James Marriott

Oil, photography

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Following up on Louis Helbig‘s presentation at Edinburgh College of Art comes Suzaan Boettger’s review in Brooklyn Rail of three books of photography of oil landscapes, Burtynsky’s Oil, J. Henry Fair’s The Day After Tomorrow: Images of our Earth in Crisis, and Richard Misrach and Kate Orff’s Petrochemical America.

The review addresses the approaches of the three photographers and comments on their aesthetic and art historical context.  There is a larger piece of work which would encompass, for instance, the also important books by James Marriott/PLATFORM including Next Gulf: London, Washington and the Oil Conflict in Nigeria and The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London.

These books provide a counterpoint because rather than focusing on the visual in the context of the industrial, they narrate the relationship between the impact on the lives of people living with the oil industry and our lives in London, or Scotland, or wherever and how we are complicit through financial investments, whether that’s JP Morgan Chase or Royal Bank of Scotland. 

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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State of the Arts gets the environment

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes: 

At the most recent State of the Arts (SOTA) conference hosted by Arts Council England in Salford had, for the first time, two sessions on ‘Artists and our future environment’, with speakers James Marriott from PLATFORM; the writer Jay GriffithsMojisola Adebayo, writer, performer, director; and Andy Field, co-director of Forest Fringe.

All of SOTA’s sessions – on the creative economy, changing society, imagination, fundraising – touch on environmental themes. But these two drew out specific questions of the relations between artists and environments, of the material effects of artistic practices on the Earth, and of the importance of artistic expression of environmental themes.

This interest by SOTA in the environment comes about, in part, from talks between ACE London and arts organisations with an environmental focus in the London region – organisations who had lost their Regularly Funded Organisation status, and questioned ACE’s policies on the environment and climate.

James Marriott’s session, transcribed on the PLATFORM blog, sets out how this collaboration between disparate organisations has worked, and how substantial shifts in ACE’s environmental directions are taking shape.

“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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New metaphors for sustainability: the sailboat

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

We continue our series of New metaphors for sustainability with the sailboat, suggested by James Marriott, artist, activist, member of PLATFORM. 

The boat for me is a very powerful metaphor. Sustainability is a rather grey and unclear term, but if it means anything, it means that we have to live with the finite resources of the earth. We have to deal with this in our generation and pass it on to future generations.

It is this sense of the finite capacity that I find interesting and comes to me through the experience of boats. I mean boats which are driven by sail and by oar – that use the motive power of the wind and the tide captured through wood and flax and hemp and use that to move from ‘a’ to ‘b’.

I’ve been learning to sail, and it’s been a wonderful experience. It makes you extremely aware of the forces of nature – it makes it very intimate. You’re at the mercy of the winds. You have to work with the tides – the skill comes from using whatever is there, that finite amount of power.

The finiteness, too, comes from the space of the boat itself. You have to pack everything in it that you might need or want. The boat frames my needs and desires about where I can go and how long it’s going to take me.

It concentrates the mind about the nature of the space in which I’m in, and about the wind and the water and the movement of the tide and the flow of the river.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory