Join the CSPA in discussing the Future of The Dance World at DanceUSA (un)Conference June 15th

Conference-Logo-for-Home-PageDance/USA’s vision is to lead the professional dance industry by providing value to a strong, diverse membership base and encouraging the membership to be responsive to current economic, demographic and participation realities. But, with limited time at the Annual Conference, sometimes we are unable to have all the conversations we’d like. So, this year we’re adding something new: a UN-Conference! This special block of time is dedicated to discussing the topics which are important to you, proposed by you, and not offered in other Conference programming. We welcome you and your voice at the professional dance table!

Click here to make and vote on suggestions for topics and/or questions you’d like to see discussed in our mini UN-Conference. Your suggestions will determine the conversation during this engaging afternoon!

Click here to see the full conference program.

Taylor Guitars & The Future of Ebony

In this video, Taylor Guitars co-founder Bob Taylor talks about the world’s dwindling supply of ebony, the realities of ebony sourcing in Cameroon, and Taylor’s efforts to preserve a sustainable supply for the entire musical instrument community. With the co-purchase of Crelicam, an ebony mill in Cameroon in 2011, Taylor began to develop a fresh framework for sustainable sourcing, one that blends socially responsible forestry with job training that will help Cameroonian communities support themselves and improve their living standards.

From the Taylor website: “We need to use the ebony that the forest gives us,” emphasizes Bob, who has personally met with a number of other prominent guitar manufacturers since the Crelicam purchase to spread awareness of the new realities regarding ebony sourcing. While the current conditions don’t mean that the days of all-black ebony are entirely gone, they do mean that if we want to ensure a sustainable ebony supply for future generations of instruments and players, we must embrace greater cosmetic diversity.

The story was recently picked up by the Los Angeles Times. In the article, but Ron White, Taylor was also quoted as saying, regarding the workers at the mill:

“We are going to start doing a lot of the processing and that will provide more jobs and more higher-paying jobs and triple the value of what they can sell, instead of just the raw material,” Taylor said. “There is money in the ebony, and they deserve to have more of that.”

Click these links for more info:

Taylor Guitar’s Commitment to Sustainability

Taylor Guitar’s page on Sustainable Ebony

LA Time’s Article about Talyor Guitar’s purchase of the Crelicam Mill

Isomorphism Magazine

This post comes to you from Cultura21

ISOMORPHISM is an online art magazine (based in Romania) that publishes on interaction of contemporary art with a wide range of today’s realities. From political philosophies and civil movements to present day nanotechnology and biotechnology implicated in artistic creation the magazine’s subjects include articles, essays, reviews, presentation of ideas, interviews, events and projects.

Link: ISOMORPHISM 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

Of Farms and Fables shows beauty, struggle of family farming – Theater – Portland Phoenix

FINDING THEIR PLACES Actors, including farm workers and their children, rehearse Of Farms and Fables.

An interesting show coming up in Portland, ME….

It’s all in a day’s work on a family farm. From pests to family strife to the game-changing scale of industrial farming, the challenges to the modern family farm are given unsentimentally resonant treatment in Open Waters Theatre Arts’ Of Farms and Fables, the theatrical culmination of several years of research and residencies on farms here in southern Maine.

With a script by Cory Tamler, direction by Jennie Hahn, and a cast that includes farm workers and children of farmers, this most recommended production runs October 27-30, at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough.

In Open Waters’ plain and simple billing, Of Farms and Fables is “a play about the people who bring you food.” A team of its actors, playwright, and director spent last summer working alongside those very people, the farmers and farm workers who sow and weed at Wm. H. Jordan, Broadturn, and Benson farms. After a season of learning their work, and of hearing their worries and joys, Open Waters’ artists turned to the task of making theater of the experience, to share with the public a nuanced look at the realities of family farming in the modern age.

via Of Farms and Fables shows beauty, struggle of family farming – Theater – Portland Phoenix.

Creative Review – What does a ton of CO2 look like?

BIG VORTEX is the idea of Berlin-based artists realities:united. Waste gases will leave the chimney of the plant (which will turn waste into energy) as revolving gas clouds in the shape of smoke rings. The rings become visible due to the condensation of water in the flue gases as they slowly rise and cool, before resolving into the air. The rings produced in this way will, the artists estimate, be 30 metres in diameter and three metres thick and “constitute exactly one ton of fossil carbon dioxide, which is added to the atmosphere”. “[In] this way the rather abstract pollution aspect gets somewhat more graspable and understandable, something you can see and relate to,” the artists say.

via Creative Review – What does a ton of CO2 look like?.

Climate change = culture change: the hugeness of the challenge

We tend to talk about the idea of cultural change without thinking through what that means. The size of the job of retooling society to achieve an ecological age by 2050  is immense.

Emerging from the 20th century, it’s hard not to see this as a fundamentally Orwellian task.  However, if we do embrace the idea that culture has a responsiblity to move forwads, we have to start thinking in practical cutural realities. I recommend reading the working paperCulture|Futures Cultural Transformations for a Cultural Age by 2050 edited by Olaf Gerlach-Hansen which was released yesterday. It begins the ambitious process of evaluating if we even have the means by which we get from here to there.

The degree and scope of the cultural challenge is … exacerbated by how little time we have to bring about change. The transformation must be completed globally in 40 years, which in terms of comprehensive cultural transformations is an extremely short period – just a generation or two at most.

The time factor adds to the number of challenges concerning identity, lifestyle and habits to be addressed, since the entire world will vividly remember its old version, while developing the new.

That’s only a quick flavour of the paper which served as a working document to kickstart yestereday’s symposium…

Download the PDF [2.43MB] here.

Illustration: Glowing Climate

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

The Berlin Wall and other falling dominos

Upright Figure No 7, 1970, Berlin, by my uncle René Graetz

I grew up in a world in which East was East and West was West. People operated in separate realities that seemed absolute, even if they were only four decades old.

I had an aunt and uncle – both artists – and cousins living in East Berlin. When we visited them it felt like another world. In some ways it was.

This week we remember the fall of the Berlin wall. In space of two months between now and the New Year a world suddenly changed. The entire Eastern Bloc fell apart as the Eastern economy crumbled and the popular desire for change ripped the old accommodations to shreds.

Though both my uncle and aunt had been famous artists in the East, friends and collaborators of Brecht’s, the world they existed in was swept aside. Their considerable reputations vanished overnight as the communist East was absorbed into the free West. Not only was the cultural structure that supported their work suddenly swept aside, the work itself seemed suddenly old-fashioned and irrelevant in the new paradigm. The fundamentals changed within the blink of an eye.

We are living in a world of old assumptions that are about to be knocked apart. Today’sGuardian leads on the remarkable story that a whistleblower in the International Energy Agency claims that the IEA has been fudging its figures to keep oil prices low. The facts of the story aren’t what are remarkable. Scientists have been discussing peak oil for years; what is signficant is that the IEA, who for years have been producing figures which make little sense, is finally starting to show signs of cracking. Supplies, say the whistleblower, will struggle to meet a low target 90 – 95 million barrels of oil a day in the next few years. “We have already entered the ‘peak oil’ zone,” says the source.

The Transition Town movement has for years asked serious questions about how we will live in the post-peak oil world. It is an optimistic viewpoint, looking to the positives of what a new era can bring. Of course it has remained largely a fringe movement, its policies given a lukewarm welcome by the administration but almost entirely ignored. In Britain we still have no serious plan to make the most of the coming paradigm shift.

Rising oil prices will mean massive changes in our culture and society. We are used to imagining ourselves only as part of the triumphant West. We were, until recently at least, theend of history. What if right now we’re more like the old East whose fall was said to create history’s end? If oil prices rise as fast as may predict, like the fall of the Berlin wall, they will catch everyone by surprise and sweep much of what we know aside unless we start getting our heads round what’s about to happen.

We will look back, like the marooned men of the old regime and wonder how come we didn’t see that coming.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology