Urban Sustainability

Urban Sustainability by Jessica Kimmel, ecoartspace intern 2011-2012

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

The Urban Sustainability program at Antioch University in Los Angeles encourages a multi-disciplinary approach to solving issues of scientific and societal importance. The core requirements for the degree include courses in systems thinking, environmental literacy, social justice and a hands-on approach to fieldwork. The program also provides graduate study in urban ecosystem science, activism and advocacy, environmental education, sustainable practices, and research methods. A large component is our fieldwork studies– contributing an opportunity to explore and develop skills to our rigorous studies and the experience to prepare for our ambitious futures. In my first semester of fieldwork in 2011, I selected two site projects including ecoartspacewith Patricia Watts and Green Public Art with Rebecca Ansert, both out of Los Angeles.

During the 36-unit degree program, I am participating in a series of residencies that consist of classroom instruction, guest lectures and elective seminars. Antioch has a long-standing commitment to social justice in the community that has allowed me to consider utilizing methods and theories of social sciences toward solving complex sustainability related concerns. The class has toured the port of Los Angeles, examined L.A.’s publiclands struggle the beach in Malibu and hiked through Ramirez Canyon, toured Venice on bikes with Bikerowave, and visited the Burbank Recycling Center and Puente Hills Landfill. These tours have created a really valuable platform for the free exchange of ideas pertaining to making our contribution more sustainable.

Antioch’sUrban Sustainability program will operate as a vehicle for the study of urbanization and its ecosystemic impacts. As social scientists, educators and communicators, I believe we must similarly examine how environmental hardship is socio-economically distributed. Environmental justice, climate change and land use provide us with excellent context. In the multi-disciplinary tradition, I have long studied and admired leading environmental artists suchas Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. I applaud how progressive-intellectuals have successfully used various mediums to communicate complex ideas in accessible terms. Adams used photography to capture the beauty of the American landscape and bring awareness to the necessity of its protection. Photography is one of my academic and personal concentrations and as a master’s student my hope is to create an intersection of creativity and activism to initiate lasting changes.

This year was also my first experience curating an art show. I was the student organizer of this years annual ArtisticUprisingat Antioch, which took place on November 18, 2011. It was such an incredible experience for me to have and has allowed me to grow in ways I never dreamed of. Working on a project of such importance to the campus and AULA community, continuing the tradition as the fourth annual exhibit, and leading my peers through a successful show has given me a sense of fulfillment and validated the direction I’ve chosen. The art show was started by Cindy Short in 2008. Proceeds from art sales and other activities at the event benefit The Bridge Program. Bridge provides a college education for low-income adults in the Los Angeles area, at no cost to the student. The program pays their tuition for 15 college credits with all other necessary expenses included: books,supplies, bus tokens, and even meals on the evenings of classes.

Through the opportunities Antioch has given me, I have been able to witness first-hand the impacts and influence art can have in support of a sustainable existence on the goals of urban sustainability. It is my hope to contribute my efforts to mobilize artists in the pursuit of spreading the message of environmental consciousness. I will also be exposed to professionals outside of science and academia that are working to promote the goals of sustainability by participating in the environmental movement. My goal is to encourage environmental discourse in the local community and solidify artists as relevant stakeholders in the environmental dialogue. Through project management, artist interaction and social media, I have a unique opportunity to contribute toecoartspace’s operation, success and continued legacy as an invaluable and effective environmental resource. I admire what ecoartspace stands for and am thrilled by their initiatives for promoting and reaching sustainability. I am excited to be a member of their team and hope that our efforts together can transcend social, economic and political boundaries.


ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.
Go to EcoArtSpace


Drawing on case studies from around the world, the Curating Cities project assesses the ongoing and potential contribution of public art to eco-sustainable development and the benefits to Sydney and cities in general.  The project provides a rubric for public art in relation to the fundamental domains of sustainable planning: energy, water, food and waste.

A vital part of the project, the Curating Cities: Sydney to Copenhagen Conference will address the demands on the cultural sector in the face of climate change; namely the need to develop sustainable cities and raise questions about the role of public art in urban ecology. Bringing together artists, designers, curators, educators and creative thinkers the conference will propose new strategies of change toward the fundamentals of urban sustainability.

The conference organized by the National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW in association with the City of Sydney, the Danish Arts Agency and the Visual Arts and Design Educators Association. The conference will be opened by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen. For more details and full list of speakers please visit http://curatingcities.org/conferences/curating-cities-sydney-copenhagen


The Curating Cities: Sydney to Copenhagen Conference is held in conjunction with a keynote exhibition that highlights the fundamentals of sustainability: carbon reduction, consumption, and food production. The exhibition (17 Nov – 18 Dec 2011) will be a showcase five influential projects that evoke the city as part of an ecology affected by human action. For more info please visit http://curatingcities.org/exhibitions/curating-cities-sydney-copenhagen

Our project website is: www.curatingcities.org.

Public Art + Green Technology: Perspective from an Urban Sustainability Graduate Student

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

Green Public Art’s Intern, Jessica Kimmel is our guest blogger for this post. Below are her thoughts on art and green technology.

As an intern for Green Public Art, I have been in the process of researching new materials for artists to make their works be more environmentally responsible.

Art can act as a function for people’s imagination. It’s difficult to envision what the future could or will look like. As a society, we are currently thrusting our environmental missteps into the limelight everyday and immediate recovery does not seem imminent; but art has the potential to positively inspire people without the discouraging and overwhelming undertones.  All progressive green inspired projects take on an artistic form in one way or another.  Organic light emitting devices, a new emerging technology,  have been an exciting topic for researchers; offering new advances for displays and screen. OLEDs are composed of organic materials [made from a variety of phosphorescent elements including iridium, platinum, and iron] in pressed in layers. With a connection to an electrical source the OLED produces a light energy. See how OLEDs work.

The benefits of OLEDs is a brighter, crisper, display on a more durable and lighter electronic devices that consumes less power so batteries last longer and your energy bill gets lower. It also has a thinner and more flexible quality so it can be more purposeful. OLEDS potentially could be the future of all displays, screens, and much more, however there are difficulties. These devices do not handle water very well and as these are still a new technology, the costs of production are expensive.

There are many different types each with a different purpose: passive-matrix [better for small screens such as cell phones and MP3 players], active-matrix [best for large screen televisions, computer monitors and even billboards], transparent [allows light to pass through both directions even when on], top-emitting [can be reflective or opaque and also used in large displays], foldable [durability and flexibility makes this great in cell phones], and white OLEDs [with better colors and a brighter projection]. There are color options in OLED lighting as well; the color of the light emitted is determined by the components in the different layers.

Here are a few examples of how (OLED) can inspire people in different communities. When this light and display technology is made affordable and efficiently it could potentially replace all other forms of light because of it being brighter and utilizing less materials allowing it to be smaller and eventually cheaper for all forms of light: televisions, billboards, signs, electronic communications, cell phones, computers, appliances, and light bulbs. Because OLEDs can be made in large sheets, they can replace fluorescent lights that are currently used in homes and buildings and their use could potentially reduce energy costs for lighting.

Artists whom are making the strides to be more environmentally friendly could incorporate OLEDs in many different types of work: installations, sculptures, murals, photography, earthworks, video, graphic, and standardized fixtures including street lights, gates, and benches.

An OLED can be integrated as a direct component of a piece and it can also be used in the presentation of the artworks.  These devices can be artistically utilized to illuminate public spaces including parks and walkways, outdoor works of art, and also as the light source in an art piece.  By using solar power to charge and power the OLEDs, the environmental impact is minimal. Because this medium is flexible and be malleable it can be constructed in many forms, leaving many opportunities open to harness this new technology. Below you see some pieces that have encompassed the use of light and/ or digital media as a significant role.

Jason Bruges "Mimosa"

Both, Jason Bruges “Mimosa” and “You Fade to Art” by rAndom International have employed OLEDs for Philips Lumiblade.

Bruges is internationally renowned for his work with green technology. Mimosa, commissioned for Milan in 2010, is an interactive artwork displaying behavior that mimics responsive plant systems.The piece was inspired by the Mimosa family of plants, which change kinetically to suit their environmental conditions. The studio has used the slim form of individual OLEDs to create delicate “light petals”, forming flowers, which open and close in response to visitors.

rAndom International "You Fade to Art"

rAndom International’s projects emphasize the interaction between the audience and the inanimate object. In their work “You Fade to Art” the team designed a large wall of multiple mirrors to interactively follow the viewer’s body movements with light. The work was exhibited at the International Design Museum, Munich in 2010.

The works of Jason Krugman embody the use of light and sometimes video and I think that his work ultimately could use OLEDs, making his illuminated figurative sculptures brighter, malleable, and even interactive with the public.

And, think of Chicago’s Millennium Park where artist Jaume Plensa created a gorgeous glass block tower titled “The Crown Fountain” with flowing water, fountains, and flickering images of a thousand Chicago natives. Now imagine that same project replacing the glass and projection machines with OLEDs and solar energy – not only is the image brighter but it is more crisp and now energy efficient.

Organic Light Emitting Devices used in public art pieces could make art more educational, interactive, and astonishing. They should be considered in the future of artistic expression.

About the blogger: Jessica Kimmel is a master’s degree student in Urban Sustainability at Antioch University Los Angeles. Through her internship at Green Public Art Consultancy and ecoartspace, Jessica’s hope is to encourage environmental discourse in the local community and solidify artists as relevant stakeholders in the green movement.


Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
Go to Green Public Art

Sustainability | eyebeam.org

The Eyebeam Sustainability Research Group is comprised of past and present residents, fellows, and staff. Our goals are to improve the internal practices, physical infrastructure and materials used at Eyebeam to create a lab for workable sustainable solutions, to educate ourselves and the public through programs and exhibitions, and to facilitate the creation of sustainability-related projects at and beyond Eyebeam. The main areas of focus for the group have been energy, materials and making, urban sustainability issues, especially transportation and pollution, and green spaces and agriculture.

Check it out:  Sustainability | eyebeam.org.

Evergreen Brick Works is looking for the best short videos from across Canada!

Evergreen, a national charity, has transformed the former Don Valley Brick Works from a collection of deteriorating heritage buildings into an international showcase for urban sustainability and green design. Evergreen Brick Works is open year-round, and includes permanent and temporary art installations responding to the site’s geological and industrial heritage. A looped compilation of videos is part of the new media program that will introduce a wide range of environmental issues.

Independent filmmakers, animators and video artists are invited to submit works that deal with environmental issues such as climate change, water, food, transportation, waste, energy, sustainable development, etc.

deadline: June 15th, 2010

Artist fees will be paid for videos that are chosen to be included in the compilation.

We accept submissions via YOUTUBE, VIMEO or your own website.

Submit: Name/contact, your bio, brief synopsis, length of video, and link to your video to: kmcbride@evergreen.ca In the subject line please put: Evergreen Video Art Submission

via Contingent Ecologies » Blog Archive » call for submissions: eco-art video.

APInews: iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies

iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies

BIG CAAKe and the League of Imaginary Scientists + E.K.K.O have been awarded the 2009 iLAB residencies by iLAND, the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. BIG CAAKe, a collaborative team including an artist/engineer/educator, a choreographer/cook, an artist/designer, an architect and a mycologist, will conduct “StrataSpore,” a project using mushrooms to develop dialogue about local New York City ecosystems and urban sustainability. The League of Imaginary Scientists and E.K.K.O., a collaborative team including an artist, a composer, an architect, an environmental researcher and a choreography collective, will develop “Waterways: fluid movements in a liquid city,” a project that examines water through environmental and sociological study and “transforms that information into choreographic actions that engage New Yorkers.” Get connected through the ongoing discussion on the iLAND Symposium blog.

via APInews: iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies .