In a western world where religious “rebirth” is being used to justify the elimination of human rights, the idea of starting anew can be exhausting and suspect. Compost, as a process, reminds us that cycles are inherent in cultures, economies and bodies as well as ecologies. The artists in this issue engage with ideas of compost in ways that are important and enlivening, in Lead Editor Moe Beitiks’ final issue for the Quarterly.
This issue explores borders as ‘a unique and specific place which is instrumental to the definition of globalization, integration, territorialization and reterritorialization’ (Nicol and Minghi 2005: 687) alongside the ecologies of landscape and community. It seeks to expand on geographies of (im)mobility and socio-spatiality through the reflections, processes and visions of artistic and community work that explore earth’s palimpsestic layers of those who have walked, planted, played, fought and fled.
Patricia Watts, founder and curator of ecoartspace, is editor of this issue, which includes essays on the mining of cobalt by Mary Mattingly and sculptural applications in wildlife rehabilitation by Rachel Frank, as well as a Post Anthropocentric art provocation by Linda Weintraub featuring the works of Amy Youngs, Dana Hemes, and Leah Wilson. Also included is an interview/conversation with Raphael Bengay and feature spreads of works by Dana Fritz, Bebonkwe / Jude Norris, and Lily Simonson with poet Katy Gurin.
How can we approach the non-human with authenticity? Resisting stereotype and symbolic simplification, can we instead move between the imperfect modalities available to us: the empirical gaze, new anthropomorphism, the intuitive, the speculative, poetic slippage, radical empathy? With multiple precipices occluding once familiar ground beneath our feet, we may find this threshold in an unexpected direction—and instead of stepping outwards, sink into a space below executive consciousness where we may gain entry to a more-than-human world by giving in to being something less than fully in control.
We live in times that are impure — confusing and compromised — and this requires contingent thinking and acting. What happens when artists get involved in complex, difficult issues, where different parties are involved and there might not be such a clear-cut right and wrong? Or alternatively, when the costs of ambivalence may be impossibly high? This issue is framed around both/and: the role of complicity in social-ecological systems and how to maintain a contingent – yet effective – position as an artist and ecological participant. Guest edited by Perdita Phillips.
This issue of CSPA Quarterly destabilizes Colonial Settler perspectives in ecological art practices. By bringing together artists and writers who re-center BIPOC, and particularly Indigenous, voices in decolonial eco-art, this issue proposes a different way to view ecology. These artists each offer an incisive critique of a Western model of land-engagement, and its roots in ownership and exploitation.
The CSPA QUARTERLY is proud to announce our rising Co-Lead Editors, who will be sustaining the publication and transitioning to eventually become Lead Editors.
Jamie Morra is an art historian living and working between the United States, Scotland, and Spain. Her interests include the aesthetics of ecology, human-animal relations, and ways in which technology has come to mitigate the formal qualities of everyday life. Her background in theories of art and the environment inform her work with artists as a facilitator, producer, project manager, researcher and writer. In 2014 Morra co-founded Residency 108 to invite artists to share her deep connection to the natural world and abiding concern for the issues facing our planet. The program aims to underscore the connections, both formally and conceptually, between art and nature. Morra holds a B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at New York University, an M.A. and a Curatorial Certificate from Hunter College.
Evelyn Oâ€™Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter, where she teaches, researches and writes about environmental theatre and performance. Published work includes the monograph Weathering Shakespeare: Audiences and Open Air Performance(2020), in addition to articles and book chapters on theatre, performance, sea and mountain-scapes, weather, climate change and reproductive rights. She has also written short pieces for Waymaking: an anthology womenâ€™s adventure writing, poetry and art, An Ecotopian Lexicon and Tree Tales.
Her collaborative research in the field has included working with scientists and meteorologists from the UK Met Office and University on a Natural Environment Research Council Climate Stories project, in addition to a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council project on Atmospheric Theatre: Open Air Performance and the Environment, with Chloe Preedy. She is also a collaborator on a global SSHRC practice-research collaboration Cymbeline in the Anthropocene, led by Randall Martin.
She is from a mostly grey place called Baile an BhÃ³thair (the town on the road) in Dublin, Ireland, and now lives and works in another mostly grey place called Exeter, England, where she can be found struggling up hills on her bike, never dressed for the weather and still surprised, heartstopped by the cityâ€™s occasionally-magnificent light.
The CSPA Quarterly is a publication arm of the Centre for Sustainable Arts. It is meant to give a longer format and deeper space for exploration than some online platforms provide, and to reflect the myriad ways in which sustainability in the arts is discussed, approached and practiced. The publication features reviews, interviews, features, artist pages, essays, reflections and photos. It is a snapshot of a moment in time, a look at the many discussions in sustainability and the arts through the lens of a particular theme. It is part of a rigorous dialogue.
Jamie and Evelyn will be working together to:
- Develop an archival, digital publication of the Q
- Develop and sustain new income streams for the Q
- Plan issues for 2024 and beyond, assuming sole Lead Editorship in that year
- Sustain the Quarterly and its continued relevance.
They will be working with the guidance and support of current Lead Editor Meghan Moe Beitiks, whose final issue will be Q40.
We are incredibly grateful to be bringing on these prolific, skilled, insightful and talented writers and administrators, and look forward to their vision for the Quarterly as it changes and adapts over time!
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
WEAD, Women Eco Artists Dialog, is a nonprofit focusing on womenâ€™s unique perspectives and contributions in the eco and social justice art fields. Our global constituency numbers 400+/- activist feminist art workers (inclusive reading of â€œart, feminism, woman, genderâ€). WEADâ€™s issue takeover â€” Q30: â€œLAMENTATIONâ€ unearths GRIEF found in membersâ€™ art and words. Facing oppressive loss of critical ecosystems, where is hope?
When words and sounds fail, silence has the potential to both open up space for listening, and serve as an oppressive force. This issue will examine Silence in various practices and processes, as both a facilitator of healing and a catalyst for trauma. Artists are silent, question silence, are empowered through and threatened by silence, listen in silence, stew in silence. This issue is a quiet one, but it is by no means without agency.
Guest Edited by Feresteh Toosi. Animating Ancestors is a special themed issue of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly journal which features projects that breathe life into the past. The word â€œanimateâ€ comes from the Latin verb animare meaning â€œgiving life to.â€ Ancestors are all the plants, animals, people, fungi, soil, water, that constitute our lineage on this planet. This issue includes contributors who bring these inherited realities alive for their audiences through their creative research.