Amy Franceschini

A + E Conference: Day Two

Day two in the coffee-and-crumpets conference world.

Patricia Johanson was a highlight. Not just because her presentation was comprehensive, wise, and dynamic. Not just because her work is ecologically restorative, respectful of local religions and cultures, and deeply rooted in community practice. Because in this field, where ideas are infectious, where doom is palpable, where the issues at hand are so huge as to be hilarious, Patricia Johanson has done the work. She’s gone out to Dallas and made a sculpture that restored a lagoon. She’s created a wetland sewage system that is both a tribute to and a habitat for an endangered species. She’s done it while continuing the dialogue both in terms of artistic form– sculpture, painting, light– and ecological relevance. Full disclosure: I asked for her autograph.

The morning started with the music of Sean Shepard— composed for the Nevada landscape. It continued through the cultural waters of Australia, tromped through Italy on Amy Franceschini’s Not A Trojan Horse, and announced the research project “Venue,” an extended journalistic road trip by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley.

On a day where MacArthur Genius fellow Jorge Pardo describes the houses he builds as not-architecture, author Bruce Sterling called for a reexamination of the definitions. “Disciplinary silos are breaking down in places like this,” he said. “You can actually hear them shattering.” What we have is not nature, he said. What we have is Next Nature, a world bereft of unaltered landscape. And the slow dawning is the sheer magnitude of the responsibility for that landscape.

The evening ended with a cocktail hour on the roof of the museum. On the one side, the mountains. Urban trees. On the other, the blinking lights of the biggest little city in the world. In a sense, Reno is the perfect setting for the destroying of silos.

Artist Commission: Amy Franceschini/Myriel Milicevic – Loughborough University Arts

Beneath the Pavement: A Garden is a project that considers biological forms in relation to political and social systems. It looks at the potential of a small plot of land on the Loughborough University campus to tell social and political stories, deconstructing systems, propagating them and watching them grow.

We often inform our economics, architecture, political structures and artwork with systems of nature. What happens if we re-impose these interpretations back onto nature or have them assume roles based on interpretations of these systems?

Launching the project, a three day workshop offered participants the opportunity to collectively debate, design and create edible landscapes based on political systems. With contributions from a diverse range of artists, academics and environmentalists, these discussions informed how the plot is re-invented; creating a site for exchange and production around issues relating to the local and global food economy.

Over subsequent months the garden will act as a meeting place, as participants help tend the land and see this newly created garden grow and thrive.

Across the 3 day workshop participants collectively debated, designed and created edible landscapes based on political systems. These conversations included contributions from political scientists and theorists, local policy makers, sociologists, ecologists and urban planners.

On the first day there was a tour of local food producers and distribution networks, and meetings with key politicians and environmentalists.  On the second day there was a number of workshops and presentations by academics and campaigners whose work is centred around creating or advocating for a more sustainable future.  The final day was taken up with deciding how the piece of land would be cultivated, and included elements of garden design, mapping the layout and content of the space.

Amy Franceschini (USA) and Myriel Milicevic (Germany) have been working together since 2004. They are drawn together under a common interest in how humans interact with the environment around them. They often use highly interactive workshop environments to play out scenarios of social and political significance.  www.futurefarmers.com

via Artist Commission: Amy Franceschini/Myriel Milicevic – Loughborough University Arts.

ecoartspace fundraising efforts

Happy Holidays from ecoartspace . . . .

On the eve of COP15 we are asking for your support!

ecoartspace has been operating as a bicoastal nonprofit platform for artists addressing environmental issues since 1999 (founded 1997 in Los Angeles). In our ten years of programming we have curated 38 exhibitions, 70 programs and have worked with over 400 artists. And, we have collaborated with over 140 organizations. To celebrate our achievements as well as raise money for future programs we recently held a benefit auction in San Francisco on December 4th. This event, although short in planning, was well attended and over twenty works of art were sold to help raise funds for projects planned in 2010. Examples include commissioning artists to create site-specific works in the public sphere, an artist in residency, development of an archive, and video editing for taped interviews with eco-artists.

There are more works available for purchase which you can view HERE and which can be purchased online through the end of this year, 2009. We invite you to consider either buying a work of art or making a donation of any size to ecoartspace today.

Thanks for your support!

Patricia Watts, founder and west coast curator

Artists who have donated include:

Amy Franceschini, Andrea Polli, Fritz Haeg, Craig Roper, Stephen Kaltenbach, Ned Kahn, Kim Abeles, Samantha Fields, Lisa Adams, Kim Stringfellow, Josh Keys, Nils-Udo, Roy Staab, Christopher Kennedy, Mark Andrew Gravel, Gary Brewer, Aline Mare, Alicia Escott, Judith Selby Lang, Vaughn Bell, Basia Irland, Besty Damon, Robin Lasser and Marguerite Pao, Abigail Doan, Beverly Naidus, Shai Zakai, Lillian Ball, Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Mark Brest van Kempen, John Roloff, Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler, Tao Urban, Linda McDonald, Christy Rupp, Karen Reitzel, Philip Krohn, Jorge Bachmann, Kim Anno, Sarah Pedlow, Kathryn Miller and Michael Honer, Marksearch, Aviva Rahmani, Virginia Stearn, Ann Rosenthal, Therese Lahaie, Ruri, Raheleh Zomorodinia, Shan Wells, and Seth Kinmont.

Go to EcoArtSpace

Green Sight + Sound

image

A Benefit for ecoartspace: Celebrating Ten Years of Art and Ecology Programs
& ME’DI.ATE’s Soundwave ((4)) Festival 2010.

BUY TICKETS NOW at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/88482

MORE INFO at www.me-di-ate.net/green-sight-sound/ or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168795131218

Dear Friends and Supporters of ecoartspace: We are very excited to invite you to our 10 year celebration event in San Francisco!

IMPORTANT INFO: If you can not attend please show your support for ecoartspace through a tax-deductible donation
Go to https://p7.secure.hostingprod.com/@www.saveourplanet.org/ssl/donatenow.html (be sure to type in ecoartspace in the project box).
Your donation of $20, $30, $50 or more will help us to continue our art and ecology programs in 2010.

what
Silent Auction of small works by over 30 environmental artists including affordable ephemera & signed catalogues just in time for the holidays! Artists include: Amy Franceschini, Andrea Polli, Fritz Haeg, Stephen Kaltenbach, Kim Abeles, Samantha Fields, Lisa Adams, Kim Stringfellow, Roy Staab, Christopher Kennedy, Mark Andrew Gravel, Gary Brewer, Judith Selby Lang, Vaughn Bell, Basia Irland, Abigail Doan, Lillian Ball, Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Mark Brest van Kempen, John Roloff, Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler, Linda McDonald, Christy Rupp, Karen Reitzel, Philip Krohn, Jorge Bachmann, Kim Anno, Sarah Pedlow, Kathryn Miller, Aviva Rahmani, Therese Lahaie, Ruri, and more.

Bay Area foodies unite! We will be serving Wine-Appetizers-Sweets by Terra Savia, Bi-Rite, Marin French Cheese Company, Paulding & Company Kitchen, Woodbridge Winery and other Bay Area purveyors.

And, special performances by acclaimed singer/song-writer Odessa Chen, electroacoustic sensations Myrmyr, guitarist Danny Paul Grody & other special guests.

where
Mina Dresden Gallery
312 Valencia @ 14th street
San Francisco, California

when
Friday, December 4th, 2009
6pm-9pm
Doors open at 6pm | Live Performances at 7pm
Art Auction Preview:
Friday December 4th 12pm-4pm

how
Tickets are $30 in advance and $50 for two, $35 at the door
BUY NOW at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/88482

ecoartspace (www.ecoartspace.org and ecoartspace.blogspot.com)

Since 1999, Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton of ecoartspace, have provided a platform for artists who address environmental issues internationally. During this time they have organized 38 exhibitions, over 70 programs, and have worked with over 400 artists. Their total budget has been almost $800,000, of which $280,000 was paid directly to artists for site-specific installations. Their programs have been viewed or attended by more than 200,000 people, and they have collaborated/partnered with over 140 organizations.

SOUNDWAVE ((4)): GREEN SOUND (www.projectsoundwave.com)

The fourth season of Soundwave, happening throughout Summer 2010, will be the most adventurous yet. Artists, composers and musicians will explore our sonic connections to the environment investigating the wonders of natural world, and examining environmental responsibility and sustainability through awe-inspiring performances and installations.

MEDIATE (www.me-di-ate.net)

Founded in 1998, ME’DI.ATE is a San Francisco-based art organization creating experiential art through products, exhibitions, and live events. ME’DI.ATE is the mastermind behind the acclaimed Soundwave, the most innovative sound/art/music festival in the Bay Area. Bringing together some of the most compelling sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum. Soundwave produces experiential performances that challenge the way you see and hear sound and music.

SEE YOU THERE!!!

Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton
ecoartspace 1999-2009

Rising Tide Conference REPORT


I was only able to attend one day of the three day conference last weekend in the Bay Area. Entitled Rising Tide, organized by Kim Anno, and jointly hosted by California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Stanford University, there was a diverse mix of planning, art history, contemporary art, and design/technology.

A few highlights from the early morning session entitled Remaking/Reconceiving: I learned about Form Based Zoning Codes where the public participates in a greater way to decide what goes where in communities/cities. And, I was reminded by Amy Franceschini of the great work by former Super Mayor of Bogata, Enrique Penalosa, who encouraged performance based transformations in sustainability (like using mimes to direct traffic). Here is a short video on his vision for NYC presented last summer:

In the next session,
Bonnie Sherk (creator of T
he Farm), moderated a panel called Material Culture Sustainability. Panel description: What are new materials that artists/designer/architects are experimenting with? What materials have impacts on which industries? Where are the holes in research? What is sustainable business? How is culture sustainable? Stephanie Syjuco presented her Counterfeit Crochet handbags; Lynda Grose presented the work of young designers doing Slow Fashion in her program at Sustainable Fashion Design program at CAA. And, Banny Bannerjee, Director of the Stanford Design program, talked about how human’s are always trying to defy nature, stretch its limits, mimic nature, refer to nature, flirt with nature, evoke nature. He had a great saying: Doing Things Right, Doing the Right Things.

After lunch we got a dose of “Green Capitalism” with Amy Berk presenting her work TWCDC (Together We Can Defeat Capitalism). She showed several projects where they used signage to express anti-capitalist views like a road sign that said “Stock Market Crash Ahead” from 2000; “Capitalism Stops at Nothing” at a BART Station; and STOP BUS(H) in the bus lane in Oakland. She also presented her work bed-in-for-peace project, which she conceived in 2001 in Australia (based on Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s performance). Basically her position was that true revolution is guided by true feelings of LOVE . . . . . and she proves this by driving around San Francisco in a “FRYBRID” car that runs on moonshine and represents the ethos of Marx (Capitalist production only develops the social process of production by simultaneously underminding the original process of all wealth, the soil and the worker). Next on this panel was Simon Sadler who made some great links with Steward Brand/Whole Earth Catalogue, Buckminster Fuller (design is a scientific study not an aesthetic one), and “soft tech” (the limits to growth, and small is beautiful).

In the following session entitled Futures, Amy Balkin gave a beautiful presentation on her Air Park project. She outlined how she researched carbon credits and set up her work, presenting basically signage about her conceptual dealings around who owns the air. A description of the project: Public Smog is a public park in the atmosphere that fluctuates in location and scale. Built through financial, legal, or political activities, Public Smog is subject to prevailing winds and the long-range transport of aerosols and gases. When built through the economic mechanism of emissions trading, the park opens above the region where offsets are purchased and withheld from use. Public Smog first opened briefly to the public during 2004 above California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, and was open over the European Union through 2008. Balkin is now working on opening the park again in West Africa.

In the final panel of the day Shelia Kennedy showed her portable light project, which is going to receive a big award in May (she couldn’t tell us which), maybe the Fuller Challenge? and David Buuck shared about his project on Treasure Island in San Francisco, a tour called “Barge” looking at the paranoid landscapes of post industrial real estate.

There was a great gathering of people and it was a pleasure to finally meet Ian Garrett and see Miranda Wright again, both from Los Angeles with the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts who drove up for the conference.

For those of you who attended Friday and Sunday’s presentations, please comment and fill us in.

.

Go to EcoArtSpace

Artists digging for victory part 2

This is from an article I have in this morning’s Observer magazine:

Flicking through a history of community gardening in America, Amy Franceschini discovered that between 1941 and 1943, 20 million Americans took part in the Victory Gardens programme, an initiative created to feed the nation during wartime.

“I was thinking, when have 20 million Americans ever participated on that scale besides sports – or shopping?” says Amy, nursing a cup of green tea in her studio, an expansive floor of a former warehouse. “And San Francisco was the most successful place for Victory Gardens. They took it on massively here.”

In a local newspaper she found a photo dated 18 April 1943. There, in front of the august neo-classical pillars and dome of the San Francisco City Hall, were row upon row of vegetables. “And I thought, ‘We have to have a garden in front of city hall again.’”[…]

“What artists do is seed things. They plant ideas,” says Michaela Crimmin, head of the RSA Arts and Ecology Centre. Which maybe explains why these cheap, relatively small-scale projects like Franceschini’s can have such an influence.

Harvesting food as art is growing in the UK, too. Patrick Brill – otherwise known as the artist Bob and Roberta Smith – currently features as one of the new generation of “Altermodern” artists at Tate Britain. In 2007, he created a work called The Really Super Market in Middlesbrough. Encouraging local gardeners, schoolchildren and farmers to grow vegetables, they turned the town centre into a giant farmer’s market for a day, an event that culminated in a community cook-in.

The idea took root. This summer, in east London’s Gunpowder Park, artists Amy Plant and Ella Gibbs are running a ramshackle Energy Café, using only renewable resources to cook organic food foraged locally, or supplied from within a six-mile radius.

Turner prize-winner Jeremy Deller initiated a 10-year project in Munster, in Germany, in 2007, giving all the gardeners on a community plot a large leather-bound diary in which to record their notes – whatever they wanted to write. In exchange for their participation, Deller handed each an envelope containing seeds of the dove tree. When planted, the trees should flower for the first time at around the point the project comes to fruition, at which time Deller will collect the diaries and put them in a library. “The gardens are a vernacular art work in their own right,” says Deller. “They’re homemade and made up as they go along. The people that tend them are thinking about colour and form.”

Meanwhile, for the past nine years, the artists Heather and Ivan Morison have been working on a garden and woodland in Wales – originally a community garden plot developed as a conscious echo of Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage in Dungeness. (Jarman, of course, was another artist who helped change the way we think about gardens.)

The rest is here.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Turning archives into social media spaces

Just spent a little while taking  a brief but enjoyable gambol in  this new gallery/museum-based social media project, Creative Spaces. It’s a beta version, but already creates a great model of how to make collections more accessible, and how to let the public use material that might otherwise be gathering dust.  I should get out more, I know, but I do like the idea of not having to travel to museums.

Creative Spaces is based on the idea of creating groups and notebooks around subject areas. They have access to the digital archives  of  nine major galleries and museums, including the Tate, the Imperial War Museum, the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The photo on the right is from a notebook  created by one user titled My Dream Green Home, which uses the collections to find inspiraton for modern green living. It shows a wartime community garden in Worcestershire in 1943, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. The original caption reads:

The English village is a closely knit community, its inhabitants good neighbours who share their labours and their surplus produce. It is thus good ground on which to organise wartime Food Production Clubs to produce more food and save shipping space and transport. Clubs are run by villagers, with help from County Authorities. At Rowney Green, Worcester, a club helps villagers to cultivate more land, keep pigs, poultry and bees. Seeds and fertilizers are bought wholesale through the club, advice comes from the County Authority through Mr S T Buckley assistant instructor in horticulture.

It was a similar photograph taken in the US that inspired artist Amy Franceschini to start the Victory Gardens project in 2007. Amy was one of the artists I met in California last week; more of that soon.

Anyway, Creative Spaces is a really excellent project. They’re looking for people to get stuck in and beta test it, so go along and try it out. Myself? I’d like to see an advanced search facility, but I’m sure there are plenty of other tweaks that you could suggest…

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog

Digging for victory


Fritz Haeg
, Edible Estates regional prototype garden #2: Lakewood, CA, 2006, owners: Foti Family, produced in collaboration with Millard Sheets Gallery for the exhibition Fair Exchange and Machine Project, Los Angeles

There’s a fascinating article by Berin Golonu on artist Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates and other similar initiatives online at Art Papers. Haeg famously believes in tearing up people’s front lawns to create something less dull and water-greedy and more productive from them. He created an intervention last year at the Tate’s Turbine Hall along these lines.

The greening of suburban American has become a major issue in the US, as Peter Head mentioned  in this recent Arts and Ecology interview. Art Papers also points to the work of John Bela‘s collabration with the US  Slow Food Nation on San Francisco’s wonderful Civic Center Victory Garden, which in turn drew inspiration from Amy Franceschini and the Futurefarmers organisation she founded. The article also namechecks NY architecture practice Work.ac and their ideas of the Public Farm.

 

Golonu gnaws briefly over the but-is-it-still-art question:

Scholar
Victor Margolin considers this question in his catalog essay for the exhibition
Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art.
“How do we think about art that moves from discourse to action, art whose intent is to produce a useful result,” he writes,
and by what criteria do we evaluate this work?… In the never-ending
debates on the difference between art and design, the distinction
usually comes down to the primacy of discourse in artistic practice….
But when artists want to achieve social results without identifying
themselves as designers, how should the critical community respond?
“Once artists enter a realm of action,” he continues, “it is difficult
to characterize their projects differently from those of other actors
such as landscape designers or even architects… the discursive has
spilled over into the practical, and the practical has become more
discursive…” 

 

… but without getting anywhere much. The point isn’t whether it’s art or not, but the fact that it’s happening and as a movment appears to be reaching a kind of critical mass.

EDIT: 

In addition to the above, Michaela Crimmin reminds me of Jeremy Deller’s work on allotments in Berlin, which fits into the same picture… and looking at David Barrie’s most recent blog post, there’s also the example of Dott07’s City Farming project in Middlesborough:

In the project, people grew food in vacant public places across the town, took cookery classes in neighbourhood centres and then, come the final harvest, cooked a ‘town meal’, in an event attended by over 8000 people and curated by artist Bob and Roberta Smith.