RSA Arts & Ecology

George Monbiot, Franny Armstrong, The Age of Stupid at RSA May 22

As part of the national launch of The Age of Stupid we’re having a special screening here at the RSA on May 22. Afterwards George Monbiot, director Franny Armstrong and Dr Richard Betts of the Climate Impacts research unit at the Met Office will be joining a discussion that will be broadcast via the web to other cinemas around the country. The event is free but you must book. See RSA Arts & Ecology for more details.

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Interview with activist/video maker Leo Murray

I’ve just posted an interview that Caleb Klaces did with Leo Murray for on the main RSA Arts & Ecology website. Murray did the clever little viral video Wake Up Freak Out – Then Get a Grip which has been doing the rounds on the net.

Art has the ability to move people in a way that nothing else does. In the world we live in today, screen media is the most prominent cultural feature. People spend the majority of their waking hours staring at screens (computers and TVs), which gives you a clue if you’re trying to propagate social change. If you don’t try and come at people through their screens you’re just standing behind them tapping them on the shoulder saying “Hey, over here…”. It’s really clear that there’s no way to bring about the social change that we need to deal with climate change without the use of screen media. Aside from mass media, I’m pretty certain that The Age of Stupid [which Murray animated the first three minutes of] is the most powerful tool to motivate people around climate change that exists now. It does the opposite of what I do in my film, it barely addresses the science at all. It’s set in the future and uses narrative to suck you in. Taking a historical view seems a very productive perspective…

Read the whole interview.

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End of the world party

The artist Bob and Roberta Smith (aka Patrick Brill) will be performing “apathetic music” at the End of the world party at Spring House, Camden, London on May 14, alongside performances from Leigh Clarke, Victor Mount and others. Limited places. Email

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10 YouTube videos from artists responding to the environment

Gemma Lloyd has put together this list of 10 artists responding on the Respond! site, which includes Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, a slightly scratchy talk on Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, film of Aleksandra Mir creating her First Woman On The Moon and this one by Tomas Saraceno:


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John Kinsella/Melanie Challenger | Travelling by other means

I’m really pleased to say that the RSA Arts & Ecology site is hosting a new artwork. It’s a collaborative piece of poetry created by Melanie Challenger and John Kinsella called Dialogue between the body and the soul.

The idea came from a reading that both poets were invited to in New York in 2007. Though they had worked together — John had edited Melanie’s debut collection —  they’d never actually met, so the event would have given them both that chance. Kinsella lives in Australia; Challenger lives in the UK. But both were becoming increasingly uneasy about the idea of artists travelling internationally just to give readings of their own work.

In the end, neither travelled to New York. Instead, they’ve decided to create this collaborative work which comes from their decisions to eschew air travel for such events.

The first poem arrived in my email box yesterday; it’s posted on the site today, initiating the exchange. Take a look. I’m loving the idea of seeing a piece of work like this evolve in my email inbox.

You can link to the poems here

Photo: Roger Bishop

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Dialogue between the body and the soul

The poets Melanie Challenger and John Kinsella have vowed never to take transatlantic flights to promote their work. For practitioners of a form which often struggles for wider attention, to restrict themselves this way has been a difficult decision. In this new commission for RSA Arts & Ecology, they are collaborating over the next few weeks in an extraordinary exchange of poems that explores their decision. The poems are published online as they arrive.
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