Trees

Ghost Forest by Angela Palmer, Trafalgar Square

Ghost Forest – London from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

It’s an amazing achievement, to unlock this space for this kind of exhibit. The crowds I saw were drawn to the sheer strangeness and hugeness of the shapes of the trees, which are supposed to link the ideas of deforestation and climate change. Angela Palmer has done something remarkable in persuading the Mayor’s office to let her use this space for this work. Its scale and ambition makes the current occupant of the Fourth Plinth look rather irrelevant.

But, being honest, I’m not sure it works that well, either as a polemic or as art; I’m not sure it left people convinced. Palmer had originally envisaged the stumps as standing straight up, which would have made it easier to understand them as the leavings of human greed, rather than the lumber they look like. I’m guessing that it simply wasn’t practical to display the stumps like that. And the huge text billboards seemed to be as much about Palmer’s struggle to realise the work, with Antony Gormley saying “the project can’t be done”, as they were about the issue of deforestation and simply added a level of  Fitzcaraldo-in-reverse hubris. (This is like dragging the rainforest to the opera-house rather than vice versa).

When artists create events like this why don’t they let the art speak for itself and instead work closely with an NGO who can make the polemic explicit on site, and far more effectively?

Anyway, please disagree with me.

www.ghostforest.org

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Ghost Forest by Angela Palmer, Trafalgar Square

It’s an amazing achievement, to unlock this space for this kind of exhibit. The crowds I saw were drawn to the sheer strangeness and hugeness of the shapes of the trees, which are supposed to link the ideas of deforestation and climate change. Angela Palmer has done something remarkable in persuading the Mayor’s office to let her use this space for this work. Its scale and ambition makes the current occupant of the Fourth Plinth look rather irrelevant.

But, being honest, I’m not sure it works that well, either as a polemic or as art; I’m not sure it left people convinced. Palmer had originally envisaged the stumps as standing straight up, which would have made it easier to understand them as the leavings of human greed, rather than the lumber they look like. I’m guessing that it simply wasn’t practical to display the stumps like that. And the huge text billboards seemed to be as much about Palmer’s struggle to realise the work, with Antony Gormley saying “the project can’t be done”, as they were about the issue of deforestation and simply added a level of  Fitzcaraldo-in-reverse hubris. (This is like dragging the rainforest to the opera-house rather than vice versa).

When artists create events like this why don’t they let the art speak for itself and instead work closely with an NGO who can make the polemic explicit on site, and far more effectively?

Anyway, please disagree with me.

www.ghostforest.org

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Nature as violence: Gustav Metzger

I like this flickr photo Fustav Metzger’s Flailing Trees at the Manchester International Festival by Pete Birkinshaw aka BinaryApe, especially for the title BinaryApe gave it:   Iä!  Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!

That reference, along with his link to Wikipedia, confirms him to be …

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Tree Museum in the Bronx


The Tree Museum, a project celebrating 100 trees and the stories of 100 people, will be up this summer in the Bronx to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Grand Concourse, a boulevard in that neighborhood.

Created by artist Katie Holten, you can read all about it at treemuseum.org or in the nytimes.

The Tree Museum will be up from June 21–October 12, 2009.

Go to Eco Art Blog

LDI Show is Going Green in 2009

With a goal of saving 190 trees in 2009, LDI is focused on eliminating unnecessary paper usage and encouraging exhibitors to do the same. The steps the trade show is taking to accomplish this include a two phase process. First, the show is slowly phasing out the use of paper VIP invitations to the show floor in favor of electronic invites for exhibitor prospects or clients. “This year, we want to encourage you to use the handy and effective online guest electronic guest pass invite,” says group show director Sharon Morabito. “This will be available to all exhibiting companies in June, and full details will be sent to every exhibiting company.”

via LDI Show is Going Green in 2009.

Manchester Festival announces programme: it’s good

manchester21The second Manchester International Festival released its 2009 programme this week. It’s turning into the the best multi-platform arts festival in the UK – but then the size of its budget – a whopping £10m this year – probably helps with that. That said, they’re making great artistic decisions. While the Edinburgh International Festival is clearly on the up under Jonathan Mills, Manchester is setting a great standard in new commissions.

And obviously chosing to put an image for Gustav Metzger’s new plea for environmental sanity Flailing Trees, which is one of those commisions, on the cover shows a kind of ethical intent which other festivals need to match.

More about Metzger’s sculpture here.

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