Devil’s Tower has officially become an LA Monument, at least for a little while, until the clay dries in the exhibition of Matthias Merkel Hess‘ new work, which comes down on October 2nd at Las Cienegas Projects. The notion of recreating an iconic natural wonder (the original is located in Wyoming) in an urban setting, even in a gallery, is a novel one. Hess, who is the creator of the EcoArtBlog and editor/publisher of Mammut magazine, which he launched in 2008, is also a recent MFA graduate from UCLA (and undergraduate in Journalism and Environmental Sciences). For his first solo show in a LA gallery, he has chosen to combine his interest in art and ecology with his love of clay, in a brillant “outpost” installation where visitors can purchase handmade postcards, paperweights and miniature color glazed clay replicas of Devil’s Tower, all under $20 each. Wall posters are original works of art and go for a lot more, but still under $1,000. If you cannot afford to go to Wyoming to see the real Devil’s Tower, it is highly suggested you head on over to La Cienega near the 10 Fwy and catch a glimpse of Hess’ handmade wonder ASAP.
I haven’t been posting on the Eco Art Blog recently; as I’ve said before, others are doing a better job at that than I have the time for. Also, the end of grad school has piled on a lot of time-consuming activities, like mounting a thesis show.
But I am happy to announce a new project I’m working on at the 18th Streets Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. It’s called Fine Art 626-394-3963, and I’m inviting you to call or email me to talk about art and what you want from artists and the institutions that show art work.
The project really needs your participation, so I hope you’ll call or email. For more, visit the project blog at fineart6263943963.blogspot.com.
MAMMUT MAGAZINE :: ISSUE #2 :: LIVING WITH THE CITY
The Lounge at REDCAT
Sunday, May 17, 3-6 pm,
Parking: Free street parking on Sundays!
Please join us as we celebrate the release of Mammut #2 at The Lounge at REDCAT. We’ll have copies of the magazine for you to look at and buy, drink specials and a chance to discuss the magazine with the editors and contributors.
MAMMUT #2 has a special focus on on urban nature and features contributions by Nicholas Bauch, Maya Brym, Ian Garrett, Charlie Grosso, Teira Johnson, Gerard Olson, Camilo Ontiveros, Nick Romaniak, David Snyder, Ashwani Vasishth, Sue Yank, and an interview with Ari Kletzsky.
Mammut is edited by Matthias Merkel Hess and Roman Jaster, and designed by Roman Jaster.
Mammut is a biannual magazine dedicated to all forms of creative production that have a relationship with nature, landscape and environmentalism. To order a print copy or download a free PDF version, please visit http://www.mammutmagazine.org/
view the invite onÂ Facebook
Commenting on the possiblity of creating a new .eco domain, Al Gore said this week:
We fully support Dot Eco LLC in its efforts to secure the .eco top level domain through the ICANN application process and look forward to working with Dot Eco LLC to promote .eco. This is a truly exciting opportunity for the environmental movement and for the internet as a whole.
Exciting? Really? Really?
Like Matthias Merkel Hess, who occasionally wrings his hands with regret at calling his admirable site, Eco Art Blog, I inwardly cringe at the word. Here at Arts & Ecology we are always pleased that we never fell for the single-syllable option, keeping the subtler, more powerful term “ecology”, with its implicit sense of connectedness. Why having it as a suffix creates anything more than an internet ghetto, I don’t understand.
Anyway, to the point. Meaghan O’Neill, the woman behind Treehugger.com and Planetgreen.com is perkily bullish about the future of green blogs in general, writing in an article in last week’s Guardian. In an age in which conventional media are shedding staff as fast as they can, she believes that blogs can and should take over the role of reporting on environmental issues:
Anecdotally speaking, the audience for green content appears to still be growing, even as budgets for green media outlets are cut.
If you look at what she says with web2.0 spectacles on, things look rosy. Green bloggers have formed a community which educates and reinvigorates itself. As Abi Silvester of hippyshopper.com says in a comment on O’Neill’s article:
One element of blogging that’s particularly relevant here is that as bloggers we treat the issues as a basis for dialogue rather than presenting them as facts in the way that mainstream media tends to do… I do understand why some are uncomfortable with the idea of unqualified bloggers spurious scientific “facts”on the environment or any other topic, but so is any blogger worth his or her salt. In my experience, the blogs that gain credibility and respect are those that don’t set themselves up as “experts” but as interested parties that want to get involved and explore solutions creatively. There’s really no better place to do that than online at the moment.
Which is why green blogs are failing to change minds. Web2.0 is a great thing. But it’s not an end in itself. .
O’Neill says her faith that growing green audiences is “anecdotal”. Silvester too is a fan of the anectotal: “In my experience, the blogs that gain crediblity are those that don’t set themselves up as ‘experts’,” she says .
We don’t really have to prove ourselves right because we have the moral highground. A community that talks hihg-mindedly to itself is of value, but not when faced by an opposing community of sceptics which is, frankly, making all the running. In fact, as the barbed comments below O’Neill’s article show, climate deniers retain a much more powerful voice on the internet given their relatively small numbers, and green bloggers don’t appear to be able to do anything to dent that. Last month, to the horror of green bloggers everywhere, the climate-sceptic blog wattsupwiththat.com was nominated Best Science Blog of 2008 by the Best Blog Awards, to the delight of denier-trolls everhwhere.
The thing is, if blogs are going to replace the mainstream media, they must start assuming their authority. And that means finding more ways to do old-fashioned research and reporting – what the old mainstream media regarded as its central role. Moral highground is cheap. A reputation for accuracy is much harder to come by. That’s happening, but still so slowly.
The web is, as we are so often told, only 5,000 days old.