Nature Experience

Lillian Ball: Waterwash ABC

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Lillian Ball works in New York as an environmental artist and activist. She has a multidisciplinary background in anthropology, ethnographic film, and sculpture, which influences her work. Furthermore she has received numerous awards and has traveled widely due to her international exhibitions.

Her latest project Waterwash ABC includes the construction of a wetland park, improvement of habitat as well as increase of public access to Bronx River. Its aim is to filter storm runoff and create consciousness among the community for watershed issues by means of an aesthetic nature experience.  The need for restoration and revitalization of areas challenged by stormwater issues is widespread in waterfront areas worldwide.

The vision of Lilian Ball was a vegetated swale with native plants, permeable pavement, and educational signage explaining the need for non-point source stormwater management in private as well as public places.  The transformation of a neglected space into a public outreach park is supposed to inspire community commitment to stormwater issues.

The runoff from the parking lot and the roof of the ABC Carpet and Home retail facility at 1055 Bronx River Ave was emptied unfiltered into the Bronx River. Ball’s project aims to alter this fact. Rocking the Boat is the fiscal agent for this Bronx River Watershed Initiative in order to construct a wetland habitat that stabilizes the shoreline to detain and filter the outfalls before they enter the river.

Rocking the Boat students will plant a variety of salt-tolerant native species and help the  ABC personnel in planting the community vegetable garden and maintain the site. Above that a hydrologic monitoring will be carried out by Rocking the Boat environmental apprentices.

In that way the project creates a permanent, publicly visible remediation, habitat restoration, and educational site. Above that it acts as a green infrastructure model.
For more information see http://lillianball.com/waterwash/index.html and  www.rockingtheboat.org

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Approaches to Arts-based Environmental Education by Jan van Boeckel

Image from Nature Art Education site

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The Shorelines Symposium which took place at Rozelle Maclaurin included presentations by two keynotes Ian McGilchrist (author of The Master and his Emissary), Chris Drury (artist) as well as a number of others.

The Symposium was organised in conjunction with Alison Bell and Cathy Treadaway‘s exhibition Shorelines currently at in the Maclaurin Galleries.  It was great that a Symposium of this quality took place in Ayr.  We need more of this quality of thinking and discussion.

Jan van Boeckel of the Nature – Art – Education research group at Aalto University, School of Art and Design, Helsinki, gave a short paper entitled Angels talking back and new organs of perception: Art making and intentionality in nature experience.  He has provided the abstract and link to the full paper.

ABSTRACT

This article is about the role of artistic process in connecting to the natural environment. In my research I have explored what participants experienced and learned when they engage in different types of arts-based environmental education (AEE) practices that I have facilitated. The premise of AEE is that efforts to learn about our (natural) environment can effectively take their starting point in an artistic activity, usually conducted in groups.

I found that, on the whole, two major orientations can be distinguished. One starts from the point of aesthetic sensibility: the tuning in with the senses, or with “a new organ of perception” (Goethe), in order to perceive “the more than human” with fresh new eyes. This tradition can be traced back to (but is by no means limited) to the Romantic Movement. Art in this context may help to amplify the receptivity of the senses and strengthen a sense of connectedness to the natural world.

The other major orientation in seeking bridges between nature and art builds on a view of artistic process as leading to unexpected outcomes and “emergent properties.” The fundamentally singular experience of making a work of art may evoke an aesthetic object that becomes a “self-sufficient, spiritually breathing subject” (Kadinsky). The art work can be spontaneously generative and multi-layered with meanings, some of which even ambiguous and paradoxical. But perhaps more importantly: it can catch the participant of an AEE activity by surprise; overwhelm him or her as “coming from behind one’s back.” The element of improvisation, of taking in the new and unanticipated and accommodating for it, is the core quality here.

These two orientations, when practiced as part of AEE, have implications to how we relate to nature through art. In the closing of this article I address the question whether it is possible to bridge the dualism between the two orientations.

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