Citizens

Invitation to participate in an Earth Forum with Shelley Sacks

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Within the framework of the Citizen Art Days Shelley Sacks offers twice a day the possibility to take part in an Earth Forum „Social Sculpture“ Process at the Freies Museum_öffentlicher Raum Berlin. From February 20th to 24th, in each case from 11 am to 2 pm and 3 to 6 pm, people are given the opportunity to create a humane and ecologically just future in groups of 8 to 12.

Artist and former scholar of Joseph Beuys, Shelley Sacks, invites people of every age and background to a process of creative imagination and exchange in order to bring room for new approaches of thought and action into being. After building an awareness in the group, the focus shall be put on questions directly related to the environment, the neighborhood, the city of Berlin and even the world.

Everyone is invited to participate in the Earth Forum process, whether as an individual or as a network of individuals and organisations who have diverse interests or as an organisation or group of individuals who have similar aims and views of sustainable development, but may have different ideas of how to achieve these aims.

Possible languages are English and German.

Background: The Citizen of Art Days from the 19th to the 24th of February 2012, offer the possibility for citizens to participate directly in the designing of their city by means of workshops, lectures, discussions and city excursions.
Registration and further information here:
www.citizenartdays.de / earthforum [at] citizenartdays [dot] de / 030-49 914 661
———————————————
Further projects of Shelley Sacks:
www.social-sculpture.org
www.universityofthetrees.org
www.exchange-values.org
www.ortdestreffens.de

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

Community Energy and Efficiency

In these times of rising gas and electricity costs, and concern about the impact of our lifestyles on the planet, there is growing interest in local renewable energy generation and efficiency.

DECC have launched a new fund for communities in England and Wales who are playing an active role in the development of a low carbon society. They want to fund projects that increase understanding of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. This is really interesting for Arcola Energy with our research in hydrogen power and long-term involvement in our local community.

There’s also very encouraging news from Germany, where as TreeHugger reports over half of the renewable energy produced is owned by citizens and farmers, and not utility companies. Perhaps the same situation will start happening in the UK…

Go to Arcola Energy

Feeding the 5000! – Trafalgar Square 18 November

free lunch was served to over 5,000 people in Trafalgar Square. All the ingredients used for the lunch are fresh and would otherwise be wasted – wonky carrots, mis-shapen potatoes and other fresh surplus produce.

There were live cooking demonstrations and plenty of other activities to get stuck into, all of which involved enjoying delicious food rather than throwing it away. Feeding the 5,000 invited citizens and businesses to all join in a pledge to reduce food waste. For more information please check this website http://www.feeding5k.org , or you can find it on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Feeding5k/141410032625501) and Twitter (Twitter @Feeding5k).

Go to Arcola Energy

7 BILLIONTH PERSON PROJECT

We have roughly 1,000 days before the seventh billion human being joins the rest of us on Planet Earth. We do not know what country she will be born in, or who her family will be, or if she will be a she or a he.  But we do know this being will join the rest of us as a citizen of this world.  Working on a welcome message to our seventh billion fellow human being provides us with a rare but overdue opportunity for introspection as well as a frank accounting of the implicit responsibilities we have toward other human beings and future generations.  What would you like to tell her about this world, about life, about your story?  What would you like to show her about the world? The 7 Billionth Person Project aims to collect creative expressions from citizens from around the world.  Visual submissions are highly encouraged.  All media accepted.

Partners for the exhibition include The Arts Council of New Haven, Proof: Media for Social Justice, the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, and the Yale World Fellows Program.   Website: http://www.collectiveanswers.org.

Questions? Email Valerie Belanger at info@collectiveanswers.org

via WOOLOO.ORG – 7 BILLIONTH PERSON PROJECT.

Eliasson on TED

This quote from Olafur Eliasson put me in mind of the New York Waterpod project I mentioned last week.  “Water,” says Olafur Eliasson in the excellent TED Talk he did last month, “has the ability to make the city negotiable.” In a talk calledPlaying with space and light, he was discussing his Green River project, in which he dyes the water of rivers flowing through a city a bright, startling,  green, cajoling citizens to notice the flows and eddies around which their cities grew up, and asking them to reconsider their relationship to water. (Just in case you’re alarmed, the green is  non-toxic).

Eliasson is that rare thing, an artist who is beautifully articulate not only in his work, but in what he says about his work. He talks about how his art is about changing people’s relationship with what they see, and about with how a piece of work allows the viewer to renegotiate his or her position in relation to what they see. This, he says, means that art has a role in democratising the space that art exists in:

What the potential is, obviously, is to move the border between who’s the author and who’s the receiver, who’s the consumer and who has the responsibility for what one sees. I think there is a socialising dimension in moving that border; who decides what reality is. […] What consequences does it have when I take a step? Does it matter if I am in the world or not? Does it matter whether the actions I take filters into a sense of responsibility? Is art about that? And i would say yes, it is obviously about that. It is obviously about not just decorating the world and making it even better or even worse, if you ask me…  it is obviously about taking responsibility.

Tucked away in the talk is the notion that this kind of art embodies not just a political position, but a unique one:

Art addresses great things about parliamentric ideas – democracy, public space, being together, being individual,… How do we create an idea which is both tolerant to individuality and also to collectivity without polarising the two into opposites?  Of course the political agenda in the world has been very obsessed with polarising the two against each other in different, very normative ideas, and I would claim that art and culture – and this is why art and culture are so incredibly interesting in the times we are living in now – has proven that one can create a kind of space which is both sensitive to individuality and to collectivity.

At the very least this seems to be a nice distillation of the intentions of much of the best contemporary art…

Photo: Green river by Olafur Elliason, Moss, Norway, 1998

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Photographer Robert Adams on art and society

The 72-year-old photographer Robert Adams, famous as part of the New Topographics photography movement,  which recorded the impact humans have on the natural environment, has won the 2009 Hasselblad Foundation Award. He took part in a webchat on behalf of the Hasselblad Foundation. Here’s a short extract:

Questioner:What part does an artist play in society?
Robert Adams: I recently tried to answer an inquiry like that from Belgian artists: First we have an obligation simply to be the citizens we want everyone to be – informed, engaged, reasonable, and compassionate. Then as artists we are called historically to a double mission, to instruct and delight, to tell the truth but also to find in it a basis for affirmation.”
Questioner: What do you think is the most serious threat facing the world?
Robert Adams: Overpopulation. Its the fundamental, lethal accelerant for most environmental and social problems.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology