Ian Garrett

Looking for examples of eco art in public spaces?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

If you are interested in examples of eco public art, or you have undertaken an eco public art project (temporary or permanent) you should seriously consider adding it to this important new database.  It’s already got a wealth of interesting projects.  There is information on how to submit on the website (and it’s peer reviewed so the quality is good).  Thanks to Ian Garrett and the CPSA for highlighting this.

It’s part of the wider Curating Cities research programme,

Curating Cities is a 5-year research project that examines how the arts can generate environmentally beneficial behavioural change and influence the development of green infrastructure in urban environments. Founded on the principle of using art and design to curate–literally, to care for–public space, the project places creative disciplines at the heart of the sustainability agenda. In doing so it advances an ambitious research plan for aesthetic practice, proposing ‘curating’ as a method for working through the practical concerns of sustainable living.

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.
Go to EcoArtScotland

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Out Now CSPA Q8: International Issue – The Sea is Rising

CSPA Quarterly #8 is now available for purchase through MagCloud. Members, your print and digital editions will find their ways to you shortly!.

Our third international issue focuses on projects that call attention to topics that extend well beyond national borders. With a focus on interdependence, and an abundance of contributions about water, ice, and sea rise, this issue addresses the space between national borders- our oceans. Featuring work from Moe Beitiks, Chantal Bilodeau, Eve Mosher, Michael Pinksy, Christopher Robbins, and Liz Ward.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

UPCOMING ISSUES

Q9 Intersection: Science and Culture

We’ve been noticing a flurry of work that exists at the intersection between art and science. This includes installation and performance pieces that challenge scientific claims, and work that utilizes science to prove a point, or to reach a new audience. It’s about fact-imbedded art, or emotions and reasoning co-existing.

CSPA Quarterly 1.0

Our tenth issue anniversary! For this issue, we will breathe new life into our pilot issue, and will check in with those participating artists.

Earth Matters On Stage 2012 at Carnegie Mellon University

  There have been a bevvy of eco-theater conferences in recent years, but it’s great to bring it all together with Earth Matters on Stage, which took place this past May 31st-June 2 at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg, PA. It included a collection of performances, presentations and panels covering everything from carbon footprint to eco-dramaturgy. Session titles included: “Sustainable Design,” “Ecocriticism & Contemporary American Theater,” and “The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production,” among many others. That last one was by CSPA’s Ian Garrett, and involved discussions of all the usual players: Arcola Theatre, Julie’s Bicycle, the Broadway Green Alliance . . . Discussions of sustainable design carried throughout the festival and bled into discussion of performance throughout the weekend. Again and again: how do we make theatrical production more sustainable? How do we incorporate or cultural dialogue with the planet into the work? How do we make work that goes beyond “being less bad” into something that actually has a positive impact on the environment?

Below are a selection of photos from the event. Keynote speaker and performer was Holly Hughes, one of the NEA four, whose most recent work (“The Dog and Pony Show: Bring your own Pony,”) examines her relationship with her pets. Ecodrama Playwright competition winners this year included Chantal Bilodeau, whose work “Sila,” explores a cultural cross-section of inuit culture, scientific researchers, and polar bears, and Mark Rigney, whose play, “Bears,” depicts a slow deterioration of civilization through the intimate stories of a group of zoo-bound bears.  The work of Earth Matters founder Theresa May was ever-present in the discussion on eco-dramaturgy, and the weekend ended with a discussion of conferences past and future. The dialogue continues, as we discuss and discover more ways that our set of skills can serve the environment.

Greenwashing Alert: Rose Brand Neo-Flex

I receive a lot of mail, electronic and other wise, that deals with the lighting industry. My personal artistic practice is heavily centered in the discipline of lighting design and it behooves me to keep up with what is happening in the industry.

Lighting design in theater is uses alot of resources. The amount of electricity needed to illuminate a show is staggering even on the lowest levels, as compared to your average home or office.  And, since technology is not in a place where you can really design a show in a traditional sense, it will be a very hard transition to make headway in this sector of the performing arts. I won’t go into it much here, but will refer you to my paper, The Ecological Sustainability of Theatrical Lighting, on the site here.

This morning I received an email for Rose Brand, a company that makes curtains, expendables and useful items for theater production, based in Los Angeles. It is promoting their NeoFlex product.  It is a Flexible Linear Light, which may as well be called rope light. It uses LEDs and can come in different colors as well as an RGB color change model.  It is diffused to look like a solid linear light and since it uses LEDs, it is extremely energy efficient, which is to say it is marketable as “green.”

So is it green?

For any application which it is suited, yes, it is a more “green” solution that others on the market. I won’t say it’s the greenest; I’m not going to do a side by side analysis of similar products. But if you need a linear lighting solution, sure, it is.  If you’re looking for an alternative to neon, it would be a good one. Neon, relative to an incandescent bulb, is pretty efficient, so the energy savings wouldn’t be huge. But, it is safer since it is not breakable glass and doesn’t require the high voltages that neon does. And it won’t be as hot as neon. There are some design advantages too: it is flexible, reusable, doesn’t need to be made to order and the color options are greater, especially the color changing RGB.

What other applications does it have? You could use it for cove lighting… where you have a wash against a wall or the ceiling to provide indirect decorative lighting. You could use it for any light rope application as well. You’d probably only want to replace rope light that was decorative though because of the look of the NeoFlex as it is much more expensive.  But,  the point is that it is primarily decorative, not a particularly practical light source at all. As a designer, I’m more interested on what its applications are and what I can do with it. As a color changing, cool to the touch, flexible linear light source I’m interested in it. I like that it uses much less power, and my clients will like that it would save them money if they’re looking for the effect that it produces versus an alternative.

So is it green?

No.

Why? It doesn’t solve a problem. It offers an interesting solution to a design problem, but not a constructive solution to a particularly unsustainable and existing solution to that design problem.  It is a little more energy efficient than fiber optic solutions, but doesn’t do anything that you can’t already do with fiber optics. Furthermore, it uses more material and isn’t as adaptable as fiber optic solutions as I have used it.

There is a lot of lighting products out there being green washed.  LEDs aren’t yet practical or cost effective in general use, but they are pretty, colorful and you can control their use pretty extensively, so they are used a lot in theatrical settings. For putting color on stage or anywhere for that matter where you would otherwise use a lot of incandescent or halogen sources, LEDS offer a great step in the right direction on energy used and heat generated.  But, it seems that you stick an LED in something and it becomes green. It isn’t as green washed as the source four, which is marketed as green because it has high efficacy and outputs with 575w for which other instruments require 1000w, but it’s tiring.

Just because something use an LED doesn’t make it green, especially if you have developed it for the other benefits of LED use. It’s lazy marketing and a paid forward pitch for the marketing of the application, be it show or club or what have you, to pitch that application as one which use green technology over alternatives.

Using more of something which is more efficient is still using more.

Also in the email, which you can see if you click here, are the Flora Series of fabric hanging flowers, Design Master Colortool® Spray Paint, 12 oz. Cans and Panorama Tour Edition. What the first and last have to do at all with being green I don’t get and to call an aerosol paint “eco” because the can is partially recycled steel and it’s non-toxic after it dries is a  stretch (read the warnings on those labels folks). Be careful.