What are the aesthetics of sustainable design? New ways are needed of appreciating ecologically valid design that can incorporate the artistic dimensions with the material effects. This presentation will explore the application of ecological design in the Performing Arts as it creates new sensibilities, new dramaturgies and new forms of experience throughout a range of theatre productions. These aesthetics expand on existing design critiques and offer ways to consider the relations between the content of what is performed to the ecological and artistic dimensions of stage design. Starting with a philosophical perspective, this session will talk through examples with focus on the emerging paradigm of ‘eco-scenography’ – a movement that seeks to integrate ecological principles into all stages of scenographic thinking and production. Taking a holistic approach to materials and resources, this approach asks “can we create designs that enrich our environment and community, as well as our audience?”
The presentation includes a live and interactive showing of Tanja Beer’s “STRUNG”, an eco-scenographic investigation that merges the boundaries between performer and designer, installation and costume, site and material.
Ian Garrett, Sustainability Programme Coordinator, Assistant Professor of Ecological Design for Performance (York University, Toronto) and Co-Director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and World Stage Design 2013 Programme Assistant Kevin Smith to discuss how sustainability is being addressed at World Stage Design.
On the sunny 9th and drenching 10th of August, a group of artists, environmentalists, and community workers met in Fife as part of a series of event coordinated by Fife Contemporary Arts and Crafts, Polarcap, and Edinburgh Sculpture Studios. (For reports on earlier events, see the ecoartscotland blog and the Greener Leith Blog) The themes were land, walls, boundaries – plus John Muir and China. The first venue for a day of walk and talk was the Ecology Centre near Burntisland, with its impressive blend of social and ecological engagement. Ronnie Mackie and Julie Samuel explained how determination had made the place happen, by nurturing volunteer contributions and generating community input. Biodiversity is catered for too, with this wetland created from a former industrial dump. We found toads, well-tended poly-tunnels, allotments and more. John Muir was the main topic of afternoon talks, being introduced by Liz Adamson of Polarcap and Jo Moulin in the afternoon of talks – Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar is a visitor centre that contributes to sustainable living in East Lothian. The group mulled over the Muir quote: “I went out for a walk and stayed out till sundown, for going out I found I was really going in.” Wild development was an idea presented in another form in scenes of contemporary China presented by Peter Lindow. On the wet 10th, we convened at Falkland Centre for Stewardship. The day was introduced by Ninian Stuart and Tess Darwin with a tour of woodland walks and farmland – following boundaries and learning (indoors) how the estate has become a place to learn to live more sustainably, threading traditions of stewardship with community involvement and ecological design. The Centre extends support to artwork such as Resounding – sound installation including work by Louise K Wilson – and also to a new conservation project – Lomond Living Landscapes. The latter was presented by David Munro, describing how the ‘commonty‘ of the hills (currently dissected by the Fife/Perth boundary) had been successively divided and enclosed, with ‘marches’ and ‘meiths’ [boundaries] surviving. How can art/craft and biodiversity link? This was a themes developed by Reheema White, lecturer in Sustainable Development at St Andrews. Her presentation made no bones about the implications of species loss and unsustainable lifestyles, but allowed for a creative engagement. This allowed me to explain why I value ecoartscotland as a network, seeing ‘ecoart’ as linking different kinds of knowledge and moving ourselves outwith comfort zones. A theme emerged: what would John Muir take into account if he were alive now? One response was that having taken Teddy Roosevelt to the Yosemite, he might take Alex Salmond to Menie Links in Aberdeenshire (the Trump development). A stimulating event of exchanges, with no particular outcome required but things brewing. posted by Kate Foster
Applications are invited for a full-time tenure-track position in Ecological Design for Performance, at the rank of Assistant Professor, with graduate and undergraduate teaching responsibilities, effective July 1, 2012. In addition to teaching and research responsibilities, and service at the departmental, Faculty and University levels, the appointment will be key in the direction and development of the new Theatre MFA in Design for Performance.
York’s Department of Theatre has an undergraduate program with over 400 majors pursuing BFA or BA degrees in performance, devised theatre, theatre studies, playwriting, production and design. There is also a Graduate Program with a PhD and MA in Theatre Studies and an MFA in Acting, Directing, and Design. The Department has the only MFA in Acting in Canada and is at the forefront of developing sustainability in design for performance at the graduate level.
The Faculty of Fine Arts, and especially the Department of Theatre, have been developing an active interest in ecological sustainability and, in doing so, have embraced the mandate of York University’s Sustainability Policy: “York will strive to be at the forefront of sustainability research and education, and will use its capacity and expertise to promote sustainability within and beyond the University, with its alumni, governments and the surrounding communities.” The position in Ecological Design for Performance will support the continued exploration and development of sustainability in design, primarily at the MFA level, and potentially in conjunction with Film, Dance, Visual Arts, Architecture, Environmental Studies, and Engineering.
Applicants must be mid-career designers for performance who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability in their work. Strong consideration will be given to applicants whose work challenges the borders of art within the construct of sustainability; this may include the research and exploration of technological innovation. Good interpersonal communication and ability to work closely with students, colleagues and other departments are required, as is demonstrated excellence or promise of excellence in scholarly and creative research and teaching. Preferred candidates will have a terminal degree in an appropriate discipline, demonstrated professional recognition, teaching experience at the post-secondary level, and strong connections with the theatre and industrial communities.
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The successful candidate should be suitable for prompt appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
A letter of application with an up-to-date curriculum vitae, a statement of research, professional and teaching interests and experience, a DVD or online examples of creative work, and the names and contact information of three referees should be sent to: Search Committee, c/o Mary Pecchia, Room 320 Department of Theatre, Centre for Film and Theatre, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3; Tel: 416-736-2100 ext 66266; Fax 416-736-5785. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
York University is an Affirmative Action Employer. The Affirmative Action Program can be found on York’s website at www.yorku.ca/acadjobs or a copy can be obtained by calling the affirmative action office at 416.736.5713. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.
Deadline for applications: Friday, December 2nd, 2011
SEEDS|Earthdance is a unique festival dedicated to Somatic Experiments in Earth, Dance, + Science. We are very excited about the festival in its third year, 2010 – this summer will be quite an adventure! I hope you can join us for a workshop, for the whole event, for the research projects, or the public events. Please come and be a part of this experiment in interdisciplinary arts and ecology. Get in touch if you have any questions, or go right to the site and sign up.
Olive Bieringa, SEEDS co-curator
The theme of this year’s 10-day long SEEDS festival is NOURISHMENT: A crop’s environment—including soil, topography, and climate—imparts a characteristic taste and flavor and must be taken into consideration in cultivation. With care, through interaction we hope to create an ultra-lush, enriching, and regenerative culture in which to grow our art.
Come for a performance or a film, a workshop, a jam, or the whole festival!
You are also invited to sign up for workshops, for the whole festival, for research projects, in addition to evening performances, discussions, jams, and films as well as the Saturday Community Day as part of your participation.
Diego Piñon/Butoh Ritual Mexicano Dance<
Benoît Lachambre/Extending the Comfort Zone<
& PineCones <(an overnight event)
Pedro Alejandro/Soft Body/Soft Terrain, Open Artist’s Projec<
Dave Jacke/Eden Arising: Ecological Design as a Spiritual Practice<
Plus performances, an ECO jam, disucssions, films, artists-in-residence, green m-Art, and more.
We don’t have time to do environmental at that’s not functional.
– Brent Bucknum
In working on a Climate Clock for the San Jose Initiative, designer Brent Bucknam would often get into theoretical debates about the nature of art. His project partner, Brian Howe of greenmeme, would quote Picasso: Art is the lie that reveals the truth. Brent’s response was the quote above.
It’s one of the central questions of the environmental art movement, and one that is integral to Brent’s work with Hyphae Design Laboratory, a company he founded.
How can art save the world?
Artists on greenmuseum.org and elsewhere are blurring cultural boundaries between art and science, science and activism, volunteerism and performance. Traditional forms hold fast, but functionality remains central to Hyphae’s work. Function: defined by this designer as “interpreting and conveying ecological information or serving otherwise as an ecological tool or system.” Hyphae is currently working on a project in West Oakland, a plan to line the 580 highway on either side with towering stands of bamboo, natural air and particulate filters. On a greenmuseum.org-sponsored panel at the recent Earth Matters on Stage Symposium, he presented a number of other exciting projects, from green roofs to living walls.
The 28-year old designer went to a farming high school. He worked for bioremediation and green roof companies before joining Rana Creek, with which he worked on the California Academy of Sciences’ living roof. He became that company’s first Director of Design before moving on to create Hyphae. He sees his new company as a catchall, providing services from ecological design and research to consulting for artists interested in environmental projects.
That last aspect is the result of Bucknum’s own experiences making environmental art: he’d like to see artwork that ’s better informed by ecology, not, as he puts it, the “horti-torture” that creates living systems barely able to survive the duration of an exhibition. He’d like the art to be the change it would like to see in the world: smart, sustainable, and thriving.