Harness Energy

Land Art Generator Initiative 2012

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

“Renewable Energy can be beautiful”

In partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition is being held for a site within Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills Landfill) in New York City.

Deadline 1 July 2012.

“At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. The transformation of what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a productive and beautiful cultural destination will make the park a symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape.

In addition to providing a wide range of recreational opportunities, including many uncommon in the city, the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.” – FRESHKILLS PARK

The design brief is similar to that of the 2010 edition. In summary, LAGI 2012 is an ideas competition to design a site-specific public artwork that, in addition to its conceptual beauty, has the ability to harness energy cleanly from nature and convert it to electricity for the utility grid.

The expansiveness of the design site at Freshkills Park presents the opportunity to power the equivalent of thousands of homes with the artwork. The stunning beauty of the reclaimed landscape and the dramatic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline will provide an opportune setting from which to be inspired, and it offers the perfect environment for a showcase example of the immense potential of aesthetically interesting renewable energy installations for sustainable urban planning.

The monetary prize award ($15,000 First Prize, $4,000 Second Prize, $1,000 High School Edition Winner) will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.

For more information: http://landartgenerator.org/competition.html

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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Freshkills Park: A new beginning

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

For the last two years Freshkills Park has invited the public to come take a “sneak peak” full day tour of the transformation that has been taking place over the last ten years at the largest landfill site in the world. On Sunday, October 2nd this New York City park project offered free water taxi rides direct to the site from Pier 6, a one hour journey past miles of industrial sites, some still in production, far from the eyes of Manhattan. At the park were temporal art installations and science booths as well as guided walks, kayaking, and Mierle Ukeles’ famous The Social Mirrorgarbage truck from the late 1970s.ecoartspace was recently invited to jury an upcoming design competition at Freshkills, a collaboration of the Land Art Generator Initative and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. One of the goals of the park is to site large scale public art works. Elizabeth Monian and Robert Ferry of LAGI, who have been focused on energy based artworks in recent years out of Dubai, proposed an ideas competition for 2012. Contestants are invited to identify public art works that will harness energy from the site and convert it to electricity for the utility grid, in addition to providing conceptual beauty.

Freshkills consists of 2,200 acres, almost three times the size of Central Park. It is the largest park to be developed in NYC in over 100 years. The park is meant to be a “symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape.” It will continue to be built out in several phases over the next 30 years and includes an unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty with creeks, wetlands, meadows and spectacular views of the New York City.

The monetary prize award of $20,000 will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.

 

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.
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New metaphors for sustainability: coral reef

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Caspar Henderson, writer and journalist, suggests coral reef, its efficiency, vulnerability and beauty, as a metaphor for sustainability. Caspar’s Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A Bestiary for the Anthropocene will be published by Granta in 2012.

As many people know, healthy tropical coral reef are among the the richest, most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, rivaled perhaps only by rainforests. It’s less widely appreciated, however, that this astonishing exuberance thrives in water that is very low in nutrients. The secret of the reef is that nutrients and materials are reused and recycled with great efficiency and rapidity in an almost closed loop.

Driving the cycle is sunlight, which is of course abundant in the tropics. Corals polyps, which are tiny animals, are able to build their layering and branching and skeletons (and thus over time the entire reef on which so much else depends) thanks to a partnership with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, which harness energy from the sun and ‘feed’ their coral hosts in return for lodging.  Whether or not you believe in the claims made for next generation nuclear power (and, like Amory Lovins and others, I have doubts), an economy that is able to run on energy directly harvested from the sun, store it where necessary and turn almost 100% of its wastes into assets looks like a good way to go.

Another familiar fact about coral reefs is that they are among the ecosystems in the world most vulnerable to human meddling. Our assaults come in various forms including direct ones such as destructive fishing practices and nutrient overload from sewage and agricultural runoff, and indirect ones such as rising global temperatures and ocean acidification caused by a rate of change in greenhouse gas concentrations not seen in millions of years.

Coral reefs can, we now know, thrive within certain boundaries, and be remarkably resilient to some shocks so long as the boundaries are not crossed. Once they are, however, the whole system can very quickly tip over into a degraded state. The reef becomes choked with slime and the food web disintegrates into a rotting boneyard that supports a dwindling band of scavengers. Previous perturbations to the Earth system comparable to current human activity have resulted in mass extinction events from which it has taken reefs millions of years to recover. We’re not talking about a metaphor here so much as a 400lb gorilla already standing on our toes.

The good news, in a far as there is any, is that we have a pretty good feel for what must be done if the threats to reefs are to be sharply reduced. Some of the most important measures such as stabilization and then reduction in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations may look unachievable in the near term, but while we continue to struggle with those there are many other things that will also be necessary and on which progress can (and is) being made now. One such is the creation, with local community involvement, of networks of Marine Protected Areas.

A final, and for me the most important point about coral reefs is that they are places of stupendous beauty and wonder. Chances are these are not qualities that spring to mind when you think of sustainability. A more likely association might be something like ‘sensible shoes.‘

But sustainability does not have to be boring. It can and must be highly dynamic, just as a coral reef is: an arena for competition and struggle, yes, but an arena with  limits and where new kinds of flourishing and cooperation are forever unfolding. Cruelty, suffering and death are not eliminated, but the scope for doing your own thing or doing something new – whether it be to bake cakes with five year olds, develop greener energy technology, or dance flamenco while dressed as a flamboyant cuttlefish – is greatly increased.

photo:  Gray Hardel/Corbis

 

“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)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

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