“Imperishable Water” and the Question of Development

This post comes to you from Cultura21
Reposted from

photographer Nikos Kasseris

Field workshop from 29th of May until 5th of June 2011 in Rhodes, Greece

Departure: 29th of May 2011, 19.00 from the Port of Piraeus with the Blue Star Ferries.

On the occasion of the World Environment Day, June 5th 2011, this field trip aims at combining artistic, philosophical and environmental approaches to the question of the future development of wetland ecosystems of Rhodes.


  • Examine the contradictions or convergences among the various models of economic management (farming, stock-breeding, tourism and housing) inside the specific landscapes, in relation to the existing institutional conservation framework.
  • Resuscitate the memory of wetlands, by tracing the evidence of wetlands in time, as preserved by the material and immaterial culture (language, customs, technology etc.).
  • Positive evaluation of the environmental aspect inside the cohesive network of the insular landscape.
  • Energize the local communities by strengthening the bonds with the work- people, educators, local government institutions and youth.
  • Manifest the power of culture (philosophy, architecture, literature, music, visual and performative arts) towards responsible attitudes of stakeholders or policy makers.
  • Investigate the development models in site specific landscapes marked by the urgent need of the preservation of water resources.


  • Organize a collaborative field work with joint actions, in site specific areas, among the relevant institutions of the island and the team of the workshop consisted of philosophers, anthropologists, biologists, architects-planners, environmentalists, new media artists and poets, coming from Greece or other European countries.
  • Ensure an on going and follow-up digital or conventional recording and documentation as well as the inauguration of a data base resulting from the field work and depicting the diverse fields of research.
  • Collaborate with the educational sector, First Degree and the University of the Aegean in order to organize programmes with an artistic content (music, visual and performative art and literature) having as inspiration the water resources and the landscapes of wetlands.
  • Co-operate with the International Writers and Translator’s Center of Rhodes by focusing on the poetess Katerina Anghelaki Rouk and the natural element in her poetry.
  • Produce an artistic action e.g. a performance at a site specific wetland, Sunday 5th of June 2011, World Environment Day.
  • Organize a Day Conference with the following aims: to manifest the cultural dimension as the only way of rescue as well as being the most prominent vehicle of development procedures, to energize the local institutions and organizations in order to undertake initiatives with permanent perspectives in respect to environmental and cultural criteria, to propose the diversion of the main economic activity, that is tourism, from the massive, consuming model to the quality dimension, in respect to the diversity, the beauty and the mosaic of the landscape. Outcome: a Co-operation Memorandum with the agreement of all participating institutions.
  • Produce a half an hour documentary addressed to participate during the ‘’Rodos ecofilms –International films and visual arts festival’’ taking place annually in Rhodes.
  • Future perspectives-2nd stage. Fist show of the documentary during the ‘’Rodos ecofilms –International films and visual arts festival’’ June 2012 and parallel site specific land art istallation.

Sites of Interest-Wetlands of Rhodes:

  • Wetlands: Rivers, creeks, estuary and delta of rivers, lakes, lagoons, marshes, springs, lakeside or riverside sites, salt-pits, artificial water reservoirs.
  • Rhodes is among the islands with the largest number of wetlands
    • River Loutanis and Dam of Gadouras
    • Marsh of Plemmyri and Marsh of Katavia
    • Torrent Kontaris and Damlake of Apolakkia
    • Streamlet of Butterflies and River Platis
  • In some of the above wetlands is still observed the threatened endemic fish gkizani (Ladigesocypris ghigii), biological symbol of the island.

This project is organized by:

  • Haroula Hadjinicolaou, art historian Benaki Museum
  • Anna Arvanitaki, president of Poiein kai Prattein and urban/land planner at Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
  • Hatto Fischer: coordinator and poet / philosopher

In collaboration with:

The text reproduced above was written by the  project organizers at For more information, please visit that website.

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

Pioneering Future Figures: The Harrisons

In the eco-art world there are few folks as significant as the collaborative duo of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison (known generally as The Harrisons). Originators of a whole systems perspective in the eco-art movement, they have worked for the past four decades with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. They work within systems for systems. It’s the future folks and their ideas, while fresh, are as old as humanity.

Can we survive and thrive with beauty and grace?

This is part of a theme that really interest me. The very oldest of human concepts informing our new and unsettling future. Wednesday, June 10, 2009, for example, [sorry: mini plug] the very cool folks at The Long Now Foundation and the new sparkly green David Brower Center in Berkeley, are hosting a talk with the Harrisons (introduced by futurist Paul Saffo). It’s a look at The Harrisons from a 10,000 year perspective. Most art today will be dust or landfill, which is fine, but what did it accomplish that the Earth would notice? Was it worth the big holes dug into hillsides and the CO2 and toxic effluents, fuel and resins? Lots of people beginning to picture what this new world would look like in every discipline and long term planning as art to knit it together is essential. We need more long term art and it’s not about using Archival materials.

Go to the Green Museum

The Rising Tide Conference Floats Many Boats

Rising Tide Conference

Last weekend, I was at the Rising Tide Conference: Art and Ecological Aesthetics, hosted by the California College of the Arts and Stanford University and was on a panel talking about the importance of art in any vision of human sustainability. I emphasized the notion that if we’re going to make art that is supposedly also “for the Earth” that we better think about what the Earth might actually need, otherwise it’s just green paint or wishful thinking. It might be helpful to consider art for human and non-human needs from beginning to end (materials, making and where it goes after we’re done with it, and after that). What would the worms and watersheds actually notice and appreciate? They had a very diverse group of speakers and some fun architectural design ideas floating around. Met some great artists in person (finally) who I’ve been wanting to connect with: Linda Gass and Ian Garrett of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, to name just a few. It’s good to interconnect and jabber at these things but we need more biologists, land managers, business people and public policy experts at these conferences. All of you in those fields, please consider inviting eco-artists and their ilk to your next conference and vice versa. We need to be building ever-larger arks people. NOAA indeed…

Go to the Green Museum