Farmland

Land and energy

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Northumberlandia, Charles Jencks, 2012 (photo provided by Banks Group)

Matt Ridley is the author of a number of books on the subjects of evolution, genetics and society, and has been variously a scientist, journalist and businessman.  There was an article in Saturday’s Times and the full version is on Matt Ridley’s website.  It’s worth reading.

His family leased land to a mining operation in the North East of England and have sponsored Charles Jencks to create Northumberlandia, the latest of Jencks’ earthworks.

When the Banks Group approached my family to dig out coal from under farmland we own, creating 150 local jobs, they also came with an imaginative suggestion. Instead of waiting ten years to put the rock back and restore the surface to woods and fields, which is the normal practice, why not put some of the rock to one side to make a new landscape feature that people can use long before the mine is restored?

Ridley makes an argument around energy and land.  It’s an economic argument about fossil fuels and land use.

The replacement of muscle power, burning carbohydrates, with fossil power, burning hydrocarbons, has been one of the great liberators of history.

Unfortunately the argument doesn’t look to the future.  It is true that fossil fuels have transformed society, but that’s the transformation of the industrial revolution.  The current transformation is focused on renewable energy and the need to massively reduce our footprint.

And in terms of art practices, this is not innovative, just large.  Cutting edge art practices look to integrate the future into the landscape, not just shape it aesthetically.  Whether it’s AMD&ART addressing Acid Mine Drainage, or the Land Art Generator Initiative  bringing together at scale renewable energy and art, or any of a number of other artists working on energy and land futures (see greenmuseum.org for examples), Northumberlandia misses a trick and a big one.  The creation of new public space is important, but the use of that process to exemplify new futures is vital.

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.
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2012 Residency Application

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Guapamacátaro Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology is a site-based and community-oriented program for artists from different disciplines, scientists, educators and activists, aimed at fostering socially and ecologically-conscious cultural development. The hacienda is set on rural farmland and located in the state of Michocán, Mexico.

The topic of ecology plays an important role for the program and is not confined to the common association with the preservation of the natural environment. The facilities include several studios, large common areas and ample outdoor space.

Each year the residency takes place in Spring (March through June) and lasts 3 weeks.

During their stay, participants use the hacienda grounds as a laboratory for the creative process and engaging with the local community in art, ecology and development practices. They are free to work whenever desired in the provided studios and anywhere in the property. Experimentation is encouraged as is discourse and collaboration. Daily group activities such as morning stretch and meditation, and occasional guided walks and fieldtrips to nearby towns and natural areas are often organized, depending on people’s interests.

Up to 10 people are selected from a mix of the following disciplines: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Sculpture and Installation, Design and Architecture, Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences.

Application is open to professionals (or students who demonstrate maturity) from all countries, cultural backgrounds and aesthetics. The next residency dates are from the 7th until the 24th of June 2012, you are able to send your application until the 1st of November 2011 to http://www.guapamacataro.org/apply

More information can be found here http://www.guapamacataro.org

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

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