Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Critical Forest Art Practice

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Characteristic Scottish landscape, sometimes described as a wet desert: high moorland managed for shooting and commercial plantation of conifers. This is what makes Black Rannoch Woods, as remnant Caledonian Forest, so important. With permission of Collins and Goto Studio

Tim Collins and Reiko Goto’s project, The Forest is Moving, exploring, listening and responding to, imagining, learning from, touching, sleeping in, filming, photographing, walking in and with, the Black Rannoch Woods, is ongoing at the moment.  They have been posting to the Imagining Natural Scotland’s blog (where you can find blog posts from other projects as well).

1. A Critical Forest Art Practice. | Imagining Natural Scotland.

2. Critical Forest Practice: Onsite in the Black Wood. ¦ Imagining Natural Scotland.

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 Research, Gray’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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Staging Sustainability Conference – Feb 2-5

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance

There is still time to register for the Staging Sustainability Conference!

Staging Sustainability 2014: People. Planet. Profit. Performance will be an international conference from February 2-5, 2014 hosted at three exciting downtown Toronto venues — the MaRS Discovery District, 99 Sudbury, The Theatre Centre —and streamed to satellite locations across Canada.

Staging Sustainability 2014 will introduce you to ground breakers working across Canada, on Broadway, in London, in community gardens—as well as all points in-between—to remake the way we work in the performing arts. It will be the largest gathering of innovative sustainability practitioners in the world to focus on ways in which performance can positively affect our planet. We invite performing arts professionals including producers performers, technicians, funders, decision makers—and anyone interested in how the performing arts can support sustainability efforts—to attend Staging Sustainability 2014.

Performance has always been about how the work affects people. Now we are ready to look at how our performances can affect a sustainable world.


The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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Call for Papers: two Sessions at RGS-IBG 2014 Annual International Conference, London, August 26-29, 2014.

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland


Two Calls for Papers that might be of interest to art and ecology practitioners and theorists – thanks to Michelle Bastion, Graham Jeffrey and Wallace Heim for the flag.

“Geoaesthetics: art, environment and co-production”

Session convened by Miriam Burke, Royal Holloway, University of London; Sasha Engelmann, University of Oxford; Harriet Hawkins, Royal Holloway, University of London

Alongside the well-established rise of citizen science and participatory democracies in co-production of knowledge, there has been an exciting parallel expansion in the use of creative and artistic methodologies for the production of, engagement with, and dissemination of knowledge about the environment. Building on this body of work, so often focused on human participants, this session addresses the ways in which contemporary geographical and art practices are brilliantly suited to explore expanded ideas of human and non-human ‘publics’ in the co-production of environmental knowledge. Thus, alongside artists enrolling lay or “non-expert” environmental knowings, we find other practitioners collaborating with the environment itself: for example with non-humans who are ‘big-like-us’, microbes which are not, and even with inanimate forces and environmental matters.

Within the ontological shift to a non-dualistic view of ‘naturecultures’, what can we learn from creative and artistic methods of co-production and engagement with the world around us? How might artistic practices help geographers and others to take account of the forces and matters of the ‘geo’?

Themes may cover, but need not be restricted to the following questions:

  • What kinds of creative methodologies are being employed by artists, geographers and others to create new spaces of encounter between humans and nonhumans?
  • How do we understand ‘impact’ in terms of creative co-production of knowledge with the environment, the public and nonhumans?
  • Who and what are we co-producing knowledge with?
  • What kinds of participatory practices are invented by creative projects that seek to enrol both human and nonhuman actors?
  • What may an expanded notion of ‘publics’ look like, and in what specific ways do creative methods contribute to these new public configurations?
  • How can we creatively engage non-humans in the artist process, and how do non-humans engage us in their creative practices?
  • How is co-produced knowledge disseminated?
  • How can creative and artistic practices facilitate engagement with non-relational and insensible parts of the world?

This session aims to showcase and learn from different practitioners using these ideas in research. Creative and participatory means of presentation are very welcome.

To Submit: Please send abstracts of 200 words to all conveners (Miriam Burke, Sasha Engelmann and Harriet Hawkins) by 14th February 2014.

Complicating the co-production of art: Hidden humans and acting objects

Session organisers: Danny McNally (Royal Holloway), Harriet Hawkins (Royal Holloway), and Saskia Warren (University of Birmingham)

(Sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group)

“Collaboration in art is fundamentally a question of cultural form”, John Roberts has claimed (2004: 557). By this he was bringing to attention that co-production in art is not a new phenomenon associated solely with the recent rise of socially-engaged or participatory art – rather that the production of socially-engaged art has become “a self-conscious process” (Roberts 2004: 557).

The creative process of participatory art has become a topic of increased intrigue in Social and Cultural Geography. Foci have emerged detailing its “messy materialities” and fluctuating social tensions (Askins and Pain 2011); its ability to create “senses of stability and belonging” (Parr 2006); and the art studio as an archival space “where things begin” (Sjöholm 2013: 1). More broadly, this geographical work on art can be seen as a move away from representational politics towards an understanding of art as a process constitutive of experience and meaning (Hawkins 2011). Despite this, however, geography’s attention to the intricacies of the co-productive processes of art has remained on relatively narrow grounds.

Drawing inspiration from John Roberts’ complication of the (co-)production of art, this session seeks to encourage geographers to expand their analytical lens to investigate the numerous actors and processes that go into the ‘co-production’ of art. Within this remit of actors and processes it seeks to draw attention not just to the human labour of art production, but also, alongside recent geographical attention to more-than-human publics and technological devices (e.g. Braun and Whatmore 2010; Dixon et al. 2012) the role of the non-human. In this light the session seeks papers that expand on both the understanding of the collaborative human work (e.g. technical staff, volunteers, gallery assistants, community groups, curators, researchers), and the role of the non-human (e.g. the canvas, the paintbrush, the gallery space, the gallery text panels, the raw materials) involved in the co-production of art.

Papers might explore some of the following questions:

  • Who are the people involved in the production of art? What role do they play?
  • Who is hidden and who is exposed in the production of art (e.g. technical staff, volunteers, gallery assistants, community groups, curators, researchers, artist, funders)?
  • What are the connections between co-production and co-authorship in art?
  • How can we think of the non-human as co-producers in art? What role do they play?
  • How does this problematize the idea of co-production?
  • How can this investigation extend geography’s interest in the process and meaning of art?
  • How can we think of the co-production of art as an assemblage?
  • How does this engage with wider geographical questions around co-production and (co)authorship? (For example Crang 1992; McDowell 1994; Withers 2010; Keighren and Withers 2013).

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Danny McNally ( by 14th February 2014.

The session will consist of five 15-minute papers with time for questions.

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 Research, Gray’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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City of Newport Beach Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

Green Public Art Consultancy, in partnership with Arts Orange County, is excited to announce this call for sculpture for the City of Newport Beach, CA.


100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

DATE ISSUED: January 14, 2014

DEADLINE TO APPLY: February 28, 2014

Ten selected artworks will be prominently showcased for a period of two years in the heart of Newport Beach at the newly created Civic Center Park. The 14-acre, ocean-view site was specially designed by renowned landscape architect Peter Walker as an intended sculpture garden. Participating artists will have an extraordinary opportunity to have their works experienced over an extended period of time in a city that is a popular visitor destination and is home to some of the world’s best-known major art collectors as well as the award- winning Orange County Museum of Art. Apply to call online.

Looking west from the pedestrian bridge which connects the north and south portions of the park.
View additional site photos. View site map.


The City of Newport Beach (City) is pleased to announce a call for entries for its inaugural Invitational Sculpture Exhibition. Artists, private collectors, galleries and museums/non- profit institutions are invited to submit artworks for consideration for temporary exhibition at the City’s Civic Center Park. This is a unique opportunity for artworks to be exhibited at the newly completed Newport Beach Civic Center and displayed in the serene, ocean view site that is expected to become a popular attraction for local residents and tourists.

The Civic Center Park, designed by renowned landscape architectural firm PWP Landscape Architecture (PWP), is rapidly developing into a destination for visitors and residents of Newport Beach to gather for civic events and activities like summer concerts on the lawn, Shakespeare in the Park, art shows, visits to the dog park, or leisurely walks along the park’s windy trail. To further activate the splendor of the park, the City is now seeking to identify and temporarily place artworks in accordance with the art master plan included in the design of the grounds.

The City of Newport Beach has retained Arts Orange County to provide professional services for the artist selection and installation of the inaugural sculpture exhibition. Arts Orange County is being assisted by Green Public Art Consultancy.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time)

HONORARIUM: Selected artists will receive an honorarium of between $2,500 and $6,000 in exchange for a two-year loan of their artwork. Honorariums will be determined by the selection committee depending on the artist’s preliminary budget, complexity of the project, weight, and size. The honorarium amount shall cover transportation of the artwork to and from the exhibition site, structural engineering documents (if required), any insurance needed or desired for artwork transport and exhibition, and fees for on-site availability during installation and removal. Half of the honorarium will be provided to the artist upon signing the contract and the second half of the honorarium awarded after de-installation.

ELIGIBILITY: This call is open to all professional artists and artist teams, private collectors, galleries and museums/non-profit organizations. All applicants must be over the age of 18.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: The exhibition will consist of up to 10 sculptures located throughout the 14-acre Civic Center Park. Some artworks will be secured to concrete pads, each measuring approximately 16 sq. ft., in locations throughout the park as appropriate.

See Peter Walker and Partners Art Master Plan map

The selected artworks for the inaugural exhibition will remain on display for approximately two years with installation planned in the Summer of 2014 and de- installation planned for Summer of 2016.

Artworks may be available for purchase during the exhibition period. Artists who wish to make their artwork available for sale during the exhibition period agree that artworks shall not be de-installed until the conclusion of the exhibition period. The City of Newport Beach will not request a commission from the sale of artwork.

Successful applicants will be responsible for transporting their artworks to and from the site according to the contract schedule. The City of Newport Beach will coordinate professional installation and de-installation services for all artworks invited to participate in the exhibition.

An opening reception for the exhibition is planned for September 2014 and applicants whose works are selected for the exhibition are encouraged, though not required, to attend. Artists whose works are in the exhibition will also be invited to talk about their work to the public in Newport Beach. The City plans to distribute information about the exhibition to the news media, to conduct tours of the exhibition, and possibly to create a self-guided smartphone audio tour. Participating artists will be invited to submit statements in writing and be available for recordings for these informational and educational activities.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The artwork selected for exhibition will exemplify diversity of style, scale, media, and artists. The City seeks to have a well-balanced exhibit of sculptures with a variety of styles, types, and sizes. Specific locations for artworks within the City grounds will be determined by the artist selection committee. Sculptures of all types will be considered. Artworks will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Artistic Merit: Artists shall have strong professional qualifications, high-quality artwork that demonstrates originality and artistic excellence. Private collectors, galleries and museum/non-profit organizations shall have professional reputations for collecting and/or exhibiting high-quality artwork that demonstrates originality and artistic excellence.
  • Durability: The artwork must be made of high-quality materials which can withstand the natural elements of coastal Southern California for a minimum of two years. Consideration will be given to structural and surface integrity, protection against theft and vandalism, and requiring minimal to no maintenance.
  • Meets Minimum Requirements: Artworks must be available for the duration of the exhibition period. The artwork must be designed to be easily secured to a concrete foundation. Artworks, when installed, should be readily visible from the interpretive trails. Artworks should be suitable for viewing from all angles. Artworks shall be appropriate for audiences of all ages.
  • Site Responsiveness: Artwork should be appropriate in scale, material, and content for the immediate, general, social, and physical environments to which they relate. Artworks must not exhibit unsafe conditions or factors that may bear on public liability.

Artworks which incorporate sustainable strategies, demonstrate green processes, or utilize green design, materials theories, and techniques are welcome, but not required.

SELECTION PROCESS: A local selection committee consisting of up to three Newport Beach Arts Commissioners, two local arts professionals (Dan Cameron, Interim Director and Chief Curator, Orange County Museum of Art; and Richard Turner, Artist, Professor Emeritus of Art and Co- Director of The Guggenheim Gallery, Chapman University), and one art conservator (Christina Varvi, Assistant Conservator, Rosa Lowinger & Associates, Los Angeles and Miami) will be responsible for selecting the artworks to be loaned for this project. They will review each artwork and make decisions based on the selection criteria as outlined in this Call for Entries. As many as 10 finalists and 3 alternates will be selected for this project. Recommendations must be approved by the Arts Commission and the Newport Beach City Council.

Please Note: To preserve the validity and integrity of the selection process, no applicant may contact any member of the selection committee or the City Council until the entire process is completed and the City Council has rendered its decision. Questions must be directed to Arts Orange County.


February 28, 2014  Call for entries deadline

March 2014  Selections made by the Newport Beach Civic Center Invitational Sculpture Exhibition artist selection committee to include 10 sculptures and 3 alternates

May 2014  City Council review and approve selections and Selected artists notified

August 2014  Artwork delivered by the artists and installed by the City

September 2014  City Exhibition dedication reception

Summer 2016  Artwork de-installed by the City and picked-up by artists

TO APPLY: Artists/Private Collectors/Galleries/Museums/Non-Profit Organizations may submit as many as three (3) individual artworks for consideration. Applications will only be accepted via CaFÉ ( via this link. Each artwork must be submitted separately. There is no application fee. A different user account must be used for each submission. (Therefore, to submit three different artworks, you must create and use three separate accounts to submit three different applications.) Artists will not be eligible to have more than one artwork selected for the exhibition.

Visit the website for details on how to apply through CaFÉ.


To apply: The following information must be uploaded to CaFÉ and received by Friday, February 28 at 11:59pm. (Pacific Standard Time) APPLY HERE.

1. Statement of interest (1,000 words maximum), addressing:

  • Why the submitted artwork is appropriate for the Civic Center Park;
  • Has the proposed artwork been installed in an outdoor, public setting before? If not, how will you prepare the artwork for the outdoor, public installation at the Civic Center;
  • Relevant public art experience.

2. Resume / curriculum vitae including name, mailing address, phone number(s), email and website.

3. Three images of an artwork submitted for consideration. *Note: if you wish to submit more than one artwork for consideration, you must submit separate applications for each individual artwork. Do not combine several artwork submissions into one application. Up to three applications are permitted per applicant. Each separate application must be submitted by a different user account.

4. Accompanying Annotated Image List including:

  • Title and date of artwork;
  • Very brief description of artwork (100 word maximum);
  • Medium, dimensions and weight;
  • Artwork value;
  • Is artwork available for sale? If so, at what price?
  • Collection of [insert name here] OR Courtesy of [insert name here]
  • List of previous exhibition locations

5. Preliminary Budget to include:

  • Estimated transportation cost
  • Insurance cost
  • Artist honorarium

INSURANCE: The City of Newport Beach shall procure and maintain insurance against claims for injuries to persons or damages to property which may arise from or in connection to the artwork supplied to the City of Newport Beach but only with respects to the city’s liability.

The City of Newport Beach shall procure and maintain fine arts coverage for any damage to the submitted artwork. Coverage shall apply to unscheduled fine arts in the city’s care, custody or control not to exceed a loss amount of $2,500,000. The city will not be held responsible for loss resulting from a Flood or Earthquake.

Coverage provided by the city shall remain in force until the duration of the display and the cost shall be borne to the city.

The applicant is encouraged to purchase a commercial general liability policy on an occurrence basis in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the general aggregate to protect the artist from claims of bodily injury or property damage. Additionally, if the value of submitted artwork exceeds the fine arts limit purchased by the city, it is the city’s recommendation that the applicant purchase a property damage/fine arts policy covering the value of the artwork. The cost of such insurance(s) shall be borne by the applicant.

Note: Applicants acknowledge and agree that they are displaying the artwork at the site at their own risk.


  • Do not send applications directly to Arts Orange County or the City of Newport Beach.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • If artists are applying as a team, include resumes for all team members.
  • The City of Newport Beach reserves the right to reject all submittals and to decline to award contracts for this project.
  • All artists who submit their materials for review will receive notification of the results of the selection process, including the identification of the selected artists.
  • All information contained herein does not constitute an expressed or implied contract.
  • Artists will not be eligible for more than one artwork selection in any given exhibition.



Project History

The project began in 2008 and the Newport Beach City Council determined that an architectural design competition, overseen by a committee of local architects, would help identify the appropriate architect and design for its new Civic Center. More than 50 teams comprised of architects and landscape architects entered the competition. The field was first narrowed to 13 teams and then five finalists. Each team received a $50,000 stipend and approximately three months to prepare a concept plan. The Newport Beach City Council ultimately approved the committee’s recommendation and selected Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) and its concept plan for the project. BCJ’s team included Peter Walker Partners (PWP) as the landscape architect.

Newport Beach Civic Center & Park

The Newport Beach Civic Center is located on a 16-acre site, bordered by Avocado Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, with coastal views. The Civic Center includes the 14-acre park, a 450-space parking structure, the expanded Newport Beach Central Library, and a City Hall building, City Council Chambers and Community Room. The Civic Center was completed in the Spring of 2013.

BCJ grounded the design of the City Hall building with elements of sustainability. Several active and passive design strategies were incorporated into the new City Hall to provide energy savings. The building was designed to earn at least a LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), but the City believes it is on track to earn a LEED Gold certification. LEED is a program of the United States Green Building Council. It is the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work.

The entrance to the new Civic Center is marked by the City Council Chambers with its iconic “sail” and the neighboring, transparent community space. The Civic Green, bounded by the City Hall building, parking structure and the library, serves as the City’s “front lawn.” The new park and gardens surround the buildings and serve as a gateway to a series of outdoor program elements.

A significant portion of the Civic Center is dedicated to a 14-acre park. It includes the City’s first dog park, a civic lawn for outdoor events, restored wetlands, and 1.23 miles of walking and viewing trails. Its comprehensive plan incorporates large mature trees, and a series of plantings that respond to both the design intent and existing conditions, all of which are linked by a series of meandering paths. Sustainable practices include on-site storm-water treatment with extensive swales, retention basins integrated into planting, and a native plant palette. Additional criteria of LEED and the Sustainable Sites Initiative were utilized to ensure the highest level of sustainability. A number of locations for outdoor sculpture were also identified in the design.

About the Design Team

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) is known for exceptional design, its commitment to the particularity of place and user, and for an extraordinary aesthetic based on a quiet rigor which is both intellectual and intuitive. During its 47 years of practice, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) has garnered an extraordinary record of design achievement. The firm has received eight national Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and more than 530 awards recognizing the firm’s design abilities. BCJ won the AIA’s Architecture Firm Award in 1994. The firm’s other notable projects include Seattle City Hall; Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia; Adobe San Francisco; Apple Store, New York City; and Pixar Studios and Headquarters, Emeryville, CA.

For nearly 30 years, PWP (Peter Walker Partners) Landscape Architecture has developed a tradition of design practice that responds to, as well as influences, its environment. The firm believes in “constructing landscapes that refine nature, engage culture, and sustain them both.” PWP’s other notable projects include: the National 9/11 Memorial, New York; Constitution Gardens at the National Mall, Washington, D.C.; South Coast Plaza Town Center, Costa Mesa; and Barangaroo, Sydney, Australia.

Read more about the project and the project team.
View additional images of the Newport Beach Civic Center Park.

QUESTIONS: Please direct all questions to Kristina Colby, Program Coordinator, Arts Orange County at (714) 556-5160 x14 or

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.

Go to Green Public Art

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Aesthetics of Uncivilisation Pt.2

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The first post under the title Aesthetics of Uncivilisation focused on responding to Charlotte Du Caan’s call for submissions for the Dark Mountain Project’s next publications and her reflection on Seeing through a glass darkly. She said,

The fact that civilisation holds us so tightly in its unkind embrace is not only because it controls what some call ‘industrialised storytelling’, but also because it manufactures the images that powerfully and unconsciously distract and misinform us, keep us endlessly looking at the shiny surfaces of what we feel is our cultural reality.

That essay responded to Charlotte’s examples of reconnecting with nature and highlighted the work of the Collins and Goto Studio and their projects The Forest is Moving and Plein Air; Liberate Tate’s performance Parts Per Million and Penny Clare’s photographs. Arguing that these represent aspects of an aesthetics which is also an ethics, an ethics of eco-cultural well-being, of the absurd performance of catastrophe, and of the possibility of an art of low energy, the essay suggested a wider conceptualisation of reconnecting with nature.

In this second essay another selection of examples have come to mind in response to watching The Grass Will Grow Over Your Cities (2010), Sophie Fiennes’ film exploring Anselm Keifer’s studio and landscape in Barjac in the South of France.

In this discussion we cannot overlook Dada and Surrealism. The artists now grouped under those ‘movements’ were responding to catastrophic human stupidity.

Perhaps the shaping document of the 20th Century has been Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism (1909), calling as it did for the of the overturning of the heart of European culture, the washing away of the old, and celebrating speed and violence. The first few lines evoke this,

1. We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.

2. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.

3. Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.

4. We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. ….

For all the other philosophising, this manifesto is what the 20th Century has lived up to: the headlong charge, the rabid consumption of energy, aggression and violence in magnificent proportions culminating in a weapon that can destroy all life on earth and the realisation that in any case we are affecting all life on earth, and not for the better – so much more than the authors could have imagined in their call for an overturning of a failed culture.

On the other hand, and less than ten years later, Dada and Surrealism were reactions to a civilisation which believed that art was about beauty and truth, but was able to wreak havoc and destruction on a generation. This year we will remember the start of the First World War – as someone recently said, the slaughter of the working classes in the name of European Imperialism. The poets, performers, writers and artists associated with Dada and Surrealism were met with anger and derision.

Dada threw out meaning and sense: it was anti-art. Surrealism opened up the unconscious, foregrounded our basest desires and fears. These are the aesthetics of a previous moment of fury at our civilisation. Dada enacted absurdity, and Surrealism refocused art on inner madness and fear. Both have deeply influenced art over the last century and remain important tropes for artists today (Christy Rupp‘s collages such as the Frack-me-not sequence and her felt sculptures; Joel Tauber‘s Seven Attempts to Make A Ritual films).

Sophie Fiennes’ film of Anselm Keifer’s studio and landscape at Barjac in the South of France is on the one hand precisely an articulation of an aesthetic of abandonment. Keifer has constructed a landscape of broken concrete, molten lead, burnt books and broken glass, a strange proto-archaeological site of desolation. But you cannot watch the film without becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the hubris and an extraordinary cost. Between the many assistants, the JCBs and cranes, and the cement mixers, this is on a scale not hugely dissimilar to Turrell’s Roden Crater. Keifer is creating a landscape of abandonment, a man-made version of landscapes which we can see around us in our cities and towns, but he is doing it by spending vast sums of money. It is a fable of the age.

Where Keifer is constructing a destroyed and abandoned landscape, in the 60s John Latham and Gustav Metzger were amongst a group of artists who again questioned civilisation. Metzger was one of the key figures in the Destruction in Art Symposium (1966), and as part of the symposium Latham experimented with his Skoob Towers. These towers of burning books have a close resonance with Keifer’s towers and burnt books. Latham was not afraid of destruction as an artistic process, but it was within a wider intellectual project.

Whilst Latham is often a reference point for art that is engaged with industry, bureaucracy, policy and society as well as being one of the most compelling demonstrations of the idea that “context is half the work,” other aspects of his art deeply expand the norms of social scope. There are three pieces which could be signal elements in this aesthetics: These three pieces question everything. The first represents experience and event through a reduction of drawing to a one second act. The second reframes the scale of our experience into a device which encompasses the quantum and the cosmological. The third provocatively suggests that there is a common truth which shines through the greatest books understood as cultural events. This was so provocative that the Tate Gallery refused to include it in their retrospective (2005).

John Latham One-Second Drawing (17″ 2002) (Time Signature 5:1) 1972

Latham’s One Second Drawing works of various dates are just a second of spray paint on paper. They allude to the limits of our perception as well as to the limits of beauty. The question the value of painting and express the briefness of life whilst reminding us of the cosmological. These works express with absolute simplicity his conception of the least event, demonstrating the simplest spatiality whilst embodying the shortest temporal experience.

Time-Base Roller with Graphic Score, 1987 (with Basic T Diagram on left). Canvas, electric motor operating metal bar, wood, graphite. Photo: Ken Adlard

Latham’s Time Base Roller (1972) is a much more complex and sophisticated evocation of his philosophy, enabling us to understand our experience of time as event in a spectrum. Using something as mundane as a domestic roller blind with an electric motor, he set out different scales of time through a along its length, from the cosmological to the quantum, “Light at one end, and at the other the longest cosmological extent” (1975). Events occur in front of us as the roller unfurls, past time being perceived only partially through the canvas against the wall. So our sense of the immediacy of events and our dim understanding of the scale of time, whether of the least moment or the longest duration, is manifest in an everyday object elegantly reimagined as a treatise on chronology. He describes it thus, “This Time-base Spectrum presents a universal filing device whereby all manifestations are comparable within the same co-ordinates.” (1975).

John Latham, God is Great.

Latham’s work God is Great of various dates takes the form of the three fundamental books of the Abrahamic tradition, the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran, and unites them with a sheet of glass which penetrates all three. The unifying device of a sheet of broken glass both signals a shared truth and notes the incompleteness of that truth in one moment. But the underlying point is the event structure of which these books are merely spatial manifestations.  Latham said, “The belief system is a rock-bottom source of non-negotiable problems of the day”.

If one aesthetic of uncivilisation is to attempt to make art more or less useful in reconnecting us with nature, then another must be the absurd and the internal confrontation with death. In a blog for the New York Times (2013), the soldier and writer Roy Scranton spoke about coming to terms with dying in the Anthropocene. He says,

Many thinkers, including Cicero, Montaigne, Karl Jaspers, and The Stone’s own Simon Critchley, have argued that studying philosophy is learning how to die. If that’s true, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age — for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The rub is that now we have to learn how to die not as individuals, but as a civilization.

He goes on to say,

I found my way forward through an 18th-century Samurai manual, Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s “Hagakure,” which commanded: “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.” Instead of fearing my end, I owned it. Every morning, after doing maintenance on my Humvee, I’d imagine getting blown up by an I.E.D., shot by a sniper, burned to death, run over by a tank, torn apart by dogs, captured and beheaded, and succumbing to dysentery. Then, before we rolled out through the gate, I’d tell myself that I didn’t need to worry, because I was already dead. The only thing that mattered was that I did my best to make sure everyone else came back alive. “If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead,” wrote Tsunetomo, “he gains freedom in the Way.”

To come to terms with dying, or collapse as the Dark Mountain project frames it, is to address the absurdity of life, to acknowledge our inner fears and nightmares, and also to understand our existence in relation to the quantum and the cosmological, to see the event rather than the thing.


Apollonio, Umbro, ed. 1973. Documents of 20th Century Art: Futurist Manifestos. Brain, Robert, R.W. Flint, J.C. Higgitt, and Caroline Tisdall, trans. New York: Viking Press, 19-24.

Du Caan, C. Seeing through a glass darkly: towards and aesthetics of uncivilisation. The Dark Mountain Project, The Dark Mountain Blog. accessed 8 January 2014

Latham, J. 1975 Time-base and determination in events in State of Mind, Düsseldorf: Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, revised reprint Edinburgh: R & R Clark

Scranton, R. 2013. Learning how to die in the anthropocene. New York Times. November 10, 2013. accessed 12 November 2013

Smith, D. 2005. Artist hits at Tate ‘cowards’ over ban. The Guardian 25 September 2005.

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 Research, Gray’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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New Book–Living Pathways: Meditations on sustainable cultures and cosmologies in Asia

This post comes from Cultura21.

Living Pathways: Meditations on sustainable cultures and cosmologies in Asia


About the BookGlobalisation and technological progress have ushered us into a new era of development. Never before has the promise of the ‘Good Life’ in a hedonistic, consumerist utopia, been within reach for so many. Yet a significant portion of humanity is still unable to meet their basic needs. These trends are unsustainable, and beg the question: Where are we heading as a global community… and at what cost?

In 2005, M. Nadarajah embarked on a journey into the heart of Asia to research culturally imbedded notions of sustainable development. He met with theindigenous communities of the Henanga, Ainu, Lanna, Karen, Kankanaey, Balinese and several others. These cultures reside far from the problems of mainstream development, both physically and spiritually. Their lifestyles incorporate philosophies of interconnectedness; of the sacredness of nature; of the continuity of Past, Present and Future. Rather than offer notions of sustainable development, these life-affirming philosophies pave a pathway towards a deep sustainability.

On this path, we find answers to how we must change as a society in order for us to preserve our world for all future generations. But do we have the collective will to overcome our consumptive habits and start living responsibly? Living Pathways offers its readers a chance to meditate upon these questions. It provides meaningful directions towards the spiritual paths of sustainable communities we often take for granted. Above all, it shows the reader a picture of the world we live in as it could be, if only we choose to make it so.

About the Author

M. Nadarajah, or ‘Nat’, earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, in 1993. His doctoral thesis was published in 1999 as Culture, Gender and Ecology: Beyond Workerism. Nat has spent his life working on the interconnected issues of communication, process development and management, culture, spirituality and sustainability. He has written several books on these issues: Another Malaysia is Possible and Other Essays: Writings on Culture and Politics for a Sustainable World (2004) and his co-edited book Urban Crisis: Culture and the Sustainability of Cities (2007) are noteworthy contributions. He is one of the pioneers of the Global Centre for the Study of Sustainable Futures and Spirituality (GCSSFS, In 2005, Nat became an Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellow, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. This allowed him to embark on a research ‘pilgrimage’ that inspired the meditations presented here in Living Pathways.

For information on how to order the book, visit Areca Books.

Sustainable Arts in Higher Education Symposium

This post comes from Julie’s Bicycle.

Sustainable Arts in Higher Education Symposium


12th February 2014, 2pm – 5pm (followed by drinks)
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in conjunction with Julie’s Bicycle, will  host the first ‘Sustainable Arts in Higher Education Symposium,’ on the afternoon, of the  12th February. It is intended that this will be an informative and interactive session for those within higher education, specifically in the creative arts arena, who wish to explore and share issues pertinent to sustainability, embracing all aspects of the creative arts environment both within an educational infrastructure as well as from a wider industry perspective.  We envisage this event being a catalyst for engendering further interest in the topic and igniting a future formal network of like-minded people. The afternoon will encompass a panel of speakers from a variety of institutions, together with a Q&A, networking, drinks and nibbles!

The afternoon will encompass a panel of speakers from a variety of institutions, together with a Q&A, networking, drinks and nibbles!

If you would like to attend this free event – n.b. a small voluntary, charitable, donation will be requested on the day – please save this date to your diary. Further details with confirmed speakers and an agenda with be sent out to registered delegates nearer the time.

Click here for more information and booking.

Culture Change Conference

This post from Julie’s Bicycle.

Culture Change Conference

5th Feburary 2014, 10.15am – 4pm (Registration from 9am)
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Providing business support to build sustainability in creative and cultural industries across the East of England.


The Culture Change Conference 2014 will bring together expert speakers and workshop facilitators to address how the creative and cultural industries can take action on environmental sustainability.

Speakers include:
Professor Chris Rapley, Department of Earth Sciences at UCL
Sustainable fashion designer Orsola de Castro
Journalist and broadcaster Lucy Siegel
Jonathan Reekie, CEO of Aldeburgh Music
Donna Lynas, Director of Wysing Arts Centre
Martin Charter, Director of The Centre for Sustainable Design
… and more!

Find out more about the speakers.

The conference will launch the Culture Change programme, through which Julie’s Bicycle is providing free low carbon business support to East of England SMEs in the creative and cultural industries from now until March 2015.

On 5 February 2014, the Royal Opera House is hosting a free conference to launchCulture Change, a new business support programme for creative and cultural industries based in the East of England.

The conference will open at 9am with a networking opportunity, followed by an introduction by Alex Beard at 10.15am and the first presentation. It will close at 4pm.View the full agenda.

The programme, run by the Royal Opera House and supported by the European Regional Development Fund, is designed to encourage sustainable development in small to medium enterprises by offering bespoke advice, a support network and a series of free workshops and seminars.

The conference will include panel discussions about practical action on sustainability, led by speakers including Chris Rapley (Professor of Climate Science at University College, London), Orsola De Castro (leading eco fashion designer and founder of Esthetica) and Lucy Siegle (environmental journalist); taster workshops; introductions to the latest marketing strategies, carbon calculator tools and funding opportunities; and an interactive session to highlight sustainability objectives.

To book a free ticket, register now. For any further information, please e-mail Michelle Flinn at, or phone 01708 892849.

The Culture Change programme has been created by a partnership between the Royal Opera House, Julie’s Bicycle, Creative & Cultural Skills, High House Production Park and Thurrock Borough Council. 

Click here to register your place and find out more.

The Future of Small Scale Touring

This post comes from Julie’s Bicycle.

The Future of Small Scale Touring
An Independent Touring Symposium by Paines Plough


30th January 2014, 11am – 6pm
The Royal Exchange, Manchester

Julie’s Bicycle will give a TED style presentation on how touring companies are developing more sustainable ways of working, as part of this day long symposium.

For ticket prices or to find out more click here.

Julie’s Bicycle is inviting anyone who cares about the future of small scale theatre touring to attend an independent touring symposium on Thursday 30 January 2014 at The Royal Exchange, Manchester. We are very excited to announce the line-up of speakers:

The keynote speech will be given by Vikki Heywood CBE. Previously Executive Director of both the RSC and the Royal Court Theatre, Vikki is now Chair of the RSA, having also been a board member of the Society of London Theatre, The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The day is broken into 3 parts, the themes being based on the responses to our survey in 2013 as the most common areas we all find challenging:


Louise Blackwell & Kate McGrath, Co-Directors, Fuel Theatre:  ‘New Theatre in Your Neighbourhood ‘

Sam Eccles, Development Director, The Touring Network: ‘Tourbook: Joining the dots of touring performance’

Sophie Eustace, Executive Director, Fevered Sleep: ‘Future play – how can we tour ambitious work for he very young?’

James Grieve & George Perrin, Co-Artistic Directors, Paines Plough: ‘Roundabout and New Small Scale Touring Network’

Katie Roberts, Take Out Producer, Battersea Arts Centre:  ‘The Collaborative Touring Network’

Neil Murray, Executive  Producer, National Theatre Scotland


Nick Bareham, Co-Founder/Managing Director, AU Insights: ‘Little Data. The new Big Data. The old Data’

Chris O’Connell, Artistic Director, Theatre Absolute: ‘Shop Front Theatre’

Jo Taylor, Senior Consultant, Morris Hargreaves Mcintyre: ‘Beyond the Box Office (or what you *really* need to know about audiences) ‘

Jonathan Waddingham, Social &Labs Product Manager, Just Giving: ‘Yimby and growing audiences from 0 to, well, lots’

Penny Mills, Director London and Touring, The Audience Agency


Matt Burman, Head of Programme & Audiences, Warwick Arts Centre: ‘WLTM: working, learning, talking, making. New approaches to making new work.’

Charlotte Jones, Chief Executive, Independent Touring Council: ‘Negotiating for a sustainable relationship’

Mark Makin, Co-Director Makin Projects  & Programme Manager HOUSE: ‘Touring – What’s a partnership?’

Sholeh Johnson, Arts Manager, Julie’s Bicycle

Matt Fenton, Artistic Director, Contact Theatre

Julie’s Bicycle hopes the day will provide a platform for the industry to share their stories in a practically applicable way and to meet colleagues from across the country. Each speaker will speak for only 6 minutes and there will be an informal breakout session after each section where delegates will be able to discuss the provocations raised directly with the speakers.

At the end of the day, anyone who doesn’t have to shoot home is invited to the pub to keep plotting.

The conference will commence at 11.30am,  with registration from 11am, and will finish at 5.30pm.

Do you have questions about THE FUTURE OF SMALL SCALE TOURING: An Independent Touring Symposium? Contact Paines Plough

Sustainable Design and Production

This post comes from Julie’s Bicycle.

Sustainable Design and Production


29th January 2014, 1.30pm – 5pm (followed by drinks)
Contact Theatre, Manchester

Sustainable Design and Production is a cross-arts event that invites practitioners in theatre, dance, music, festivals and outdoor arts, and visual arts to discuss how we can produce work to be more environmentally sustainable in the cultural sector.

The event will provide a platform for presentations, provocations and discussions that offer insight into integrating environmental sustainability into artistic leadership, performance making, design, and production management.

Speakers include:

Jack Thompson, Technical Director of Manchester International Festival

Professor Pamela Howard OBE, a scenographer and director

David Evans, Production Manager of National Theatre Wales

Click here to book a place or find out more.