Technological Solutions

Call for Papers – Environmental Humanities & the Challenge of Multidisciplinarity

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

This call for papers articulates an argument for a broad, in the terms of the call multi-discipliary, approach to environmental issues.  The text of the call is a clear and cogent case for the involvement of a wide range of disciplines and positions to develop an ethics.

A Workshop at the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, *“The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity: Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy”*

University of Cyprus, Nicosia, July 2 – 6, 2012

THEME OF THE WORKSHOP

Environmental issues are typically framed within public discourse as problems that require empirical information and technological solutions.  This paradigm holds not only scientific but also philosophical assumptions, most importantly that the real world is the one described by natural science, the world of scientific realism. In this worldview, all other disciplines (such as ethics, the qualitative social sciences, and politics and policy) are assimilated as “tools in the toolbox” used to solve the problems previously defined by Western science. The intensity of current environmental crises—especially global climate destabilization—energizes this focus on practical problem-solving and on technological and policy solutions within existing institutional, economic, and political frameworks. However, this approach fails to recognize that the humanistic disciplines, including philosophy, literature, and the arts, both construct and express knowledge of nature that exceeds the bounds of problem-solving and the ontology of scientific realism. Further, claims about nature that appeal to the authority of Western science, though masked as objective, are frequently deployed to undergird ideological constructions about race, class, gender, and nation; the authority to make claims about nature is inseparable from political power.

Underlying this default position of the natural sciences is the unexamined assumption that environmental problems are encountered independently of any context, values, history, or disciplinary biases.  Humanities scholars in the emerging fields of ecocriticism, environmental art, environmental philosophy, and related areas of inquiry vigorously challenge this assumption, arguing that our environmental problems are inescapably ethical, historical, and political. The very definitions of environmental problems at any given moment are a function of human ideas and negotiations that have a particular cultural location and history and that reflect specific concepts of ethical responsibility and justice. Consequently, the methods of the natural sciences, although necessary for meeting our environmental challenges, cannot replace the interpretive, critical, and artistic methods of the humanities. The emergence of the “environmental humanities,” as a multidisciplinary site of convergence within academic scholarship, responds to this need.

This workshop will engage with the emerging disciplines of the environmental humanities to pose a series of questions, including:

* How are the methods and epistemology of the humanities distinct from those of the empirical sciences?

* What would a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to questions of the environment look like, and how can this be negotiated within current institutional limitations?

* What impact can the humanities have on public discourse and political will in specific areas, such as environmental justice and climate change?

PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS

Please submit two-page abstracts by email in Word format to the workshop organizers by*15 March 2012*. Each presenter will have 20 minutes and is asked to present rather than read a paper. Abstracts of accepted presentations will be circulated to the participants in advance of the conference.

CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Final versions of the papers (not to exceed 3,000 words, or 10 double-spaced pages, including notes) will be reviewed by the workshop organizers for possible publication in the conference proceedings.

THE CONFERENCE

This workshop is planned under the auspices of the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, on the theme “The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity:

Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy.” For more information, visit ISSEI’s website at http://issei2012.haifa.ac.il/

THE VENUE

The workshop will be held at the University of Cyprus – Main Campus, Kallipoleos Avenue 75, Nicosia 2100 Cyprus.

WORKSHOP ORGANIZERS

Janet Fiskio, Environmental Studies, Oberlin College, jfiskio@oberlin.edu

Ted Toadvine, Philosophy and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, toadvine@uoregon.edu

Ted Toadvine
uoregon.edu/~toadvine

Head, Department of Philosophy
Associate Professor, Philosophy& Environmental Studies
University of Oregon

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Environmental Philosophy
ephilosophy.uoregon.edu

Co-Editor, Chiasmi International
filosofia.unimi.it/~chiasmi/

Editor, Ohio University Press Series in Continental Thought
ohioswallow.com/series/Series+in+Continental+Thought

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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The PlanetShifter.com Interview with Ian Garrett, Executive Director: The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, Los Angeles | www.planetshifter.com

Where are you? In the present? In the future? See my lament for clues:

Things only happen here to make what happens next.

Is LinkedIn a viable artistic community in your opinion? How would you improve it?

I don’t think so, and I don’t think i wish it to be. I don’t know if LinkedIn represents a community really as much as an infrastructure. I think it exists separate from something like Facebook without competition because one is about social networks and one is about businesses networks. I also don’t see how it accommodates the needs of an artistic community.

I don’t think there is a social network that does effectively represent an artistic community out there. How specific do you allow it to sort itself? the arts are too expansive with too many points of access to be represented effectively through a network with a defined set of sortable criteria. For self-sorting facebook is more effective because it is focused on individuals not labels. For curated sorting a wiki is better since everything is of equal weight.

That’s the issue with getting past post-modernism isn’t it? Modernism was about the universal, post-modernism was about the categorized, and post-post-modernism is about the unique.

What is at the intersection of mythology, innovation and sustainability?

From now on.

What new symbols, songs, secrets, myths are you driving in the green movement?

I can tell you that I’m trying to drive it away from the color green and images of leaves. The image that bugs me the most is actually grass, since in most places it’s impractical and wasteful regardless of it’s green-ness. I think an era’s aesthetics speak to values and I think we’re pushing the value of the first nature and something more raw, less processed. It’s happening in design, supply chains and our food. I’m also trying to break the myth of technological solutions.

I’m irked by the layering of systems over existing systems to solve problems with the existing system. I’d rather break it down to it’s elemental parts. I’m a big promoter of archaic technology, like using steamed banana leaves or not vitrified drink ware in Indian. Things that were discarded as incorrect in a modern manufactured world that persists into the contemporary era.

Are you an alchemist?

No, there is plenty of magic in real science.

Tell us about your favorite modern painter and how you feel when you gaze at the work.

Are we saying modern or contemporary. I’m a traditionalist when I define the Modern era as something that happened in the beginning of the 20th century out of industrialization. If we’re talking painters though I can name a few. Magritte for being clever and questioning the mudane, Haring for balancing accessibility, message, and challenging art world constructs. I do however find myself most drawing to the infrastructural and phenomenological though and insofar as that is concerned am more trilled by visual are that engages those parts of my brain. That’s not always present in painting, so I have to mention Olafur Eliasson, who fascinates me.

How do you manage the bureaucracy that you’ve created at The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts? How do you personally support your members?

There isn’t much Bureaucracy. We’re extremely small and nimble. We’re the least incorporated we can be and have foregone 501c3 status to stay lean. I suppose we deal with the bureaucracy of partnership with more cumbersome organizations and then it’s oftentimes working within their structure.

We can make our decisions and change methodology rapidly to best accommodate our members and partners since all of the power rests between two equal executives. We’ve yet to expand our power-sharing, outside of partnerships, and those are all project based. It’s not the most profitable, but it’s in line with our core mission, which is really about information and infrastructure. We’re like the opposite of the CIA, we don’t see value in protecting our information, and support ourselves through others valuing sharing information as a desired act.

For the second part of the question though, it’s hard to say. I mean, we don’t have funds to directly support their activities. But, we try and talk directly to all of them. They have our address, phone numbers, email addresses, and ultimately all of our lines of communication like our website, social networks, twitter and so on is all us personally. If you get in touch with the CSPA, you’re getting in touch with us directly. We don’t filter that, and don’t understand ecologically mind organizations that put up blocks, since we gain absolutely zero (aside from profit I guess) from not talking and being transparent if we plan to not destroy the planet and the billions of lives that will impact.

And, ultimately, it helps that I’m the web guy too. It’s part of what I do, so there is nothing standing in the way of our web presence, we do.

What were the 3 – 5 best innovations from last year’s CSPA Convergence?

Well we did this in partnership with the University of Oregon’s School of Theater, so mind you a couple of these might be theater centric.

  • The Convergence itself. I go to a lot of conferences and I deal with but don’t like the hierarchy and artifice that often surrounds them. I prefer the camp model which, like wikis, aims to gather people around a topic and allow all of them to offer something. So I think it’s in expanding the convergence model to get between these models of conference and camp and add on more doing, not just talking.
  • Marbles in a Jar – This is Avery simple re-use model we’ve been working on. It looks at volume of material used as a marble in a jar. You fill the jar until you’re done and then add a second jar for the next and so on to next iterations. For each unit of reused material you move a marble from the first jar to the one for the current project, if you use new material you add new marbles. It doesn’t have to be marbles and jars, but it’s a very simple way to engage your use of raw material
  • Energy Budgets – We’re trying to get theaters to incorporate the expenditures of energy into budgets for making. It incentivizes energy innovation by the user. If no one uses energy efficient devices, it doesn’t matter.
  • Eliminating recycling programs – this idea started at this convergence in response to the 6 receptacles the University of Oregon had for waste. It’s too much. The idea waste receptacle is only one for compost-ables. It’s not entirely feasible though. When speaking at APAP last month I brought this into a more realist goal. Not recycling because you don’t have anything to recycle. At the CSPA we print proofs of the Quarterly for editing that we share and otherwise we don’t generate material waste by our business. That sort of blows people’s minds.

I think Jack Capitalism and Eli Sustainability are headed for a blow-out, down and dirty fist fight in the months ahead? Ready?

I’m ready, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be particularly violent. I think that the necessity of sustainability will be the biggest check on a capitalist future. I think about the labor movements of the post-industrial world and the evolution of that “conflict”. I also think about the 4 roles in the actor-centric model of political change and the political pendulum. Sustainability is different still, it’s an opportunity if we want it to be, but as with all of these models of shift, the future is hybrid, not contrary.

* * * * * * *

Ian Garrett Bio –

Executive Director of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), a non-non-profit arts infrastructure organization where he collaborates with others like the LA Stage Alliance, University of Oregon, York University, The Arcola Theater, EcoArtSpace, the Royal Society of the Arts, Diverseworks ArtSpace and others to work towards sustainability in the arts, ecological and otherwise.

Programs at the CSPA include a rich online resource guide, curricular development, a quarterly journal, annual convergence, and the development of collaborative local materials re-use programs and a certification program for arts making being initiated through an international partnership between US, Canadian and British producers. The center was founded by funds received through the 2007 Richard E. Sherwood award for emerging theater artists from the Center Theater Group (CTG) awarded to be used forming a working relationship consulting with CTG on the integration of ecologically sustainable practice into their production.

Ian teaches Sustainable Theater and Management Technology courses at the California Institute of the Arts and has been featured in American Theater, DramaBiz, and The Design Magazine and has spoken at The Central School for Speech and Drama, St. Louis University, and the Indy Convergence along with most arts conferences in the United States.

He originally studied architecture and art history at Rice University in Houston, Texas, but has since come to build an awarding winning practice in live performance and installation art, having also attended California Institute of the Arts to complete MFAs in Lighting Design and Producing.

Connections –

Ian Garrett
Executive Director
Ian at sustainablepractice dot org
The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts
c/o LA Stage Alliance
644 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Profile Summary: William “Willi” George Paul Green Business Certified Sustainability Consultant and strategic vision planner, writer and program designer for environmental planning, civil engineering and non-profits for over 15 years. Executive producer at PlanetShifter.com generating 125+ thought leader interviews and 1200 posts to-date since EarthDay ’09. Produced two innovative online community building projects as a PhD Student in Environmental Planning and Design at Virginia Tech. Designed the electronic charrette while earning MA in Urban Planning. Developed marketing and online community building strategies for over thirty Internet start-ups.

Willi Paul, Art and Sustainability Consultant
415-407-4688 | willipaul1 at gmail dot com
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