Endangered World

Xavier Cortada "Native Flags" at Verge Miami

In conjunction with ecoartspace, Miami-based artist Xavier Cortada will present a participatory artwork titled Native Flags and invites everyone attending the Verge Art Fair as well as the general public to collaborate in the creation of the work.

Melting polar sea ice has global political powers clamoring to place their flags over the Arctic to control the Northwest Passage shipping lanes and the petroleum and mineral resources beneath the ice. Cortada developed Native Flags as an eco-art project to engage people globally in a reforestation campaign to prevent the polar regions from melting. At home, participants can also plant a native tree next to Cortada’s green flag and ask their neighbors to do the same. Together, they can help to support the regrowth of the planet’s native tree canopies – one yard at a time.

On June 29th, 2008, Xavier Cortada arrived at the North Pole and planted a green flag to reclaim the landscape for nature. The trip was sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) as part of Cortada’s larger 90N project. The work addresses global climate change and included the reinstallation of Cortada’s Longitudinal Installation and Endangered World projects as part of a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artist and Writers residency.

Cortada has created art installations at the Earth’s poles to generate awareness about global climate change and has developed participatory art projects to engage communities in local action at points in between. Cortada’s work created during his National Science Foundation Antarctic Residency has been exhibited in museums including: Weather Report, curated by Lucy Lippard at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007, and Envisioning Change, a United Nations Environment Programme-sponsored exhibition which opened in Oslo, Norway in June 2007. Cortada launched the Reclamation Project in 2006 to remind Miami Beach residents and visitors of the island’s origins as a mangrove forest by having over 2500 mangrove seedlings displayed in shop windows across the island. Annually, volunteers plant the seedlings on Biscayne Bay.

Catalina Hotel, 1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida Opening preview reception: Thursday December 3rd, from 6 to 10pm Friday & Saturday, December 4-5, noon to 8pm Sunday, December 6th, noon to 6pm

Go to EcoArtSpace

“Global warming is as much a cultural problem as a scientific or political one…”

Robin McKie, science journalist for The Observer, has been to see Steve Waters’ The Contingency Plan, and has noticed that that there is something significant happening across the arts:

Until now, scientists, journalists and politicians have dominated the debate about the threat of greenhouse warming. Many have fought well and brought a proper sense of urgency to the debate. However, it will be our writers, artists and playwrights who will finally delineate the crisis and explore in human terms what lies ahead. Only then can we hope to come to terms with our endangered world….Thus global warming is as much a cultural problem as a scientific or political one and deserves to be addressed through the activities of those who define our culture: our artists and writers.

These individuals will be the ones who reveal to us the kinds of lives we may lead in the near future – not just in physical, but in moral and social terms – as our planet heats up. In other words, we need an Orwell or a Huxley to help us define the terrible issues that confront us – and to judge from the recent efforts of Waters, McCarthy and McEwan we can have a fair amount of confidence that our artists and writers will deliver. Whether or not we choose to listen to them is a different matter.

“Writers and artists are getting warmer” by Robin McKie

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology