Two Spaces


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Collective exhibition, 8 May – 29 September 2013, and international symposium, 8 May, at PAV (Via Giordano Bruno 31, Torino, Italy)

On Tuesday, 7 May 2013, at 6.30 pm, the PAV will open the collective exhibition Internaturalism, curated by Claudio Cravero. The exhibition aims to investigate some of the research and practice of the branch of contemporary art generally known as “ecological art” or “Bioart”, demonstrating the links and connections to current ecological debates. The works of art on show in Internaturalismassume an essential role as vehicles of social understanding of the world around us, and succeed in constructing concrete meaning from often abstract issues related to the environment and ecological drift (from loss of biodiversity to pollution and global warming). Emerging from the works of the sixteen artists in the exhibition are visions and narratives of nature that coincide with the concept of “internaturalism”, namely the capacity to imagine a hybrid between the different meanings of nature, understood not only as the common good of humanity but of all living beings.

The exhibition

Among the works on display is Perpetual Amazonia, an environmental video installation by Lucy + Jorge Orta. Commissioned in 2010 by the Natural History Museum in London, it is the narration through images and prose of an expedition undertaken in the Peruvian rainforest. The study of nature is also explored from an ethological point of view in the work of Henrik Håkansson, through a video-documentary that examines the behaviour of insects and birds. Addressing similar themes are 108, Luana Perilli’s living installation that consists of a domestic scene featuring everyday objects and a colony of ants; Colombaia mobile (Mobile Pigeon Coop) by Filippo Leonardi, a housing structure that connects two spaces through the use of carrier pigeons and, finally, Laurent Le Deuff’s sculpture in the park which is based on the underground tunnels drawn by moles. The relationship between man and nature with regard to the common cellular and organic matrix that combines living beings and the environment is also explored in the exhibition, for example in the interactive installation Bio-acqua by Piero Gilardi or in the biological processes analyzed in a mining cave by Andrea Caretto and Raffaella Spagna. Through Brigitte de Malau’s ritual performance and the work on seeds waste by Norma Jeane, Internaturalism also explores the land and the nutritional habits connected to it. Last but not least, some of the works in the exhibition intend to trigger an awareness of the typical behaviour of the homo consumer, actions aimed at the commodification of nature and of the profits related to so-called bio trade (as in the work New Alliances by CAE|Critical Art Ensemble and in the light installation Shelf-life by Uli Westphal). A series of cultural reflections on the theme of language completes the exhibition. In this regard, the results of the workshop Segni d’incontro (Signs of meeting) conducted by Nja Mahdaoui and Agostino Ferrari are presented, as well as Mixture of Plants by Gabriella Ciancimino. Ciancimino’s work is installed in the courtyard and consists of a sound apparatus through which a conversation between the artist and Christian Berg, scientific head of the Botanical Gardens of Graz, is heard.

As part of the exhibition, the Educational and Training department of the PAV, curated by Orietta Brombin, will host Rerum Naturae, a programme on the role of man in relation to natural phenomena; Cultivating Signs which addresses the issues of exchange and relationships andDelicatessen, or edible matter as an artistic medium. In terms of training for adult audiences, onFriday, 31 May, Saturday 1 June and Sunday 2 June, Andrea Caretto and Raffaella Spagna will lead Workshop_33 / Back and Forward_Colonization_02, a collective and immersive activity based on housing and work as methods to explore a place.

The Symposium

On Wednesday 8 May, from 10 Am to 6 Pm, at the Casa del Teatro Ragazzi, the PAV will host a symposium entitled Internaturalism, dedicated to debates around the theme of nature. The conference will analyse the theme of nature from multiple perspectives (aesthetic, ethical, anthropological and artistic). For more details about the symposium: click here to download the PDF file.

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Video Chat in Artistic Endeavors

skype-iconIt goes without saying that the travel associated with our artist endeavors is not the most sustainable. I’ve been to so many conferences this last year, mostly traveling by plane. Next week I’m off to Europe where I’ll be staying in Copenhagen for COP15 and‘s New Life Festival, but I’m also headed to London for the Future Arcola Launch and, it’s looking like Prague as well, to check in with a project for the next PQ in June of 2011.

I personally love traveling. I feel guilty, yes, but I love going places. I also feel there is no substitute for in-person discussions. The spontaneity and intimacy of direct contact is important and this is easiest to accommodate face-to-face and in the flesh. And, even when it’s not about having a one-on-one, there is also that just showing up most of the time is a big deal. I maintain that our “success” with the CSPA is due to persistence and “showing up”.

Two weeks ago, I was in Orlando for LDI for a full day of Green Sessions for the show technology crowd put together by Bob Usdin and Annie Jacobs from Showman Fabricators. There I had the chance to meet Bryan Raven of White Light in the UK again. We had been on a roundtable panel at the Theatre Materials/Material Theatre conference at the Central School of Speech and Drama‘s Center for Excellence in Theatre Training in April of 2008. That previous conference was also when I was able to meet, and have a drink with, Ben Todd from Arcola. Ben, who was not able to come to Orlando, and was instead in Stockholm (maybe you saw his post early this week) , was present via a video chat to talk about Future Arcola.

With the ubiquity of broadband connections, more and more people seem to be relying on video conference/chat technology to get other busy, high profile, greener guests to be able to be in two spaces at the same time. And, as it tends to shake out, the resident technophile/ show technologist, I get the pleasure of making a lot of them work.

Google_Talk_icon_by_hungery5Last night, at California Institute of the Arts I set up a video chat audition for guest artists that will be in residency at REDCAT, CalArt’s downtown LA space. The Artists of Invasion from the Chicken Planet, are based in New York and, though of no sustainable intention, weren’t going to fly out to audition some of our actors to use in their residency for two hours.

The day before, we had tested the connection. We used the same computer with the same software on the same network (hardwired into the wall) that we’d use the next day. We tried Skype, which was too choppy, garbled and had a couple seconds delay that made it less than ideal. We then switched to iChat with AOL Instant Messenger accounts and after realizing another computer being connected was preventing a decent video link, it proved the smoothest and most immediate.

So last night, when we moved the computer into the room that we would be conducting the auditions in, we configured the machine the same way, but were not able to make a connection on iChat. Skype had the same issues. At the prompting of a student director who was assisting, we tried Gtalk Video chat. It ended up working immediately and with excellent quality.

Earlier in the year, at Earth Matters on Stage (EMOS), when Moe Beitiks had tried to link up Brent Bucknum to present his bio-remidative work via video chat, we tried ooVoo, which we gave up on in favor of iChat again. We had almost just given up, but I only thought to use iChar from the decent chats I had experienced with my brother-in-law who was living in Edinburgh at the time. Also at EMOS we had a video conference in the University of Oregon library with a panel in London arranged by the Ashden Directory, which used their dedicated video conferencing package.

aim_logo_2.jpgIn both situations the video wasn’t great, but we could sort of communicate. The Ashden Session involved each end of the discussion/video conference going into another room to watch a video and then coming back to discuss together. But there was lag and the video wasn’t particularly clear. The Brent Bucknam session was not bad, but very one-way. For Green Day at LDI, the audio was great, but in one session, with Seema Sueeko from Mo’olelo Performing Arts, the video was minutes behind the audio connection.

Having now had extensive experience with video conferencing in less than ideal situations, I do long for the day when we’ll be able to turn on whatever client we’re using to video chat and it works smoothly and immediately, let alone with high resolution. But, that day isn’t particularly close. There are a lot of variables in the way of making that happen. Network connections, equipment, client servers, client and local network traffic, sunspots, radio waves and the phases of the moon. Even when we tried to eliminate as many of those variables in Eugene as possible, it still didn’t work ideally. Or, what was ideally was not enough to convince.

Will our broadband video connections be able to save us the footprint of air travel for conferences and internationally collaborative meetings of the mind? Not yet. There might be some expensive corporate system out there, but we lowly green artists aren’t going to hold our breath waiting for that. Oprah’s skype seems to work fine, but I’ve never had such luck, so I leave that package just to replace my need for international phone calls.

I’d still rather sit and talk to you, especially when we aren’t both staring at our monitors in our Pajamas.

Also yesterday, Enci Box of Rebel Without a Car Productions came to speak to my and Leslie Tamaribuchi’s class, Sustainability Seminar. She can to talk about producing a short film as sustainably as possible. This included not using cars and transporting everything by bike with the help of the LA Greensters (green teamsters). She made the trip from East Hollywood, in the center of Los Angeles, to the edge of the county, where CalArts resides in Valencia, without a car. She came up on a Metrolink commuter train, biking from the station to campus. She and I had worked out the options for getting there and she had the time to dedicate to coming up. Also, she was lucky to had met a guy who regularly made that journey to visit his girlfriend at CalArts and could relay the benefit of his experience. She then went back home, via bike. all roughly 30 miles of the trip. Coming up to CalArts, it took 2 hours. Returning was supposedly going to be one and a half hours. All for a 45 minute presentation.

I suppose we could have had her “skype” in (even if we don’t typically end up on skype), but having her there in-person was a much greater thrill and much more in the moment for the students and for her. Instead it took dedication to not leaving a footprint, and finding alternatives to get to the class. I’m very much indebted to Enci for making the journey, which some might say was epic, to present for a fraction of that travel time. But, I think it far surpassed our alternatives.