Forest Project

100 posts on art and ecology resource site grows alongside a slow art-forest project

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

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Museum of Nature, 2004 by photographer Ilkka Halso

This is my 100th post on my art & ecology notebook site – amazing! I’m as shocked as probably you are and its made me realise that I have created quite an archive of the different means where arts and ecology intersect.

new ecoartfilm site

What started out in 2008 as a small personal notebook has grown – it initially was a place to put inspiring art & ecology projects and resources that I came across in one place and also a means to house the beginnings of my own long term art & ecology project. From a small rural location the site has allowed me to gather and make visible projects that often fall outside the mainstream agendas of many galleries and it has allowed my own practice to travel to many unexpected destinations.  For newer readers my artistic work is about creating small audiovisual works that touch on the small forest that surrounds our house that we are transforming from a monoculture conifer plantation into a permanent mixed species forest. Mostly my own work is about how we engage with ‘nature’ in general and its led me to pursue the idea of whether audiovisual video works can be used in a  more ecocentric way, if that is possible (if you are interested my  research on this topic can be found here).  My art & ecology site been quite an odd jumble of  things and early posts were a bit random, but my readership has steadily grown even though my posts can appear a bit infrequently. Thank you for all the comments along the way too – you have no idea how this small site has enabled my work to develop and connect with others!

new archive page

Anyway, to mark this blogging milestone I’ve spent a little bit of time and created an illustrated Archive page  and  a new dropdown Category section on the home page where you can easily see all the art

disciplines for instance that I have written about; from film to dance, to music to policy papers on culture and sustainability. You are more than welcome to share any of these posts along.

Some of you might also be aware that I wrote a research paper on networking the arts to save the earth earlier this year. It was a whopping 8,000 words, designed to reach out and comment on how cultural practitioners of all types could best use online social media networks. Social media is something I’ve worked with for several years in a past job where I helped develop a  large online arts community.  A lot of the paper was me trying to figure out the potential or not of social media, amongst all the hype and suddenness in which these

a new article

technologies have now appeared in our lives, and examine their value for art & ecology practitioners. The paper seemed to have struck a nerve – I expect it was probably the  fact that many working in this field are both isolated geographically but also isolated on the fringes of contemporary art practice.  A much shortened form of the article was printed in the Aug 2011 Irish Visual Arts Newsheet. It was then picked up by one of the editors as a feature article on the international

site HerCircleEzine.com –  an online site that for the last 6 years has been dedicated to women’s socially engaged practice. I was surprised and delighted –  to tell the truth the research paper had been turned down originally for an academic journal (not that I was too surprised about this as it was my first attempt) but of course, a paper on social media, should be circulating on social media not stuck in some academic journal. I’ve created a resource page of the many various art & ecology networks too – please feel free to tell me about other networks not listed. There’s more too, I’ve also been asked to write a regular column on the HerCircleEzine site about art & ecology and my research practice, starting in November which I must say is a bit daunting as if you examine the site you’ll see the articles written are of a very high standard. 

holly dog looking proud

Hollywood - smallest close-to-nature forest in Ireland (pictured: Holly at the forest entrance)

You might have also noticed the blue forest image above – the Museum of Nature created by Finnish photographer Ilkka Halso. I found this image intriguing; its from a larger body of works by Ilkka called Restoration (2004). While I don’t like the idea of putting a forest in a cage I could identify with this artist’s interest with forests. I have also come across a  number of artists who describe their art & ecology works as ‘restoration’ environmental projects. It’s not a term I use for my own forest project; while restoration of sites is obviously important I think much more needs to be addressed. Undoubtedly we can learn much from restoring sites/habitats, but for me,  I think there is something more interesting in transformation; transforming the ideas and practices of how we relate to nature (a tricky area when one begins to examine it though) and hence, transforming how we behave on this one finite earth. You might be wondering why I’ve added this paragraph at the end of this post – I was saving the best for last :-) . My tiny forest, nick-named ‘Hollywood’ has been getting some attention. ‘Hollywood’ is now listed on the new Irish database for forests that are being managed in a permanent way – its the smallest plantation undergoing ‘transformation’ to become a forest, in Ireland. We manage the forest following close-to-nature principles ( a low impact management system that follows nature’s own dynamics). As it is an ecological type of forest management it means that the forest is sustainable not only for our use (we get firewood, birdsong, oxygen, sanity etc from it) but as it will never be clear-felled; the overall biodiversity, soil fertility and carbon-sink values on the site will only ever increase.

Funny, how this writing about transformation has slipped into this post, as I often have a lot of difficulty in talking about my creative work – in fact, I think its much better presented by the forest itself (click on the image below if you can’t see the film).

If you have any comments, do write in!

transformation 2011

 

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.
Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Announcing ECOKIDS, a project of SEA, opening Friday, September 24, 7-9pm

ECOKIDS

September 24 – November 24, 2010

Opening Friday, September 24, 7-9pm

FEATURING

Cool Coventry Club; Environmental Children’s Organization (ECO); Forest Project; Help Light NJ; Kids Face; Kids Saving the Rainforest; Kids vs. Global Warming; Plant for the Planet; Project Sprout; Pump ‘Em Up; Sahabat Alam; Tree Musketeers

NEW YORK – ECOKIDS, a project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), is an exhibition that showcases the work of outstanding youth activists who are working to raise awareness and solve environmental issues.ECOKIDS demonstrates that youth movements are leading the call for positive action on environmental challenges.

From student-run organic farms to climate change awareness campaigns, the youth organizations featured in ECOKIDS are based in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Tennessee, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Costa Rica, Germany, Canada and Indonesia. Through the exhibition, workshops and partnerships with school groups and teaching artists, Exit Art provides a public platform for the presentation of youth environmental organizations, projects, and initiatives. Founded by youth activists from elementary to high school age, these “eco-kids” demonstrate that children have the ability to solve environmental issues in the present, andnot simply the future.

Workshops, events and tours will be hosted by The Canary Project, Wave Hill, and Solar 1.

PUBLIC EVENTS FOR KIDS

GREEN PATRIOT POSTERS: Citizen Youth Design Camp NYC
Saturdays, October 2, 9 and 16 / 2-5pm

Organized by The Canary Project
with collaborations by Tara DePorte/Lower East Side Ecology Center and the Intrepid Museum
Age: High School
FREE

GREEN PATRIOT POSTERS: Citizen Youth Design Camp NYC is connected to The Canary Project’s ongoing Green Patriot Posters concept – a campaign centered on posters that encourage citizens to take part in building a sustainable economy. In this camp, youth participants will learn about cities and sustainability from guest speakers; learn how to design and create posters; and design a campaign to get their posters and message out into the world. The posters produced by youth participants will then be included in the exhibition ECOKIDS. For more information on this program, please contact Assistant Curator Lauren Rosati atlauren@exitart.org.

The Canary Project (Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler) has commissioned posters from design leaders as part of Green Patriot Posters, and developed an on-line community for sharing and voting on original designs. The project is being featured in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial Why Design Now?, and will be published in a book by Metropolis/DAP in Fall 2010. For more information on the Green Patriot Poster project, please click here.

Sustainable Design Workshop
Thursday, September 30, 4pm

Organized by Solar 1
Age: 7 and up, *Parents must be present
FREE

The Sustainable Design class will familiarize students with concepts related to architecture, community planning, and product design. Students will explore the environmental consequences and benefits of design on all scales and how it affects the environment and our health. Using recycled materials, each student will design and construct a small, sustainable building. At the end of the workshop, the students will draw a map of the city and choose a place to “build.”

Parents will be able to sign up for this program beginning September 1, 2010. To sign up, please visitwww.exitart.org. For more information on this program, please contact Assistant Curator Lauren Rosati atlauren@exitart.org.

ECOKIDS exhibition and programs organized by Lauren Rosati, Assistant Curator.

ABOUT EXIT ART
Exit Art is an independent vision of contemporary culture. We are prepared to react immediately to important issues that affect our lives. We do experimental, historical and unique presentations of aesthetic, social, political and environmental issues. We absorb cultural differences that become prototype exhibitions. We are a center for multiple disciplines. Exit Art is a 28-year-old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and artist Papo Colo, that has grown from a pioneering alternative art space, into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. Exit Art is internationally recognized for its unmatched spirit of inventiveness and consistent ability to anticipate the newest trends in the culture. With a substantial reputation for curatorial innovation and depth of programming in diverse media, Exit Art is always changing.

ABOUT SEA
SEA is a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns. SEA will assemble artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that will communicate international activities concerning environmental and social activism. SEA will occupy a permanent space in Exit Underground, a 3000 square-foot, multi-media performance, film and exhibition venue underneath Exit Art’s main gallery space. The SEA archive will be a permanent archive of information, images and videos that will be a continuous source for upcoming exhibitions and projects. Central to SEA’s mission is to provide a vehicle through which the public can be made aware of socially- and environmentally-engaged work, and to provide a fo rum for collaboration between artists, scientists, activists, scholars and the public. SEA functions as an initiative where individuals can join together in dialogue about issues that affect our daily lives. SEA conceived by Papo Colo.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT
General exhibition support provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Bloomberg LP; Jerome Foundation; Lambent Foundation; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Exit Art’s Board of Directors and our members.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Exit Art is located at 475 Tenth Avenue, corner of 36th Street. Hours: Tues. – Thurs., 10am – 6pm; Fri., 10am – 8pm; and Sat., noon – 8pm. Closed Sun. and Mon. There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information please call 212-966-7745 or visit www.exitart.org.