Robert Butler

Reports from Fukushima

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‘Ghost Town’, photo by and copyright Su Grierson

Wallace Heim writes:

Artist Su Grierson has been sending updates to ecoartscotland on her 10-week residency in Kitakata, Fukushima Province, Japan. Su emphasises that she is there as an artist, not a journalist, and she is only able to report what she is told, often through translation, and what she sees herself without external verification.

Su’s reports evoke the everyday life of those living with the continuing effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in stories of rescue, luck and tragedy.

Two excerpts:

19 February
Su visits the Scottish artist Aenaes Wilder and they drive to the coast north from Kitikata, an area decimated by the earthquake and tsunami.

‘Aenaes was keen to revisit the area which still holds horror images and a memory of the smell that he was still needing to come to terms with … He told me the story of how only one small town survived undamaged. Many years ago the Mayor of this town had insisted on building the sea defence wall many meters higher than anywhere else had even considered. He was laughed at and his wall was the subject of jokes throughout his lifetime. After 11 March his town was the only one in the area where not a single person died. The very next day the local people began laying flowers on his grave.’ more

11 February
The Director of Minamisouma City Museum guides Su and other artists through the area nearest to the nuclear disaster site.

‘We carried radiation monitors in the car (you can buy them in the Home Centre)…
Miles of empty houses including whole villages with cars, lorries and tractors left abandoned because they are too contaminated to be moved. The ghost towns with their traffic lights still working are an eerie and disturbing sight especially in near blizzard conditions. Houses of all sizes are left abandoned with police patrol cars driving round as protection. These black-and-white cars with their silent red rotating beacons add an almost holocaust atmosphere as they glide around the empty roads…

The scale of all this is so huge it is only by seeing it that any idea of scale can really be imagined. I was told that in this Province there are 100,000 refuges and 200,000 in the next Province and there are more in many other areas.’  more

The residency, involving four artists, is working towards an exhibition with the Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art on the theme Spirit of the North.
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“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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New on Ashden Directory’s News Page

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for Burning Ice #6, copyright Sarah Vanagt

Environmental Arts Festival Scotland is calling for projects connected to land, energy, the coast, rural living, Dark Skies, climate change, and more.

Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeis calling for ideas on the theme of Tracing the Tacit, for retreats exploring the underlying ideas, influences and concepts informing artists’ practices.

The work of art in critical times works out on energy, economy and environment at a symposium in Falmouth.

Wasteland Conversations in Nottinghamtake on utopia, community and ecology.

Also in Nottingham, and in London, the vacuum cleaner talks: ‘I Went Mental and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt’ .

And in Brussels, Kaaitheater looks at animals looking back for their Burning Ice #6 Festival.

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“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Chasing Ice Chases Oscar

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Kellie Gutman writes: Chasing Ice a film about National Geographic photographer James Blalog’s quest to document the melting glaciers, has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.  The film, directed by Jeff Orlowski, chronicles Blalog’s three-year project setting up time-lapse cameras to chronicle the effects of climate change on the great glaciers of the world.  Although the film is in limited release, the Oscar nomination should bring more attention to it.  Screenings in the UK, Canada and the US are listed here.

Chasing Ice has won twenty-three awards at film festivals, including the Environmental Media Association’s Best Documentary Award.  The nominated song, “Before My Time,” was written by J. Ralph. It is performed by Scarlett Johansson and violinist Joshua Bell.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Jennifer Monson live, indoors, at The Kitchen

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Wallace Heim writes: Tomorrow, at The Kitchen in New York City, the movement artist Jennifer Monson starts Live Dancing Archive, a week of live performances, video installation and a digital archive.

One of the first stories on the Ashden Directory in 2000 featured Jennifer’s project BIRD BRAIN Dance, a dance touring project following the migratory pathways of birds and grey whales in the northern and southern hemispheres. Jennifer’s work in the UKcontinued with Water Log, an outdoor movement project across the sands of Morecambe Bay. She returned to America and now is director of iLAND (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance), developing collaborative art and environmental projects.

The New Yorker previews her show:

‘For more than a decade, this esteemed improviser has done most of her dancing outdoors, following the migrations of animals and exploring the connections between dance and scientific research. In Live Dancing Archive, she reconstructs some of those outdoor experiences, attempting to reveal the traces a place might leave on a body. But the work is equally, if even more obliquely, about Monson’s history as a dancer, a queer performer, and an ever-questioning mind’.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Sanitation is culture

talking with
Brooklyn Museum employee Peggy Johnson

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes: In New York last week, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, artist in residence since 1977 for the New York City Department of Sanitation, conducted a series of live interviews with Brooklyn Museum’s daily maintenance staff, window washers, floor sweepers, security guards, and told them what they do is “the first kind of culture”.

In her performance, which also included architects and city planners, she asked each person a series of questions: How do you personally survive? What do you need to do to keep going? What happens to your dreams and your freedom when you do the things you have to do to keep surviving? What keeps New York Cityalive? What does the city need to do to survive after Sandy?.

Ukeles told the workers, “Here’s the museum with all this stuff, and then there’s what you do. You are culture, and your work is culture. And the endless hours that will never be done, that’s what enable us to be in an institution like this. Mopping up the garbage from yesterday. It’s safe. And the things in here are taken care of. That’s culture.”

Full interview with Ukeles on Gallerist NY.
photo: Carole DeBeer, courtesy Brooklyn Museum.

h/t to ecoartscotland.net

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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From six seasons to two

Bronze-winged jacana.  Photo: India nature watch

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Kellie Gutman writes:

The state of Orissa, located in east-central India, was once known for having six seasons.  Not only were there six, Grishmar (summer), Barsha (rainy), Sarata (autumn), Hemanta (dew), Sisira (winter), and Basanta (spring), each two months long, but the people in the area could forecast the onset of each one by the behaviour of certain birds.  For instance, the bronze-winged jacana would lay its eggs during the monsoons, so its mating calls signaled the arrival of the rains.

But climate change has brought excessive heat to Orissa, and now people say there are only two seasons: rains and summer. Winter is just a short transition between them.

The Glass Half Full Theatre in Austin, Texas, which crafts “Environmental Puppetry” is putting on Once There Were Six Seasons, opening February 13, 2013.  Environmental Puppetry uses very small puppets on large landscapes with visible puppeteers.  The puppetry focuses on the changing landscapes more than on the actual puppets.  Their earlier work, Bob’s Hardware, about a small family-owned hardware store being pushed out by a big-box store can be seen here:

Once There Were Six Seasons is based on the story of Orissa’s seasons, as told to the artistic director, Caroline Reck, on her visit to India.

See: What happened to the seasons

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Peace on earth

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Ashden DirectoryKellie Gutman writes: OVERVIEW is a short documentary with near-constant views of the earth from space interspersed with comments form astronauts, philosophers and writers. The word “overview” is used to refer to the astronauts’ views of the earth. It was released December 7th, 2012 and is a prelude to a film in the making, CONTINUUM.  OVERVIEW gives a strong sense of the world being one environment, and a very fragile one, that needs to be protected.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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The tide could turn with ‘Ten Billion’

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Wallace Heim writes:

Theatre critic Kate Abbott in today’s Guardian joins Michael Billington in reporting a life-changing experience watching Ten Billion at the Royal Court.

Like the facts that Stephen Emmott presented, Abbott can recite the well-polished instructions to “help us out of this hole”:

“Never buying a car, iPod, or cotton T-shirt again … stopping our addiction to fossil fuels, starting a mass-desalination programme, building green energy power points on every strip of land, harnessing every scrap of wind, and every turn of the tide …”

But one change is missing. What about demanding that theatre itself changes? What about demanding that mainstream theatre no longer turns away from the compelling emotional, moral and intellectual questions of how humans can continue to live in a time of climate instability? Theatre is more than science, more than facts, more than an instruction manual. What about demanding that theatre takes on its full life-changing role, somewhere between fiction and fact, and becomes the place where audiences wrestle with their future?

See ‘Ten Billion’ from another side.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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‘Ten Billion’ changes Billington

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Stephen Emmott in Ten Billion

Wallace Heim writes:

Michael Billington in today’s Guardian nominates Ten Billion as the ‘most momentous theatrical performance’ of 2012. The show was a lecture by Stephen Emmott, at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, on the consequences of human overpopulation and climate change.

Billington writes: ‘I came out shaking with fear, but also moved by theatre’s capacity to confront the emergency facing our planet.

‘This was theatre doing what it does best: confronting us with unpalatable facts about our very existence. This doesn’t mean that there is no room for invented stories or that King Lear and The Lion King have suddenly become redundant. But Ten Billion, directed by Katie Mitchell, shocked us into a new awareness of the future, and even the existing present, with ecosystems being destroyed, the atmosphere polluted, temperatures rising and a billion people facing water shortages.

‘I don’t know a single person who saw it who didn’t feel it was a life-changing experience. If enough people, especially those in positions of power, could see Emmott’s lecture, it might, just might, help to save our planet from destruction’.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Powered by WPeMatico

Turkey limerick: melting glaciers

Melting Glaciers in the Himalayas (Credit: top-10-list.org)

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Kellie Gutman writes: Unable to pass up the opportunity to submit an “Environmental Turkey of 2012” in the form of a limerick, to the Nicholas School of Environment contest at Duke University, I have chosen the epidemic of melting glaciers worldwide as my subject.  The contest, open to American citizens, ends at midnight Eastern Standard Time tonight.

My offering:

As the global temperature warms
Our planet reacts with fierce storms.
The impact is felt
When our glaciers melt
And the coastline around us re-forms.

“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.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Powered by WPeMatico