Consequences

Laughing Matters

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Subhankar Banerjee, who’s recent book Arctic Voices, highlights the oil business in the North from the perspectives of the people who live there, has written a piece for ClimateStoryTellers.org on humour.

Arctic Voices was well received,

“One of the great strengths of Arctic Voices is that it shows how Alaska and the Arctic are tied to the places where most of us live. In this impassioned book, Banerjee shows a situation so serious that it has created a movement, where “voices of resistance are gathering, are getting louder and louder.” May his heartfelt efforts magnify them. The climate changes that are coming have hit soon and hard in the Arctic, and their consequences may be starkest there.”—Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books

In the piece Laughing Matters he highlights the long history and importance of humour as a means to shame otherwise impervious politicians.

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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Su Grierson’s correspondence from Fukushima Province collected

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Su Grierson has, with the assistance of Jan van Boeckel, collected her blogs from her residency in Fukushima Province in Japan which were posted to ecoartscotland.  She has added a lot of new images which did not originally feature.  The blogs describe her time meeting and living with people affected by the tsunami and nuclear meltdown.  Her visit took place two years after the event, but the consequences remain with the people on so many levels.

Ecoartscotland is pleased to include this collection as part of the ecoartscotland occasional papers.  There are hi res and lo res version available for download here: Su_Grierson_Corresponding_from_Fukushima_Province_Japan_hi_res Su_Grierson_Corresponding_from_Fukushima_Province_Japan_lo_res

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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Ten Billion – review | Stage | The Guardian

From the Guardian review of Ten Billion:

Stephen Emmott, an acclaimed scientist, stands in a re-creation of his cluttered Cambridge office and delivers, under Katie Mitchell’s astute direction, an illustrated 60-minute talk on the consequences of over-population. He tells us that we are facing “an unprecedented planetary emergency” and, under his calm exterior, you sense a concealed fury at our failure to address the crisis.

via Ten Billion – review | Stage | The Guardian.

Shell accused of fuelling violence in Nigeria

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

PLATFORM continue to focus on the issues of corporate responsibility for oil conflict in the Niger Delta through their project Remember Saro-WiwaThe Guardian‘s extensive story on a new report by the social and environmental activists highlights the consequences of Shell paying off militia groups to stop them damaging pipelines.  This funds and stimulates conflict with other groups.  Shell periodically changes sides, thus exacerbating the situation.  But Shell are proud that none of this disrupts production, regardless of the number of people who die as a consequence: at least 60 in one incident. 

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

ashdenizen: flowers on stage: the poppy

In the first of the summer series of blogs about flowers on stage,Frances Babbage writes about poppies.

The flowers were scarlet poppies and they burst through the wall. In 1997, the Lecoq-trained theatre company Bouge-de-là presented Under Glass.

Its young woman protagonist lives a closed existence in a cramped bedsit, selecting each day the same clothes, in the same order; her ritualized sequence of actions structures each day predictably, protecting any her from all outside influence. Yet on one wall of her attic room is a poster of an Alpine field, studded with flowers.

An unvoiced and largely repressed fantasy of Switzerland and what this appears to represent is stirred into life when a young Swiss man, a neighbour, meets and fleetingly befriends her before leaving again, to return to his native country or travel elsewhere.

The audience recognises, as he does not, the consequences of his actions for this vulnerable woman: better perhaps that he had never come at all.

In the performance’s final moments, she is left alone, again, in the small, drab room – even more alone, because abandoned. She leans against the wall, unspeaking: the damage done seems irreparable.

Then utterly without warning, flowers push their way through the wall. The dirty, fading wallpaper becomes an Alpine meadow, and pressed against it she appear to us to lie amongst poppies: maybe sleeping; maybe dying. She will never leave her little room; she will not travel to the places she dreams about. But in this moment she is transported there, and at the same time the pure fresh air and open fields burst in here. Living flowers, poppies, pushing in through peeling paper, connect two worlds: poetically, the image layers fresh against stale; movement against stasis; death against life.

This woman will not trust someone else another time. She will retreat still further. Perhaps she will die. But as she breathes in the scent of flowers, we can believe that something has changed for her in a way worth the anguish that comes with it.

Dr Frances Babbage is convenor of the MA in Theatre & Performance at Sheffield University. Her first book was Augusto Boal (Routledge, 2004).

photo: Aurelian Koch

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

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The new landscape photography: land and despoilation

memoire-2006
From Baloji Mémoire, 2006 series by Sammy Baloji, Katanga, DRC

Sammy Baloiji is one of twelve photographers shortlisted for the 2009 Prix Pictet, a prize for photography about sustainability. The premise behind his series is simple – to superimpose photographs from the Congo’s colonial past over modern photographs of the consequences of that history. The Congo has been well and truly raped for minerals and other resources over the last century; for that see Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. Also this blog post about Mongrel’s Tantalum Memorial.

The theme for the 2009 Prix Pictet was “Earth”. The 2009 shortlist is really phenomenal and includes work from the great Darren Almond, Yao Lu’s remarkable Chinese landscapes constructed from rubbish won the 2008 Paris Photo Prize, Edward Burtynsky’s scary/beautiful quarry photographs, and this series, again from quarries, from Naoya Hatakeyama:
hatakeyamaBlast #5707 by Naoya Hatakeyama, 1998 Japan

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology