Monthly Archives: March 2009

Rising Tide Conference, San Francisco: April 17th – 19th, 2009

The Rising Tide conference is a series of topically organized panels, seminars, and roundtable discussions, bringing together creative professionals, scholars and students to engage in conversations and debates about the intersections of ethics, aesthetics, and environmentalism.

The event includes panelsexhibitionsfilm screenings and satellite events. Rising Tide is jointly hosted by California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Stanford University.David Buckland from Cape Farewell is one of the keynote speakers. Panel themes include politics and capitalism, mobility, cities, rivers and oceans and material culture.

This groundbreaking conference will be jointly hosted by California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Stanford University this spring. Our audience and collaborators come from various disciplinary backgrounds. They are artists, activists, community organizers, venture capitalists, philanthropists, students, and faculty of Fine Arts, Design, Architecture, Writing, Criticism, Curatorial Practice and Environmental Sciences who are helping to push the green revolution to a tipping point.

The conference will convene on the San Francisco Campus of California College of the Arts on Friday, April 17th, on the Stanford Campus Saturday, April 18th, and at CCA on Sunday, April 19th. We are planning a series of satellite events (screenings, exhibitions, performances, lectures…) throughout the month of April.

Go to the Ashden Directory

Announcements, news, etc….

We have had a busy past few weeks (and months). Ecologic, Terroir, Habitat for Artists and Out of the Blue, have all opened since January. This week I’ve had a little bit of down time while working on ecoartspace NYC benefit ideas (stay tuned for more info about this) and wanted to plug some other interesting people, current events, art and ecology related activities.

Artist and eco educator Christopher Kennedy has started a new organization, Artiscycle. This is a project to further an understanding of the role of art in building community, creative problem solving and situated learning. The idea according to Kennedy, “is to connect artists and citizens at the forefront of collaborative and interdisciplinary art practice to collaborative education and project development tools and motivate a new way of thinking about art as a tool for creative problem solving and learning.” The Artiscycle project will launch an online database of effective aesthetic and community-based practices meant to identify the strategies and frameworks that engage communities and allow for situated learning opportunities to form. More than this, Artiscycle is a blueprint for a physical learning and project-incubation space that will provide a variety of services for artists, educators and citizens.

Dorsky Museum Curator, Brian Wallace is planning an exhibition titled Eco-Tones and Transition Zones opening June 13th and has put out a call to mid-Hudson Valley artists, deadline April 17th. The exhibition will feature artwork, information, presentations, activities, and other projects that will connect global issues such as sustainability, ecological awareness, and bioethics to our immediate surroundings.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz hosts an annual exhibition of work by emerging and mid-career artists from the region. This year, some artists will seek local partners involved in sustainable initiatives, ecologically engaged businesses, and green projects that connect communities. If you would like to add your name/contact/projects to a list the museum will share with exhibiting artists, please send this information via mail to by April 17, 2009.

My neighbor and friend
Suzie Gilbert has written a memoir titled Flyaway, How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found her Wings. Flyaway chronicles the years of Suzie’s chaotic household turned into a bird-hospital, recounting the confusion that ensued as her husband and two young children struggled to live in a house where parrots shrieked Motown songs, nestling robins required food every twenty minutes, and recuperating herons took over the spare bathroom. Gradually, however, the birds came to represent the value of compassion and the importance of pursuing even the most unlikely of dreams. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the very same MNN network that interviewed me last month about ecoartspace met with Suzie and interviewed her about the new book. Also, see some images posted by Suzie on Wild About Pets. I sometimes need to remind myself that I moved up to the Hudson Valley for a reason – getting to know amazing people like Suzie Gilbert is one of them.

Washington state based eco artist, writer and educator Beverly Naidus will come to Earth Dance Seed Festival in MA this June to offer a week long course, Eco Art for Everyday Life. Participants will explore different ways of incorporating eco-art practices into their everyday life and their communities. They will discuss some of the ecological issues facing us both on the local and global level, look at the work of contemporary eco-artists, and develop some collaborative site-specific projects. Also, check out Beverly’s new book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame published by New Village Press.

Author and the annual Bioneers Conference co- organizer and producer, J.P. Harpignies has a new book out: Delusions of Normality: Sanity, Drugs, Sex, Money and Beliefs in America. “What do we mean when we say someone or something is normal?” In his new book, Delusions of Normality, J.P. marshals considerable evidence to persuasively argue that we Americans are collectively far less mentally stable, far more corruptible or financially irrational, in our beliefs than we generally admit, and that a great many of the unspoken assumptions that underlie our media’s discourse are seriously at odds with the reality of people’s lives and ideas. J.P. will be giving a talk about the book with Q+A and discussion on: Friday, April 24th, 7:30pm at the New York Open Center, 83 Spring Street, (212 219-2527, ext Admittance: $18 for Open Center members; $20 general. This evening will offer a bracing but refreshing and entertaining look at some dark corners of American life, providing a corrective lens to our rose-colored myopia about how we really behave. Previous books by J.P. include, Visionary Plant Consciousness: The Shamanic Teachings of the Plant World; Political Ecosystems: Modernity, Complexity, Fluidity and the Eco-Left; Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves (The Bioneers Series) and Double Helix Hubris: Against Designer Genes.

Artist Eve Mosher’s Seeding the City project is set to launch late in summer ’09 after nearly two years of planning. Eve invites everyone to join her while she’s out planting green roofs around New York City. Seeding the City is a neighbor-to-neighbor referral program that gets small green roof modules installed in neighborhoods around the city. ecoartspace included Eve Mosher in the E.P.A exhibition at Exit Art in 2008 with her High Water Line project and she was the featured artist on the Human Nature series panel during the exhibition. We look forward to our continued working relationship with Eve.

Miami based artist Xavier Cortada will participate in an upcoming exhibition, AntARcTica, Collected Works from the Bottom of the World at the Maryland Science Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Antarctica’s Artists and Writers Program. Cortada has also embarked upon making an endangered animal drawing every day in 2009, from each of Earth’s 360°. He is using Facebook and uploading each daily drawing to his profile image. Via this social networking site, he aims to show the ultimate interconnection: What endangers one species affects all, including our own.

More to come soon on the upcoming ecoartspace NYC benefit art sale, but it looks as though all submissions from artists will be digital and in that way will contribute to an online database of images for an ecoartspace archive. Great idea thanks to benefit committee advisor and pal Joy Garnett!

Go to EcoArtSpace

How to Save the World: Environmental Health Clinic

There’s a fun exhibit that just closed in the Netherlands called How to Save the World in 10 Days. Rather than instantly transforming our planet to a heavenly glowing utopia, the festival instead presented an overview of worldwide cultural and artistic efforts to defend the planet from impending doom.

The artworks ranged from bikes made of car parts to emergency shelters, from reverse graffiti to car condoms. That last one involved actually sliding a condom over a car tailpipe, then watching it balloon up and sputter away. Worked practically for a minute, then served mostly as comic relief.

A performance that seemed to encapsulate the essence of the ish was the performance “Environmental Health Clinic.” The artist set up a booth in the center of a busy intersection and encouraged visitors to sit and unload their environmental concerns. She then would offer guidance, reassurance, and action tips. Environmentalism as a primary means for assuaging fears. How to Save the World was up at Vooiruit in Gent. Thanks to we make money not art.

Go to the Green Museum

The Fourth Plinth: a call to artists

This is my blatant call to artists to use the Fourth Plinth – particularly with respect to bringing fresh ways of exploring social issues in what you could argue is the country’s most central space of debate – Trafalgar Square. I’m not at all sure I want to see myself as the Linda Snell of the RSA but I have a similar yearning for public performance and spectacle – but by artists!

Go to and press the “Register your interest” button.

It’s interesting to see that Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project is rapidly becoming a lobbying prospect. The idea of using the plinth as a site for contemporary art was initiated by the RSA , no mean feat as it turned out and we learned a lot about the complexity and the ambiguities of the word “public” with respect to both public space and public art.

William Shaw will shortly be interviewing Bob & Roberta Smith for the website. His idea for the Plinth was shown at the National Gallery last year – very much referencing environmental issues, as does his current work at TATE’s Altermodern exhibition. I went round this yesterday. Bob is having a weekly conversation with the show’s curator Nicholas Bourriard and then makes a new work replacing the previous week’s piece. This latest work addresses climate change and as ever his work debunks – it puts the public into art with no affectation and no patronising – with a directness that is exhilarating.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

T S Eliot prizewinner Jen Hadfield on RSA Arts & Ecology

I’ve posted an interview with the poet Jen Hadfield up on the main site. I’ll admit I hadn’t even heard of her until she won the T S Eliot Award a few weeks ago, but Nigh-No-Place turns out to be really great for its vivid, unruly, close-up-view poems about life in the back-0f beyond.

Two things I found intersting: Hadfield is, self-admittedly, a poor reader. Despite a love of language, she finds getting through novels hard. Which is one of the reasons why she graviates towards poetry.

Also, by her own admission again,  she doesn’t have a single political bone in her body.

I’m almost alarmingly apolitical, which is something I have anxiety about in the same way as I do about the reading thing. I think that I’m not political is possibly partially about the generation I come from but also to do with me as a person.

But it’s inevitable that anyone with Hadfield’s subject matter becomes political, in the sense that – as Siân Ede was saying – nature is no longer just out there as the ineffable, unstoppable force. “It is tainted. It is sad. It is ending.” It’s something broken, and if you write about it now you are inevitably writing about catastrophe. Hadfield sees herself as writing from within the ecopoetic tradition, but with that modern knowledge:

It’s not just about people going out into the landscape and looking at it. “Oh how lovely and interesting and possibly sublime!” There’s an anxiety in there as well about how it’s changing and about how we make ourselves at home out there, how we impact on it.

Read the full interview here.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology