Sorts

looking backward, looking forward

This post comes to you from Shrimp Boat Projects

We are happy to report that we survived the first year of Shrimp Boat Projects.

Right before the holidays we had the pleasure of retracing our steps, so to speak, as we moved the F/V Discovery from its most recent home at April Fool Point back to the boatyard, the place where we began restoring our boat and now its winter berth. And we had the distinct pleasure of doing this in a fog so thick that, for the first time, we were beyond sight of land. Pea soup does not do this fog justice. We could have been anywhere. But, in a way, this trip exemplified virtually all of the expeditions we’ve made thus far. Each time we set out, we encounter new challenges, gain new knowledge, and build on what we already know.

As it was, we were definitely on Dickinson Bayou, the tributary to Galveston Bay that has became our umbilical cord of sorts in the last year. April Fool Point sits at the mouth of the bayou and the boatyard sits a few miles up the bayou. So we got to know this bayou a bit over the last few months as we first swam in it to cool off after long hours at the boatyard, and then as we began piloting down to the bay for our first days of shrimping, and then begrudgingly back up the bayou when the boat faltered and needed servicing.

As we piloted the boat back up the bayou one more time, the fog forced us to move ever so cautiously. Our trusty GPS chartplotter was our lifeline, helping us stay on course and in the channel of the bayou. Of course, it told us nothing about the course of other boats around us, anchored barges that might be in our way, or many other possible obstacles, so we stood watch on port and starboard sides. Apparently, everyone else knew better than to be on the water in this kind of fog, as we saw no other boats, save for a few barges appearing like hulking islands through the mist.  We heard later that a cargo ship and tanker ship had fallen victim to the fog, colliding near the Texas City dike. We moved at a snail’s pace up the bayou on eerily calm water,  laboring to remember the various landmarks and nuances of this route which, with its many hard turns, general shallowness and narrow channel, can seem treacherous even in perfect visibility.

Of course, every landmark we passed seemed like of ghost of its former self: the odd horseshoe island maintained as wildlife sanctuary by the Galveston Bay Foundation, the bridge at Rt. 146, the fleet of shrimp boats at Hillman’s Seafood, the beginning of the long stretch of flat marshland that define the upper reaches of the bayou, and the giant utility towers that seem to rise up from nowhere.

It was the boatyard that was most welcome landmark to finally see again, marked by its many cranes rising up in the distance. Not only was this the end of our trip, but also a refuge for the boat deep up the bayou where we knew it would be more sheltered from the weather while allowing easy access for a few improvements we need to make over the winter. We piloted the boat ever more cautiously on water flat as glass into the narrow slot John had generously afforded us right between the massive barge he’s nearly finished building and the tug boat that’s his latest project. Despite this awkward slip and the very shallow waters, we managed to pull off our best docking job yet, redeeming ourselves for all of the miscues and botched attempts of the past few months. Now with the boat in its winter berth and the shrimping season on the d.l. for a while, we are regrouping, reading, reflecting and finishing our planning for 2012 and beyond. Stay tuned!

 

Shrimp Boat Projects is a creative research project that explores the regional culture of the Houston area. The primary site of the investigation is a working shrimp boat on Galveston Bay which serves as a catalyst for labor, discussion and artistic production. Shrimp Boat Projects is co-created by Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, artists-in-residence at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Go to Shrimp Boat Projects

Aesthetics, Art, and Politics at University of Helsinki

Finnish Society for Aesthetics
PO Box 4, FIN-0 0 0 1 4 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
www.estetiikka.fi

“Aesthetics, Art, and Politics,” 6.5.-7.5.2010, University of Helsinki

The Finnish Society for Aesthetics together with the research project Artification and its Impact on Art (http://www.artification.fi/) will arrange a two-day seminar on the theme “Aesthetics, Art, and Politics” from the 6th of May to the 7th of May 2010 at the University of Helsinki. The keynote speaker of the seminar is Professor Aleš Erjavec (Slovenia).

Significant connections between aesthetics, art, and politics continue to exist in the new millennium. However, alongside traditional questions about art’s relationship to politics and the political aspects of aesthetic phenomena, a new set of issues has gradually arisen which are as much a
result of changes occurring in aesthetics and art as they are a result of changes that have recently shaped politics. The criticism that different traditions of contemporary aesthetics have aimed against the idea of “pure aesthetics,” i.e., an aesthetics severed from political considerations, has been widely accepted. But what is the position of aesthetic theories which emphasize the social function of art and aesthetics today? Do the main traditions of contemporary aesthetics any longer manage to account for the current forms that the relationship between aesthetics, art, and politics takes or are novel approaches required for analyzing those connections?

Many other social practices besides art are to a growing extent characterized by features which have traditionally been associated primarily with art. What sorts of aesthetic and political consequences could this process known as “artification” involve? What are the effects of this development, for
example, to the alleged autonomous nature of art or is this supposition a mere fallacy anyway? Different artistic traditions and movements embody different kinds of ideologies. How should one understand the relationship between art and politics in a world where faith in the impact of politics is
increasingly diminishing? Changes of approach in recent art research also provide a new outlook on the theme of the seminar. Do the different research approaches articulate specific views of the connection between aesthetics and politics and what sorts of political underpinnings, if any, could these approaches themselves involve?

MAMMUT MAGAZINE #4 :: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

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MAMMUT MAGAZINE #4 :: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

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WORKING TITLE: Solastalgia

What happens when the climate changes around you but you are still in the same location?

The fourth issue of Mammut Magazine will investigate the effects of climate change on the human psyche, focusing on a new definition of sadness called “solastalgia.” Coined by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, it refers to a form of homesickness felt while still at home, particularly as it refers to the perceived change in one’s home environment caused by climate change. A parallel of sorts to nostalgia, solastalgia was created by combining the Latin words solacium, meaning comfort, and algia, meaning pain.

Albrecht created the term in 2003 after interviewing scores of Australians, many of whom noted that they felt a deep sense of loss as the landscape changed around them and familiar plants and animals were gone. “They no longer feel like they know the place they’ve lived for decades,” Albrecht said in a 2007 Wired interview.

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Mammut Magazine is looking for essays and artwork that:

>>> deals with, affirms or denies the idea of solastalgia

>>> investigates how we define our sense of belonging through our environment

>>> confronts how we are (or will be) affected individually and collectively by these changes.

We welcome contributions from all fields, while keeping in mind the magazine’s general focus on art and the environment.

The fourth issue of Mammut is being guest edited by Ian Garrett, the executive director of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. http://www.sustainablepractice.org

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IMPORTANT DATES

>>> Proposal deadline: January 15, 2010

Please send a short outline of your project and/or images to mammutmag@gmail.com

>>> If chosen, the final submission deadline will be March 1, 2010

>>> Anticipated release date: late April / Early May 2010

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For more about Mammut Magazine, please visit http://www.mammutmagazine.org