Monthly Archives: February 2010

Genetically Modified Music: Mixed Feelings.


We’re at that point now. We can talk about growing music. Artist David Benqué’s piece Acoustic Botany is a series of models and diagrams for a genetically engineered music and sound garden. It envisions insects created to chew in rhythm, flower pods designed to explode at certain intervals, and Lily Pads that amplify the death throes of bugs in a vascular speaker structure.

I gotta say this makes me just the slightest bit nauseous, and not for the obvious old-lady-with-a-clipboard reasons (nature is nature! etc). It’s because of the roles and responsibilities of the artist inherent in the work. Here I was all excited about environmental art because it’s such a great example of the logistical application of the aesthetic, of an artist’s capacity to engage and care, a unity of practical and aesthetic reason. Now, again, sing the the memes of art trumping reason, or at least twisting it severely to achieve its goals.

A genetically modified art installation, with no comment to make on genetic modification itself, no analysis really of the human/nature relationship, really just an artistic exploration of the fun and pretty things we could do with plants if given the opportunity to play with their DNA. And I bet it would be stunning.Bugs designed to chew in rhythm! What kind of glorious aesthetic high would visitors to this installation get? Awe and wonder of science, with a little bit of nature, maybe.

Benqué’s vision is far from being realized, but it’s ready to start some serious conversations now.

Go to the Green Museum

Pothole gardens; opportunity from decay

This via Thriving Too:

“An ongoing series of public installations highlighting the problem of surface imperfections on Britain’s roads by Pete Dungey, a Graphic Design student at the University of Brighton.”

On Dungey’s web page the photos are accompanied by the quote:  ”If we planted one of those in every hole, it would be like a forest in the road.”

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Tajikistan: Bactria Cultural Center Director

Background on ACTED:

ACTED is an NGO founded in 1993 whose purpose is the implementation of emergency programs, reconstruction and development in countries in crisis and developing ..

ACTED operates in 25 countries across 5 areas (Asia, Africa, America, Europe and Middle East) and employs approximately 2,700 people.

Following an integrated development approach addressing both the economic, social, educational and cultural past several years, ACTED has expanded its share in the cultural field, specializing particularly in heritage preservation and education.

More recently, ACTED has implemented a network including a micro-finance industry, Oxus Development Network, and a branch Cultural Foundation Bactria, which covers the activities of Bactria Cultural Center.

Country profile:

Inaugurated in December 2001, the center is a place Bactrian language exchanges, artistic and cultural as well as a training structure. It is also the framework within which all activities organized conservation and recovery of assets conducted by ACTED Central Asia.

The Center provides the public with a rich library of over 11 000 documents (European literature, Russian and Tajik, audio and video).

Language courses (English, French, German and Italian) and computer courses attract more than 1,400 students each year.

The Center is also a true place of trade because there are organized exhibitions and concerts by artists from Tajikistan, Central Asia, and Europe, providing a real platform of expression to the artistic and cultural life.

Finally, as information relays, the Center also provides support for cultural exchanges, scientific and university between Tajikistan and the western world.

Bactria Cultural Center and the Embassy of France

Since 1 September 2004, alongside his duties within ACTED and within the broader partnership between the Embassy of France in Dushanbe and ACTED, the position of Director of the Center Bactria is also linked with the CO CAC Embassy of France in Tajikistan, where he has the post of Technical Assistant.

The Director of the Center Bactria is not provided staff of the Embassy.

Position profile:

In conjunction with the CoCAC and ACTED Paris, and under the authority of the Country Director ACTED Tajikistan, the responsibilities of the Director of the Center are:

1. Lead Center and coach the team (20 persons) in all areas including:

  • Club languages and education, including the French
  • Events (conferences, exhibitions, etc.)
  • Library
  • Movies
  • Talent development

2. Management Center

  • Ensure proper management of projects implemented under the center Bactria
  • Supervision of financial and logistical
  • Supervision of Human Resources and Administration
  • In charge of internal and external reporting (ACTED and Co-ACC)
  • Internal coordination

3. Ensure representation from central authorities and national partners center (embassies, institutions)

4. Participate in the development and implementation of cultural program and strategy center

  • Research funding and developing partnerships with international organizations, local authorities and private actors.
  • Business Development Center Bactria in Tajikistan and Central Asia Region, including the opening of cultural centers Khojand, Kurgan Teppa, Osh, in conjunction with those in Afghanistan in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul.


  • 3 years minimum experience in managing cultural and educational projects
  • Master level training in management, administration or management of cultural events
  • Capacity management
  • Autonomy and accountability
  • Marked interest in issues related to the theme culture and development, particularly in terms of heritage, living culture, ecotourism, event.
  • Excellent English skills (written and spoken), Russian and / or Tajik (spoken) more

Other desirable qualifications:

  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Good knowledge and / or interest in Central Asia and Tajikistan


  • Salary: Depending on experience + cost of living allowance
  • Other benefits: Accommodation and transport covered
  • Mutual liability insurance and repatriation included.

Submission of applications:

Thank you to send us your application in French: CV, cover letter and three references to the following address:



Att: Human Resources Department

33, rue Godot de Mauroy

75009 Paris


Fax. + 33 (0) 1 42 65 33 46

For more information, visit

Download the job offer in PDF format:

application / pdf icon


LA Urban Rangers final tours of Malibu Beaches 2/27

The LA Urban Rangers are wrapping up a three year Malibu Project to celebrate public beaches one last time. They are offering three mini-safari’s at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday, February 27th. No sign up and all are welcome to come along!

These tours are meant to share how to access these beaches peacefully, legally, safely and respectfully.


The Interview with Ian Garrett, Executive Director: The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, Los Angeles |

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 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
Current Portfolio | Linkedin Profile | Digital Archive

Selected Work Product by Willi Paul:

IMAGINE – Towards an eco-aesthetic, 2011


IMAGINE - Towards an eco-aesthetic, 2011
The Aarhus Art Building,
Centre for Contemporary Art, Denmark

Artists and curators are hereby invited to submit proposals for 2011.

Deadline March 15

Only when people are in a position to use their own creative potentials, which can be enhanced by an artistic imagination, will a change occur [….] Art can and should strive for an alternative that is not only aesthetically affirmative and productive but is also beneficial to all forms of life on our planet.

Rasheed Araeen: Ecoaesthetics. A Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century

In the autumn of 2009, Rasheed Araeen, editor of the respected periodical on art and culture Third Text, launched a frontal attack on the modern ego and the recuperation of the avant-garde. Instead of the continued rigid production of objects and a stubborn anchoring in art institutions, Araeen pleads for a collective artistic imagination as
the only road towards “[…] rivers and lakes of clean water, collective farms and the planting of trees all over the world.”

From what is perhaps a slightly one-track masculine perspective, Araeen’s manifesto examines earlier failed attempts to step down from the pedestal of the bourgeoisie in favour of a collective commitment to our surroundings and the environment. Nevertheless, the notion of art as a positive, giving alternative unhampered by the restraints of
either representation or negation is relevant in a new decade in a new millennium.

In trying to conceive of such an alternative it seems a reasonable first step to take a closer look at alliances between art and sustainable development For at the roots of the idea of sustainability lie an ethical imperative and a persistent struggle against inequality – parameters that seem indispensable today if we actually want to imagine change and alternatives.

The notion of sustainability first aroused political attention in the 1970s, although it can also be traced back to the 1960s in the shape of various grass-roots movements. In 1972 the UN Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm – this was the first of its kind, and at the same time the first transnational forum that even considered the environment and society as a single, interconnected issue.

The conference was strongly influenced by the book Limits to Growth published by the global think tank Club of Rome the same year, in which the problems of exponential growth vis-à-vis the limited resources of the Earth were outlined. The book inspired thoughts about the limits of growth in terms not only of the human population but also of economic factors. This realization that the Earth was not an inexhaustible storehouse of resources contributed to the development of a notion of sustainability that takes the future generations of the Earth into account.

The correlation between ecological and social issues is a fundamental aspect of thinking about sustainability, and consequently also involves concepts like responsibility and ethics. Similarly, in various movements that have consistently had sustainability as a central point of reference since the 1970s, for instance Social Ecology and Ecofeminism, sustainability is inextricably bound up with an astute critique of the dominant hierarchical structures.

The notion of sustainability thus includes the consideration of social structures, subjection and domination, ethics and economics on an equal footing with consideration of the environment and the ecology. If art today is to have the above-mentioned positive starting point, it needs to think about this complex apparatus as a whole and imagine
an alternative. Only thus can we move towards an art that is healing and affirmative – and thus towards an eco-aesthetic in the new millennium.

With this background the Aarhus Art Building is hereby issuing an Open Call for Proposals for 2011. We welcome suggestions for group exhibitions, solo exhibitions and workshops as well as suggestions for projects in public space. Guidelines can be found at

The guidelines must be followed in the application to make it eligible for consideration.

WOOLOO.ORG News & Opportunities

This December, organized free accommodation for more than 3,000 activists who could not otherwise have come to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Using this large-scale human meeting as the exhibition platform for our NEW LIFE COPENHAGEN festival, we invited artists to provide form and content to the interactions of more than 6,000 activists and host families. Not through physical works of art, but via social experiments engaging our participants to investigate new ways of living together.

The participating artists and activists were: Superflex (DK), Climate Justice Fast! (Global), The Yes Men (US), Raketa (SE), Signa(A/DK), Open Dialogues (UK) and Angelica Canchumani (PE).

Through diverse works and interventions, the participants in Copenhagen were – among many other things – given a special guide book for their meeting, challenged to consider an ecological burial in case of their immediate death, asked to pledge to never drink Coca-cola again and given a special guide book in the power relations among guests and hosts.

You can watch videos of the different festival projects and learn more at:

Deadline Mar. 01, 2010
Open Call for The Travellers Box project, an ongoing international, collaborative, web-based project.

Deadline Mar. 31, 2010
The mission of FIT is to reclaim the abandoned architecture of filling stations and to rebrand their original function as sources of fossil fuel.

Deadline Oct. 01, 2010
Elsewhere Collaborative is a living museum and experimental production environment in downtown Greensboro, NC.

Deadline Feb. 28, 2010
The Pigeon Wing presents an annual series of exhibitions curated by both invited and house curators.

Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change, transdisciplinary workshop, May 2010, Germany

Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change
Invitation to a transdisciplinary workshop about the aesthetics, ethics, art, religion and ecology of the environment

Arranged by the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment, Religious Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Biological Station of Hiddensee, University of Greifswald, Environmental Ethics, University of Greifswald

Hiddensee, 24-28 May 2010

Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change is an international workshop joining ethics, arts, religion and science in an attempt to reach a combined and deeper insight in nature, landscape and its changes. We invite scholars from different disciplines to participate in this workshop on the beautiful island of Hiddensee!

The following questions will be addressed:

  • What does the perception and awareness of the environment and ourselves within it contribute to our understanding of and dealing with nature? How can arts widen our perception of nature?
  • How are aesthetics and ethics connected to each other in habitats, places and spaces? Can both be entangled into an integrated “aesth/ethics”? Can such a view be incorporated in the aims of nature conservation?
  • How and where to seek, find and express the Sacred in nature? How are worldviews, values, rituals, visons, belief systems and ideologies at work within the human ecology?
  • How can humans in general encounter an accelerating and expanding environmental (incl. climatic) change? How can they perceive, experience, reflect and adapt to it?
  • How can aesthetics, ethics, religion and ecology transcend contemporary political modes of environmental protection? How could they catalyze a truly transdisciplinary environmental science?


The workshop will alternate between lectures, seminaries, discussions, practical art work and excursions,and it will offer varying options to let the  island itself intervene. Scholars and postgraduate students from all faculties and regions around the world are welcome to attend the workshop, and we expect all to stay during the whole workshop. The numbers of participants is limited to 30 persons. The early bird catches the worm:

Please register as soon as possible, using the registration form at:

Basic accommodation will be provided to every accepted participant.

Island of Hiddensee

The island of Hiddensee is situated west of the island of Ru:gen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Hiddensee is about 19 km2 in size with around 1,100 inhabitants. The island is completely situated within the Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenku:ste. Its beautiful nature including shorelines and shallow water, coastal dunes, heathlands, coastal meadows, dry grasslands and forests, attracks not only tourists, but also biologists!

Keynote speakers:

  • Sigurd Bergmann, Religious Studies/Theology, Trondheim, Norway
  • Irmgard Blindow, Ecology, Hiddensee, Germany
  • Emily Brady, Geography, Edinburgh, UK
  • Forrest Clingerman, Theology, Ohio, USA
  • Celia Deane Drummond, Theology and Religious Studies, Chester, UK
  • Thomas Jaspert, LandArt artist, Bokel, Germany
  • Konrad Ott, Environmental Ethics, Greifswald, Germany
  • Thomas Potthast, Ethics in Science, Tu:bingen, Germany
  • George Steinmann, Artist, Bern, Switzerland
  • Heike Strelow, Curator, Writer and Art Historian, Frankfurt/M., Germany

Call for papers:

Oral presentations (15 min) and posters are invited on the conference theme.  Abstracts (no more than 200 words) should be sent by 15 February of 2010 by e-mail.

Sigurd Bergmann, prof. dr.theol.
Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
NO – 7491 Trondheim
Institutt for arkeologi og religionsvitenskap
Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet (NTNU)
NO – 7491 Trondheim
Phone:  +47-73 59 65 87, +47-73 91 97 07
Skype:  sigurdbergmann
Fax:    +47-73 59 14 64

An invitation to the conference: “The Spirit of Place”

August 1-3, 2010

Sami cultural heritage center – Arran, Tysfjord municipality, Nordland, Norway –

We would like to invite you to attend our upcoming conference, “The Spirit of Place”. The conference is happening in conjunction with the project, “Stetind Declaration”. The key topics for the conference, as expressed in “Stetind Declaration” include:

  • Nature friendly living in the coming society
  • How to foster a nature friendly way of living

You are invited to present a paper at the conference, and take part in conference discussions. We encourage you to write your paper in one of the following languages:
German, English, French, Spanish.

Please note, however, that the discussions at the conference will be in English.

If you intend to present a paper, please send us its title by March 1, 2010.
Final sign up for the conference is June 1.
The same date is the deadline for sending a complete paper.
Please use one of these mail addresses: or

Received titles pr. December 1:

  • Kazushi Maeda, Japan: “Traditional local cultures for our future”
  • Andy Thompson, New Zealand: “What were Amundsen and Scott really doing in Antartica?”
  • Anna Thompson, New Zealand: “Aoraki Mt Cook – cultural icon or tourist “object”
  • Jana Hoffmannova & Ludek Sebek, Czech republic: “Transforming Cultural landscapes”
  • Torbjorn Ydegaard, Denmark: “Culture as learning, learning from culture”
  • Seaton Baxter, Scotland: “Natures Contribution to the Spirits in the Sand”
  • Trond Jakobsen, Norway: “From Science to Human and Eco- Emancipation”
  • Kumanga Andrahennadi, Sri Lanka: “Water; The Essential Spirit of Place”

The conference is based on self accommodation but the main meals can be bought at Arran. The conference fee is set to 1000,- NOK.

Please check our website regularly for further information about the conference.

Related events

There are a number of related events planned for the week prior to the conference that you may also wish to attend:

Wednesday July 28 – Friday July 30: “Peach March for Nature”

A hike that follows an old trail from Gällivarre (Sweden) to Tysfjord (Norway)

Friday July 30, 2010: Anniversary dinner, 100 years since the mountain of Stetind was climbed for the first time

Information about Stetind, its history and surrounding local communities:

For instance: or google “Stetind”

Saturday July 31, 2010:

A good day to visit Stetind or some of the local Sami communities in the area.

We hope you will seriously consider joining us at the “The Spirit of Place” conference and contributing to the realization of the “Stetind Declaration”. We look forward to hearing from you soon with a proposed paper presentation!

Nasca Lines: The Buried Secrets on National Geographic


An exciting production from Edge West

In southern Peru lies one of mankind’s greatest mysteries – 1000’s of giant shapes etched into the desert sands. We reveal who made them and why.

Produced & Directed by Philip J Day
Edge West Productions
for National Geographic
Nasca Lines: The Buried Secrets on National Geographic

Etched, as if by giants, onto the arid moonscape of Peru’s southern desert lies one of man’s greatest mysteries; the Nasca Lines. More than 15,000 geometric and animal-like patterns have been discovered criss-crossing the pampas like a vast puzzle. Who built them and what was their purpose? Ancient racetracks, landing strips for aliens, or perhaps a giant astronomical calendar? And are the Lines connected to the gruesome discovery of large cache’s of severed human heads. Now, after decades of misunderstanding, modern archaeology may finally have the answer.

Excavations in the surrounding mountains are uncovering extraordinary clues about the people who made them and why. A long since vanished people, called the Nasca, flourished here between 200BC and 700AD. But the harsh environment led them to extreme measures in order to survive.

Archaeologist Christina Conlee recently made an extraordinary find: the skeleton of a young male, ceremonially buried but showing gruesome evidence of decapitation. In place of the missing human head, a ceramic “head jar” decorated with a striking image of a decapitated head with a tree sprouting from its skull.

Conlee wonders who this person was? Why was he beheaded and yet buried with honor. Was he a captive taken in battle, or could he have been a willing sacrifice? And did his decapitation have anything to do with the lines? The discovery of large caches of human heads adds grisly weight to Conlee’s theories and helps unravel on of man’s great mysteries.