Readings in Performance and Ecology (What Is Theatre?)

This ground-breaking collection of essays focuses on how theatre, dance, and other forms of performance are helping to transform our ecological values. Leading scholars and practitioners explore the ways that familiar and new works of theatre and dance can help us recognize our reciprocal relationship with the natural world and how performance helps us understand the way our bodies are integrally connected to the land. They also explore how environmentalists use performance as a form of protest; how performance illuminates our relationships with animals as autonomous creatures and artistic symbols; and how performance can help humans re-define our place in the larger ecological community.

CSPA Director Ian Garrett contributed a chapter about the carbon footprint of theatrical production.

Purchase here Readings in Performance and Ecology (What Is Theatre?) (9780230337282): Wendy Arons, Theresa J. May: Books.

Publication: Harvest in Times of Drought

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Harvest in Times of Drought – cultivating pedagogies of life for sustainable communities

Voices of the country

In the following lines, the book Harvest in Times of Drought is presented and offered for download (please find the download link at the bottom of the post). This publication is about creative education in Brasil that can generate social transformation and sustainability.

Brasil is one of the countries that is hit hard by the consequences of the industrialization in form of sharp inequalities, uprooting communicide and ecological upheaval. It has reached a threshold between a terrifying drought and a reflexive dawn. The task is to create on time a global project capable of cultivating a new paradigm of cooperation and sustainable community instead of competition.

Children and young people are seriously affected, because it is their future that is at stake. They already seek refuge in industrialized foods, virtual communities and paradises of self-consumption. Their parents feel powerless and can not point out alternative, aware that these will not resolve our crisis of civilization. A way must be found in order to create a new human performance of care, co-responsibility and solidarity, not just with others, but with ourselves, and with the future.

Every intervention and learning method must be based on pluricultural respect and transcultural care. Alternative experiences of social beauty and ethical self-respect can be offered and inspired by new as well as ancient pedagogies.

The aim is to create self-confidence to intervene in all human spaces and enable people to read and transform our cultural reflexes and political imagination. In order to avoid the reproduction of the violating past in the future, Harvest in Times of Drought roots the educative and transformative potentials of the artistic languages in the wisdoms of the land, the forest and the rivers of the Amazon to contribute to a proposal adaptable to any neighborhood, school and social organization.

The outcome after a seven years collaboration of Dan Baron (author of Cultural Literacy and co-founder of the World Alliance for Arts Education) and Manoela Souza (co-founder of the Brazilian Network of Arteducators) is this  pedagogic resource and collective artwork. Fifty rural pedagogues and community leaders from the Federal University of Pará, Marabá, contributed their share to book in form of life stories, poems, songs and visual as well as pedagogic narratives.
The book is dedicated to Maria do Espirito Santo da Silva, eco-pedagogue, popular educator, extractor, grandmother and co-author of this collective book, who was assassinated with her partner, José Ribeiro da Silva near their forest settlement in northern Brazil, where they were fighting for the protection of the forest and cultures of the Amazon.


Part 1 is a collection of poems and short-stories. This collection introduces and contextualizes the book’s pedagogic proposal.

Part 2 presents this proposal, based on a dialogue between knowledges, accompanied by a photo-narrative, and includes reflections from the participants who tested, refined and developed the proposal.

Part 3 records a dual process of transition. It dramatizes the challenge of sustaining this pedagogic proposal inside a university, in response to the key questions about complicity and resistance to the new. It lays the foundations of an artistic-pedagogic (aesthetic) project.

Part 4 is the pedagogic proposal in action, education as a transformational aesthetic project and it also contains a pedagogic Charter of Principles.

The final Part 5 contains the lyrics of the CD that accompanies this book.

Download the online version of the book (PDF file) for free:

Harvest in Times of Drought – Colheita em Tempos de Seca

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

New metaphors for sustainability: an indigenous tribe of the Amazon

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Francesca Galeazzi is a sustainability engineer and artist, currently working for the design studio of Arup Associates in Shanghai, in pursuit of a greener and more sustainable model of urban development in China. Her art work focuses on issues of climate change, urbanisation and sustainable development. Here, she continues our series on New metaphors for sustainability.

I underestimated the amount of time and thinking that it would take me to come up with something that I am happy with. Sustainability not only is something that I care about, but it is also extremely difficult to pin down to something specific. It holds many facets and most are often equally important!
Having said this, I still believe that diversity is key to sustainability.
Ecosystems rely on a complex set of relationships and interdependence of diverse species and creatures to sustain themselves. This is the basis of all life on our planet and applies to flora and fauna, as well as society and culture. However, the current aggressive approach to global development that we have experienced in the last century is threatening diversity at all levels.
Visualising diversity is a difficult task. The first images that sprung to my mind were not too dissimilar to the United People of Benetton campaign in the 90’s, highlighting the beauty of multiculturalism. But how obvious it is! I also thought about cities, food, gardens, oceans, the coral reef – but none seemed really appropriate.
The metaphor that to me best evokes the idea of both ecological and social diversity is the Amazon, probably the most important biodiverse and rich ecosystem of our planet, under so much threat of irreversible change. But the image of that magnificent tropical rainforest is not sufficient to me to evoke the notion of sustainability; as a general metaphor I think it is too obvious and worn out.
I am instead choosing the image of an indigenous tribe of the Amazon. To me this conveys not only the ecological issues that rainforests around the world face today (deforestation, illegal logging, land exploitation, mining, etc) but also talks about that fundamental element that is societal diversity. Indigenous tribes, ethnic minorities and rural communities around the world represent a huge treasure of culture and unique heritage that is under increasing threat of disappearance.
The indigenous tribe of the Amazon is a metaphor for all those ethnicities in the world under physical and cultural threat, and indirectly for their endangered environment, too. It is also a metaphor for knowledge and strength, for cultural richness and social resilience, for strong community cohesion, for respect and adaptability to the natural environment, all of which to me are the pillars of sustainability.


“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Art, Community and Environment: Educational Perspectives (Readings in Art and Design Education): Glen Coutts, Timo Jokela

Art, Community and Environment investigates wide-ranging issues raised by the interaction between art practice, community participation, and the environment, both natural and urban. This volume brings together a distinguished group of contributors from the United States, Australia, and Europe to examine topics such as urban art, community participation, local empowerment, and the problem of ownership. Featuring rich illustrations and informative case studies from around the world, Art, Community and Environment addresses the growing interest in this fascinating discipline. 


More Used Art Books for Under $10

I received some positive feedback on a February post listing used art books for under $10. With the economy still on shaky ground (and most artists just as poor as ever…) here’s more books for recession 2009. These are listed from cheapest to most expensive at current Amazon used prices.

Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth
A steal at 81 cents! This catalog is from Jeffrey Vallance’s 2004 survey of Kinkade. Good essays and examination of Kinkade’s work in the context of contemporary art.

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder
Can’t go wrong with this one. A great read about LA’s Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century
Not the greatest book—more encyclopedic than anything else—but it’s worth a couple bucks.

Between Artists
Haven’t read this one personally, but it looks good. Artist’s conversations from the mid-90s.

Camera Lucida and A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes
These should be in your library. Classics! and good reads too.

Robert Smithson
This expanded version of Smithson’s writings is a pretty good deal. Why not put it on your school book shelf so you can look like every other student?

Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip through the Land Art of the American West
At $9, this is approaching the almost-not-a-good-deal category. I’m curious to check this one out though—I’ve heard mixed reviews.

The Future of the Image by Jacques Ranciere
Only a few bucks cheaper than the new version, but this recent philosophic tract is a good deal either way. Plus it’s a looker!

Go to Eco Art Blog

MOCA Catalogue Sale!!!

My favorite part of a museum visit is always the bookstore and a recent visit to see Dan Graham at MOCA was no different. Only this time, we are all the beneficiaries of MOCA’s recent financial woes. They are having a huge sale on MOCA publications. I got the above five books for just over $100, and that was after paying full price for the Dan Graham catalog. I only bought older catalogues that were 50 percent off, but others were available for 25 percent off.

As I’ve heard a few people say, the best part of a MOCA show is always the catalog. Beautiful designs, lush photographs, revelatory essays, smart interviews—it often seems that the show is the catalog. Will this level of catalog production continue in the future? I’m not sure, but for now, you can get a piece of MOCA’s lavish spending over the past 10 years for half off. Unfortunately, I think you have to go in person to get these discounts, but I’ve put Amazon links below. Often, the used book price is about the same.

Here’s what I got:

For $15 (Retail $30):
Cotton Puffs, Q-tips(r), Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha

For $25 (Retail $50):
Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure

For $10 (Retail $40 but it was marked down to $20):
Rodney Graham: A Little Thought

For $17 (Retail $50, but it was marked down to $35):
Zero to Infinity: Art Povera: 1962-1972

And then, the Dan Graham: Beyond catalog, which I paid retail for. (Shoulda waited and bought it for cheaper on Amazon!) I can’t really say enough about this Dan Graham catalog. Not knowing too much about him, the show was a bit mystifying until I got to later mirror and glass work. But this catalog has interviews by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and artist Rodney Graham! A Manga Dan Graham Story! Writings by Dan Graham! Essays by important essay writer people! I now want to go back and stick my nose up close to his work, especially the early stuff.

Go to Eco Art Blog

Mobs and knights: #amazonfail and the Dubai Literary Festival

Recently I was going on about how instant connnectivity is changing the way events unfold; to add to that there’s this post from net guru Clay Shirkey on the Twitter #amazonfail brouhaha that took place a couple of weeks ago.

For all those who missed it (that includes me as I was on holiday beyond the reach of the internet that weekend)  it started when author and publisher Mark Probst noticed that his book The Filly, had lost its sales data on, and because of that was no longer appearing in book searches. The book contains homosexual characters. A quick check of other gay-themed literature showed that this had happened across the board.

The brilliant – and scary – thing about Twitter is how fast outrage can spread on it. Within hours the net was alive accusing Amazon of purging gay and adult literature. A massive army of digital warriors gathered to defend the cause.

This is how the BBC’s Bill Thompson reported amazonfail:

It emerged that thousands of other books had been similarly delisted, including such radical texts as The Well of Loneliness and John Barrowman’s autobiography, while a little research by interested bloggers found Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, the Parent’s Guide to Homosexuality and Hitler’s Mein Kampf were all still searchable and proudly displayed.

Two years ago this would have resulted in a collection of angry, interlinked blog postings. A year ago there would have been a Facebook group to join. But this time it was the Twitter microblogging service that led the way, with thousands of tweets linked by the tag ‘amazonfail’.

The timing was perfect. It was a slow news weekend on what is an extended holiday in many parts of the world. Amazon’s ability to respond quickly was limited, while the echo chamber of Twitter, LiveJournal and Facebook meant that the noise of outrage quickly reached a crescendo.

Within a couple of days, an apparently more complex narrative emerged. Clay Shirky takes up the story:

After an enormous number of books relating to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered (LGBT) themes lost their Amazon sales rank, and therefore their visibility in certain Amazon list and search functions, we participated in a public campaign, largely coordinated via the Twitter keyword #amazonfail (a form of labeling called a hashtag) because of a perceived injustice at the hands of that company, an injustice that didn’t actually occur.

This was cock-up, not conspiracy. Apparently. Amazon had been facing complaints because books with adult material turn up in searches for children’s books. By attempting to filter the results, they effectively made anything with a content that’s deemed adult invisible. And that included lots of gay and lesbian books – even classics like The Well of Loneliness.

Shirky’s post is a cautionary, self-flagellating mea culpa. He was one of the outraged. This, he says now, wasn’t homophobia it was stupidity. Stupidity on Amazon’s part for creating an algorithm that would wipe out gay and lesbian literature so thoughtlessly; stupidity on his part as an experienced technology writer, to join hounds chasing Amazon, he confesses.

As a post-script, the blogger Bookkake doesn’t agree with Shirky, and he’s not the only one:

…the issue at the heart of #amazonfail is not – should not be – whether Amazon’s recategorisation was accidental or not, but how LGBT books came to be classified as not suitable for “family” viewing. How Amazon attempted to place them in the category of things of which we shall not speak.

Which is also 100% true. What Amazon’s algorithm did was effectively exaggerate a societal prejudice.  This wasn’t just a technological failure, it was a cultural failure too. Shirky is letting them off the hook too lightly.

But Bookkake also draws the parallel to  the Dubai Literary festival. Back in February Bookkake and several other bloggers had complained about the Dubai Literary Festival banning Geraldine Bedell’s novel The Gulf  Between Us, which also features a gay relationship.

The outrage surrounding this banning led to Margaret Atwood refusing to attend the festival. Only as Atwood later discovered nothing of the sort had happened. The book was never “banned”. As I wrote in the A&E blog back in February, the book was never invited to the Dubai literary festival at all. The whole “banned” story was seeded by a press officer at Penguin and took off on the internet.

I don’t agree with Bookkake that there is a parallel. Yes, Dubai is an institutionally homophobic culture, and yes, the literary festival still ducked confronting that homophobia, but this was outrage manufactured by Penguin, exploiting another evil, Islamophobia. Bookkake and others who expressed their outrage were being manipulated to sell a minor novel. It was a cynical incitement of the mob.

What both stories show is how fantastically easy it is to manufacture outrage in our instant culture, whether justified or not. That can be good – Amazon are now having to prove they don’t discriminate against LGBT literature.

What frightened Clay Shirky is that he became part of a mob. The sheer speed with which events unfolded overtook his rational side. And what should worry anyone is that the idea that the internet naturally favours a liberal, progressive viewpoint is an absurd one. There has been an assumption, from Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs onwards, that the electronically connected mass is greater and more virtuous than the individual. The classic smart mob case was the toppling of President Estrada of the Philippines in 2001 by protestors who self-organised on using mobile phones.

But here’s another example. Last year  ethnic violence was stoked up in Kenya for deliberately cynical reasons, leaving 1,000 dead and 300,000 more displaced. That too was a smart mob, organised through mobile phones. The mob also destroys.

Image: Hung Drawn & Quartered II (Treeson), 2005, (detail), by Matthew Day Jackson from the Saatchi Gallery’s USA Today.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

What if?… James Lovelock and the five in six

This week James Lovelock was in conversation with the journalist and writer Tim Radford in front of a packed audience at the RSA. His latest book The Vanishing Face of Gaia is currently 22 on Amazon – a remarkable achievement for a book which is not exactly a laugh a page.

In fact both James and Tim were full of humour at the RSA event, so it’s a moment before some of the facts sink in. People next to me suck in their breath at Jim’s prediction of one billion people on earth by the end of the century. We are around six billion at the moment. I join the breath suckers. Five in six of us. I’m pretty sure I heard him say that India will pretty much be gone entirely. If he’s right.

If he’s right – this is left hanging in the air and hanging in the balance.

Today a headline in The Guardian reads “Obama pulls back on early climate change legislation”. I see this just as I’m trying to write a positive statement for the Business Council for Sustainable Development, ten years focusing on the practical implementation of sustainable development values. There’s so much progress that has been made and now is the time to build on that, rather than gloom up on the worst case scenario. But nor should we forget it. Just as apathy had terrible consequences for so many in the Second World War, so could complacency in the face of this century’s challenges.

Note to self, get on and see how you’re shaping up Crimmin before tub thumping any further.

Photo: Gansu Province, China, 2007 by Susannah Sayler, used courtesy of The Canary Project. Photo taken following the 2006 drought, China’s worst in 50 years. This is the former site of Qin Tu Hu Lake.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog

Used Art Books for Less Than $10: A Recession 2009 Special Investigation

{Likeness: Portraits Of Artists By Other Artists, available at Amazon for $0.24!}

Here at the Eco Art Blog, we’re big fans of used books. And though the NYTimes recently pointed to the online used book market as another nail in the retail bookstore coffin, you really can’t beat some of these prices.

Here’s a selection dirt-cheap used art books from third-party sellers. The criteria for this list was to find quality books for less than $10 with shipping.

Chris Burden: When Robots Ruled the Air from the Tate Museum. Prices start at $0.39 plus shipping.

Plato and Platypus Walk Into a Bar, $4.89 plus shipping (John Baldessari put this in a recent Artforum Top 10. I read it—it’s entertaining but basic)

Charles Ray, published by MOCA in 1998 along with his mid-career retrospective. A steal at $4.95 used. My guess is it’s cheap because there’s no photo on the book’s Amazon page.

Likeness, Portraits of Artists by Other Artists
. Two copies at $0.24.

Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, from CCA Wattis. Starting at $3.45.

Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. A great show at MOCA organized by Sam Durant. A little beyond above our $10 limit, but there’s one copy for $10.49.

Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh. A classic for just $0.01.

Contemporary Voices. Haven’t seen this MOMA catalog in person, but it might be ok. And it’s only $3.32.

Richard Serra/Dirk Reinartz: Te Tuhirangi Countour, get it from Seattle Goodwill for just $2.99.

This list could go on and on. There are definitely some cheap books out there to build your library or gift to your friends. Nothing says Depression 2009 like bargain art books!
Go to Eco Art Blog