Environmental Problems

Beyond the Surface: Environmental Art in Action

This post comes to you from Cultura21

A conference investigating relationships between art and the environment

May 31, 2013, 9 am – 5 pm, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia (USA)

Bringing artists & arts professionals to Philadelphia to explore ways art can create environmental awareness while restoring ecological systems. With: Lillian Ball, Sam Bower, Jenny Laden, Stacy Levy, Amy Lipton, Eve Mosher, Frances Whitehead.

“No longer content with scratching the surface of environmental problems, these artists want to move beyond the surface to engage audiences in becoming part of the solution.”

5-7 pm: Reception celebrating Rain Yard, the Schuylkill Center’s new permanent environmental artwork by Stacy Levy.

Conference Details & Online Registration: click here

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

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It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine)

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace
It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine) curated by Amy Lipton, opened on January 31st at Ramapo College Gallery in Mahwah NJ and will be on view through March 6th. The exhibition explores contemporary views of nature and habitat expressed through landscape painting and drawing. The artists included; George Boorujy, Adam Cvijanovic, Peter Edlund, Joy Garnett, Kimberley HartEve Andree Laramee, Sarah McCoubrey, Jason Middlebrook, Aviva Rahmani, Lisa Sanditz, Charlotte Schulz, Eva Struble, Sarah Trigg and Marion Wilson envision the natural world in relationship to pressing environmental issues.

Taken from a 1987 song by the band R.E.M., It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine) this somewhat ironic title suggests the possibility that by avoiding complacency and with awareness, intelligence, compassion and activism, solutions to environmental problems will be found to avoid potentially catastrophic results. The works attempt to meet the challenges of the new ecological imperative by bringing attention to the viewer of the need for protection, preservation and action.  Artists often have a prophetic role and throughout history have alerted us to problems that are unforeseen or overlooked. Using realism, fantasy or process as a source for imagination and transformation, they seek to create an awareness of loss and beauty in the marginal, the overused and the threatened.

Images of the exhibition taken by Joy Garnett can be seen HERE.

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Balance Unbalance 2011

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Montreal, Canada; November 4th and 5th, 2011

Environmental problems are a challenge for all disciplines, this is not a remarkable statement anymore. But bringing together people from the various “little worlds” and setting up a base for transdisciplinary communication still is a difficult mission. The “Balance Unbalance Conference 2011″ is trying to manage a conference which brings together scientists, economists, philosophers, politicians, sociologists, engineers, management and policy experts with artists. The aim is an intellectual exchange by reflection, debate and the promotion of projects and actions, in addition to “develop the role of the arts and artists in dealing with environmental challenges”.

more information: balance-unbalance2011.hexagram.ca

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

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

The Ecology of Innovation

One of the component parts of Citizen Power (a two year programme of innovation, participation and place-making in Peterborough) aims to spark and support local people’s ideas that could make “green” behaviour easier throughout the city. When planning the project we were inspired by insights into what can influence people’s behaviour and decision-making (such as the dramatic effect of social proof).

Our approach has been to teach these principles to local residents and help them apply them to the behaviours that underlie local environmental problems. We think that giving community activists the knowledge and support to “nudge” their neighbours could be a better way of encouraging behaviour change. National attempts to apply these principles could leave people feeling preached at, or alienate people by taking covert approaches.

Instead, we think that training community activists with the knowledge they need to nudge their neighbours can harness their local knowledge, their “one-of-us” status, and their existing trusted relationships with their community.

Towards the end of last year we tested this approach in a two-day workshop. Twenty-five enthusiastic residents learned about the effects of personal, social and infrastructural factors on human behaviour, then worked together to apply this knowledge to Peterborough specific problems. After a pitch to a panel of judges, two ideas were selected for seed-funding and non-financial support to allow them to become pilot projects.

One of the pilots will encourage a wider segment of the community to manage local plots of unused land. The group behind this project plan to map unused land in their neighbourhood and throughout Peterborough, then run small interventions to encourage local people to take an active role in stewarding the land.

The other pilot will encourage residents living near an area of ancient woodland to take an active forest management role. Currently neglected and the scene of anti-social behaviour, the community decided to create a woodland walk to make walking through the forest a normal activity for local residents.

Part of this approach to local nudging was informed by a paper – The Ecology of Innovation – that we published just before Christmas. It presents a few simple principles that could be used to encourage and support local people in getting projects off the ground. These principles include ensuring that local community organisations are able to participate in contributing their ideas, and supporting their ideas with financial and non-financial support so that they can be tested. You can read the paper online or download it here.

In 2011, we’re looking forward to getting these ideas off the ground, and also holding more workshops to encourage and support more ideas that could make Peterborough into an even greener place to live!

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

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

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

Bloggerscircle: why we need a plastic bag tax

bloggers-circleRob Greenland at The Social Business blog wrote, a couple of days ago:

It’s in the news today that supermarkets just missed their target of 50% reduction in plastic bag use (they got to 48%).  I’m not a big fan of supermarkets but I think on this one they need to be congratulated.  Remember the reaction against proposals to tax plastic bags, and how, many believed, people would never change their habits.

Far too many bags are still used but a 48% reduction is a massive improvement.  If businesses and the public can get their act together on this issue, what other seemingly impossible environmental problems might we solve?  It may also suggest that it’s better tonudge people into doing the right thing (like the clever question the checkout assistant was trained to ask), rather than taxing them into behavioural change.

50% sounds great, doesn’t it?

But in Ireland the introduction of a plastic bag tax in 2002 cut the use of plastic bags immediately by 90%, and created millions of Euros in government revenues which were pledged for use in environmental projects. Cutting ours by 50% is nothing to be proud of in comparison to that figure, especially as much of that 50% is people like Rob, me, and you, dear reader. The remaining 50% are inevitably going to be much harder to reach. Even with Tesco offering the carrot of Nectar card points for every bag reused, this is still too slow. It’s time to get out the sticks.

Like it or not, taxation is the most effective behaviour change lever government has. As Anthony Giddens suggests is in The Politics of Climate Change these are levers we’re going to have to use, and not be afraid of using. But the revenue used from these taxes must be used creatively and positively if we’re going to trust the system. Denmark’s carbon taxes, introduced in the 90s, have created an absolute fall in Co2 emissions from that country not only because they disincentivise carbon use, but because the revenue created by the fed directly back into subsidising energy-saving measures.

This post is part of a collaborative  initiative at bloggerscircle.net

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

GAS ZAPPERS an online game about Climate Change » Play

GAS ZAPPERS is a series of interactive online art game that tackles climate change. The game’s protagonist is the polar bear—that victimized, yet cuddly symbol of global warming. Players embody the polar bear as it progresses through different climate change scenarios: Venice under water, a forest threatened by bulldozers, and an altercation with vicious oil derricks.

GAS ZAPPERS have different gaming scenarios with custom designed gameplay addressing the various components of global warming. Each scenarios embody a specific environmental identity addressing the causes, problems and possible solutions to the various scientifically proven contributors to elevated global temperatures. The project is made possible by Tribeca Film Institute.

via GAS ZAPPERS an online game about Climate Change » Play.