This information was shared with me byÂ Natalie Driemeyer. Hearing about the festival and seeing the amazing photos that Natalie sent me makes me wish I could have attended.
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This past June, the transdisciplinary festival ODYSSEY: CLIMATE Â took place at the municipal theatre in Bremerhaven, Germany.
At the centre of the festival was the CLIMATE-PARCOURS. Actors, performers, musicians and dancers performed in exceptional venues â€“ extreme-climate-spaces â€“ dealing with the elements (fire, water, earth, air) and the extreme natural events caused by climate change. The artists were supported in their work by scientists from various fields. This transdisciplinary exchange allowed participants a different, more sensual approach to the creation of visions for our future on the planet; it opened up new possibilities and looked at our chances for adapting to new circumstances and ways of life.
The festival presented guest-performances that dealt with climate change. The performer Eva Meyer-Keller cooked natural disasters with the help of gourmet chefs â€“ naturally, everyone had a taste of the catastrophe. Anna Mendelssohn brought her one-woman conference on climate changeÂ Cry Me A River. And the renowned architect, designer and urban planner Friedrich von Borries let the audience in on his visions for our future ways of living.
The International Theatre Institute (ITI) asked performing artists from around the world to join in a live Skype debate. Artists from South America, Asia, and Africa spoke about the situation in their country and about their theatrical approaches to the topic.
In front of the theatre a tent city, the KLIMA-ZELT-STADT, hosted a scientific conversation and a laboratory for sustainable urban development. Food, which supermarkets would have thrown away, was served, films were screened, bands played, and a photo-exhibit about life in Antarctica was presented.
Climate is very topical in Bremerhaven: the city has become a major centre of excellence on climate change due to its scientific bodies and as a location for the offshore wind energy industry. Furthermore, Bremerhaven, which lies in the estuary of the river Weser, needs to adapt to man-made climate change. A few weeks prior to the festival, the new embankment, which was raised by two meters, was re-opened. Energiekonsens, a non-profit company that works on energy conservation in the region, advised the festival about CO2-minimization. For the CO2-emissions that could not be prevented 1 â‚¬ per ticket went towards the climate fund â€œKlimafonds.â€
Thanks to support from the German Federal Cultural Foundation as well as from the municipal environmental agency and friends of the theatre, the artists involved were able to continue their examination of relevant social themes through festivals, as begun with the festival ODYSSEY: HEIMAT (home/belonging).
Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
Edward Burtynsky, Oil Fields #13, Taft, California, USA, 2002
Sze Tsung Leong, Beizhuanzi II, Siming District, Xiamen, 2004
ECOAESTHETIC and CONSUME
June 18 â€“ August 28, 2010
Opening Friday, June 18, 7-10pm
NEW YORK â€“Â ECOAESTHETIC is the first exhibition of SEA to be mounted in Exit Artâ€™s main gallery. In keeping with SEAâ€™s mission to present artworks that address socio-environmental concerns â€“ and to unite artists, scholars, scientists and the public in discussion on these issues â€“Â ECOAESTHETIC, through the work of nine international photographers, approaches the mystery of beauty in the natural and built environment, which can be destructive or utopian.
ECOAESTHETIC will focus on photography of land where the tragedy of the image becomes the aesthetic of the environment, and not just the beauty of the landscape. The artists in this exhibition do not have a passive engagement with the environment; rather, they seek out beautiful and tragic images to emphasize the human impact on fragile ecosystems, to elucidate our relationship to nature, and to visualize the violence of natural disasters.
In conjunction withÂ ECOAESTHETIC,Â Exit Art will also create a collective â€œartists terrarium” in its two ground floor windows facing 36th Street and 10th Avenue. For this project, artists have been invitedÂ to bring a plant and a photo of themselves with the plant to Exit Art, in order to contribute to a communal garden that gives a presence to the local environmental movement.
ECOAESTHETIC curated by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo with Herb Tam and Lauren Rosati.
Susannah Sayler, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, 2008
David Maisel, American Mine (Nevada 1), 2007
The artists inÂ ECOAESTHETIC are: Edward Burtynsky (Canada); Mitch Epstein (USA); Anthony Hamboussi (USA); Chris Jordan (USA); Christopher LaMarca (USA); Sze Tsung Leong (USA); David Maisel (USA); Susannah Sayler/The Canary Project (USA) and Jo Syz (UK).
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Consume, a project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), is a multimedia group exhibition and event series that investigates the world’s systems of food production, distribution, consumption and waste.Â Consumewill be exhibited concurrently withÂ ECOAESTHETIC, establishing a summer â€œeco-festivalâ€ on two floors of exhibition space.
With fuel prices fluctuating and climate change causing monumental shifts in weather patterns, we have been forced to rethink our methods of food production and distribution. Natural disasters have wiped out entire crop cycles (the rice supply in Burma and the wheat harvest in Australia) and experts are saying that a global food shortage is imminent. The prices for wheat, corn, rice and other grains have steadily increased since 2005, causing food riots and hoarding from Morocco to Yemen to Hong Kong. The New York Times recently reported an estimate that Americans waste 27% of the food available for consumption. What are some possible solutions to these mammoth problems?
Robin Lasser, Dining in the Dump, 2003
As more people change their habits, and as the government ratifies new regulations, we can make significant progress in the fight for food. The American public has shown awareness that the industrial-food system is deeply flawed. Expanded recycling and composting programs â€“ as well as the growing local, organic and free-range movements â€“ are indicative of a profound shift in the way we think about food.Â Consume will also include a series of public talks, screenings and workshops that confront and take up diverse food-related issues.
Jon Feinstein, Fast Food: 8 Grams, 2008
Uli Westphal, image of a lemon from the Mutatoes series, 2006-2010
Consume includes projects by Prayas Abhinav (India); Elizabeth Demaray (USA); Jon Feinstein (USA); Jordan Geiger / Ga-Ga and Virginia San Fratello / Rael-San Fratello Architects (USA); Sara Heitlinger and Franc Purg (UK/Slovenia); Manny Howard (USA); Miwa Koizumi (USA); Tamara Kostianovsky (USA); Robin Lasser (USA); Lenore Malen (USA); Mark Lawrence Stafford (USA); Laurie Sumiye (USA); Andreas Templin (Germany); and Uli Westphal (Germany).
Consume curated by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo with Herb Tam and Lauren Rosati.
Wednesday, June 23 / 7-9pm Raw Food Demonstration and Tasting: $20
Seema Shah â€“ chef, health coach and chocolatier â€“ will demonstrate how to prepare five local, seasonal and healthy raw food dishes for summer. She will also talk about her experiences with community supported agriculture and show us how to make more environmentally informed decisions about what we eat.
On the menu: Fresh Gazpacho, Colorful Kale Salad, Almond Butter Nori Wraps, Avocado Orange Salsa and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Cash bar. To learn more about Shah, visitÂ www.simplyseema.com.
Thursday, July 22, 2010 / 7-9pm Media That Matters presents GOOD FOOD, a collection of short films and animations about food and sustainability. Q and A to follow with filmmakers and representatives of Media That Matters. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.
Thursday, July 29, 2010 / 7-9pm Community Food Access with presentations by Just Food, Center for Urban Pedagogy and Green My Bodega, featuring information on CSAs, food justice, and increasing access to healthy food in underserved areas. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.
Date TBA SEA Poetry Series, No. 4
Organized by EJ McAdams of The Nature Conservancy. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.
SEA (Social-Environmental Aesthetics)
SEA is a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns. SEA will assemble artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that will communicate international activities concerning environmental and social activism. SEA will occupy a permanent space in Exit Underground, a 3000 square-foot, multi-media performance, film and exhibition venue underneath Exit Artâ€™s main gallery space. The SEA archive will be a permanent archive of information, images and videos that will be a continuous source for upcoming exhibitions and projects. Central to SEAâ€™s mission is to provide a vehicle through which the public can be made aware of socially- and environmentally-engaged work, and to provide a forum for collaboration between artists, scientists, activists, scholars and the public. SE A functions as an initiative where individuals can join together in dialogue about issues that affect our daily lives.
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Announcing a solo exhibition by performance artistÂ Rafael Sanchez,
winner of the 2008 Ida Applebroog Award
The Limit as the Body Approaches Zero
June 18 â€“ August 28, 2010
Opening Friday, June 18 / 7-10pm
PERFORMANCES ON SATURDAYS IN JUNE AND JULY. See full schedule below.
Rafael Sanchez, winner of the 2008 Ida Applebroog Award at Exit Art, will present a series of new performance pieces and documentation from the past ten years of his work in Exit Artâ€™s ground floor project space. Sanchezâ€™s performances often bridge the spectacle of street life with the meditative interiority of private rituals. During this exhibition, the artist will stage performances every Saturday that provoke questions about issues as diverse as masculinity, sexuality, gentrification, and bodily limits.
In deceivingly simple gestures and epic endurance feats, Sanchez uses his body to carry ideas about the performative conditions of daily life in the city and how it is inscribed with desire, pain, musical rhythms, absurdity and poetry. Sanchez demands that viewers make a â€œpsycho-educational commitment to enhancing his or her own perception of reality.â€
Performances are scheduled for the exhibition opening, on Friday, June 18, on Friday, July 9 and on Saturdays, June 19, July 10, 17, 24, and 31. All performances will be assisted by Jonathan Hyppolite. See the full schedule below for details.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE Friday, June 18
This piece questions the role of gentrification in impoverished urban environments. Does the process of urban renewal bury a neighborhoodâ€™s people along with its past?
OTIS LOTUS (Soundscape One)
Otis Reddingâ€™s voice will fill a space over a one-hour period. As the sound unfolds, the audience is asked to question the boundaries between harmony disharmony, order and chaos.
SAG THEM DRAWS FOR WHOSE APPLAUSE
A performance designed to question a certain phenomenon of street fashion.
Saturday, June 19 / 1-7pm
NTU THE STAGE (Part Two)
A celebration and invocation ceremony. Music by Kris Flowers of Flowers in the Attic and DJ Porkchop of SSPS and Excepter. Food provided by Verettables catering.
Friday, July 9 / 12pm â€“ Saturday, July 10 / 12pm
SWIMMING IN THE CREEK
This performance uses interviews with over a dozen fathers and husbands to question the notion of masculinity as it changes with age. The artist will recreate the gestation stage of human development as portions of the interviews play.
Saturday, July 10 / 12-6pm
DANIEL GIVENS DAY
The artist pays homage to one of his creative mentors as Daniel Givens (poet, DJ, photographer and producer) restructures the performance space with collages, videos, and music.
Saturday, July 17 / 12-4pm
In an allegory for sexual fantasy and voyeurism, the artist will climb a ladder and periodically slice cucumbers into a big tub placed under the ladder. During this process, music and soundscapes from pornographic films will play.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
The artist will recreate 21 years of orgasms and the visual, auditory, and sensual stimuli that made these moments possible.
A performance addressing the sexuality of the body as separate from sensation.
Saturday, July 24 / 12-6pm
A performance to honor the life of Julius Eastman, a minimalist African-American composer, pianist, vocalist and dancer.
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN
A visualization of this physical and social law.
KANDINSKYâ€™S PAINTED ON BOTH SIDES
Comparing process versus product, the artist becomes the canvas.
Saturday, July 31 / 12-6pm
CANâ€™T KEEP RUNNING AWAY
A performance piece about the defense mechanism of â€œavoidance coping.â€
BAD BRAINS RE-ENACTMENT
Using performance footage of the Washington D.C. hardcore punk group Bad Brains, the artist mimics lead singer H.R.â€™s movements to bring immediate presence to vicarious memory.
The artist will sit in a plexi-glass box, from which Sudanese wedding music will play. Sand will fill the box as the music plays and becomes louder. Once the sand reaches his neck, honey and ants will be poured over his head. While the ants wander through the honey, the music will become less audible and the sound of shifting sand will replace the music of celebration.
PERFORMANCE FOR THOSE LOVED
The artist will choose four people from various spheres of his life and create a performance as a gift to them.
DIAMOND SEA (Part Two)
A performance about Sonic Youthâ€™s Diamond Sea.
ABOUT THE IDA APPLEBROOG AWARD
The Ida Applebroog Award at Exit Art was established by Richard Massey, art collector and Exit Art board member, and Ida Applebroog, artist and Exit Art board member, to nurture outstanding artists at critical points in their careers. This biennial award was named after Ida Applebroog to convey both the spirit of her work and Exit Artâ€™s mission, and to honor her for her accomplishments. For more than 25 years, Exit Artâ€™s mission has been to support under recognized artists that consistently challenge cultural and artistic conventions. By establishing this award at Exit Art, Ida Applebroog wished to further that mission by providing a substantial monetary award to support such artists. The award includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant and a solo exhibition at Exit Art.
ABOUT EXIT ART
Exit Art is an independent vision of contemporary culture. We are prepared to react immediately to important issues that affect our lives. We do experimental, historical and unique presentations of aesthetic, social, political and environmental issues. We absorb cultural differences that become prototype exhibitions. We are a center for multiple disciplines. Exit Art is a 25 year old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and artist Papo Colo, that has grown from a pioneering alternative art space, into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. Exit Art is internationally recognized for its unmatched spirit of inventiveness and consistent ability to anticipate the newest trends in the culture. With a substantial reputation for curatorial innovation and depth of programming in diverse media, Exit Art is always changing.
General exhibition support for all Summer 2010 exhibitions provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Bloomberg LP; Jerome Foundation; Lambent Foundation; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Exit Artâ€™s Board of Directors and our members.
Exit Art is located at 475 Tenth Avenue, corner of 36th Street. Hours: Tues. â€“ Thurs., 10am â€“ 6pm; Fri., 10am â€“ 8pm; and Sat., noon â€“ 8pm. Closed Sun. and Mon. There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information please call 212-966-7745 or visitÂ www.exitart.org.