also metaphors of getting rid of her disability? What does it mean to remove traces of her disabled body? If her skin flakes were evidence of her existence, what does it say about the gesture of throwing piece of her away?
While I contemplated on the questions above, I decided to turn to sewing and made pods to hold pieces of Rahnee’s skin. Disability shapes the way we interact with one another, it reformulates the way people relate and access to another human being which otherwise is absent in the non-disabled world. As a Crip artist of color, having disability and providing care to and making art about another disabled sister is about creating intimacy and Crip sisterhood. Most importantly, it is about preserving and sustaining the existence of my own kind.
Title: “Skinny” Artist: Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi Material: Human skin flakes, silk organza, sewing thread, embroidery thread and lotion. Date: 2014 ~ On-going
Photos by Cheng-Chang Kuo
Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi makes small-scale body adornments exploring the meanings of disabled women’s bodies by remapping the narratives of skin, scars, and medical and surgical interventions on the disabled bodies. Her work examines the potential of art to address the relationship between the body and social standards pertaining to beauty and disability. Her latest project focuses on body reconfiguration through delineating memories of medical and surgical Unexpected Anatomies intervention. Yi received a BFA, and MA in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of California Berkeley. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include, Disability Art and Culture, social justice based art therapy, museum studies and disability fashion.
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. Please stay tuned for future posts and share widely. In thischapter, Susanna Uchatius discusses an “othered” performance by Theatre Terrific.
BEING ANIMAL: Produced and performed by Theatre Terrific September 2015 By Susanna Uchatius
During the longest West Coast drought in recorded history, Theatre Terrific gathered an inclusive cast and crew to explore our place in the natural world. Inspired by philosopher and cultural ecologist David Abram, we journeyed into a conversation with nature. Abram observes, “Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears and nostril – all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness.” (1)
We asked ourselves the question:
What would happen if we fully embraced otherness in ourselves, in our communities, and in nature?
The result was Theatre Terrific’s production of BEING ANIMAL (2) , performed in Sculpture Park on Granville Island as part of the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
A cast of 12 actors, often labeled as “other” due to cognitive, physical, mental health, gender and/or cultural differences from the normative, took up the challenge and collaborated in a bold exploration that tested the truth of our relationship with our natural surroundings.
Do we speak the language of water, of wind, of tree, of bird?
The collaborative ensemble consisted of the physicality, language and perceptions of artists, some of whose life experience includes autism, cerebral palsy, brain damage, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, gender uniqueness, and the cultural experience of the Indigenous, Chinese, Filipino, Irish to name a few.
BEING ANIMAL became a musical moving conversation. The work incorporated the park environment such as the trees, grass, confined water, large stone, sky, air — as partners in performance. Using song, dance, music, mask and puppetry, BEING ANIMAL, explored how to truthfully “live” in our world, share thoughts with the environment around us and ultimately find commonality and companionship with the natural world.
How did we do this?
By embracing the gifts of diversity offered up by cast and place.
How to speak with a tree. An actor chooses an audience member to pick a tree and then guides them through a speed date…. The awareness of the tiniest detail as one attempted to impress a tree made for astute and profound conversation.
The life cycle of nature. An actor crawls out of his wheelchair and furiously claws at the earth to get closer to the beloved family members he has lost. Behind him three actors gesture the dance of love, death and ultimate rebirth…an enactment of the continuum that is the natural life cycle.
Value all things. The simple gesture of a cast member gently picking up a stone or a leaf, examining it and then with great respect, giving it as a valuable gift to an audience member endowed the simple object with reverence ….
again and again and again….
BEING ANIMAL closes with a large Mother Earth puppet who slowly appears, and with outspread arms, embraces the cast: guiding them to walk to the water’s edge to raise their arms in praise to the open sky, ocean, trees and wonder of it all.
MISSION: Theatre Terrific pioneers inclusive opportunities for artists of all abilities to develop performance skills and collaborate in the production of theatrical works.
MANDATE: Through its work, Theatre Terrific challenges audiences to be open to the impact of thought-provoking art.
Susanna Uchatius has been the Artistic Director of Theatre Terrific, Western Canada’s longest running inclusive theatre company for artists of all abilities in Vancouver, since 2005. She has written, directed and collaboratively developed over 30 professional, community and site-specific productions. She has pioneered a rigorous and respected accessible ensemble process, that includes Equity and emerging actors of all abilities in the creation of high quality productions tackling universal issues relevant to the human condition.
Photos by Chantele Fry
1. Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous : Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. New York : Pantheon Books, 1996. Page ix. 2. A direct reference to Abram’s 2010 book of the same name.
During this incredibly difficult time, we here at the Broadway Green Alliance remain committed to supporting you and serving as the theatre industry’s green anchor.
Like you, we are reeling from how quickly things continue to change and how emotionally difficult it is to practice social-distancing in an industry built on bringing people together. As such, while the theatres remain dark, we will strive to provide positive outlets for us to remain connected with each other and with our earth.
Below you will see the rollout of our new, virtual green learning sessions. We hope you will join us for one or all of them.
Stay well and stay hopeful,
Molly Braverman Director, BGA
As our theatre community braves this uncertain time, the COVID-19 pandemic – like the climate crisis – forces us to think about the resilience, community, and hope needed in the face of a global challenge.
That’s why the BGA is hosting free virtual green learning sessions aimed at harnessing creative ways to remain connected to each other and the earth.
Every Saturday, 11am-12pm: Family-Friendly Upcycled Craft Sessions
Every Thursday, 1pm-2pm: Green Learning Sessions
Upcoming Virtual Learning Sessions:
Only For Now: Managing the Stress of Self-Isolation and Being Green
Thursday, March 26th 1pm-2pm Host: Andrea Mechanick Braverman, PhD
An opening up of and gathering of discourse around the concept of legibility. Who and what can be read and defined? And how easily? What should be made visible and accessible, determinate, and what should remain in the registers of ambiguity and contingent understanding?
Reaching for Jack Halberstam’s use of the term legibility in “The Queer Art of Failure,” and placing it next to technology and the rendering of the climate as legible to better predict and understand its behavior, bodies and genders resist the legibility of being easily defined and determinate to governing bodies and power, while we are scrambling for more clear legibility of our environments, positioning the body in contention with the atmosphere it’s amidst. Contributions to the journal will be suspended between these two ideas, questioning the foundations on which we perceive the legible, and who it benefits. ISSUE TAKEOVER by Calvin Rocchio.
Let’s come together to share and celebrate the amazing plays written by our Climate Change Theatre Action playwrights in 2019! We don’t need to let physical distance keep us apart when we can be virtually connected.
We invite any and all of you to record yourselves reading or performing a 5-minute play from our CCTA 2019 or CCTA 2017 collection.
These can be solo performances or small group performances with the people you live with, recorded on your phone or computer, or group performances recorded over FaceTime or Zoom. They can be done by students as part of a class, or by anyone eager to invest 5 minutes in making art. We’ll then post these performances online and share them with our community.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in participating and we’ll send you a selection of plays and all the info you need.
The Show Anything Show 2020 is an open call for artists to exhibit simple, fast, vibrant, insightful and diverse work. We want to invite artists to present art and performance at the iconic Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh.
Anyone who would like to be involved must arrive on the 20th March between 12 pm – 3 pm to install work and then enjoy a magnificent evening! We accept work from emerging and established artists as well as performers and anyone working outside the conventional art boundaries.
Note: only video-work is accepted via WeTransfer from artists outside Scotland who wish to take part but cannot attend the event.
The ‘Show Anything Show’ is a chance for artists, at all stages of their career, to get involved, get feedback on their creative endeavours and meet other artists. On the night, we are open to artists giving a 5-minute talk and testing out new performances and poetry.
The ‘Show Anything Show’ does not want to be a pristine and beautifully curated exhibition, but a gathering of creative endurance. Alternatively, if you can’t bring work, bring yourself and make on the day!
It is free to submit work to this event, and all you must do is bring (or send) the artwork.
What to do if you would like to take part in this one-day event:
1. Bring some work or make some work 2. Bring some friends 3. Fill the artist sign-in sheet so we can promote you online 4. Install some work 5. Enjoy the art 6. Have a great time 7. All participating artists will be respectfully presented online after the show
Install: 12:00-4:00 pm
Opening time: 4:00-6:00 pm
De-install: 6:30-8:00 pm
Conditions of Participation:
– Artists must be over the age of 18 to submit work – Due to the unpredictable nature of this event, i.e. (nudity), it is at any carers discretion to bring children to this event – Bring any tech that you need to show your work – The whole show will be live-streamed as part of SHIFT – Respect the space. Anyone who damages the space will be held accountable, so please respect the Wee Red Bar and surrounding areas – Respect each other – Respect the artwork
Artist-curator Ayshia Taskin organises this exhibition in association with [SHIFT:ibpcpa]
Instagram and Twitter @ayshiataskin and @shift_ibpcpa
The natural world, from which humanity has so thoroughly distanced itself, no longer exists, at least not in the same way or to the same extent it once did. This realization is starting to dawn on an increasing number of us, including many artists, and has resulted in a growing desire to reconsider old truths and seek out new ways of living and understanding the world. With the exhibition project Sensing Nature from Within, Moderna Museet Malmö wants to offer an artistic and philosophical sounding board for these existential explorations of our time.
In many places around the world today, texts are being written, lectures given, and exhibitions held that in a variety of ways explore man’s complex relationship with the environment in which we live. Criticism has hardened against the logic of a culture that leads to irrevocable destruction and the extinction of species. At the same time, there is a growing interest in more holistic world views and in the fascinating exercise of rethinking our relationships with the more-than-human world.
Moderna Museet Malmö wants to actively contribute to these important reflections and is therefore presenting Sensing Nature from Within during the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020. The project will combine an international art exhibition with an interdisciplinary program of lectures, discussions, and performances.
The seminar series that is part of the program is arranged in collaboration with Lund University Agenda 2030 Graduate School which is a global, cutting-edge research school and collaboration platform for issues related to societal challenges, sustainability and Agenda 2030.
Binary divisions, such as between nature and culture, and man and animal will be challenged in both the exhibition and the program. Intelligence, subjectivity, and emotional life will be explored within as well as beyond the human sphere. In this way, Sensing Nature from Within aims to awaken our sensibility towards the nature that surrounds us at the same time as it constitutes our own inner world.
Sensing Nature from Within is freely inspired by new and old insights into life and matter and reflects aspects of the growing search beyond our exploitative culture, for a new code of ethics.
Participating artists: Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares; Cecilia Edefalk; Elisabete Finger & Manuela Eichner; Hans Hammarskiöld; Ingela Ihrman, Anne Duk Hee Jordan; Tuija Lindström, Hanna Ljungh; Hilde Skancke Pedersen; The Otolith Group; Shimabuku; Christine Ödlund.
A NEW ONLINE COURSE with ecological artist, educator and former scientist, Cathy Fitzgerald PhD
BOOK A PLACE by Friday 6 March 2020. Course Dates: Week 1 of this 6-week course begins on Friday 13 March 2020. The course ends on Wednesday 22 April 2020. Cost: €89
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A PILOT ONLINE COURSE FOR A SMALL GROUP OF PARTICIPANTS. THERE WILL 15 PARTICIPANTS ONLY – SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, BOOK A PLACE WITHOUT DELAY.
Essential Ecoliteracy for your Creative Practice, Teaching or Work
Feeling overwhelmed, isolated and concerned about the planetary environmental emergency? Do you sense cultural responses are needed for these urgent times? That future arts funding will be increasingly directed to this topic? Do you wish to respond through your creative practice or teach others about this topic but don’t know where to start?
Let’s Face It – Being Ecoliterate Matters for Creatives too!
For everyone, it is hard to ignore the grim reports about environmental decline and the increasing suffering it is causing across the world. Young people are protesting, the scientists warnings are more than alarming, and even cultural institutions are beginning to talk about sustainability goals.
As creatives (in all art disciplines), art and craft teachers, art managers, art researchers and cultural policy-writers, you might already be asking:
“How can I approach these urgent realities effectively and confidently in my creative work and for others that I might teach?”
“Does this mean I have to learn about science, ecology, climate change, biodiversity, sustainability? “
“Cathy – I know nothing about these areas! Isn’t it all too complicated!!?”
Introducing the pilot Essential Ecoliteracy online course
In this supportive, in-depth online course you can learn from home in your own time over a 6-week period.
You will connect with myself and others in a weekly online Live Group Meeting.
From this course, you will gain confidence and competence for this urgent new topic that is rarely available in contemporary art education, art teacher or curator training or in art administration courses.
My course will help you identify key aspects about this critical topic for your creative work.
At the end of this course, you will understand how modern civilization, and specifically our some of our cultural activity, has alienated us the living world and accordingly, why new informed cultural work is URGENTLY needed.
You will more fully appreciate ecological insights from key thinkers and understand how these ideas insist on a necessary paradigm shift in how we think, create and work if ourselves and other species are to survive and thrive.
Importantly, even if you don’t implement all of these ideas immediately, you will understand how ecological understanding radically challenges commonly held ideas of creative practice, current cultural policy and even how we might fund and differently support creative ecological art practice in the future. For example, we will learn why ecological art practices are often collaborative, slow art practices that evolve over time in one place.
THE KEY OUTCOME OF THE COURSE WILL BE TO HELP YOU IDENTIFY VALUES, PRACTICES AND AIMS SO YOU CAN CONFIDENTLY WRITE A CREATIVE STATEMENT FOR YOUR WORK THAT EMBODIES ECOLOGICAL INSIGHT AND KNOWLEDGE
So if you are interested in joining this pilot course, please email me at email@example.com to secure your place.
It is with great enthusiasm that I announce TheBlued Trees Symphony will add a new 1/3-mile measure in Minnesota this spring of 2020. The new measure will launch a powerful new partnership with the Lake Superior Living Lab Network (LSLLN)! As with all previous measures, the performance-installation will be realized at the invitation of private landowners. Minnesota landowners are resisting eminent domain takings for the “Enbridge Line 3” pipeline to transport tar sands oil across Lake Superior. The Blue Trees Symphony in collaboration with the LSLLN will join Indigenous groups represented by Honor the Earth, led by Winona LaDuke and Universities on both sides of the border, all responding to the call of the land.
Tar sands represent a significant environmental danger to Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” America’s 5th most important source of agricultural products. The proposed Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project would impact 700 miles of lake shoreline and endanger watersheds in Canada as well as the Midwestern United States. Mapping from the LSLLN illustrates how the location of proposed pipelines could threaten critical water reserves needed for clean drinking water, local farming, fish and wildlife.
Each measure of The Blued Trees Symphony designates a series of GPS located “tree-notes” in an aerial pattern that represents a melodic refrain. Tree-notes are selected by on-the-ground teams of painters from the local community. Each tree-note selected is marked with a vertical sine wave of non-toxic ultramarine blue casein which can grow moss. The spatial relationships between tree-notes and local geographic features modulates the composition of each unique measure. The sigil is applied according to my precise instruction from canopy to roots and wraps around the trunk, binding soil, habitat and copyrighted art. A final mapping of all the GPS identified tree-notes generates the performable score.
This new planned measure will continue to build a case for including habitat dependent ecological art at the intersection of eminent domain and copyright law as a new category of art to be protection under VARA (the Visual Artists Rights Act). In 2018, working with copyright lawyer Gale Elston A Blade of Grass (ABOG) produced a mock trial which was held at the Cardozo School of Law in New York City to test the legal theory behind TheBlued Trees Symphony. The Blued Trees Symphonyin Minnesota will be the next step in modeling new systems that value environmental justice, beauty and human survival in the Anthropocene.
(Top Photo: Logistics of a Minnesota Measure of The Blued Trees Symphony overlaid on a Creative Commons map of the Lake Superior watershed, Aviva Rahmani, 2020.)
Contacts for further information: Legal adviser: Gale P. Elston PC, Manhattan Offices: 111 Broadway, 14th Floor, Yellin Suite 1403, New York, New York, 10006 W: (646) firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota adviser and LSLLN contact: Kathryn Milun, Associate Professor, Sociology/Anthropology Department, University of Minnesota, Duluth, 1123 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812 W (218) 726-7071 email@example.com