Sustainable City

Residency Opp and Green Teas(e) Reflections – Creative Carbon Scotland

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Our friends and colleagues at Creative Carbon Scotland have a call out for artists to participate in a residency,

Mull is a multi-disciplinary weekend-long residency which explores the question, ‘What would it mean to be an artist working in a sustainable Scotland in 50 years’ time?’ through artistic practice and conversation. We’re looking for up to ten artists to apply their curiosity and unique skills to imagining what being an artist in a sustainable Scotland might look like in the future – what that would mean, how it would affect artistic content, what infrastructure it would require in order to function and how artists and the arts will have shaped a sustainable Scotland.  More info here.

They have also been running a programme of Green Tea(se) in Glasgow to build up the discussion about what a sustainable city and cultural sector might look like.  They’ve been blogging the outcomes of the events.  Green Teas(e) is part of a wider EU project called the Green Arts Lab Alliance. To find out more, click here.

If you want to contribute to imagining a more sustainable cultural sector, then come along and join the conversation. 

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.
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Artists’ Plans for Sustainability – June 5th at Warwick Arts Centre

Wednesday 5th June 2-4.30pm

beuysimageOne of the Creative Spaces’ research focuses has been the role of the arts and artists in developing sustainable cities. Following our curiosity, we would like to take the opportunity of Mead Gallery’sexhibition “Artists’ Plans for Sustainability” to invite three artists to give 15-minute presentations of their work. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Warwick academics, addressing the question of:

The Role of Art in Developing the Sustainable City’

Visitors attending the roundtable will have the opportunity to comment or ask questions.

The event is free but places are limited, so please reserve a place in advance by phoning Warwick Arts Centre box office: 024 76524524.

Artists:

  • Nils Norman, Ion Sørvin (N55) and Carolyn Deby (sirenscrossing)

Academics:

  • Dr Nicolas Whybrow (chair, Theatre and Performance Studies)
  • Dr Cath Lambert (Sociology)
  • Dr Jonathan Vickery (Cultural Policy Studies)
  • Dr Ria Dunkley (IATL and Cardiff University Sustainable Places Institute)
  • Dr Susan Haedicke (Theatre and Performance Studies)
  • Nese Tosun (PhD candidate, Theatre and Performance Studies)

Creative Spaces is a network member of the AHRC-funded ‘Making Sense of
Sustainability’ arts and social sciences collaboration based at Cardiff
University.(PDF Document)


Creative Spaces Research at the moment focuses on two main areas:

The Role of the Arts in Developing Sustainable Cities

For Rosalyn Deutsche urban space is not only socially-produced but agonistic. Thus, the practices of urban societies – that which its various constituencies do or are allowed to do – defines or creates the space of the city, and such space is dependent for its very condition of existence on that which is produced by ‘conflicting interests’. As Henri Lefebvre puts it with regard to the abstract space of modernism and capital: ‘Inasmuch as [such space] tends towards homogeneity, towards the elimination of existing differences or peculiarities, a new space cannot be born (produced) unless it accentuates differences’ (1991: 52).

Read more (PDF) >  (PDF Document)

Venice and Sustainability

The city of Venice conveys an impression of sinking. It is known to be doing so literally – some twenty-three centimetres in the last century – with the fabric and foundations of buildings gradually dissolving and the seasonal floods of the acqua alta on the increase, whilst figuratively the sheer weight of tourists – estimated at 16.5 million annually – can be said to be forcing the city down and its citizens to ‘jump ship’ in a desperate bid to save their futures.

Read more (PDF) > (PDF Document)

Minutes of the previous meetings are available here:

24.10.2012 (PDF Document)

30.01.2013 (PDF Document)

Land and Energy Pt. 2 – review of ‘The Time Is Now’

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Review of The Time Is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City

There is no question that energy generation impacts on landscape, both urban and rural. It always has. The current re-engineering of systems towards renewable energy is, on one level, not different. Wind turbines are just one example around which there is a very polarised debate. As a result there has been considerable work done in Scotland on the visual as well as environmental impact. Sophisticated modelling of proposed installations in landscape contexts has become a normal part of public consultation processes. There is now for instance a mobile virtual landscape theatre, developed by The James Hutton Institute.  Behind the issues of visual and environmental impact there is a significant public policy commitment in Scotland. This public policy commitment drives funding and decision-making to deliver on the targets. It is intended to shape or focus the market on agreed public priorities.

The Land Art Generator Initiative comes at these issues from a different perspective. The initiative seeks to engage artists, architects and designers in the development of mid and large scale renewable energy infrastructure. The first international design competition focused on the United Arab Emirates and was sponsored by Madsar, “Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted initiative advancing the development, commercialisation and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions”. The Time Is Now documents the winners and runners up, and a total of 51 of the hundreds of entries.

The Foreword argues that there is a fundamental shift taking place, moving energy generation into a prominent position within our lived environments, which presents new challenges. They say,

As the days of the gas or coal fired power plant at the farthest outskirts of the city come to a close, we will find more and more integration of energy production within the fabric of our communities. Because the renewable forms of energy generation such as solar and wind do not pollute in their daily operations, they are more likely to find their way into proximity with residential and commercial neighbourhoods. (p.16)

This articulation of the challenge does not perhaps fully recognise the complexity of the issue in, for instance, Scotland. As suggested above, and we’ll return to below, it is not merely in proximity to neighbourhoods that the challenge arises: wind generation installations even in fairly remote locations will stoke the debate.

There is also precedent for the involvement of architects, artists and designers in mid and large scale energy infrastructure. Tate Modern was a power station located in the heart of London, and there was considerable debate about the location, which in the end was driven by an energy crisis. The reason why the new use was sought for the Bankside Power Station was precisely that it was a building of considerable architectural merit. Bankside was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who was also the architect of Liverpool Cathedral as well as the eponymous red telephone box. Whilst it is perhaps self-evident that at various points in history artists and designers have been asked to address large scale energy generation installations, it is interesting to think that the best examples are of such importance that they become art galleries.

The metaphor employed for the design of power stations at the time was the cathedral of power, intending to emphasise the prestige and modernity of electricity (see the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society papers for references).

The metaphors that drive these proposals are relevant to reflect upon. Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By (2003) clearly articulates the importance of not just those rhetorical metaphors such as associating power stations with cathedrals, but the more embedded metaphors of architecture and conflict that underpin so much language and thought, and therefore planning and action. Beth Carruther’s essay ‘Possible Worlds’, included in The Time Is Now, addresses this important point.

Within the suite of proposals included in The time is now there is a cluster of power metaphors: the winning team’s proposal Lunar Cubit uses the form of pyramids; there’s a team who’s proposal Solar Eco System uses a depiction solar system (arranged as it was at the point that the United Arab Emirates came into existence in 1971).

There’s another cluster of nature metaphors: the second placed team’s Windstalk proposal looks very much like a field of grass; Solarbird references sea waves, birds, fish and trees; Fern (future/energy/renewable/nature) also applies a natural form to a photovoltaic array.  A significant number of proposals explored the shape and pattern of dunes in their proposals.

And there is a cluster of indigenous culture metaphors: Solaris deploys the photovoltaic array referencing decorative patterns in local culture – the blue colour of the panels accentuates the reference, and this patterning also appears in PV Dust. Another team also named their proposal Solaris, but drew on a tent metaphor.

Whilst The Time Is Now is full of illustrations, almost all using the same sorts of landscape visualisation tools mentioned above, there are other aspects of impact, in particular cultural impact that cannot be effectively captured through architectural and landscape design technologies.

Robert MacFarlane, one of those currently reinvigorating landscape writing in the UK, unpacks the complexity of cultural impacts in his essay A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook (2010). His subject is the Brindled Moor on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The context of his writing is the proposal for a wind ‘power station’ of 234 turbines each 140 metres high with a blade span of 80 metres (the terminology of ‘farm’ seeks to elide the reality: these installations are dispersed power stations). MacFarlane reports that each turbine required a foundation of 700 cubic metres of concrete and goes on to note that, “5 million cubic metres of rock and 2.5 million cubic metres of peat would be excavated and displaced”.

The arguments for and against this development rotated around issues of landscape value, not merely visibility. On the one hand MacFarlane quotes the writer Ian Jack, in support of the installation, described the interior of Lewis as, “a vast, dead place: dark brown moors and black lochs under a grey sky, all swept by a chill wet wind”.

MacFarlane highlights the cultural value and complexity of the landscape, challenging its dismissal as a ‘dead place’. He explores in detail the richness of language associated with this landscape, his starting point being to challenge the idea that this is terra nullius. Of course one of the key points he is making is that most colonisation is based on the principle of terra nullius, and that one of the key forms of counter by indigenous peoples in, for instance, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is to demonstrate the deep connection to land. MacFarlane goes on to argue that this landscape of “…peat-bog, peat-hag, heather, loch and lochan…” has a rich and deep language associated with it. He directs the reader’s attention to the text Some Lewis Moorland Terms: A Peat Glossary prepared by Finlay MacLeod, and containing 126 terms. MacFarlane celebrates the saving of the moor and the rejection of the energy generation installation which would have, in his view, desecrated the place.

If we are to make intelligent decisions about how and where to build mid and large scale renewable energy installations, then we definitely need artists, architects and designers to contribute to the development of schemes that acknowledge the aesthetic impacts, and actively seek to create beauty as well as functionality. But we also need to assure that the locations are not treated as terra nullius or without cultural meaning. The tools are not just those of landscape visualisation, they are also of landscape language and lived experience. Engaging and embracing cultural meaning, perhaps in deeper ways than simple symbolism, could lead to imaging more interesting solutions, whether that’s for a piece of desert, moorland or for a settlement – village or city.

The Land Art Generator Initiative operates on a biennial cycle, and the current round focuses on Fresh Kills, a former landfill site on Staten Island in New York City. This location is now of deep cultural significance, being the place that the remains of the World Trade Center was deposited post 9/11. It’s also a place that has been the focus of work by the artist Merle Laderman Ukeles for many years.

You can purchase your copy of The time is now here http://www.kinokuniya.com/sg/index.php/fbs003?common_param=9789814286756 .

References

Land Art Generator Initiative. (2012). The Time Is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City.  Page One: Singapore

Evans, G. & Robson, D. (2010). Towards Re-Enchantment: Place and its Meanings. ArtEvents: London.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By (2nd Edition). University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.

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

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ISEA 2011 Istanbul, Turkey

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

This post is long over due by a couple months! To summarize, ecoartspace was invited to speak at the International Society of Electronic Arts or ISEA 2011 symposium in Istanbul in September on a panel called Public Art in the Sustainable City by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry from Dubai who also recently invited us to be jurors on the upcoming Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills landfill) in Staten Island. Other panelists included Glen Lowry who presented a project he is working on with a large team of architects and artists linking Dubai and Vancouver; and Nacho Zamora from Spain gave a talk about Solar Artworks. ecoartspace presented examples of sustainable public art projects in North America including references for developing public art master plans that focus on ecological systems, much of what was posted HERE on the ecoartspace blog back in May 2011. It was a very productive trip and was made possible through supporters who donated money for artworks via IndieGoGo (Take Me To Constantinople). Patricia Watts kept a personal blog of her journey which you can read HERE.

We also had the opportunity to meet two Turkish artists suggested to us that are doing video work addressing environmental issues, Ethem Özgüven and Genco Gülan. Özgüven has directed short films, videoart and documentaries since 1986 and currently teaches students at Istanbul’s Bilgi University how to harness media for environmental education.

Synopsis: Shopping Water is a fairy tale prophesizing capitalisms deliterious effects on global warming. Woman (Katherine Müller) finds herself in an ancient sunken city (Myndos) while shopping for bottled water. The installation points out that, if we continue along our current path of comsumption, we might all need to learn to live underwater.

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

The Sustainable City and the Arts

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Update: the deadline for the abstracts submission for the ESA (European Sociological Association) Conference in Geneva has been extended until March 8th 2011.

Call for Papers for the Research Stream which will take place in the forthcoming conference of the European Sociological Association from 7. to 10. of Sept. 2011 in Geneva.

10th Conference of the European Sociological Association

7th-10th Sept. 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

“Social Relations in Turbulent Times”

RESEARCH STREAM
“The Sustainable City and the Arts”
CALL FOR PAPERS

The study of the arts and the city in ‘turbulent times’ cannot ignore the social scientific discourse of the concept of ‘sustainability’; it is an important addendum for a contemporary arts-sociological analysis of the urban-sociological analysis of the arts.

Urban development has frequently been reflected by the arts, inspiring the arts and affected by the arts. Theoretical elaborations can be based on the work on early urban sociologists such as Simmel, Weber, Park, Wirth etc. but also on recent works by

  • the postmodern urban studies Los Angeles School (Michael Dear and Edward Soja) and studies on the significance of signs and symbols for urban development,
  • the economic geographical works by Richard Florida, Allan Scott etc. on ‘creative cities’ and issues of ‘creative industries’ and ‘urban development’,
  • and the urban cultural and arts sociological studies by, e.g., Sharon Zukin, Harvey Molotch or Alan Blum etc.

Looking at the growing list of publications, the intersection of arts sociology, cultural sociology and urban sociology prospered within the last years. However, following the main topic of this conference, the additional focus of this research stream would be the role of sustainability in turbulent times for the urban and artistic environment. Sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue for the study of urban and cultural issues (see, e.g., Nadarajah & Yamamoto) and helps to generate a socio-ecological approach to urban and arts sociology (see, e.g., ?apek, Carolan).

We are thus looking for presentations that

  • uncover the effects and the diversity of urban cultures (with different ethnic, subcultural, lifestyle, socio-economic background) as tools for urban and artistic development,
  • reflect on the three notions of ‘sustainable cities’, ‘arts in public places’ and ‘creative cities’,
  • link the increasing significance of urban creativity, culture and the arts, with discourses of sustainability,
  • and complement cultural perspectives on sustainable (or unsustainable) urban development.

One of the general considerations for proposing this research stream is the present lack of positions in arts sociology and cultural sociology for discussing the urban impact of arts and cultures as part of the sustainability discourse.  The research stream aims to offer a forum for this new intersection.

Research Stream Conveners:
Volker Kirchberg (kirchberg [at] uni [dot] leuphana [dot] de, http://www.leuphana.de/en/volker-kirchberg.html)
Laura Verdi (laura [dot] verdi [at] unipd [dot] it, http://www.sociologiapadova.eu/?pagina=pagina_generica.php&id=51)

Please submit your abstract by using the abstract submission form at http://esa10thconference.com. Further instructions and guidelines will be on this conference website.  Please NOTE that the abstracts will only be accepted through completion of the online submission form, and submission in any other form will be declined. Abstracts must include: 1) name (s) and affiliation (s) of the author(s); 2) contact details of presenting author (postal address, telephone, fax and email address); 3) title of proposed presentation. The submission form will limit the title of the abstract to 200 characters (approximately 30 words) and the length of the abstract to a maximum of 350 words. The form also requests authors to submit up to 5 key words that are indicative of the content of the proposed presentation. The platform for the abstract submission will open at the 10th of January 2011 and will close at the 25th of February 2011.

 

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

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