Ecoart

Thoughts on TJ Demos’ Art after Nature

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Art after nature: TJ Demos on the post natural condition, in Artforum (April 2012) is, as Suzaan Boettger pointed out, important because it represents a key moment demonstrating that ecoart is impacting on mainstream contemporary art’s discourses (maybe).

Perhaps more importantly, the piece concludes with the work of artists who are at this moment, as has happened at key points in the past, choosing to position the focus of their work outside the artworld. Artists such as Nils Norman, whose work Demos focuses on, as well as Fritz Haeg, Superflex, Marjetica Potrc, Art not Oil, Allora & Calzadilla and The Yes Men all engage directly with the biopolitical and the eco-financial (though the work of many of these can be seen in galleries and museums pretty regularly, e.g. Haeg’s Animal Estates 1.0 was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2008). It would be trite to say that economic crisis turns art away from the market, and in any case it wouldn’t be true of the artists profiled in this article, most of whom have been pursuing critiques of markets for decades.

This isn’t Demos’ first foray into art and ecology: he wrote one of the introductory essays for the 2010 Radical Nature show at the Barbican and has also written about the work of Nils Norman in other contexts.

The double entendre in the title Art after nature, alluding to both Timothy Morton‘s Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics and also to art chasing nature, signals the philosophical and phenomenal complexities of the issues he is engaging.

He opens with a discussion of the installation Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium (Autogena and Portway, 2001/04) and, through unpacking the denatured core of this work, frames the challenge through Frederic Jameson‘s challenge to the naturalisation of finance. Is the market part of human nature? Jameson argues that the naturalisation of the market “cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.” This is of course a key theme of the moment, demonstrated not least in the occupy movement.

Curiously Jane Jacobs, who, whilst not being a Marxist, you might assume to be on the same side of the argument, made a case for economics precisely as natural. Her text, The Nature of Economies, argues that economics works in the same way as natural systems, not metaphorically, but literally. Jameson is directly challenging the consequences of this line of thinking. Whether Jacobs is right in her argument (see here), the wider issues of the naturalisation of economics and in particular markets is deeply problematic.

Demos summarises the relationship between economics and environmental crisis, and uses key art works to frame questions around whether environmental crisis should be understood wholly within economic terms (as it is in the Stern Report of 2006, commissioned by the UK Government).

Dave Pritchard’s comments based on a deep understanding of environmental policy and politics, (previously highlighted here) also question this assumption. Pritchard highlights the trajectory of environmental thinking from the emergence of deep ecology through the increasing reliance on the economising (for instance as ecological services) of the environment as a tactic adopted by the environmental movement to engage politicians and economists.

This double process of economising, by both the mainstream culture and the environmental movement, provides a context for recent statements from George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the UK cannot afford the green agenda (“…environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too…”). He couldn’t make this argument effectively if it was not already accepted that economics was the ‘natural’, or pre-eminent, mode of assessment.

Demos highlights Amy Balkin’s Public Smog (2006-11) which provides another point of critique of the financialisation of the environment and raises some deeply ironic moments in relation to assumed value. The reportage of a conversation with a bureaucrat around the need for international agreement on the “outstanding universal value” of the atmosphere in order for it to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is frankly, priceless.

Demos next turns to the 2007 Sharjah Biennial entitled Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change, and in particular Tue Greenfort‘s work Exceeding 2 Degrees (2007). Demos, framing it as an evolution of current tropes of contemporary art, introduces the idea of eco-institutional critique. Greenfort’s work draws together a number of elements globalised production framing environmental crisis through an installation comprising room temperature and furniture. A thermo-hydrograph installed in the gallery demonstrates that the air conditioning of the museum has been reduced allowing the space to be warmer by 2 degrees Celsius (the target maximum increase identified in the Stern Report as a limit around which Climate Change Policy should be constructed). The thermo-hydrograph sat on a table made in Japan out of Malaysian wood and sold in Dubai. The money saved by reducing the cooling of the Art Museum was donated to a Danish environmental organisation to protect an area of two square miles of rain forest in Ecuador. The work is fully entangled in the complexities and paradoxes of globalisation and environmental crisis. Demos says, “…although it rescued only a tiny plot of land, Greenfort’s work successfully demonstrated the connections between economic, ecological, and institutional systems.”

Demos tips his hat to the pioneers who were, from the late 60s, creating works “within a ‘mesh’ of social, political and phenomenal relations.” His list includes Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, Peter Fend, Hans Haacke, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, and Alan Sonfist. He draws out a key point: they go beyond the simplistic glorification of nature which tended to “posit nature as a separate realm of purity needing protection from industrial degredation, pollution and economic exploitation.”

The question of positioning, framed in terms of creative practices, is in Demos’ interpretation a microcosm of the larger arguments around the status of ‘nature’. Those who argue against, for instance, GM crops (e.g. Vandana Shiva) are according to Demos, “necessarily maintain[ing] a nostalgic belief in the natural and defend[ing] it as a sphere in need of protection.” Demos seems to miss the real territory of debate: he refers to the argument for naming the reality of the ‘Anthropocene‘, but he misses the argument from Deep Ecology for the valuing of all living things and the acknowledgement of interconnectedness. This is a critical issue, because environmental philosophy is not polarised around those who are nostalgically arguing for the protection of nature, versus those who embrace the human shaping of the whole world. Rather the key is to challenge human hubris. The argument for the current geological age being called the Anthropocene is that human activity is affecting all aspects of the planet and that evidence of human activity is manifest in all environments: plastic particles in the oceans, CO2 levels in the atmosphere, consequent mass extinction. In this respect the naming is accurate. But humanity has sought to control the environment through the modern period, shaping it to suit our convenience, first in relation to habitation, but increasingly in relation to all our desires. If the conceptualisation of Anthropocene reinforces an assumption of ‘use’ rather than, for instance, ‘stewardship,’ or if it underestimates our capacity to precipitate broad-scale accidental calamity, then it is in significant danger of reinforcing the destructive aspects of human culture. Does using the term ‘Anthropocene’ sharpen the question around our place in the world, or does it re-package an existing assumption of dominance?

But returning to Demos’ narrative, he concludes by focusing on the ways in which some practices of art and ecology move beyond the tropes of institutional critique. In this he picks up on remarks made by Nils Norman (e.g. on the Bad at Sports interview), in which Norman questions the effectiveness of institutional critique and suggests that artists need to reduce their mobility and focus on development of work in particular locations. This is a practice adopted by others (including PLATFORM who take great care in judging where to travel, using trains even when travelling to the Middle East, and only travel when the reason includes practical ways of engaging with local activists and artists).

Demos draws out the implications of Norman’s project Edible Park, undertaken with Stroom den Haag, initially by juxtaposing with the previous proposal for the site developed by Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Where OMA developed a masterplan for the Binkhorst area of the Hague incorporating an Formula 1 racetrack, skyscrapers, a beach, amusement park and leisure facilities, “Norman’s low-tech ‘counter master plan’ joined organic agriculture and practices such as rainwater harvesting, forest gardening, and composting to craft his model of eco-communalism and bioregionalism, realised in collaboration with a local group of permaculture activists. Norman also worked with Dutch architect Michel Post to build a central place-making structure, a “roundhouse” with passive solar front windows and strawbale construction.”

Demos relates this project as an initiative which responds intelligently to the crisis in the economics of capitalism. His juxtaposition of Edible Park with the OMA masterplan highlights its function as embedded or durational critique, not merely an ecological version of institutional critique. The contrast with Tue Greenfort’s Exceeding 2 Degrees for the Sharjah Biennial is informative. The latter is the tactics of the avant garde attempting to shock the audience through the cleverly formulated and intensely referential highlighting of weakness (mea culpa, mea culpa). But it never leaves the artworld. In contrast Edible Park is a durational and engaged work which negotiates between local ambition and critical positioning, seeking ways to draw attention to alternative configurations of the city, within the city and through the city.

Norman raises the question clearly in The Guide to This World & Nearer Ones (2009), Creative Time’s temporary public art project on New York’s Governors Island. He’s quoted saying,

“I’ve been looking at the history of bohemian artist movements to find a possible place of dissention. Is Bohemia still a place where artists can experiment and develop strategies outside the mainstream? The normalising effect of the market makes this now almost completely impossible, and Bohemia has been instrumentalised by people who make direct links to ‘creatives,’ bohemian lifestyles and a new class of urban entrepreneurs through city regeneration. Where can alternatives be developed? Where is it possible to drop out and develop new languages and codes.”

From this perspective, is it good that Artforum is paying attention to ecoart?

Thanks to Dave Pritchard for additional comments.

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

Opportunity to make work at Teaneck Creek

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Ecoart Committee of the Teaneck Creek Conservancy in Teaneck, NJ seeks proposals from ecoartists or ecoartist teams to create an ecoartwork in 2012-13.

The Teaneck Creek Conservancy is a 46-acre eco-park within Bergen County’s 1,200-acre Overpeck Park, this property is being reclaimed and rehabilitated as wetland habitat and for positive public use through a unique “Brownfields to Greenfields” project. Community-based plans for the Conservancy are developed by artists, activists, scientists, historians, educators in a non profit partnership with local government over the past ten years. These plans have created a park with a 1.5 mile trail system for passive recreation, eco art, wetlands research and rehabilitation, and public outreach and education that is focused on the property’s environmental resources, land use, and history.

For this project, they are seeking an experienced ecoart practicioner, who´s capable of responding imaginatively to a recovering urban forested wetland, and will work collaboratively with community students and volunteers, and mentor a local artist in the creation of the piece.The work should build support among the larger community for an understanding and definition of ecoart that is inclusive yet underscores the notion of ecology and our impact on this recovering environment. The process will be video documented throughout the residency period.

The Anticipated total budget including artist(s) fee is a range of USD$15000. – 20000.

To apply, you can submit via email by June 1, 2012 to devery [at] teaneckcreek [dot] org :

1) A brief artists statement of interest outlining a preliminary proposal for this site project. (Interested artists are strongly encouraged to visit the Conservancy prior to making a submission.)

2) Up to 5 images of representative works that address the requirements of this RFP. Images should be smaller than 1MB. A website address can be substituted. They are interested in viewing your work as an ecoart practitioner.

3) C.V. , either via e-mail or associated with a website.

4) Contact information including daytime phone number.

You can check the proposal form at  Teaneck Creek´s website and you can also check www.PuffinFoundation.org  for further information and directions.

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

ecoartspace archive

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace
Over the past two years ecoartspace has focused on creating an archive of ephemera and video interviews of ecological artists’ work. We have also been invited to contribute several essays for publication with increasing interest.

Our most recent essay, Public Art Ecology: From Restoration to Intervention, co-written by Amy Lipton and Patricia Watts, is for a new book entitled The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency edited by Twylene Moyer and Glenn Harper and published by International Sculpture Center Press (distributed by University of Washington Press). In this essay we reviewed long-term projects by artists Mierle Ukeles, Patricia Johanson, Mark Brest van Kempen and Jackie Brooker; and also highlighted recent temporal works by Eve Mosher, EcoArtTech, Amy Franceschni+Future Farmer and Tattoo Tan.

Patricia Watts has published an essay which is a start to a book she would like to write on ecological performance art. Entitled Performative Public Art Ecology you can read it online in the Women Environmental Artists Directory magazine, Issue #4 entitled No Time For Complacency edited by Susan Leibovitz Steinman, co-founder of WEAD. In this essay Watts examines important performance based ecoart with early examples beginning in 1970 and follow its evolution up to 2008. The works featured illustrate an evolution from the gestural, poetic, or conceptual, towards more practical actions that provide tools for sustainable living.

Another recently uploaded piece online is an interview with Watts for the #5 Winter Issue of Mammut magazine entitled Some Kind of Nature, published out of Los Angeles and edited by Matthias Merkel Hess and Roman Jaster. In the interview Hess and Watts discuss The Ebb and Flow of Ecology and Art. The magazine is available as a high or low res download and can be viewed as an online flip book (very sustainable), each for FREE.

And, to start 2012 off on a good funding foot, ecoartspace was awarded a grant from the Arnow Family Fund in New York to do new interviews for our video archive and to edit footage from interviews we did in 2010-11. Interviews with Mierle Ukeles, Buster Simpson, Susan Liebovitz Steinman, Betsy Damon and Bonnie Sherk are now in the works. These are two hour interviews that will be available for research purposes and will also be edited into approximately 5 minute videos for exhibition purposes. Previous edited interviews with Patricia Johanson and Jackie Brookner can be viewed on the ecoartspace YouTube site HERE.

We are going to be using our blog as the main ecoartspace website for now until we build a new site this year, and are also looking to create a digital catalogue of our first 12 years (1999-2011), pending funding.

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.
Go to EcoArtSpace

Interview about EcoArt South Florida

EcoArt on the West Palm Beach waterfront. Michael Springer served as the primary designer of this project, completed in 2010. This work is a significant example of the cross disciplinary work of a sculptor who has been doing large scale infrastructure related environmentally sensitive art for decades.

DCA: Tell us about EcoArt South Florida.

EcoArt South Florida: EcoArt South Florida encourages broad support for environmental stewardship within communities by involving citizens of all ages and demonstrating innovative and aesthetically striking ways to create and save energy, reduce heat island effect, capture and reuse stormwater and many other positive approaches to enhancing the health of our interrelated ecosystems. EcoArt (short for ecological art) is not a new art practice. It is only new here in Florida!

Volunteers collect seeds as a part of EcoArtist Xavier Cortada’s installation on Lincoln Road in Miami. Cortada is a multitalented artist whose projects to restore Florida’s urban canopies and mangrove stands are large scale performance pieces involving hundreds of non artist volunteers, government agencies and philanthropic organizations. (photo submitted by EcoArt South Florida)

Cortada’s EcoArt installation on Lincoln Road in Miami. (photo submitted by EcoArt South Florida)

DCA: How does EcoArt encourage the public, and in particular, elected officials, to incorporate arts and culture into everyday life?

EcoArt South Florida: EcoArt South Florida intends to assist targeted communities to establish “EcoArt Nodes” in each of South Florida’s five watersheds by 2015. We define an EcoArt Node as a committed group of stakeholders, with a strong organization at its center (either as its own nonprofit, or as a subunit of an existing organization) dedicated to growing EcoArt and supporting emerging EcoArtists in their locale. An important stakeholder group that must always be included as each EcoArt Node is established, are elected and career officials of municipal and county governments.

The locations for our EcoArt Nodes have been scientifically identified by our GIS study of all five watersheds in South Florida, completed for us by Dartmouth College’s department of geography undergraduate students, Spring, 2011.

EcoArt South Florida’s comprehensive community education program and artist apprenticeship is specifically designed to engage key communities in best ways to establish and support strong EcoArt practices in their areas. We will work with the communities identified as EcoArt Nodes to field this program which will be the basis for ongoing development and support of EcoArt practice.

In addition to establishment of targeted EcoArt Nodes, starting in early 2012, EcoArt South Florida Board and Advisory Committee members will begin to meet where they live, with county and city officials.

To date, the only municipality in Florida we are aware of that has done this is Boynton Beach. Credit goes to Boynton’s Mayor and Commissioners for establishing a Green Alliance of local citizens involved in Green urban and community development that recommended key elements of a Green Ordinance for the city. EcoArt South Florida was a member of this alliance. The resulting new ordinance Includes mention of EcoArt at various places. We are delighted to encourage our city and county officials to follow the lead of Boynton Beach in assuring that EcoArt is included as their communities develop creative ways to “go green.”

Follow the link to learn more about how EcoArt has been integrated into Boynton’s many new green initiatives, please contact the administrator of Art in Public Places Debby Coles-Dobay.

Jackie Brookner (NY) and Angelo Ciotti (PA) are EcoArtists embedded in design team for restoration of West Palm Beach’s largest urban green space, Dreher Park, revamped from 2002-2005 to expand water retention. Features “BioSculpture” ™ in new retention pond which cleans waters with plants on the sculpture’s surface, sculptural earthen mounds reminiscent of indigenous people’s shell mounds, created from dirt excavated to create a large new retention pond, and a learning garden featuring plants used by inhabitants over a thousand year period to the present. (photo submitted by EcoArt South Florida)

DCA: What does EcoArt do for South Florida?

EcoArt South Florida: EcoArt practice has many identities. All contribute to the community. Most involve the community at every level of the planning, design and creation of EcoArt projects.

In addition to our consultations with communities we have identified as EcoArt Nodes, and continuing to develop our pilot community education and artist apprenticeship program, EcoArt South Florida is also currently working on three program aspects that we believe have great potential for inspiration, education and engagement of the public:

  1. First, the integration of Public EcoArt at the design stage of urban buildings and neighborhoods that will be seeking LEED or other green certification. EcoArt South Florida is working with the South Florida chapter of the US Green Building Council on this.
  2. Secondly, engaging EcoArt with greening the public schoolyard. EcoArt South Florida has been reaching out to public school districts, teachers and administrators through the annual LEARN GREEN conferences; and we are in the process of working with a math and science middle school to develop what will probably be the first comprehensive outdoor classroom in South Florida.
  3. And finally, modeling a new kind of urban streetscape featuring a variety of Florida native canopy trees (instead of the “monoculture” approach currently used) and understory vegetation that encourages the return of pollinators and birds. EcoArt South Florida is involved with a consortium of organizations developing a pilot of this kind of streetscape. Our partners include the grass roots West Palm Beach organization Northwood GREENlife that is taking the lead, the Palm Beach chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, 1000 Friends of Florida and the Center for Creative Education. In addition to the creation of a multiple-species Florida native urban forest pilot streetscape that can be replicated widely, the project will also incorporate arts: sculpture, ceramics, video, storytelling, performance and a community celebratory procession/parade once the planting has been completed.

EcoArt South Florida believes EcoArt will not prosper in our region unless public officials, both elected and career, and our colleagues in the building, development and planning professions are given incentives to do so. It is for this reason that we will be focusing heavily over the next year to two years on insertion of EcoArt within city and county green ordinances as has been done in Boynton Beach.

DCA: What does the future of EcoArt hold for Florida?
EcoArt South Florida: We believe Florida can become one of the key centers for EcoArt practice. EcoArt South Florida is dedicated to making this happen. And this is as it should be. As we point out on our website, engagement of art and culture with environmental issues is still not widely done anywhere, not only in Florida. This is a shame, because, as those of us involved in the arts professions know well, art has the potential to inspire, educate and engage in so many ways. This inspiration and engagement will be necessary if we are to address successfully the many serious implications of climate change. And we have very little time to do this. Art is a form of knowledge, just as important as science. Unfortunately art and artists have not been adequately engaged with science in the struggle to bring our valuable ecologies back to health. Now is the time to bring EcoArt to the task.

DCA: Why do you believe arts and culture are important in the lives of Floridians and visitors to our state?
EcoArt South Florida: Art creates culture and has for as long as human being have inhabited the earth. The best time to have begun to bring art to the task of healing our fragile ecologies was many decades ago. The second best time is now. Florida needs us. The planet needs us. Let’s get to work applying artistic imagination and creativity in tandem with scientific advances to the challenges that face us.

AFTA PAN Public EcoArt Webinar and upcoming Pre Conference Panel San Diego

Andrea Polli, Queensbridge proposal for alternative energy (NYC) 2005

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

On May 4th ecoartspace had the opportunity to participate in an online webinar through Americans for the Arts out of Washington D.C. For several years now their Public Art Program Manager, Liesel Fenner, who previously worked for the New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston where she developed a partnership between the NPS and the NEA called Art & Community Landscapes by inviting artists to participate in education and restoration of public lands, has been an advocate of ecological art. For the webinar, Fenner invited a group of ecological arts consultants and a public artist to the table to share valuable information with the public art community on Going Green: How to Align Public Art with Green Building and Infrastructure. During this 90-minute presentation some 37 participants from across the United States were able to access important information on a rapidly developing field of artistic practice.

The first presenter was Mary Jo Aagerstoun, President of EcoArt South Florida. In her talk, Public EcoArt Integration: Transforming Policy she outlined case studies and policy examples for integrating art that makes green technologies visible into the design and construction of green building as well as public infrastructure. Rebecca Ansert, Founder and Principal of Green Public Art in Los Angeles gave a comprehensive presentation entitled Green Building: Where Does The Art Fit In? to examine how public art can meet LEED certification points as well as materials usage. Emily Blumenfeld, who is currently based out of London, and formerly from St. Louis, Missouri where she co-founded Via Partnership, reviewed a Public Art Master Plan that she co-authored for the Environmental Protection Department for the City of Calgary, Canada, known as the Expressive Potential of Utility Infrastructure. And, to wrap up the webinar, public artist Mark Brest van Kempen from Oakland, California presented several projects in various forms of completion, exemplified from the artists perspective, the numerous ways in which art can transform public space from an ecological perspective.

Patricia Watts, founder and west coast curator of ecoartspace gave a short talk on the artist selection process, which included suggestions for extended deadlines on RFQs, workshops for ecological artists who are new to the public art process, suggestions for who to bring to the table when selecting artists including Environmental Services Department employees and local biologists/ecologists, as well as art curators who have worked with many of these artists in a museum context. Importantly it was impressed upon public arts administrators to be proactive in bringing these types of projects to fruition. Often it is the case that administrators do not see themselves as collaborators with the artist and for these types of projects it is imperative that as much information as possible be provided to the artist as early as possible to be able to identify a crucial point of integration in the planning and construction process. Administrators will need to think outside their job description to make these projects successful.

The Going Green Webinar will be available to the general public on demand through AFTA after June 1st for $35 per download HERE. There will also be a follow up Public Art Preconference workshop at the AFTA Annual Conference in San Diego on June 15th, entitled Green Infrastructure: Re/Generation—Environmental Art & Design: Now and How including presentations by Rebecca Ansert, public artist and administrator Vaughn Bell, landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck, and Patricia Watts of ecoartspace.

Listen in online or see you in San Diego in June!

Links to other pioneering Ecological Public Art Plans include:

 

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.

Go to EcoArtSpace

Green Building: Where Does The Art Fit In?

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

On May 4, 2011, Rebecca Ansert, Founder & Principal of Green Public Art co-presented an American for the Arts webinar Going Green: How to Align Public with Green Building and Infrastructure with

The premise of the webinar was this: Increasingly, various levels of government are demanding that new and retrofitted public buildings and urban infrastructure meet green standards. Through case studies and policy examples we will cover fundamental approaches for integrating art that makes green technologies visible into the design and construction of green buildings, as well as public infrastructure. Participants will learn key language that describes approaches to public art that showcases green building and infrastructure technologies such as stormwater capture and energy production and how these kinds of public art can be integrated into existing and new ordinances and modifications to comprehensive plans. Productive strategies for the artist selection process, as well as green building standards materials resources and maintenance will also be covered.

The following was my ten-minute contribution to the conversation which included the examination of a LEED certification checklist, where I believe public art can play a role. I hope this will enable others to continue to advance the conversation of public art in green building in their own organizations.

I believe that the public art community has a great opportunity to take a critical and creative approach to finding sustainable strategies to incorporate into our built environment. We need a green public art movement that can set a course to increase the aesthetic appeal of new construction and city planning; to encourage projects to take a holistic approach; and encourage artists to take an active role in creating works which demonstrate green processes, and utilize green design, materials and techniques in green building projects.

THREE LEADING GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method)was launched in 1990. It is a performance based assessment method and certification program for new building`s. The primary aim of BREEAM is to mitigate the life cycle impacts of new buildings on the environment in a robust and cost effective manner. There are ten categories for award points in this program

The Living Building Challenge is a program of the International Living Building Institute that was launched in 2006. It is an independent non-profit organization. The underlying principle of the Living Building Challenge is that all development projects should use nature as the ultimate measurement stick for performance. There are a total of twenty checkpoints in the Living Building Challenge and they are organized into seven categories. The major difference of this program is that certification is based on actual performance instead of modeled outcomes like LEED and BREEAM. Projects must be fully operational for at least twelve consecutive months prior to certification.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Enviromental Design) was launched in 1998 by the United States Green Building Council, or USGBC. I will focus most of my discussion on this certification program primarily because it is widely being accepted by municipalities as the green building certification of choice.

VS. TABLE

This table enables you to view each program’s certification criteria side-by-side. Notice the high amount of overlap. For instance, every certification program awards points for water efficiency and renewable energy sources. A couple of certification criteria unique to their respectful programs are BREEAM’s Management category and the Living Building Challenge’s Equity category.  It is also interesting that the Living Building Challenge is the only certification program that awards points specifically for aesthetics in their Beauty category.

The conversation continues here… PUBLIC ART and LEED – Sustainable Sites and Water Efficiency

 

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.

Go to Green Public Art

EcoArt SoFla

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Mary Jo Aagerstoun has just posted the following to the EcoArt South Florida website:

Why does South Florida need EcoArt?

EcoArt SoFla believes art must be integrated into sustainability strategies. In South Florida, like everywhere else on the globe, sustainability strategies have been driven by science and political expediency. One searches in vain at all levels of the worldwide sustainability research/policy development community to find the tiniest acknowledgment of the role art could and should play in making sustainability a reality. The sustainability discourse is, therefore, very uni-centric in the knowledges it taps.

It seems self-evident that the kinds of environmental crises we face worldwide require that we tap a multiplicity of knowledges. To infuse societies with sustainability-enhancing scientific innovations, culture must be both mobilized and transformed. And communities and the general public must be inspired and educated to pursue serious and committed environmental stewardship. Artists are the expert innovators and creative thinkers most engaged with the art knowledge and cultural integration skill that help to create the cultural glue holding societies together. Art and science, as twin knowledge forms, must be tapped in tandem to create the wisdom, and activate hope, that underpin sustainability.

But not just any art will do. EcoArt SoFla will seek support for and promote artists whose practices are inspired by the precepts of Joseph Beuys’ “social sculpture” and address environmental problems with creative combinations of conceptual art, process art, connective aesthetics, participatory and socially engaged practices, phenomenological and eco-philosophies, direct democracy processes and other social/aesthetic forms and techniques.

EcoArt SoFla seeks nothing less than development of a large contingent of ecoartists committed to staying in South Florida and who are, or wish to become, master cross-disciplinary learners and social system choreographers, skilled at drawing into the collaborative creation of ecoart stakeholders from grass roots community organizations, scientific institutions, public policy agencies and pioneering philanthropic entities. EcoArt SoFla will dedicate itself to development and promotion of the best ecoart projects: those that engage and mobilize community while employing, enhancing and melding techniques, knowledge and wisdom from landscape architecture, environmental biology and chemistry, planning and engineering and many other disciplines, and collaborating with their practitioners, while drawing from the deep roots of art history and the broadest lexicon of aesthetic methods.

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

EcoArt Treasure Coast Apprentices Rock OUT with “Floating Islands”

A Disptach from South Florida  EcoArt Projects:


VERY EXCITING!! A new video has just been finished. We wanted to bring it to you right away!!
See below for the link!

How quickly our EcoArt apprentices are making contacts and enlisting talent! This most recent effort in documenting the apprentices’ projects was made possible by well known Treasure Coast photographer Thomas Winter…THANKS, TOM!

This first project by EcoArt Treasure Coast apprentices demonstrates very clearly exactly how SFEAP expects EcoArt to spread across South Florida. First, artists interested in “trying on” EcoArt practice are recruited.

Second, with the help of an experienced EcoArt practitioner (in this case, Betsy Damon) these artists begin to learn what is involved…research, enlistment of community volunteers and collaboration from scientists and environmental specialists.

Third, seeking partnerships with local environmental and arts organizations (in this case, the famed Florida Oceanographic Instituteand the Environmental Studies Center, both located on the Treasure Coast in Martin County).

Fourth, developing an aesthetically interesting and environmentally responsive approach to a particular problem at a particular site, and producing it fully (in this case, an artificial research oriented salt water “lagoon” used by the FOS for experiments and public education–the lagoon needed a natural way to keep the water clean).

Fifth, informing the public of what has been accomplished (in this case video documentation and interviews with participating apprentices and community volunteers).

KUDOS, Ecoart Treasure Coast apprentices!! You are on the mark as we work together to bring this model to all South Florida’s watersheds.

Mary Jo Aagerstoun

**EcoArt Treasure Coast is a collaboration between SFEAP, Inc. and the Arts Council of Martin County, funded by the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and private donations.

EcoArt Apprentices  Demonstrate Water-cleaning Floating Islands Click HERE to see NEW Video about EcoArt Treasure Coast Apprentices’ “Floating Island” project at the Florida Oceanographic Institute **EcoArt Treasure Coast is a collaborative project of the Arts Council, Inc. (Martin County) and the South Florida Environmental Art Project Inc. It is the first of a series of community EcoArt community education and apprenticeship projects that will be organized in each of South Florida ‘s major watersheds by SFEAP, Inc. Initial funding for EcoArt Treasure Coast by the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.

IT”S :HERE!!! EcoArt Treasure Coast Apprentices Rock OUT with “Floating Islands”.

Mary Jo Aagerstoun: Art from recycled objects and materials is not EcoArt

Today I received word of yet another use of the term “EcoArt” to describe artworks made partially or wholly of recycled materials. Because this is becoming a serious detriment to SFEAP's efforts to educate the South Florida public about what EcoArt is, I wanted to remind SFEAP supporters on FB and elsewhere of how SFEAP does define this work (from our website www.sfeap.org)

” practices… inspired by the precepts of Joseph Beuys’ “social sculpture” and [which] address environmental problems with creative combinations of conceptual art, process art, connective aesthetics, participatory and socially engaged practices, phenomenological and eco-philosophies, direct democracy processes and other social/aesthetic forms and techniques.

SFEAP seeks nothing less than development of a large contingent of ecoartists committed to staying in South Florida and who are, or wish to become, master cross-disciplinary learners and social system choreographers, skilled at drawing into the collaborative creation of ecoart stakeholders from grass roots community organizations, scientific institutions, public policy agencies and pioneering philanthropic entities. SFEAP will dedicate itself to development and promotion of the best ecoart projects: those that engage and mobilize community while employing, enhancing and melding techniques, knowledge and wisdom from landscape architecture, environmental biology and chemistry, planning and engineering and many other disciplines, and collaborating with their practitioners, while drawing from the deep roots of art history and the broadest lexicon of aesthetic methods.”

While art works that include or are made wholly of recycled materials can be interesting objects and demonstrate how art does not have to be made of new materials, SFEAP, Inc. does not include such work in our definition of EcoArt. We see EcoArt as having an active role in environmental amelioration, and which must include direct community engagement and collaboration with scientists and environmental experts. SFEAP is dedicated to bringing many Florida based artists into EcoArt practice. This is the primary mission of the organization. We currently have our pilot community EcoArt education and artist apprenticeship well underway in Martin County. The apprentice EcoArtists there have just installed their first EcoArt work at the Florida Oceanographic Society. A video about the apprentices and this first project can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6a4VQznh8Ua

Please feel free to cut and paste this definition into an email to anyone in South Florida who is using the term EcoArt in relation to art that uses recycled objects or materials.

Thanks. MJ Aagerstoun

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