Blogger

New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Monik Gupta, environmental blogger and researcher has guest blogged for Ashdenizen. Here he suggests a metaphor in our series New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out.

For me, thinking about sustainability, the object in the picture comes to mind. We come across it so regularly, however there is no word readily available to us to describe it (google suggests it to be termed ‘cashier divider’ by retail experts). Evidently, just like with ‘sustainability’, it is something very well known but much less engaged with.

What’s more important, both the shopping divider and sustainability mark the necessity for confinement of our own consumption and draw attention to others’ needs.

Maybe those two points, shallow engagement despite omnipresence and a focus on limitations of our consumption, are related. We are reluctant to make explicit the distinction between our needs and those of others, even though we are acutely aware of its necessity.

However, this is exactly where the beauty of both the ‘shopping divider’ and ‘sustainability’ could lie: in marking the confines of our needs, they enable us to direct attention to our fellow human beings. We begin to acknowledge that we are ‘in this together’, urgently needing to demonstrate our ‘ability to sUStain’.

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Freespace by guest blogger Matthew Slaats

Freespace is an exploration of the relationships built between people and place, may they be urban, suburban or rural. It looks to inhabit the everyday space, the space that once was, and space that is constantly in between. The objective is to develop a network of sites, through partnerships with individuals and communities, to elucidate experiences of ownership, privacy, sustainability, and identity.

This process begins by asking about spaces that have meaning to you – may it be a vibrant moment from your past, a rethinking of a space that is familiar to all, or a curiosity along a walk. The project seeks out these spaces, using the public’s own intimate experiences. You are then able to donate to the site to Freespace through text and images, eventually being posted to a website that situates the location within a larger global network. By creating an archive of the meanings that connect people to place, relationships are built that reveals memory and challenges identity. Once the collection is defined, each site will become a node in a program to reconnect people with in space. Tours, site visits, and narratives will provide ways for engagement and expanded connections.

The concept for Freespace came while sitting at the summer home of the Vanderbilt Family in Hyde Park, NY, now a part of the National Park System. The space defines a relationship with place that most will never see or experience. The question of how this space represents the United States comes to mind? Even more specifically how does it represent my own experience? Where is the National Park site of the every day person? The ranch home or the suburban neighborhood comes to mind. What about spaces of decay? Empty lots are spattered across post-industrial cities. Going further, might we think of something more intimate, more private? Could a park reside in a memory, consist of a favorite chair, or the space between ones fingers?

Freespace asks the public to seek these spaces, defining them from their own perspective. They may be conceptual, textual, or physical; and range in size from micro to macro. The project looks to engage the range of associations that people have with space, building a collection of unique environments that take on further meaning by the fact that they are described, located and catalogued. In the end what will be defined is a breadth of perspective that shows the vitality of peoples relationship with what is around them.


To get involved go HERE and select the link “Getting Involved.”

On October 9/10th Freespace will be a part of the Conflux Festival in NYC.

Matthew Slaats is an artist based in Poughkeepsie, NY

Go to EcoArtSpace

Non-Toxic Eco-Art Roundup

gr

Since it’s recently been made public that supposedly “inert” ingredients of pesticides like Roundup are not, in fact, not so very intert, we thought we’d celebrate (hem hem) with a short overview of detoxifying eco-art events.

You might have seen the buzz for it, but the LAND/ART symposium just passed.  We were forced to miss it this year, but there are some riveting descriptions on the Smudge Studio Blog. Especially check out CLUI’s Bus Tour of New Mexico’s Superlative Ground-Sky Resonances. The title is super-intellectual: the journey is all about enchantment and the atomic bomb. Feeling detoxified yet?

Fellow eco-art blogger Abigail Doan altered us to the presence of Aviva Rahmani’s new booklet: What the World Needs is a Good Housekeeper. we just got it in the mail. It’s a small, bound overview of the Rahmani’s process, detailing some of her artistic work in collaboration with restoration ecologists, scientists and architects.  An instructional pamphlet, if you will. A quote: “The value of an artist’s eye is to see relationships that might otherwise be missed.”

Lastly: they are always having fun in the Netherlands. The image above is from Yang Zhichao’ s Planting Grass, currently featured in an exhibition called  Foodprint at Stroom in The Hague. Featuring works by Fritz Haeg, Agnes Denes, and Atelier Van Lieshout,  it examines our relationship with food and landscape. The artworks are paired with a timeline that parellels advances in industrial food production with the development of European and American art. Very mentally refreshing.

Go to the Green Museum

Narrative shift: telling stories about climate

Last weekend, Robert Butler of the Ashden Directory, in associaton with Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace and writer Caspar Henderson  invited 15 academics, writers and activists to explore the issue of how we create narratives around climate change. RSA Arts & Ecology blogger Caleb Klaces returned enthused by the debate and …

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Why is so much public art about the past, not the future?

Via Citypollen, a video of Mircea Cantor’s Monument for the end of the world, which the blogger came across as part of Modern Art Oxford’s Transmission Interrupted (which continues until June 21.) And for her it raises an interesting questions. Why are public spaces dominated by thoughts of the past, …
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Theater Matters – notes from EMOS 2009 Part III

Today has been a bit slow at EMOS for me. I did attend the 2pm matinee of the University of Oregon’s student production of Metamorphoses in the Robinson Theatre, however, and even though I happened to see the Tony-award winning Broadway production in 2002, I was mightily impressed with the production here. It helps, of course, when the show is lined with a cast of beautiful teens and twenty-somethings. (makes even a late thirties [nameless]theater artist and blogger feel old!)

I sat with Moe Beitiks of the Green Museum Blog for the performance, and you may or may not be happy to hear that prior to the show she convinced me why she thought ecoTheater remained valuable to the ongoing “green art” discourse. Thanks, Moe: after some thought, I’ve realized that I needed to hear that — especially in the way you put it.

Speaking of which…

It’s been nothing short of a pleasure to have met and spent time with both Ian Garrett of the CSPA and Moe. I’ve corresponded and followed their work closely over the last two or three years, and though their reputations preceed them, they have been entirely pleasant, and wonderful, articulate, honest sounding boards. Artists in America — indeed, across the globe — are lucky to have them working so tirelessly.

I’m sure I’ll have yet more to say tomorrow about my entire, albeit abbreviated, EMOS experience as I travel back to the Midwest. Until then… 

Go to EcoTheater

The Contingency Plan: Bush Theatre

Later today I’ll be putting up our own review of Steve Waters’ new double-bill of plays about climate change The Contingency Plan, but in the meantime take theatre critic and environmental blogger’s Robert Butler of the Ashden Directory’s word forf it. These plays, he says, are “terrific”.

If there’s one line I had to choose from The Contingency Plan, Steve Waters’s terrific new double-bill of plays about climate change, now on at the Bush Theatre in London, it’s the moment when Will Paxton (Geoffrey Streatfeild), a young glaciologist, explains the concept of displacement to the new Tory minister for climate change. Having spelled out that ice is ‘basically parked water’, Will warily predicts that the enormous West Antarctic Ice Sheet may well melt (much like the smaller Larsen B ice shelf).

‘But this is thousands of miles from us,’ chuckles the smooth Old Etonian minister (David Bark-Jones), whose schoolfriend, David Cameron, has become prime minister. Will replies with patience, ‘If you pour water in the bath, it doesn’t stay under the tap.’

Read Robert Butler’s review of The Contingency Plan at The Economist’s Intelligent Life.

Read the Ashden Directory blog on The Contingency Plan.

 

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology