Staging Stustainability : April 20-22, 2011 at York University

Call for Papers

The conference committee invites proposals for papers addressing the relationship between the cultural and environmental aspects of sustainability.

Potential topics and questions might include:

  • performance ecologies
  • green design for performance
  • theatre and eco-activism
  • How can the arts widen our perception of nature and our ability to experience, reflect and adapt to the environment?
  • What is the relationship between aesthetics and ethics in terms of our consideration of the environment?
  • How are cultural values expressed in rituals and public events creating a human ecology?

Proposals should include:

  • a 250-word abstract
  • presenter’s name & affiliation
  • mailing & email addresses

Please forward proposals to:

Ina Agastra, Executive Assistant to the Dean
Faculty of Fine Arts, York University
4700 Keele St. Toronto ON Canada M3J 1P3

Submission deadline: September 1, 2010

Earth Matters On Stage: Blood and Bodies

That’s a shark signing his chummy painting above, proving once and for all that eco-art is not for the faint of heart.

It’s an image used by Una Chaudhuri in her keynote address  “Animal (and) Planet: Zooesis and Ecological Extremity”  at this year’s EMOS. Chaudhuri is responsible for major contributions to the written EcoDrama field, and so wields terms like “gynesis,” and “anthropological machine” expertly (even while folks like Mike Lawler and I are squinting to catch up).

It was a look at performance and animals– or performance and non-human animals, if you prefer.  The bookends of the speech were a piece called “Helena”, in which artist Marco Evaristti  gave the public the option of pulverizing live goldfish in blenders–  and the work of Olly and Suzi, who go out into the wilderness and make collaborative paintings with animals ( not just your alley cat or field mouse: see above).

So here I am, at a conference intended to examine the relationship between our planet and our performance art, and I have to confess that I feel silly using the term “non-human animal.” But that’s the essence of what Una Chaudhuri is addressing: at what point do we stop looking at “the others” as something we manipulate and use, and start acknowledging them as collaborators in our community– ecologically, and in this case, artistically?

These same themes come up again and powerfully in EMOS during a panel on Rachel Rosenthal’s work, and in the context of the artist’s own flesh and blood. There’s also much more: green theater practices, Boal, space, giraffes, rituals and rollings on the grass– I’ll be posting more frequently in the next week as the eco-nerddery swells my brain . . .

Go to the Green Museum