A pioneering project that was set up to bridge a perceived communication gap between the science of climate change and the deep societal changes required to avoid dangerous impacts is explained by its creator in Nature Climate Change this week. Â In 2001, British artist David Buckland founded the Cape Farewell project, which he feels attempts to address one of the most pressing social issues of our time.
â€œashdenizen 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 UKâ€ (2020 Network)
ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.
The Sanskrit origin of the word â€˜artâ€™ is ‘rta‘. Originally appearing in the Rig Vedas, rta is still used in contemporary Hindi to mean the dynamic process by which the whole cosmos continues to be created, virtuously.
This noun/adjective also means the right-handedness, righteousness, and the right way of doing things. Here we find remnants of that meaning in modern English in terms like ‘the art of gardening’, ‘the art of football, ‘the art of archery’ and ‘the art of war’.
Rta conjugates into the verb ‘ritu‘ (ritual) that refers to the correct order or sequence of rta (i.e. the cyclical pattern of the seasons, or the progression from seed to leaf and root to tree to blossom to seed). â€˜Artâ€™ may have lost much of its etymological meaning, but maybe it retains the potential to re-emerge as a metaphor for sustainability, like a flower waiting for rain in some future desert?
This metaphor comes from my work with the artists The Harrisons, and is taken from their work ‘The Lagoon Cycle‘: ‘As the waters rise gracefully, how will we withdraw with equal grace?’
The difference between the Environment Agency’s policy of ‘managed retreat’ in response to sea level rise and our proposals in the work ‘Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground Gaining Wisdom‘ was the EAâ€™s use of engineering and war metaphors to confront a problem, compared with an ethical and aesthetic repositioning of the situation.
â€˜Tide Turns, Waters Danceâ€™ was one of my own â€˜Writing on the Wallâ€™ pieces, this one exhibited in Taiwan. The last of the 27 Haiku-style poems ended with the line, ‘water, time and grace’. When a Taiwanese professor quizzed me over the use of the word, ‘grace’ to end the work, I explained that a meaning of grace was ‘becomingness’. ‘Aha’, he replied, ‘so you hope to evolve beyond climate change?’
“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 www.robertbutler.info
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.
SER is a scientific organisation concerned with environmental remediation in many countries.Â It has, previously, held three â€˜World Conferencesâ€™, at two of which ecological artist David Haley was invited to coordinate and chair sessions on ecological art (Liverpool, 2000 and Zaragoza, 2005). In addition, David has contributed to Richard Scottâ€™s â€˜Creative Conservationâ€™ initiatives at these and other SER conferences. Richard is Senior Programme Manager with Landlife, the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool, and was a close colleague of the eminent ecologist, Professor Tony Bradshaw. David and RichardÂ shall be convening this Symposium together.
The SER World Conferences offer great opportunities to meet with some of the worldâ€™s top ecological scientists and activists from diverse cultures. On occasion, the language of art and that of science have converged, to emerge as a common language â€“ an ecology of cultures, perhaps. And this Symposium seeks presentations that pursue this concept â€“ â€˜The Art of Ecology: Transdisciplinary Research In Practiceâ€™.
Please, also, take advantage of early registration facilities which will be available through the Conference web page next week (http://www.ser2011.org).
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21â€²s 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 LÃ¼neburg, Germany) and Rana Ã–ztÃ¼rk (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
The Esther Klein Gallery at Breadboard is pleased to announce its newest exhibitÂ Data Sweep: David Bowen. AnÂ Art in America review described Bowen as taking an â€œabsurdist approach to the translation of scientific technology into art.â€ Bowenâ€™s work creates a strange symbiosis between technology and the natural world. Mircocontrollers translate the activity of natural agents, like a swarm of flies or live data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data buoy stations around the globe, into mechanical motion that animates his art.
Data Sweep will be on view at the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) from January 14th through March 20th, 2011 in Esther Klein Gallery at 3600 Market Street.
Growth Rendering Device, David Bowen
About the Exhibition:
Data Sweep features works by artist David Bowen. Bowenâ€™s work focuses on outcomes that occur when machines interact with the natural world. He produces complex devices and situations that are set in motion to create drawings, movements, compositions, sounds and objects based on their interaction with the space and time they occupy. The devices he constructs often play both the roles of observer and creator, providing limited and mechanical perspectives of dynamic situations and living objects.
Included in the exhibition will be Growth Rendering Device (see image), a system that provides light and food in the form of hydroponic solution for the plant. The plant reacts to the device by growing. The device in-turn reacts to the plant by producing a rasterized inkjet drawing of the plant every twenty-four hours. This system is allowed to run indefinitely and the final outcome is not predetermined.
David Bowen is an artist and educator. His work has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions including: Brainwave at Exit Art, New York; The Japan Media Arts Festival at The National Art Center, Tokyo; Artbots at Eyebeam, New York and Data + Art at The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. His work has been featured in publications such as: Art in America, Leonardo and Sculpture Magazine. He was recently awarded Grand Prize in the Art Division in The Japan Media Art Festival and Third Prize in the Vida 12.0 Art and Artificial Life International Awards. He received his BFA from Herron School of Art in 1999 and his MFA from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 2004. He is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Physical Computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
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). Itâ€™s because of the roles and responsibilities of the artist inherent in the work. Here I was all excited about environmental art because itâ€™s such a great example of the logistical application of the aesthetic, of an artistâ€™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.
Unsurprisingly, thereâ€™s a lot of art around these days questioning our relationship with the natural world and the creatures that live in it. Arts Catalystâ€™s extraordinaryInterspecies series last year contained a series of works in which artists â€œcollaboratedâ€ with animals in disturbing ways that disrupted our conventional ideas of the co-dependency of the natural and human worlds.
As part of their excellent Flash Point series â€œHow do arts respond to the natural world?â€,Â art:21 blog has just published an essay by curator Nova Benway on the artist David Olsen, whose work explores the toxic impact we have on the natural world. As part of it he adopts the persona of â€œVultureâ€, dressing in bizarre protective handmade clothing to ape the vultureâ€™s adaptive strategy of becoming resistent to the pathogens that it finds in the decaying food that it finds. His attempts to become animal appear ridiculous.
Benway explains how Olsen then suberges pieces of work beneath the polluted waters of Benway Creek in Brooklyn:
The creek is one of the most pollutedwaterways in the country, and the sculptures are, in a certain sense, tools for healing. Made from natural materials like clay, wax, and rope, they employ humble filtration devices to purify tiny amounts of water, or crystals intended to absorb negative forces. One recent work,Â Witness (2008), is a seal skull with crystals embedded in the eye sockets. A rope attaches the skull to a glass buoy, so when it is lowered into the water it can float through the depths, â€œseeingâ€ and collecting information or negative energy, until it is retrieved by the artist. Olsen adopts the identity of â€œVultureâ€ for these actions, wearing a handmade protective helmet and suit to mimic the birdâ€™s heightened immune system. Of course, these activities have negligible impact on the rampant pollution of the waterway. Olsenâ€™s deliberate mixing of pragmatic and mystical solutions to the problem further obfuscate their effectiveness, while retaining the urgent desire for change.
Its an interesting idea, and I like the idea of art-as-warning, but I confess the Mad Max apocalypticism of this work puts me off. That it revelsÂ in the aesthetic of decay seems to dent the point it may be trying to make about the awfulness of pollution.