Different Perspective

Julie’s Bicycle Releases New Sustainable Production Guide at Sold out Event

JBsustainingcreativity.102840Julie’s Bicycle on Tuesday launched its new Sustainable Production Guide at the first of their autumn events on Sustainable Design in the Arts to 50 arts professionals.

Speakers Donyale Werle, Tanja Beer and Sam Collins led the debate on the role designers and production managers can play in making arts practice more environmentally sustainable. Hosted by the Young Vic, the panel addressed an audience of London and UK based arts professionals from across theatre, opera, visual arts, dance and education.

After her success at World Stage Design 2013, Donyale Werle spoke about her experiences designing and constructing shows sustainably on Broadway, and the need to the normalise sustainable practices and work with current networks and suppliers to create change. Tanja Beer presented her research into eco-design principles and went on to explain her “Living Theatre” project as an example of how work can be designed to engage and enrich audiences, and leave a positive environmental and social legacy.

Sam Collins offered a different perspective, highlighting the potential for sustainably-designed artwork to create the context for honest and open discussions about waste and carbon emissions within the industry, particularly with regards to touring shows. He used the striking example of adding a GPS device to packing crates transporting Cape Farewell’s U-n-f-o-l-d exhibition to track their journey around the world. This was followed by a 50 minute discussion with the audience covering topics of new materials, the use of toxic treatments and contending with fire regulations, waste management, and the role of artistic vision in driving the cultural shift towards a more environmentally sustainable arts sector.

The event also included the launch of Julie’s Bicycle’s new Sustainable Production Guide. Available from today for free download the guide has been developed with a community of production professionals, and offers comprehensive guidance on how to make theatre more sustainable at every stage in the production process.

The guide is available for free download at:
www.juliesbicycle.com/resources/practical-guides/production

Arts Manager Sholeh Johnston said, “The Sustainable Production Guide is the result of a collective effort within the theatre industry to understand and improve the environmental sustainability of production. It showcases best practice developed to date, links to key resources, and provides practical actions for directors, production managers, set designers and builders, costume makers, cast, marketeers and others involved with making great art happen. The guide is both a distillation of Julie’s Bicycle’s research to date, and an invitation to join an exciting community of practitioners pioneering new ways of working in line with environmental, economic, and technological drivers. We want to keep the conversation going, and continue to shout about the fantastic work being developed.”

Download the Guide here: Sustainable-Production-Guide-Final-2013

Techno-Ecologies – Acoustic Space #11

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Riga Centre for New Media Culture (RIXC) has published the 11th volume of Acoustic Space:

Techno-Ecologies
edited by Rasa Smite, Eric Kluitenberg and Raitis Smits

The publication takes a different perspective on the value of the relationship between humans, the environment and technology:

We can no longer consider technology as the alienating “other”. The idea is that we “inhabit” technological ecologies emphasises our connectedness to our environment (material, natural, technological) and our dependence on available resources (material, energetic, biological, cultural). Mastering these conditions is vital to our survival on this planet.

This techno-ecological perspective was the topic of the”Techno-Ecologies” conference in Riga November 2011. As such, some of the many contributors were conference participants, but other authors also took part in writing the book.

For more information on the book and how to buy it (or older publications in the series), click here

“Techno-Ecologies” is the 11th issue of Acoustic Space Series. “Acoustic Space” (published since 1998) is a journal for new media culture and creative explorations within digital networked environments and electro-acoustic space. Since 2007 Acoustic Space has come out as a peer-reviewed international journal for transdisciplinary research on art, science, technology and society.

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

Powered by WPeMatico

Land and Energy Pt. 2 – review of ‘The Time Is Now’

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Review of The Time Is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City

There is no question that energy generation impacts on landscape, both urban and rural. It always has. The current re-engineering of systems towards renewable energy is, on one level, not different. Wind turbines are just one example around which there is a very polarised debate. As a result there has been considerable work done in Scotland on the visual as well as environmental impact. Sophisticated modelling of proposed installations in landscape contexts has become a normal part of public consultation processes. There is now for instance a mobile virtual landscape theatre, developed by The James Hutton Institute.  Behind the issues of visual and environmental impact there is a significant public policy commitment in Scotland. This public policy commitment drives funding and decision-making to deliver on the targets. It is intended to shape or focus the market on agreed public priorities.

The Land Art Generator Initiative comes at these issues from a different perspective. The initiative seeks to engage artists, architects and designers in the development of mid and large scale renewable energy infrastructure. The first international design competition focused on the United Arab Emirates and was sponsored by Madsar, “Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions”. The Time Is Now documents the winners and runners up, and a total of 51 of the hundreds of entries.

The Foreword argues that there is a fundamental shift taking place, moving energy generation into a prominent position within our lived environments, which presents new challenges. They say,

As the days of the gas or coal fired power plant at the farthest outskirts of the city come to a close, we will find more and more integration of energy production within the fabric of our communities. Because the renewable forms of energy generation such as solar and wind do not pollute in their daily operations, they are more likely to find their way into proximity with residential and commercial neighbourhoods. (p.16)

This articulation of the challenge does not perhaps fully recognise the complexity of the issue in, for instance, Scotland. As suggested above, and we’ll return to below, it is not merely in proximity to neighbourhoods that the challenge arises: wind generation installations even in fairly remote locations will stoke the debate.

There is also precedent for the involvement of architects, artists and designers in mid and large scale energy infrastructure. Tate Modern was a power station located in the heart of London, and there was considerable debate about the location, which in the end was driven by an energy crisis. The reason why the new use was sought for the Bankside Power Station was precisely that it was a building of considerable architectural merit. Bankside was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who was also the architect of Liverpool Cathedral as well as the eponymous red telephone box. Whilst it is perhaps self-evident that at various points in history artists and designers have been asked to address large scale energy generation installations, it is interesting to think that the best examples are of such importance that they become art galleries.

The metaphor employed for the design of power stations at the time was the cathedral of power, intending to emphasise the prestige and modernity of electricity (see the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society papers for references).

The metaphors that drive these proposals are relevant to reflect upon. Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By (2003) clearly articulates the importance of not just those rhetorical metaphors such as associating power stations with cathedrals, but the more embedded metaphors of architecture and conflict that underpin so much language and thought, and therefore planning and action. Beth Carruther’s essay ‘Possible Worlds’, included in The Time Is Now, addresses this important point.

Within the suite of proposals included in The time is now there is a cluster of power metaphors: the winning team’s proposal Lunar Cubit uses the form of pyramids; there’s a team who’s proposal Solar Eco System uses a depiction solar system (arranged as it was at the point that the United Arab Emirates came into existence in 1971).

There’s another cluster of nature metaphors: the second placed team’s Windstalk proposal looks very much like a field of grass; Solarbird references sea waves, birds, fish and trees; Fern (future/energy/renewable/nature) also applies a natural form to a photovoltaic array.  A significant number of proposals explored the shape and pattern of dunes in their proposals.

And there is a cluster of indigenous culture metaphors: Solaris deploys the photovoltaic array referencing decorative patterns in local culture – the blue colour of the panels accentuates the reference, and this patterning also appears in PV Dust. Another team also named their proposal Solaris, but drew on a tent metaphor.

Whilst The Time Is Now is full of illustrations, almost all using the same sorts of landscape visualisation tools mentioned above, there are other aspects of impact, in particular cultural impact that cannot be effectively captured through architectural and landscape design technologies.

Robert MacFarlane, one of those currently reinvigorating landscape writing in the UK, unpacks the complexity of cultural impacts in his essay A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook (2010). His subject is the Brindled Moor on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The context of his writing is the proposal for a wind ‘power station’ of 234 turbines each 140 metres high with a blade span of 80 metres (the terminology of ‘farm’ seeks to elide the reality: these installations are dispersed power stations). MacFarlane reports that each turbine required a foundation of 700 cubic metres of concrete and goes on to note that, “5 million cubic metres of rock and 2.5 million cubic metres of peat would be excavated and displaced”.

The arguments for and against this development rotated around issues of landscape value, not merely visibility. On the one hand MacFarlane quotes the writer Ian Jack, in support of the installation, described the interior of Lewis as, “a vast, dead place: dark brown moors and black lochs under a grey sky, all swept by a chill wet wind”.

MacFarlane highlights the cultural value and complexity of the landscape, challenging its dismissal as a ‘dead place’. He explores in detail the richness of language associated with this landscape, his starting point being to challenge the idea that this is terra nullius. Of course one of the key points he is making is that most colonisation is based on the principle of terra nullius, and that one of the key forms of counter by indigenous peoples in, for instance, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is to demonstrate the deep connection to land. MacFarlane goes on to argue that this landscape of “…peat-bog, peat-hag, heather, loch and lochan…” has a rich and deep language associated with it. He directs the reader’s attention to the text Some Lewis Moorland Terms: A Peat Glossary prepared by Finlay MacLeod, and containing 126 terms. MacFarlane celebrates the saving of the moor and the rejection of the energy generation installation which would have, in his view, desecrated the place.

If we are to make intelligent decisions about how and where to build mid and large scale renewable energy installations, then we definitely need artists, architects and designers to contribute to the development of schemes that acknowledge the aesthetic impacts, and actively seek to create beauty as well as functionality. But we also need to assure that the locations are not treated as terra nullius or without cultural meaning. The tools are not just those of landscape visualisation, they are also of landscape language and lived experience. Engaging and embracing cultural meaning, perhaps in deeper ways than simple symbolism, could lead to imaging more interesting solutions, whether that’s for a piece of desert, moorland or for a settlement – village or city.

The Land Art Generator Initiative operates on a biennial cycle, and the current round focuses on Fresh Kills, a former landfill site on Staten Island in New York City. This location is now of deep cultural significance, being the place that the remains of the World Trade Center was deposited post 9/11. It’s also a place that has been the focus of work by the artist Merle Laderman Ukeles for many years.

You can purchase your copy of The time is now here http://www.kinokuniya.com/sg/index.php/fbs003?common_param=9789814286756 .

References

Land Art Generator Initiative. (2012). The Time Is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City.  Page One: Singapore

Evans, G. & Robson, D. (2010). Towards Re-Enchantment: Place and its Meanings. ArtEvents: London.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By (2nd Edition). University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.

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

Powered by WPeMatico

Carrying the Fire

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Douglas Strang asked ecoartscotland to highlight the Carrying the Fire weekend 20-22nd April 2012 at Wiston Lodge near Biggar in the Scottish Borders.

I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. ‘Bout the colour of the moon. And in the dream I knew he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold.

from ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy

The Dark Mountain Project is a cultural movement for an age of global disruption. It is a growing network of writers, thinkers, artists, and craftspeople who have stopped believing in the stories our civilisation tells itself. We believe we are entering an age of material decline, ecological collapse and social and political uncertainty, and that our cultural responses should reflect this, rather than denying it. Carrying the Fire hopes to become the northern cousin of Uncivilisation, the main Dark Mountain Festival. Hosted by Wiston Lodge near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, it will be a smaller event, more intimate, but still with a strong programme of speakers, poets and performers. And still asking the question: where are the stories to guide us through this era of crisis and change?

The dominant stories – those that speak of growth, endless progress, more of everything – continue to be proclaimed throughout the land, but there’s a hollowness in the telling and a growing mistrust of the tale. At ‘Carrying the Fire’ we will hear from those with a different perspective:

Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of Dark Mountain, will be there to discuss the Project – where it’s come from and where it’s going.

Margaret Elphinstone will read from and discuss ‘The Gathering Night’, which is set during the Mesolithic era. Her novel is a celebration of ‘wildness’ and of the ‘animism’ which once formed the basis of our relationship to the natural world.

Kenneth White’s ‘Geopoetics’ is correlated to the Dark Mountain idea of ‘uncivilised writing’. Norman Bissell, director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, will discuss White’s ideas and use them in an exploration of ‘the Golden Land’ – the utopian vision which so haunts Orwell’s ’1984′.

Sharon Blackie of TwoRavens Press and the soon to be launched journal ‘Earthlines’, will discuss the art of storytelling and the ways that stories connect.

And there will be other talks and tellings, including from Luke Devlin, director of the Centre for Human Ecology, the artist Matthew Donnelly, and Gehan MacLeod of the GalGael Trust. There will be art workshops and ecopoetry sessions, storytelling for children (and adults), and opportunities to explore the land and the woods round Wiston Lodge – including Tinto Hill (2334 ft) beneath which Wiston nestles.

In the evenings there will be music from the likes of Mairi Campbell as well as more informal sessions. On Saturday night, we will set off into the woods for the latest instalment of Liminal – an otherworldly mix of art, poetry and physical theatre.

So, if you can’t wait till ‘Uncivilisation’ in August, or are based in the North and want to support a Dark Mountain event closer to home, join us for what promises to be an amazing weekend on the 20th – 22nd April. Come, celebrate spring amidst the hills of the Borders, gather by the fire in a clearing in the woods. There are stories to be told…

For more information and how to book tickets click here.

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

Tehran Times : Capitalism is destroying the ecosystem: Ahmadinejad

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

For those of us living with western news media who’s narrative of Iran is terrorism and nuclear armament, this article provides a different perspective.  Who do you believe?

Wetlands are a key component of the matrix of biodiversity, often massively impacted on by industrial production, and also the key focus of many ecological remediation/ restoration projects, and of key ecoart projects internationally (e.g. the Harrisons’ Sava River work, Betsy Damon’s Keepers of the Waters projects, Aviva Rahmani’s Ghostnets project, Shai Zakai’s projects in Israel, PLATFORM’s Remember Saro-Wiwa campaign for social and environmental justice raising questions of responsibility for the desolation of the Niger Delta, etc.

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