Critical Studies

Values of Environmental Writing

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Values of Environmental Writing Research Network raises levels of critical academic exchange and public debate about the possible relations between reading habits and preferences, levels of environmental literacy, and wider patterns of pro-environment behavioural and lifestyle change.

Network activities take place between September 2010 and June 2011, centring on three ‘Conversations on Environmental Change’ that use Creative Environmental Writing to investigate precisely:

  • what communities and individuals value
  • why they value it
  • how they value it
  • how values are defined, identified and transmitted

The Network Convenors are based in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, and the School of Critical Studies (English Literature), University of Glasgow.


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

CalArts Alumnus Stephen Nowlin’s ENERGY Show Extended Through January 23, 2011

Director of the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and CalArts alumnus, Stephen Nowlin (BFA Design 71) has curated a beautiful and multifaceted exhibition, simply titled ENERGY, which is currently on view at Art Center through Jan. 23, 2011.

Nowlin has long been a significant voice in the contemporary discourse between art and science. In his 18 years as director of the Willamson Gallery he has curated a number of exhibitions exploring this relationship, often partnering with colleagues at Caltech, and featuring artists who work at the intersection of art and science.

The exhibition includes two large-scale video and sculpture installations by L.A. artist Rebeca Méndez; a series of works by New York photographer Richard Barnes; small-scale archival videos documenting post-war growth in energy consumption and Cold War fears driving the development of atomic weapons; and artifacts from scientific exploration at the beginning of the modern industrial era.

Finally, to directly connect ENERGY to Art Center’s students, Nowlin invited a class called “Design for Sustainability” to install its solutions to energy-based assignments on a wall in the exhibit. As it unfolds over the course of the semester, the wall continually changes, becoming “like a performance piece”–pedagogy on display. Assignments revolve around a designed product’s extended life-cycle analysis. Working within the context of the exhibition, says Nowlin, “reminds students that if they want to be enlightened designers for the 21st century, they need to understand issues relating humans to their environment. And to do that, they must factor science into their design equations.”

In June 2011 The Institute for Figuring, founded by Chair of CalArts’ Writing Program in the School of Critical Studies, Christine Wertheim, and her sister Margaret Wertheim, will bring their Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef to the Williamson Gallery. Currently on view at the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Ocean Hall in Washington, D.C. through April 24, 2011, The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, weaves together strands of art, science, mathematics, and conservation.

More information about the current exhibition can be found on the Williamson Gallery’s website or on its Facebook page.


Willamson Gallery

Art Center College of Design

1700 Lida St., Pasadena

through Jan. 23, 2011

via 24700 » Blog Archive » CalArts Alumnus Stephen Nowlin’s ENERGY Show Extended Through January 23, 2011.

New CalArts Course Cluster Explores Connections between Biology and Art

In the simplest of terms for a complex practice, bio-art incorporates organic matter into works of art. For example, Philip Ross built a teahouse out of fungus, and composer David Dunn took three trumpet players into the Grand Canyon and recorded the canyon’s reverberations.

But one of the more famous–and controversial–works is by artist Eduardo Kac who commissioned a French laboratory to create Alba, a rabbit implanted with a green fluorescent protein gene from a type of jellyfish.George Gessert, another pioneering bioartist who is known for breeding plants into art, writes about Kac’s rabbit piece:

The aesthetic novelty of a rabbit that fluoresces is enough to make GFP Bunny a sensation, but that novelty is not the most important aspect of the project. Kac is most interested in how we perceive genetically engineered organisms, and how we integrate them into our lives. When he exhibits Alba, he does so in a living-room-like setting that he inhabits along with the rabbit. The setting draws attention to the social networks in which she exists. These networks include her interactions with other rabbits, her interactions with human beings, and human interactions with one another in response to her. Kac’s longterm plan for Alba is to make her a member of his household. Questions about the definition of nature fall away before questions of the well-being of animals, and of connections between species.

To examine this burgeoning field, CalArts is offering an interdisciplinary course cluster on bio-art this fall, with five classes focusing on topics at the intersection of biology, art and technology.

“Bio-art is a one of the most exciting fields of creative practice and critical inquiry today, and this selection of courses aims to provide an enhanced understanding of bio-art through radically interdisciplinary work” said Arne De Boever, School of Critical Studies faculty member and one of the instructors who helped design the course cluster.

The classes incorporated into the cluster tackle different angles on the theme–from the biology of life and death to “acoustic ecology” to the interplay among biopolitics, aesthetics and philosophy. Students who register for one (or more) of these classes will also participate in related events throughout the semester, including guest artist lectures at CalArts, and an academic mini-conference featuring artists such as Philip Ross and David Dunn at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles. Students will also have a chance to exhibit their own bio-art in a year-end art show.

The Fall 10 offerings of Bio-Art classes:

Sex and Death: Biology from Beginning to End | Reg: CSSM265
Instructor: Michael Bryant

Conversations on Technology, Culture and Practice | Reg: IM1006
Instructor: Tom Leeser and visiting speakers

Take Care of Yourself (On Biotechnics) | Reg: CSHM440-MA
Instructor: Arne De Boever

Contemporary Aesthetic Theory | Reg: CS721
Instructor: James Wiltgen (Open to MA in Aesthetics and Politics students only)

Critical Reading: The Soundscape, Acoustic Ecology, and the Field | Reg: MC412/MT412
Instructor: Michael Pisaro

For more information:
Read the Bio-Art course cluster blog
Download the On Bio-Art flier