Farm Tableaux

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Farmers have been a recurring subject in art, perhaps more often in the background of a religious painting, bringing an edifying moral to the scene.  Their everyday lives have been the subject of poetry, including of course that of Robert Burns.  The Impressionists must be one of the foremost groups of painters to have addressed farming, probably as a result of getting out of Cities and being interested in the everyday and the visible rather than the sublime.

Sylvia Grace Borda’s project Farm Tableaux is a collaboration with Google Streetview photographer John M Lynch.  We get a different view of farming because although the image presented to you is framed when you start, the ability to pan, zoom and move around the space enables to you explore the Turkey Shed at Medomist Farm, or the Farm Shop at Zaklan Heritage Farm in a very different way.  You start in the Farm Shop but you can move out into the market garden plot and then onto the street – it seems to integrate with Google Streetview so suddenly you’re moving house by house through suburban BC.  If you back track you can go back into the farm and back into the shop.  If you explore the market garden you can find Sylvia taking a (different) picture.  Her face is blurred out according to the Streetview conventions.

Check it out here. Give yourself time to explore.


ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Sustainability in Theater Conference attended by 90 people locally, and 30 people internationally, representing 9 states and 4 countries

The Sustainability in Theater conference was presented by the Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatres Group at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis, April 30 and May 1, 2012. The event was Webcast live by QwikCast on April 30, and 11 breakout panels were live online for interactive participation through Google+ Hangouts on May 1. Locally, there were 90 attendees, including many individual artists, and representing 60 different organizations. Online, there were 30 attendees representing 20 different organizations, 9 U.S. states, and 4 countries.

Keynote presentations were made by Terry Gips, Sustainability Associates; Stephen Rueff, The Clean Campaign; and Mary T’Kach, Ramsey County. International case studies were presented by Ian Garrett, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and included presentations by Arcola Theatre (UK), Festivals Edinburgh (UK), Julie’s Bicycle (UK), York University (Toronto), Fisher Dachs Associates (WA), and Childsplay (AZ).

Follow-up activities to the conference include a summary to be presented Leah Cooper, John Bueche, and Ian Garrett at the national Theatre Communications Group annual conference in Boston, June 2012; an online discussion and document forum for knowledge sharing in the industry; and plans to present the conference again. Local initiatives being discussed in Minnesota in response to the conference include expanding the membership of the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatre Group; more frequent convenings to share knowledge and plan collaborative projects; consideration of a shared reusable sets and props inventory, either physically or virtually; and collective purchasing of green materials.

The conference was planned and presented by a volunteer task force made up of artists and administrators from Bedlam Theatre, Bemidji State University, Brave New Workshop, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, CostumeRentals, Guthrie Theater and Minnesota Theater Alliance.

Sustainability in Theater conference this Monday and Tuesday

We’ve been talking about it for a couple of months, but it’s here! Tomorrow, Monday, April 30th, 2012 and the next day, Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, the Minnesota Theater Alliance, in partnership with The CSPA and the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) will be hosting Sustainability in Theater: People, Planet, Profit, Purpose at Brave New Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

In addition to the conference in Minneapolis, there will be many presenters and participants who will virtually attend with the help of Google+ Hangouts. People from across the US and from 4 countries will convening to talk about the impact of theater and its intersection with sustainable development.

It’s not too late to get involved! Head to to learn more!

Inspired Garden Created by Students & Tammy Bird

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

Recently I was invited to speak about my work to an Environmental Studies class at Carson High School. As one might expect, I think they taught me more then I them.

Over the past 6 years the students at the high school, under the guidance of Tammy Bird, have transformed a neglected lot on school grounds into a thriving educational garden. The project has been fully funded by small grants or donations. Organizations like Tree People donated over a hundred fruit trees to the neighborhood, many of which found homes in the Carson High School Garden. The organization has also hosted tree pruning events to teach the students how to maintain their orchard. Kellogg Garden Products has donated soil and organic fertilizer.

Tammy likes to operate under the radar which allows her a certain amount of freedom. She encourages the students to take ownership of the projects that take place in the garden. Some recent inventions include re-purposing discarded industrial materials (AC fans, trash cans, a tractor, many of which are found in their schools “graveyard”, a place adjacent to the garden where discarded materials remain until they are taken to the dump) into planters, functional wind machines, and a slow roast pit. Tammy and the students proudly showed off their newly installed windmill (the first in the neighborhood!), functional solar panels (recycled from CAL Trans) to circulate the pump in their micro-climate pond, composting bins, and plans for a green wall and mosaic art wall.

Thanks to maverick teachers like Tammy Bird a population of children in Los Angeles is being introduced to nature in a meaningful way. I am hopeful that there are more stories like this one out in our broken education system. **I failed to take any pictures during my tour (big fail!) but have included these which I found in a google search.


Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
Go to Green Public Art

First Encounters

This post comes to you from Shrimp Boat Projects

These maps show the tracks of our first two weeks of shrimping on Galveston Bay aboard the F/V Discovery, at three different scales. The tracks are recorded by our onboard GPS chart plotter and then overlayed onto NOAA nautical charts and Google satellite images.

You might think that after 6 arduous months of restoring our shrimp boat, we might ring in the first day of actually shrimping with some of the pomp and circumstance that marked our christening of the F/V Discovery. But alas, this day came and went and that seemed perfectly fine and perfectly appropriate. But really, we had no say in the matter. On a typically hot morning in late August, we arrived at the boatyard and were greeted by John and Gary with a very clear message: “Y’all are goin shrimping today.” We may have not known it as we left the boatyard the night before, but they were absolutely right. The boat was nearly ready for use and we had been stubbornly laboring over painting details and deciding how and when to furnish the cabin. Those things could wait till later and they knew it. And we knew it. But we just needed the kick in the butt. And so, on an unremarkable day in late August, we embarked on something that seemed remarkable: leaving the comforts of the boatyard and finally steering our boat cautiously along Dickinson Bayou toward Galveston Bay with a boatload of excitement, uncertainty, anxiety and cautious optimism.

Our new schedule begins at 3:30am when we leave Houston for the 1-hour drive to San Leon. The early morning hours are justified by the profession: the law allows us to drop our nets 30 minutes before sunrise and it usually takes an hour or longer from the dock to get to a decent spot for shrimping. It’s not easy to adjust to these hours but the optimism of a new day is usually present when we set off from the dock. These images give a sense of the calm that often defines the bay at sunrise: (left to right) viewing another boat in the distance; the cables from our boat to our big net disapearring into the bay; Our ever-present avian neighbors on the bay.

The reality of our first encounters with the bay aboard the F/V Discovery were not so romantic. The first two weeks might best be called the Sea Trials as they seemed to involve equal parts shrimping and trouble-shooting. One might say that’s just the nature of shrimping, or any commercial fishing for that matter, constant problem solving. Really, there was no way of truly knowing if the boat was ready until we put it to the test, but we hoped that the kinks we were working out might at least go away for a while. We signed on Gary Jones, the welder and former shrimp boat captain who had already helped us put the boat back together, to be our captain and help us run the boat in the early stages. But even with an experienced captain, the problems we had to solve were probably inevitable. The giddiness of our first day on the water seemed a distant memory when we ultimately ended up back at the boatyard for an entire week replacing the seals on our transmission (and driving all over Houston to find the seals for our Tonanco 729D transmission).

Undeterred, we did get the boat back on the water after each hiccup, and have been able to piece together enough problem-free days to start developing a routine and the beginnings of an education born not from the boatyard but from these new encounters with the bay.

The maps above begin to document these first encounters. The black lines chart the routes we took over approximately 2 weeks of shrimping, and while they look like the maps of someone lost and wandering aimlessly around a new place, this is only partly accurate. The lines show us leaving from two specific places over this period, either the boatyard deep into Dickinson Bayou, or our new home at Captain Wally’s marina on April Fool Point in San Leon. The lines then show us motoring to various areas in the middle-upper areas of Galveston Bay… places where we hoped to find shrimp! Some of these places were guided by Captain Gary’s past experiences, some because we saw other boats working those areas, some because of hearsay at the dock or the fish house on previous days, and some just to try a new spot. In each place where we chose to drop in our net, the line on the map takes the shape of a squiggle or a loop and this is in fact the mark of the route a bay shrimp boat takes when dragging its big net: a primary goal when dragging the net is to keep it away from the wash of the propeller directly behind the boat (a deterrent to catching shrimp), which means we keep the boat in a constant turn. Thus the squiggle and the loop. And if it appears that a line just stops somewhere in the bay, we can blame that on our chart plotter getting turned off by mistake.

These maps are the beginning of us grappling with a geography that we are getting to know afresh and in a completely different way. As much time as we’ve spent around Galveston Bay, reading about Galveston Bay, talking to shrimpers and others familiar with the Bay, and going out onto the Bay in other boats, it appears that all of that was merely in preparation for the real education yet to come.

Shrimp Boat Projects is a creative research project that explores the regional culture of the Houston area. The primary site of the investigation is a working shrimp boat on Galveston Bay which serves as a catalyst for labor, discussion and artistic production. Shrimp Boat Projects is co-created by Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, artists-in-residence at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Go to Shrimp Boat Projects

New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Monik Gupta, environmental blogger and researcher has guest blogged for Ashdenizen. Here he suggests a metaphor in our series New metaphors for sustainability: the shopping divider at the check-out.

For me, thinking about sustainability, the object in the picture comes to mind. We come across it so regularly, however there is no word readily available to us to describe it (google suggests it to be termed ‘cashier divider’ by retail experts). Evidently, just like with ‘sustainability’, it is something very well known but much less engaged with.

What’s more important, both the shopping divider and sustainability mark the necessity for confinement of our own consumption and draw attention to others’ needs.

Maybe those two points, shallow engagement despite omnipresence and a focus on limitations of our consumption, are related. We are reluctant to make explicit the distinction between our needs and those of others, even though we are acutely aware of its necessity.

However, this is exactly where the beauty of both the ‘shopping divider’ and ‘sustainability’ could lie: in marking the confines of our needs, they enable us to direct attention to our fellow human beings. We begin to acknowledge that we are ‘in this together’, urgently needing to demonstrate our ‘ability to sUStain’.


“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

Green Resources for Chemicals and Building Materials

Handbook of green chemicals

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.


At Green Allowance, kids make a deal with a parent: the kids save energy at home which saves money on the electric bill, and the parents share the savings as a Green Allowance.

Kids are already loving it. Here’s an honest to goodness quote forwarded to us this week:

“Ok every one! Google Green Allowance. PLZ! Its so cool. You save money on electric bills, and then if ur parents agree, you get the money that u save! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE google it! Its rlly fun, and free, and u get paid! Forward this to everyone on ur list!”     – Emilia D., 7th grader

Visit and explore the site. If you register (always free), you can check out the four Green Allowance gardens where kids learn what they can do to save energy and pick their projects. (BTW grownups, when in doubt, click the pig!)

Our pilot program in Glendale, California is commencing, and we expect them to catch the Green Allowance fever just as Emilia D., 7th grader did.

We are partnering with utilities to help them promote conservation in their communities. Green Allowance is a great way for utilities to:

  • market their existing energy efficiency programs
  • boost public relations and brand trust
  • support their schools and communities
  • enjoy a cost-effective demand-side management program
  • have quantified results

Spread the word; watch us grow, and if you have business inquiries just reply to this message!


The Green Allowance Team

Green Allowance.
Save the Planet, Get Paid.

ABOUT GREEN ALLOWANCE:  Green Allowance motivates and empowers children to be leaders in conservation, helping their families to be the most resource-efficient in the industrialized world.  Children today list climate change as a top concern, but they are overwhelmed with options for action. Green Allowance is designed to nudge many of them to act by creating a monetary incentive that keeps them involved. For more information on Green Allowance go or write us at


December 17, 2009, San Francisco, CA, USA / Copenhagen, Denmark – The San Francisco Bay Area based team of Obscura Digital, YouTube, Google, and Millennium ART, joined forces with the United Nations Department of Public Information to launch a first-of-it’s kind digital media hyper cube installed at COP15 in Copenhagen. The CO2 Cube is a contemplative art sculpture of light and sound mirrored in a lake, displaying stunning imagery of the planet, info-graphic animations, and solutions for reducing our carbon footprint.

13YouTube provided the technology to power the cube and is continuously streaming videos into this international communications platform; Obscura Digital’s technologists and designers created the visual content and employed a number of software techniques to help visualize CO2 on the cube; and Millennium ART harnessed this customized media system to transform carbon dioxide facts and figures into an inspiring aesthetic experience helping people visualize the invisible… what 1 metric tonne of CO2 looks like, which is the amount of CO2 the average American emits into the atmosphere every two weeks. The United Nations Department of Public Information activated the CO2 Cube as a vehicle to attract, engage, and mobilize the public in reducing CO2 emissions locally and globally.YouTube videos about climate change are brought to life on the facades of the 27ft x 27ft x 27ft cube through an array of artistic transition techniques, such as DNA strands, CO2 molecules, and many more. “YouTube is delighted to be the technology partner for the CO2 Cube and to bring to life in a new and innovative way the video content created by citizens, filmmakers, NGOs and activists to address the important issue of climate change,” stated Chris Di Cesare, Chief Marketing Officer of YouTube.

“Obscura has deployed a 4-D Hypercube User Interface System as a dynamic media portal that is capable of presenting web based, real-time, and produced content integrated into the CO2 Cube public art sculpture, offering new dimensions for audiences to interact with visual concepts and content sources from around the world,” said Travis Threlkel, Creative Director of Obscura Digital.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon premiered his public announcement to Copenhagen via video on the CO2 Cube during an on-site reception. “This cube shows 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. Science has made it clear, we have a chance here in Copenhagen to turn the tide, to cut emissions, to help people adapt. We know what to do, all we need is the political will,” announced Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General.

The cube is constructed of 12 shipping containers stacked in an interlocking pattern on a custom engineered floatation barge. Two sides are covered with an architectural mesh fabric for video projection illuminated with Obscura Digital’s FireFrame graphic and digital media system, while the other sides remain as open exposed shipping container surfaces with LED lighting design by The Do Lab. “Using motion graphics, 3-D animation, and live action, we were able to communicate the impact CO2 has through both literal and abstract visualizations; also keeping in mind the architecture of the physical cube and reflections on the lake as canvases for our media” stated Ron Robinson, Art Director at Obscura Digital.

“The beauty behind this work of art is the collaborative spirit, will and determination that went into creating something that is an artistic and architectural feat, designed to inspire change in the hearts and minds of people across all geo-political boundaries” expressed Mia Hanak, Executive Director of Millennium ART. CO2 CUBES: Visualize a Tonne of Change is a Millennium ART installation presented in partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information, powered by Google and YouTube and produced by Obscura Digital. This is a CO2 neutral exhibit.

Contact: Mia Hanak +1-415-637-0525

Download Photos and Video:

View the video from the opening celebration of the CO2 Cube.

View the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon premiering his announcement to Copenhagen via the CO2 Cube.

COP15 Arts Map

For those in or interested in the Arts Events in Copenhagen, here is a map we’ve compiled and our events list, so you can make you plans or just follow along!

Let us know if you know of something that is missing!

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View COP15 Arts Locations in a larger map

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