Sense Of Place

ALECC 2012 Biennial Conference

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada / Association pour la littérature, l’environnement et la culture au Canada (ALECC) is a non-profit organization focused on the creation, appreciation, discussion, analysis, and dissemination of knowledge about the work of nature writers, environmental writers and journalists, eco-artists of all disciplines, ecocritics, and ecotheorists in Canada. Collectively they are interested in artistic, critical and cultural studies work on activism, animals, ecology, the environment, environmental justice, geography, land, landscape, mountain literature and culture, nature and nature writing, natural history writing, plants, region, regionalism, the rural, sense of place, transborder environmental issues, wilderness and wilder places, and much more.

 2012 ALECC Conference

The 2012 ALECC Conference will be focused on “place” as an embodied, embedded, troubling, elusive, contested, personal, political, and ecological site in which space + memory = place, in an astonishingly complex range of ways.

The Okanagan was chosen as the location for this conference as it contains one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada and it is home to a vital indigenous culture, the Syilx or Okanagan Nation. Place is acknowledged through the co-hosting of the conference by Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. The conference (August 9 – 12) will take place in the largest community in the Okanagan—Kelowna—with workshops and events in Penticton at Okanagan College’s internationally acclaimed zero-carbon footprint building and at the post-secondary indigenous educational institution, the En’owkin Centre

Publication

The ALECC publishes twice a year an online journal, The Goose, with diverse sections, reflecting the contributions and suggestions they receive:

  • Editor´s Notebook
  • Reviews and Lists of New/Upcoming Publications
  • Edge Effects
  • Canadian Regional Feature
  • The Graduate Network:
  • Scatterings

If you want to know more about The Goose, contribute or read their previous issues, visit http://www.alecc.ca/goose.php

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

Call for Submissions: Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry

Cultural mapping, which spans many academic disciplines and methodologies, is informed by the observation that cultural phenomena are distributed spatially and that people experience the symbolic resources of their communities in spatial terms. While cultural mapping is firmly grounded in the world of academic disciplines and inquiry, it has a pragmatic dimension as well. In the Creative City Network of Canada’s Cultural Mapping Toolkit, for example, Cultural Mapping is defined pragmatically as “a process of collecting, recording, analyzing and synthesizing information in order to describe the cultural resources, networks, links and patterns of usage of a given community or group.” Cultural mapping is generally regarded as a systematic tool to identify and record local cultural assets—and these assets are thought of as “tangible” or quantitative (physical spaces, cultural organizations, public forms of promotion and self-representation, programs, cultural industries, natural heritage, cultural heritage, people, and resources) and “intangible” or qualitative (community narratives, values, relationships, rituals, traditions, history, shared sense of place). Together these assets help define communities in terms of cultural identity, vitality, sense of place, and quality of life.

Cultural mapping, then, is a theoretically informed research practice and a highly pragmatic planning and development tool.  But cultural mapping can also be viewed as a form of cultural production and expression. Mapping can itself be cultural—that is, animated by artists and artistic approaches to mapping collective and competing senses of place, space, and community. The Folkvine project in Florida (and the work of the Florida Research Ensemble generally); the memory mapping work of Marlene Creates and Ernie Kroeger; the storymapping of First Nations experiences in small cities documented by the Small Cities CURA; Map Art and Diagram Art from the Surrealists to the Situationists to the work of contemporary artists; Sound Mapping, sonic geographies, and acoustic ecology research: these alternative approaches to mapping culture and community are helping to expand and refine the possibilities for mapping as a form of cultural inquiry.

The editors of Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry seek submissions that address cultural mapping in all its forms and applications. Abstracts and inquiries should be sent by March 30, 2012 to Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts, Faculty of Arts, Thompson Rivers University: petts@tru.ca

Editors for the refereed book publication (to be published jointly by the Centro de Estudos Sociais at the University of Coimbra, Textual Studies in Canada and the Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance): David MacLennan, W.F. Garrett-Petts, and Nancy Duxbury.

Centro de Estudos Sociais: www.ces.uc.pt

The Small Cities CURA: www.smallcities.ca

San Francisco from Eugene

Our little blog has recently recovered from a little death and a little upgrade. Right now I’m in the middle of the Earth Matters on Stage EcoDrama Symposium (and working on plans to build an eco-art-blogger treehouse with my buddies Ian Garrett and Mike Lawler. You’re invited,  Matt Merkel-Hess!). There’s a lot to cover, including a greenmuseum-sponsored panel about Bioremediatve Performance, but for tonight I’d like to repost this overview of a Bay Area eco-art shout-out.

First off: the inaugural exhibit for Art at the Cheese Factory, Terrior: A sense of place. Guest Curated by Patricia Watts (and Guest Juried by gm’s Sam Bower), the exhibit includes photos, paintings, installations and performances by a breathtaking array of environmental artists. Yes. The exhibit continues until June 21st for those of you in the Marin area. Check out the website for a nice cranial buzz.

In San Francisco, New Langton Arts just opened an exhibition from Pae White called In Between the Outside-In. The central piece is a trapezoidal greenhouse/room framing a video screen. The projected image is a series of curling lines and unfolding patterns based on three-dimensional scans of an oak tree, a wild raspberry bush, and a manzanita grove. Those guys were all outside of Nevada City in California. White’s all about blurring the lines between site and non-site, I hear. The exhibit is up until the 18th of July.

Lastly: the Brower Center just opened. It’s a new center for environmental action with its own exhibition space in Berkeley, CA. Currently they’re running a series of photos by Sebastiao Salgado entitled Then and Now. They are big and black and white and stunning. They are people in environments. Upstairs in the space is an exhibit about activist David Brower, the building’s namesake: it’s what greenmuseum.org’s Sam Bower has been spending most of his time on these days.

Go to the Green Museum

Terroir at the Cheese Factory, Northern California

Finding a venue for both indoor and outdoor art installations, where foot traffic is high, is an art and nature curator’s dream. Last fall, a start up organization called Art at the Cheese Factory, invited me to guest curator the inaugural show at an historic cheese factory in Marin County, 45 minutes North of the Golden Gate Bridge. When I found out that foot traffic at the Marin Cheese Factory is 150,000 visitors a year, my immediate response was “lets do it.” I cannot tell you how many times I have organized group shows, working with over twenty artists, and then have 2,000 people actually come see the show during a two month viewing. It is so much work that I often wonder to myself “why do I do this?” After curating Hybrid Fields in 2006, in Sonoma County, I realized that art and agriculture, combined, are a regional favorite that captures the interest of both foodies and art lovers. Here where happy cows, goats, and sheep roam the hillsides, and vineyards abound, the real challenge has been engaging a culture of mostly landscape painters and object makers in a dialogue on the role that contemporary art can play in expanding the conversations on land and aesthetics. Not that there is isn’t an audience that can have this type of conversation, it has mostly been a resistance to what is perceived as an urban or “city” conversation. During a visit to the UK a little over a year ago, what intrigued me was the commitment by the government to support not only the arts in rural areas, but to also raise the level of conversation about the role rural populations play in the larger culture. It is almost as if the artist has been sent from the Art World to acknowledge what remains of the rural lifestyle that existed say in the 1950s and 60s. And, then there is the history of the place that intrigues the artist. Who lived there and why, their stories. These rich remains in rural areas are savored by artists.

Terroir: A Sense of Place is an exhibition of 28 artists from the Bay Area who through paintings, photography, sculpture, installations, and performative events offer their take on a relationship with soil, air, and water; all the elements that make up our watersheds, ecosystems, and local environment.

For more information go to the exhibition blog at http://artatthecheesefactory.blogspot.com

Go to EcoArtSpace