Collapse

Collapse

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Reblogged from CHRIS FREMANTLE:

Billy Klüver reminds us of Jean Tinguely’s work on collapse in Artists, Engineers, and Collaboration Klüver-Billy-Artists-Engineers-and-Collaboration (published in Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology, A Manifesto for Cyborgs. Bender, G. and Druckrey, T. (Eds) Dia Center for the Arts, Discussions in Contemporary Culture Number 9. Seattle: Bay Press, 1994).

Jean Tinguely came to New York City in early 1960. On seeing the city for the first time, he decided to build a large machine that would violently destroy itself in front of an audience in a theater, throwing off parts in all directions.

Read more… 260 more words

Speaking of collapse, Unclear Holocaust is a feature-length autopsy of Hollywood’s New York-destruction fantasy, gleaned from over fifty major studio event-movies and detourned into one relentless orgy of representational genocide. It is the unrivaled assembly of the greatest amount of capital and private property heretofore captured in one frame, that, with unfathomable narrative efficacy, suicides itself in an annihilatory flux of fire, water, and aeronautics.

 

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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Trailer Trash at PACT Zollverein

Sam Breen joined a group of students and graduates presenting “CalArts Plays Itself” (September 29 – October 2, 2011) at PACT Zollvereinin Essen, Germany, one of Europe’s up-and coming culture centers. The show featured original, cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary work, including Breen’s “Trailer Trash Project: Life Meets Art in a Tin Can.” Using a 15-foot inflatable model of a travel trailer he told the story of how he lost his family home after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.  He explained how his mother—a former filmmaker for the United Nations refugee agency—was left without a place to live after the storm. A few years later, he took on unlikely

Musician Archie Carey presented at "CalArts Plays Itself," part of PACT-Zollverein 2011

project: he began transforming a 33-foot long trailer into a green place to live (for his mother) and a moveable place for him and his fellow artists to showcase their work. Even in its un-restored state, the 1951 Spartan trailer soon became a emblem at CalArts for student-driven creative work, the backdrop and the catalyst for many cultural events around the

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

institution. In Essen, Breen’s gallery space was crammed with the oversized blow-up model, making it hard for guests to ignore his invitation to step inside. The inflatable served as a dominating yet fragile symbol, a reminder of those who turn to transient living as a last resort.

” Sam Breen’s inflatable trailer project … lays bare contemporary America’s white whale: the housing problem, its connections to the current economic crisis, and to Hurricane Katrina. Like Jonah in the Old Testament, Breen was swallowed up by the whale. Several months later, he has been vomited out: the whale has turned into a screen onto which new stories are projected. The contemporary state of collapse has turned into a space of play, where new individualities and collectivities emerge”

Breen, who recently received an MFA in acting from CalArts, considered his 10-

Sam Breen in Essen with his inflatable trailer by sculptor Michael Darling

day stay at the PACT-Zollverin festival as a residency, using the opportunity to develop his presentation with his audience. He invited fellow artists— musicians taking part in other performances at the festival— to impromptu jam sessions inside the trailer. Daily conversations with patrons helped shape the installation. Many noted how the inflatable, sustained by two household fans, appeared to “breathe” as people entered and exited. It had a similar effect on Breen, who returned to Los Angeles energized with a new perspective on his project. He is planning to conduct more residencies, this time inside his actual trailer, which he will bring to the parking lots of cultural institutions in and around Southern California to continue renovating the trailer and performing art.

The Trailer Trash Project is a recent recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

A Silver Sheen to . . . well, you know.

Yes. So.

Garbage didn’t work. Natural fibers were rejected. Booming school has apparently been a failure. In the meantime, an ever-increasing parade of oil-soaked birds and the collapse of local industries.
What else can we do but laugh?

If there is a silver lining or sheen or gloss or whatever to the gulf spill, it’s that the insanely large catastrophe has spawned some of the best ecological humor in recent years.

Don’t EVEN try to take that the wrong way.

Pro comedy players like UCB Theater, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report have been defending ecosystems and decrying BP with their sharp and witty tools of trade. Most memorably, The Onion suggests a Massive Flow of Bullshit from BP Headquarters will drown us all.

It’s times like these that laughter literally heals. Which is not to say: it scrubs oily birds. Rather: it keeps ecological massacres such as these from driving you insane.

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Declining newspapers: arts moving into empty spaces

bumblebee_page3_1000

Artists love disused space. Artists And Makers have been tweeting me about the Empty Shops Conference they’re running on October 19. Meanwhile here’s another example of a street artists moving into a disused property. The collapse of the newspaper market in the US has been even more precipitous than it has been here in the UK. Print ad sales fell by a horrendous 30% in the first quarter of 2009; titles have been disappearing at an alarming speed.  The newspaper is a strange but crucial part of the social glue in the US, a country where there is no such thing as a “national” newspaper outside of USA Today. Americans are losing a major part of the way in which they tell their stories.

Out of decline comes opportunity. Here’s an example of one street artist Bumblebee, who has been opportunistically taking over empty newsboxes on the streets of Los Angeles, to create a series of narrative tableaux, linking the declines of newspapers to that of another endangered species.

The art, it has to be said, is pretty grim. Nice idea, though…

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Charles Clover: “environmentalists are very boring”

How 2009 became the year of the campaign movie from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

Charles Clover energised the campaign to alert the world to approaching fish stock collapse earlier this year with the film The End of the Line. It was a great example of how a single coordinated attack using the right media can produce a quantum leap in awareness. I spoke to him and  the Guardian’s Environment Editor John Vidal about how an imaginative, passionate and above all clever approach can galvanise action and force suppliers and politicians to rethink their strategy.

But he’s scathing about how the broader environment movement has failed to grip the public imagination. Responding to a recent IPPR survey that said the public were “bored” with climate change:

It’s because environmentalists are very boring, he says. They used not to have jobs when I got into this business. They had something very burning and interesting to say which quite a lot of people wanted them not to say, and people tried to shut them up. They were very exciting people to know, and they didn’t have a pension fund. Now they have pension funds and sit around in offices and try and think of something interesting to say, and not a lot of them achieve it.

Has the professionalisation of the climate movement creating a beast that feeds itself? Is that part of the reason the public finds climate activists, in the words of the report “smug”?

Charles Clover and John Vidal were in the house to discuss The End of  the Line at a screening organised by RSA Events who run the best public lectures series you’ll find in London – and you don’t have to work here to think that. Follow them on http://twitter.com/RSAEvents

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Environmentalism is the new religion? So what if it is?

Sceptics often say that environmentalism is a religion rather than a science. It was the late Michael Crichton who stirred this one up originally, writing: “environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.” Fair enough: just like Marxism, which predicted a paradise to come after the end-time collapse of captalism, much of environmentalism undeniably draws its inspiration from 19th century millenarian Christianity. There is a catastrophic reckoning coming; there are saints and sinners. We’re all going to BURN in the post-Six Degrees world. And so on.

And, in this increasingly secular slice of Northern Europe, in particular, to call anything a religion is to belittle it.

But what if it is a new religion? Environmentalism certainly acts in the same way as many of the great non-conformist religions did. Those religions were passionate. They were about leading a more moral life. They were about taking action collectively rather than individual action. They held meetings regularly, gathered on commons and played loud music together. They too were derided as a bunch of feckless, dangerous, sandal-wearing wastrels.

I should say at this stage that I don’t have a religious bone in my body – though I once wrote a book on new religious movements that came out in paperback with a nice quote from Matthew Taylor’s dad on the front cover. I wrote it following the Waco siege, and what I came to realise when writing it was that it wasn’t that cults had become madder in recent decades, rather that we had become increasingly intolerant – even scared – of religious behaviour. This trend of suspicion and fear manifests itself intellectually in the radical scientific positivism of Richard Dawkins, for whom all believers are both deranged, and reducible to fundamentalists and Creationists. It manifests itself in the way we have conflated Islam with terrorism. And so on and on.

Religion has been around as long as human society; ideas of the sacred have been a crucial way in which we understand the physical world around us. From a historical point of view, what’s really odd is the aggressive secularism that’s taken hold in this small piece of the world.

But anyway. It turns out that the legal system is one step ahead. In yesterday’s Guardian blog, Andrew Brown points out that environmentalism is on the verge of accidentally being accorded the status of religion:

Is committed greenery entitled to the same protections as a religion? The question has come up with the appeal against the judgment in the case of Tim Nicholson, the former head of sustainability at Grainger, a property investment company, who claims he was dismissed in part because he took his green convictions seriously and the company did not. After a 2007 change in the regulations, he may be protected under the anti-discrimination law in the same way that a religious believer would be, providing only that his philosophical beliefs are cogent, serious and “worthy of respect in a democratic society”.

So there you go.

But thinking about environmentalism as if it were a religion is an interesting way to go. So far, it has to be conceded, religion looks a lot more successful at achieving its aims worldwide than the environmental movement has. The Pope still draws a bigger crowd than any Franny Armstrong video. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so shy of those elements of quasi-religious conviction that float into environmentalism.

The big difference is that environmentalism is of course, based on modern science, rather than old books and prophets. This is a secular religion, above all. But if it’s going to succeed, there has to be an element of faith there too. That sort of all-in this together faith that there is a possible future that is the other side of the apocalyptic vision. As Mark Dowd, Campaign Director of the church-based environmental campaign Operation Noah comments in theGuardian online today:

I believe virtue and example are contagious. Look at what happened recently with the launch of the 10:10 campaign, which the Guardian is backing. No sooner had Ed Miliband signed up to cut his own carbon emissions by 10%, than we were being told the whole Tory front bench were getting ready to endorse the pledge. Within 24 hours, the entire cabinet had also jumped on board and Liberal Democrats announced they were looking at moves to make this a resolution which would bind the whole party.

EDIT

I see the aforementioned Matthew Taylor is also musing on the positives of religion in his most recent blog.

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