Environmental Themes

State of the Arts gets the environment

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes: 

At the most recent State of the Arts (SOTA) conference hosted by Arts Council England in Salford had, for the first time, two sessions on ‘Artists and our future environment’, with speakers James Marriott from PLATFORM; the writer Jay GriffithsMojisola Adebayo, writer, performer, director; and Andy Field, co-director of Forest Fringe.

All of SOTA’s sessions – on the creative economy, changing society, imagination, fundraising – touch on environmental themes. But these two drew out specific questions of the relations between artists and environments, of the material effects of artistic practices on the Earth, and of the importance of artistic expression of environmental themes.

This interest by SOTA in the environment comes about, in part, from talks between ACE London and arts organisations with an environmental focus in the London region – organisations who had lost their Regularly Funded Organisation status, and questioned ACE’s policies on the environment and climate.

James Marriott’s session, transcribed on the PLATFORM blog, sets out how this collaboration between disparate organisations has worked, and how substantial shifts in ACE’s environmental directions are taking shape.

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

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Framing the World — An art & ecology notebook

Excerpted From Cathy Fitzgerald’s An Art & Ecology Notebook:

Twelve essays  in four parts, focusing on ecocinema as activist cinema; the representation of environmental justice issues in Hollywood; independent and foreign films, the representation of animals, ecosystems, natural and human-made landscapes and readings of two mainstream eco-auteurs, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Peter Greenaway, Framing the World; explorations in ecocriticism and film, edited by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, 2010

At last, a book on ecocriticism for film that is more than a review of films with environmental themes (though there are so very few of the latter as well). Lots of very valuable and timely essays on both mainstream cinema but also identifying key experimental filmmakers who have developed ecocentric approaches to film-making, for eg. in the work of independent Slovenian film/sound artist Andrej Zdravic. Also an excellent chapter on the very real limitations and lack of critical awareness in the director Herzog’s popularly regarded environmental films.

Also of note and just published this year is ‘Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge‘. I think its great to have this perspective of film from a region that has endured vast ecological destruction and is producing many poignant environmental films. This book is much more academic but again an excellent resource for those interested in the critical development of ecocinema. It’s also made me eager to search out the films mentioned in the book, like this one centered on  the 3 Gorges dam – ‘Still Life’

via Framing the World -two timely new books on ecocriticism and film — An art & ecology notebook.