Biodiversity

Biodiversity in the Multifaceted Uncertainty of the Knowledge Economy : the case of ecoLAB

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Image: Grass cutting day with green tea and humus photo by Lorena Lozano

[plastik] art & science is a mostly French language on-line journal.  Previous issues have focused on nano (#03), in vivo (#02) and la relativité générale et la physique quantique (#01).  Some essays, such as this one by Lozano are in English, Biodiversity in the Multifaceted Uncertainty of the Knowledge Economy : the case of ecoLAB.

There are lots of artists’ gardening projects, but this one, whilst transforming a bleak space, also benefits from some analysis, not least of the question of utopian ideals.  Read on…

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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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Could artists do this?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The question of what artists do is a subject of interest for ecoartscotland and we’d like to highlight two pieces of evidence.

The first is the submission to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on Energy Subsidies in the UK.  This submission has been made by PLATFORM who’s strap line is arts, activism, education and research.  PLATFORM understand these aspects of their practice as a collective to be integral to each other, and that artists should engage with public policy and politics.  The public hearing was broadcast by the UK Parliament and you can watch it here.  PLATFORM understand this to be part of the programme of a social and environmental arts organisations.

The second is the essay on biodiversity by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, which although it includes a number of their texts/poems and references their images, is a strategic argument about biodiversity and land management.  It offers a set of conceptual tools that they have used for conceiving of ways to build stability in biodiversity, using economic, cultural and conceptual arguments.  The Harrisons also believe that it is the role of artists to engage with public policy and politics.

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

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Nature’s Toolbox: Biodiversity, Art, and Invention

This post comes to you from Cultura21

May 22 – December 02, 2012

The Field Museum, Chicago

Harnessing technology and inspired by nature’s amazing design concepts, Nature’s Toolbox features innovative, eye-capturing contemporary art which helps visitors understand and appreciate the life-or-death interdependence between the 10-20 million species on earth – including humans – and the quality of the environment we share.

For More Information visit www.artworksforchange.org

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Conference: “People and Nature in Mountains”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

21st to 23rd September 2011, Trondheim, Norway

Abstract submission deadline: 15th June.

This conference will address how archaeology and cultural history can be integrated with long-term and contemporary ecology to understand landscape dynamics and underpin sustainable management and conservation of both cultural heritage and biodiversity in mountain environments. For more information visit: www.ntnu.no/vitenskapsmuseet/peopleandnature.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

a little girl and a big snake – can the arts connect us before its too late?

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Post image for a little girl and a big snake – can the arts connect us before its too late?

Was just reading the following quote from a book The Care of Creation (2000) and thinking about this ecopoem entry into last weeks British Talent show that has gone viral on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyYizYZKFtU

”When the greatest beasts before whom our ancestors shrank in terror is in danger of extinction, when the very biodiversity of the planet seems to depend on the implementation of a political treaty, the only thing to be in awe of is the dizzying power of human culture…. our problem today… is that our awe has given way to an exploitative and managerial approach to nature.”

save the humansI loved Olivia’s courage to present her ‘passion, which she knows is out of fashion’ but I couldn’t help but feel though that many in audience while applauding this audacious poetic gesture fail to see the bigger crisis that extinction is pointing to, ie that extinction doesn’t only apply to snakes! (I saw the polar bear image above earlier this week and thought, yep, the polar bears have got it – a friend of mine has it as his avatar on Facebook)

Other contributors to Care of Creation printed back in 2000, from scientists to theologians state that ‘the ecocrisis is so serious that scientists and political solutions alone are unlikely to address it satisfactorily’… which some of us are beginning to realise. One of the contributors quotes an earlier writer, Hamilton in 1993, who argued, ‘it is not the ecologists, engineers, economists or earth scientists who will save spaceship earth, but the poets (even small ones), priests, artists and philosophers’.

Here’s another creative work which dovetails Olivia’s piece above, don’t you think.

Olivia gets where science often fails and where artistic performance excels…. ‘if I say their Latin names will you listen more?’

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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ashdenizen: not bothered by parallels

The big new Christmas movie, James Cameron’s Avatar, which opened yesterday, has some striking green themes.

There’s deforestation: a truly massive tree gets destroyed. There's a threatened indigenous people: the home of the Na’vi tribe gets obliterated. And there’s a new-agey idea that that there’s a mutual thing going on between the people living in forest and the forest itself and there may even be scientific evidence (Sigourney Weaver tells us) of electro-magnetic impulses that allows the forest to act like a brain, communicating between its many constituent elements.

The baddies of the piece, of course, don't have such a sophisticated brain. What the US military has is muscle – a massive arsenal of weaponry which it aims to use ( ‘shock and awe’) to get the ‘savages’ moving out of an area where there they have discovered a very precious mineral called – yes! – ‘unobtanium’;.

This raises an interesting question. I assume you can't have a successful blockbuster movie that’s anti-American. So there must be plenty of people watching this movie who aren’t remotely bothered by the parallels suggested by the storyline.

Update: in this interview Cameron refers to the themes of imperialism and biodiversity and attacks the way America has ‘had eight years of the oil lobbyists running the country’. But he points out that anti-imperialism is American too. ‘You can take it back to the origins of America in a fight of rebels against an imperial dominating force.’ Except the rebels in question were hardly fighting on behalf of indigenous people.

via ashdenizen: not bothered by parallels.

Which -cene Are We In?

Are we heading into an era of a homogonized plant and animal communities, brought on by our global economy that moves everything around, whether it is goods, animals or bacteria and fungus?

In an article titled The Sixth Extinction in the May 25, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert writes about the mysterious disappearance of tree frogs from Panama and Costa Rica, which scientists now believe is caused by a fungus that we’ve unknowingly helped jump continents. In the article, I was struck by a term used to refer to the epoch we live in: the homogenocene.

Last year, I made a post about the anthropocene or geological epoch defined by humans. The homogenocene is also all about us and refers to the declining biodiversity and diminishing ecosystems left in the wake of human development. When talking about the natural world, what’s important is to realize that every living thing on earth will have to go through the bottleneck of human development. The assumption now is that many species will die out, leaving us with a diminished natural world David Quamman has called the Planet of the Weeds.

{New York Weed (Longspine sandbur), ink on paper, 30 x 22 inches, 2005 by Katie Holten.}

Whatever we call it (my vote is for homogenocene, although it seems that both terms have an extra syllable that makes it hard to pronounce) this is a topic artists have been working with recently, such as the Katie Holten drawing above.

What role can artists take as scientists report on this undergoing mass extinction? One route might be helping understand how to live in this increasingly homogenized natural world, or how to begin carving out localized economies and ways of living. Or making sense of and helping communicate about what is lost.

I have to be honest though, reading about mass extinction makes me feel that almost all artistic effort and work is futile in the face of these global problems. Humans are already the ultimate weed and the planet is simply becoming one giant self-portrait. And rather then tending it like a scruffy garden or arboretum, I’m afraid we might end up with one big lawn.

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