This week we recognize the work of artists Reiko Goto and Tim Collins.
Goto and Collins embrace an ecosystems methodology, collaborating with a range of disciplines, communities and other living things. They are interested in the ways that art and imagination contribute to practical wisdom and democratic discourse about ethics and human values. The work primarily focuses upon natural public places and everyday experience of environmental commons. An ethical-aesthetic impulse permeates the artwork.
Deep Mapping at Lough Boora Sculpture Park was commissioned by Offaly County Council and Bord na Móna and funded by Offaly County Council, The Arts Council and Creative Ireland. The book was published in Ireland, 2020, and documents a ‘deep mapping’ of the Park and the contexts which continue to shape its meaning. The text contributes to the goal of agreeing an exceptional and sustainable artistic vision to inform the future development of a Land and Environmental Arts facility. It also intends to provide an initial historic, cultural and ecological contribution for artists and scientists trying to orient themselves at Lough Boora in the future.
Goto and Collins worked with a team of scientists, technologists, and musicians to reveal the breath of a tree. Their intention was to explore the empathic interrelationship we may have with trees. PLEIN AIR aboveintegrates aesthetics, ethics, and awareness in the pursuit of a better understanding of the limitations of people-plant and culture-nature relationships. The artwork provides an experiential interface to an important but generally invisible aspect of carbon sequestration. The experience produced by PLEIN AIR is metaphoric; through the mediation of sensors and software, we hear a sound of one leaf – one tree breathing. Does our sense of moral duty change as we listen? A tree is commonly understood as property, as a utilitarian resource, and as a non-sentient thing. Yet the presence of trees in our daily lives and their bio-chemical agency, their carbon dioxide / oxygen exchange, can be construed as an essential condition of the public realm.
Lanolin, Can you see the forest of Scotland? below is a commentary on the relationship between landscape, trees and sheep in Scotland. The work emerged from a walk in Loch Katrine with the Native Woodlands Discussion Group, where member Ruth Anderson showed Goto the robust bonsai-tree like stem of a native birch tree and its root structure, new growth which developed once sheep were removed (and deer fenced out) of the National Park. The removal of sheep from the Scottish landscape makes an enormous impact on trees and their ability to regenerate and prosper.
Working with unwashed fleece the artist carefully carded the wool and established the background for the lighter, washed wool of the Saint Andrew’s Cross, the Saltire. The land is the context for culture, and the trees are the language of landscape that emerges once the pressure of sheep is lifted. Lanolin is another cultural decoy, conflating nationalism and past land use with future visions of an expanded forest in Scotland.
Collins & Goto Studio: Reiko Goto and Tim Collins have developed long-term, socially engaged environmental research (SEER) that examines the cultural meaning of semi-natural ancient forest: Future Forest (2013-present); Sylva Caledonia (2015); Caledonian Decoy (2017); PLEIN AIR: The Ethical Aesthetic Impulse (2010); CO2 Edinburgh (2013); Sound of a Tree: Cologne (2016); PLEIN AIR Live at Glasgow Botanics (2017); Nine Mile Run (1997-2000); and 3 Rivers 2nd Nature (2000-2005). Outputs include artworks, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, and publications that embrace an arts-led dialogue method of research-and theory-informed public practice. They have worked with other artists, musicians, planners, communities, scientists, and technologists as well as historians and philosophers to realize work for over twenty years. collinsandgoto.com
Featured Images top to bottom: ©Collins & Goto Studio,Deep Mapping at Lough Boora Sculpture Park (2020); Deep Mappingbook; Plein Air: The Breath of Trees (2019-2020); Plein Air book; Lanolin, Can you see the forest of Scotland? (2013).
Below: Tim Collins (left) and Reiko Goto (right)
ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999
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