Gap

Climate is culture

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory
Kellie Gutman writes:

The feature article in the March issue of Nature Climate Change is written by Cape Farewell‘s David Buckland, and is titled Climate is Culture.

A pioneering project that was set up to bridge a perceived communication gap between the science of climate change and the deep societal changes required to avoid dangerous impacts is explained by its creator in Nature Climate Change this week.  In 2001, British artist David Buckland founded the Cape Farewell project, which he feels attempts to address one of the most pressing social issues of our time.

Read the full article here.

“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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On The Subject Of Freedom

“On The Subject of Freedom” performed at the Arts In The One World Conference, 2011. Directed by Mersiha Mesihovic, Created with and performed by following: Lindsey Lollie, Amanda McNussen, James DiBrandon Lewis, Andy Robert, Etienne Rivera, Max Mendoza, Javier Gonzalez, Miriam Connor, Jahcobie Cosom and Matt Schumacher.

Growing up under a communist regime in the Former Yugoslavia, CalArts student Mierisha Mesihovic never really felt free. Her life became even more restricted when civil war broke out in her country.  Although her childhood may seem unimaginable to many of her fellow students at CalArts,  she thinks the gap between them is not all the wide.

Multimedia artist Mierisha Mesihovic

“Many of us struggle with being truly free.  We are afraid to express ourselves, to put ourselves in certain situations,” she says, explaining people often feel at war with themselves. “The conscious self confines us to what we should be and our subconscious self tells us to act on who we really are.”

Mierisha started out as a dancer at CalArts but switched her major to multimedia art in work with a broader palette. “As an artist interested in social justice, I felt I needed more tools than dance to express myself.”

A shared sense of community has helped her find her voice, take risks and break through boundaries.

“On the Subject of Freedom,” performed at Arts In The One World 2011 was a collaborations between Mierisha and fellow students. An exploration of the restraints on freedom, the piece combines dance, live music and projected images. It begins in a conflict zone with a duet about the oppressive atmosphere of war.  The dancers gradually learn to carry on their lives with dignity in spite of the fear and hate surrounding them.  They begin to confide in each other, questioning whether the war is just. The piece ends with liberation, resolution and peace.

Dancer and choreographer Lindsey Lollie

CalArts dancer Lindsey Lollie was one of the collaborators on the dance; she and Mierisha have been friends for three years. Lindsey says the piece is about some of the restrictions people face based on their nationality, gender, race, religion or personality.

“Not everyone is free to walk outside if they are in a war zone,” she writes in an explanatory note to the piece.  “Not everyone is free to speak up and address real issues. “We need to believe in something that is not forced upon us but discovered within our soul.  Everyone deserves to live in the comfort of their own thoughts…”

Mersiha seems clear about the direction she wants to take her art: “My wish is to make the audience part of my work.  I would like to inspire people to act. A sense of community can help us jump over boundaries.  We are many and we are stronger that the fear. The positive always prevails over the negative.”


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Insulation and Chassis: Conversations With Timeless Travel and Aerogel

 

1946 Spartan, Timeless Travel

What kind of  insulation to use?  How to balance all the variables – sustainable, healthy materials that are also efficient.  No sense using green materials that aren’t going to be good insulators in a trailer warm or cool, as needed.


I talked with Brett Hall from Timeless Travel who has restored a number of vintage Spartan’s and many Airstreams:

Brett Hall:

Spartans are the best trailers. The body, which is made from airplane material, contributes about 70% of the trailer’s strength; the rest of the strength is in the chassis.  An Airstream is about 50-50%.  For other trailers, it’s all in the chassis [i.e. the body is basically useless.]

Timeless Travel uses PIC insulation

We use PIC insulation which is fiberglass without formaldehyde.  It has an R5 value, which is best you can do with a Spartan, which has an average depth of 2” on the wall.  Insects don’t like it and [I think he said it is fire resistant.]  Once installed, it has an R10-R13 value.  We use foil tape. The PIC has a lot higher R value than other stuff; we install it in panels.  PIC insulation is fairly green, doesn’t outgas.  When installed, it creates a vapor barrier.

There is a lot of exhaust inside the trailer, from cooking, heating, showers, even humans [people give off 2 liters of water/day.] That goes to the outside of the skin.  The air gap helps air from getting in and also air going out.

Steven Harasim, chemical engineer with Aerogel

Q:  We have a limited budget, but we are interested in following up with your idea of using strips of Aerogel (Thermogel) over the ribs along with some other form of insulation.  What is the R-value of Aerogel?

Our product has an R4 value for each layer (the idea is to layer it). Harasim’s idea was to use some other kind of insulation in the gaps and then use strips of aerogel over the metal ribs before putting the paneling on (see the above photo where exposed metal ribs aren’t covered by insulation.)

Harasim says this method would get rid of the thermal bridge where the steel is in direct connection with the paneling which is very inefficient, thermally.

He said steel has a conductivity far greater than wood. When the metal is  exposed and it touches the walls it acts as a much larger sink in terms of conductivity  than even the gap in between where the insulation would normally go.  So the idea is to isolate that contact by putting a strip of Aerogel on the metal beams.

Santa Clara University’s submission for the 2009 Solar Decathlon

Harasim mentioned the Solar Decathlon (http://www.solardecathlon.gov/about.cfm), a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy  where college students design homes that are almost entirely net zero homes.  According to Harasim, Areogel was used in 4 out of 10 of the winning designs, including the Refract House (photo above) a collaborative effort between the University of Santa Clara and California College of the Arts (click to download PDF of project manual,  lower right column)

Coincidentally, Harasim actually used to work for the PIC insulation company that makes the stuff that Timeless Travels uses.  He says it is an “adequate solution”.  From looking at the  pictures I showed him he said, he says “It is well insulated.  The only downside is that the still the steel studs are still exposed.”

He continued:  “What is difficult about the Spartan is the varying cavity size.  But I don’t see anything wrong with this solution. The PIC foam would be a mid point solution.  The aluminum foil is 100 percent recyclable.  The foam is not but it has a higher R-value than other foams per mass basis.  It is more efficient than other insulation.

QuestionIs the PIC insulation “green”?

Harasim:  It’s hard to describe insulation as being “un-green” since its primary objective is to save energy [I suppose some people could argue with that statement]

Q:  Does you think it would be more green to use something like a newspaper product?

The newspaper, being 100 percent recycled would be an advantage, but overall probably not because of the insulation value and the difficulty of installing it in a trailer.

Q:  Do you think Areogel might be willing to donate some materials or otherwise help with the cost?

We aren’t against it but they are stretched pretty thin right now. We are a new company and have already been donating (I bet to the Dethlon).  But he would help with advise on the installation.  And the strips actually come from a different company, Thermal Block, and they may be able to work with you as well.  He’ll give me all the info.

Note: Timeless Travel uses a different kind of insulation in the floor. (I don’t remember why).  He may have said the stuff is styrene or else fiberglass??

CHASSIS

New chaissis, Timeless Travel

Timeless Travel’s Brett Hall said Spartan trailer chassis often have structural problems, especially from the wheels back.  “We start looking right away for problems.”  About 40% of the Spartans have serious problems, about 10% need work.  (It should be noted, however, that Timeless Travel tends to add 2,000 – 3,000 additional pounds on average to their renovated (high end) restorations.

Note:  Hall said the original Spartan chasis were built by a third party.

WIRING

Hall added that it’s very important to pay attention to wiring.  The trailer must conform to the National fire Protection Association’s Standards for Recreational Vehicles (NFPA 1192)

 

 

 

 

 

click here for PDF:  http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=1192&cookie%5Ftest=1

Hall rattled off all kinds of things that I couldn’t catch (I was taking notes from the floor of the grocery store).

The gas pipe has to be grounded to the chasis, for instance.

The main thing is that you have to be very careful.  He said electricians think they know what to do and they don’t read the code.  He said READ THE CODE!!

BELLY PAN

He started to tell me about the belly pan but I have to call him back…

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

ECOVENUE: London’s Green Theatre Plan, One Year Later

Reprinted from PRNewswire: “Theatres Trust Announces ECOVENUE Green Theatre Project for London” September 9, 2009

On 14 September 2009 at Plasa 09 The Theatres Trust will announce a new three year programme to provide specialist theatre environmental advice and undertake free DEC assessments with 48 small scale theatres in London.

One year on from the launch of the Mayor of London’s ‘Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change‘ initiative at Plasa 08, The Theatres Trust will announce it is to receive GBP450,000 over the next three years from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in London to deliver the ECOVENUE advisory programme.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said “When the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Plan was launched last year to help theatres in London achieve reductions in carbon emissions by 60% by 2025, commercial and subsidised theatres in London were quick to sign up. We recognised that smaller theatres with less resources would find it harder to participate, and so made an application for funding to the LDA at the beginning of 2009 to help address the gap. I’m delighted that we can announce the ERDF award at Plasa 09 and help more London theatres to address environmental issues associated with climate change and reduce their energy use.”

The ECOVENUE project provides each participating theatre with a free theatre-specific Environmental Audit, and free Display Energy Certificates in 2010 and 2011. A DEC is a publicly displayed certificate that informs the public about the energy use of a building. This free environmental improvement advice will be delivered by a new Theatre Building Services Adviser to be employed by the Trust.

The Trust will be inviting 48 theatres to apply to participate in the project, which will run until spring 2012. Application details will be advertised over the following months.

Pictures accompanying this release are available through the PA Photowire. They can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.

Go to the Green Theater Initiative

ECOVENUE: London’s Green Theatre Plan, One Year Later

Reprinted from PRNewswire: “Theatres Trust Announces ECOVENUE Green Theatre Project for London” September 9, 2009

On 14 September 2009 at Plasa 09 The Theatres Trust will announce a new three year programme to provide specialist theatre environmental advice and undertake free DEC assessments with 48 small scale theatres in London.

One year on from the launch of the Mayor of London’s ‘Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change‘ initiative at Plasa 08, The Theatres Trust will announce it is to receive GBP450,000 over the next three years from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in London to deliver the ECOVENUE advisory programme.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said “When the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Plan was launched last year to help theatres in London achieve reductions in carbon emissions by 60% by 2025, commercial and subsidised theatres in London were quick to sign up. We recognised that smaller theatres with less resources would find it harder to participate, and so made an application for funding to the LDA at the beginning of 2009 to help address the gap. I’m delighted that we can announce the ERDF award at Plasa 09 and help more London theatres to address environmental issues associated with climate change and reduce their energy use.”

The ECOVENUE project provides each participating theatre with a free theatre-specific Environmental Audit, and free Display Energy Certificates in 2010 and 2011. A DEC is a publicly displayed certificate that informs the public about the energy use of a building. This free environmental improvement advice will be delivered by a new Theatre Building Services Adviser to be employed by the Trust.

The Trust will be inviting 48 theatres to apply to participate in the project, which will run until spring 2012. Application details will be advertised over the following months.

Pictures accompanying this release are available through the PA Photowire. They can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.

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Go to the Green Theater Initiative

How social media will change the way the arts present themselves

I have an article in this fortnight’s Arts Professional arguing that the arts need to get to grips with the idea that a mother of a change is a’coming, and about how the arts have a chance to build a strong, resilient network in the face of coming cuts by adopting a new, generous approach:

… we have reached a tipping point. The gap between what new and old media deliver us yawning. This changes how opinions are formed and how audiences are reached. It also raises interesting questions about where high quality criticism is going to come from in the future.

On the surface there’s a simple conclusion to be reached from the arrival of the Twitterati. Arts organisations need to think more about social media. The Barbican website already has a social media networks button on its front page. Fine idea. Twitter can fill empty seats within a couple of  hours of a performace. But at the moment that’s where most people’s thinking stops. This is a mistake because the change is fundamental. Arts organisations, if big enough, used to hire press officers on the strength of their contacts book, but what does that mean now? It’s not just the dipping circulations – accelerated by the recession, newspaper advertising revenues are expected to fall by as much as 21% across the board this year. This means cuts. Emails to old contacts suddenly bounce; they’ve gone freelance. Talent is leaching away from old media. The money spent trying to get column inches is increasingly money less well spent[…] but that’s just the half of it.

Conventional arts websites have become good at doing two things. They list events coming up and sell you tickets to them. If you’re lucky there’s a blog, but it’s often pretty thin fare. These sites exist within a fast-changing internet filled with people sharing news, wit, opinion, photographs, films and music. In comparison arts websites often look staid and monumental […] The key word is “sharing”. If arts websites want to move from the vertical model – telling people what’s good for them – to the horizontal model of using the energy of social networks, then it’s about giving stuff away. As any sociologist will tell you, the basis of any social network, real or virtual, is reciprocity.

Read the whole article HERE.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Vestas: what is the protest about?

This morning I was handed a flier by a nice man standing outside Brighton station: “Vestas Workers fight to defend their jobs and the environment.” Featured on it, that photo of the two workers clenching fists above the banner that reads, “Forced to occupy to save our jobs.” An old blogging colleague of mine Justin aka Chicken Yoghurt was at the Isle of Wight yesterday and took the photo above.

Three points to make:

One. This is a pivotal protest that’s not going to go away in a hurry. It’s about the gap in what the government say they’re going to do – Ed Miliband’s fine white paper and the 2008 Climate Bill – and the absence of any real infrastructure to achieve those carbon goals. It’s about how the most substantial part of Gordon Brown’s “green recovery” plan has been the looking-glass scheme to scrap cars before they need to be scrapped. Vestas is closing because of “lack of demand”. It is absurd that, at this late stage, there is lack of demand. To blame that lack of demand on Conservative councils turning down planning applications for wind turbines as Ed Miliband does in his response to LabourList’s Alex Smith is the “dog ate my homework excuse” – a silly attempt to turn this into a divisive party political issue.

Two. This protest has to watch out it doesn’t unfold  to a dangerous script. The lockout has quickly turned it into a workers versus employers dispute, in the mould of Grunwick and Wapping.  Not only do those disputes traditionally end very badly, but this script kind of misses the point.  However poorly the employers may have acted towards the workers, and their contradictory statements that they’re closing for “lack of demand” and that the factory makes “the wrong type of blade” for Britain indicates a certain slipperiness, they too are victims of the government’s failure to support demand for renewables. This should be about how the goverment needs to pull its finger out.

Three. Last year’s meeting between the National Union of Miners and Climate Camp protestors showed how far adrift most eco-protestors were from workplace politics and how little they understood the more old-school union levers of power. This is a chance to learn how to build bridges instead of burning them.

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10 ways of looking at Radical Nature

The critics pass judgement on  Radical Nature, at the Barbican and elsewhere:

PERCEPTIVELY Hari Kunzru The GuardianNature is in crisis… It’s not even really beautiful any more. It’s a problem, a remnant, something that needs to be conserved and argued for. The chances of being romantically overwhelmed are slim.

PROVOCATIVELY Regine Debatty We make money not artAs long as these artworks do not step out of museums and galleries most people hardly ever visit … , I fear that the impact of their work might be somewhat limited.

NEGATIVELY Edwin Heathcote, Financial TimesThe show just doesn’t hang together. “Museums,” said Smithson, “are tombs, and it looks like everything is turning into a museum.” Forty years on, we’re still in the museum.

POSITIVELY Madeleine Bunting in The GuardianOn every side, artists are putting their shoulder to the wheel, trying to prompt the revolution in values and attitudes required to deal with environmental crisis.

ARTISTS SHOULD STICK TO ART-ISHLY Rachel Campell-Johnston, The TimesIt’s all very worthy and often delightful… But do artists contribute anything practical?

THOUGHTFULLY Skye Sherwin in The GuardianFrancesco Manacorda, identifies… a dangerous dualism concerning how we think about nature and culture:.. but while many artists here lament the rift or attempt to close the gap, only a few explore its potential…

DEFEATEDLY Christopher Werth: Newsweek: That somewhat defeated tone pervades much of the newer work, which reveals little of the excitement[… ] found in the campaigns of Beuys and Ukeles. Perhaps that’s only natural after 40 years of environmental art, when for most of that time, so few have paid attention to the message.

ENTHUSIASTICALLY Throughstones blogThe Radical Nature project is an extremely important landmark exhibition, and groundbreaking in the degree to which it reaches out to the public and integrates with real life as it is lived. It will for sure have a far-reaching influence for many years to come.

OBTUSELY Rowan Moore The Evening Standard: Saving the planet is more to do with the Chinese changing the way they build power stations, or Americans changing the way they make cars, than anything an artist can do.

LOOK AT US, WE’RE CYNICAL AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS-ARE-ALL -FASCISTS ANYWAY-ISHLY Anorak.co.uk on the Tree Radical parade through central London: One man has painted his face and others are raising their arms in the air, in the manner of Moseley’s mob. The driver tells us that these are the Green Shirts not the fascist Black Shirts. Old Mr A says “same difference”.

Some are thoughtful, some are downright enthusiastic; some seem distinctly rattled, too.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Art, religion and shock

Paul Fryer’s Peita, installed in a cathedral in the French town of Gap has been raising a few eyebrows among church goers. It  shows Christ Electocuted, arms semaphored, looking much like a victim of Abu Ghraib. Parishoners have protested, say repoorts. The statue has been robustly defended by the Cathedral’s Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco;

“The scandal is not where one believes it to be. I wanted the provoked shock to make us once again conscious of the scandal of someone being nailed to a cross. “Usually, one does not feel any real emotions in front of something really scandalous: the Crucifixion. If Jesus had been sentenced today, he would have to reckon with the electric chair or other barbaric methods of execution. Scandalous is therefore not Jesus in the electric chair, but the indifference to his crucifixion.”

Enterprisingly, Paul Fryer’s local paper the Waltham Forest Guardian jumped at the chance of a local angle: “LEYTON: Christ Sculpture Provokes Fury”. But to be fair, it also snagged an interview with the artist in which he expresses gratitude for di Falco’s defense.

Mr Fryer said he was pleased to have the support of the bishop, because his intention behind the piece, which is no larger than a small child and is made of waxwork and human hair, was to evoke pity for someone being persecuted by another.

Mr Fryer said: “The meaning is open to interpretation. But the original meaning of the Latin word Pieta is pity. To take pity is a crucial part of living, human beings taken pity others.

“Today people might be electrocuted or given the lethal injection, but it is all the same thing, someone ending another person’s life.

Art 21 | Blog ran a thread recently called What’s So Shocking About Contemporary Art which wondered if art could shock any more. Clearly it can, but I doubt if it did in this case, whatever the papers say. This isn’t exactly Piss Christ; it’s a work that blurs the line between the historically sacred and the contemporaneously secular, and doesn’t contain much that could possibly shock the modern European’s sense of religion, however devout. The shocking part, as the Bishop points out, is that the electric chair is still at use in the modern world. I wonder if any of the good citzens of Gap were actually shocked by Paul Fryer’s work. I somehow doubt it. This looks much like a French slow news day story.

Photo by Sjoren ten Kate

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Bring on the electric cars?

Last week in New York the sculptor Seth Kinmont unveiled the first of three electric cars, bodywork made from wood. For three days he invited people to ride around the block in his new hand-built horseless carriage. Beautiful, huh?

I mention this because a) it forms a tenuous artistic link to the following story, and b) Kinmont’s work underlines the quixotic nature of electric transport.

The latest voyagers on this quixotic journey are Jeff Hoon and Peter Mandelson. Today they will announce a £250m scheme to kickstart the UK’s electric car infrastructure.  You might think they’re unlikely travellers on this road, given the fact that this are the pair who were most vocal about the impracticality the green movement’s objections to Heathrow expansion.

But no, Geoff Hoon in particular has retooled himself as the champion of green in this morning’s Guardian.

Hoon said yesterday that decarbonising road transport had a big role in helping the UK meet its targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. “Something like 35% of all our carbon emissions are caused by domestic transport,” he said. “Of that, 58% of the emissions are caused by motor cars.”

The implication is that electric cars will help cut that figure. And they might, but… Big but.

As a recent report commissioned by the Campaign for Better Transport suggests, if everyone in the UK moved to electric cars we’d need four times as much capacity in our electricty generation than we have at present, and even the government’s recently unveiled plans for nuclear generation aren’t enough to plug that gap.

Even a modest rise in electric car use doesn’t automatically reduce CO2 emissions – it just shifts emissions from the exhaust pipe to the power station. For those who use their cars only for short urban journeys, the CO2 reduction can be significant, but for average car use the figures are much less clear cut.

A few weeks ago the government let it be known that they were considering a scheme to encourage people to buy greener cars by offering an incentive for people to scrap their old ones. In reality, this was an attempt to boost the UK’s failing manufacturing sector, not a green scheme; given the embedded carbon costs of manufacturing, scrapping working cars in favour of newly built ones is about the least green strategy of all. That embedded energy calculation is the same for electric cars too.

This initiative is the start of Gordon Brown’s much touted green recovery plan; for a cabinet who have dismissed green concerns as impractical, they’re going to have to work extremly hard to demonstrate that this really is a practical scheme, not just another sop to industry.

Hat tip to Bad At Sports for the Seth Kinmont story.

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