As Sterling’s blog Beyond the Beyond points out, artist Sergio Cezar makes huge models of the Brazilian favelas out of cardboard.
There is something disturbing about scale. The 200 dolls houses of Rachel Whiteread’s Place(2008) – part of Psycho Buildings at the Hayward – were downright creepy. Maybe it’s because there’s something unsettling about the way we loom over things when they’re unsettlingly small. You can’t help feeling a little like Adolf Hitler looming over Albert Speer’s models for a new Berlin.
It’s also something to do with the fact that we aim for a kind of perfection when making models. I once met a criminologist who made model villages. True story. I wondered if he would put the odd burglar breaking into a model house into his creations but it turned out his model villages were entirely crime free. He preferred it that way. We Brits tend to make villages set in some imaginary idyllic past.
And so when you look at them there’s a dissonance between their vision of miniature perfection and the imperfection of what they represent. Which is why I kind of like this vision of a slum; it makes it look cute for a second until you start thinking of what it must be like to live in it and what that person in the black limousine is doing there.
Green My House is a look at some of the incredibly baller ways you can pimp your house green. Have you ever, for instance, tried the ever-sexy “swapping out your light bulbs”? Okay, so maybe we’re not ready to start a green SNL (or Whitest Kids, or The State, or Big Gay Sketch Show, or some other sketch comedy show you think is funny), but at least we’re moving past Artic Circle. Into creative endeavors that are actually amusing.
grist.org, for instance, has finally decided to let professional comedians, like Eugene Mirman and Aziz Ansari, donate some funny to their cause. Thank you, grist– you were killing us. Other semi-hopeful glimpses of a Sustainably Funny Future include the chuckle-inducing Green Shaman, or the “funny ’cause it’s true” work from Annie Leonard. She just finished a new video, the Story of Bottled Water, that will have you tearing up. With laughter. Okay, so maybe it will be the laughter of a deep and tortured pain. But funny is funny . . . right?
This is Rubbish are very pleased and excited to be collaborating with The Arcola Theatre and Pangolin’s Ark. On Sunday the 11th April The Arcola Theatre, This is Rubbish and Pangolin’s Ark will host a day of sustainable food themed talks, activities and workshops, followed by a fine food waste and sustainably sourced feast.
We are currently scheduling the workshops and a detailed program of the day will be released soon. Tickets for the feast will also be on sale in the very near future. Watch this space!
If you fancy getting involved with a crew chopathon and baking session, we’re looking for volunteers to help prepare and cook the food on the Saturday, and volunteers to help prepare and serve the food during the evening event on Sunday. The soil service (waitresses and waiters) will be dressed up as soil particles, salad and vegetables and service will be very interactive and incredibly earthy!
Give us a shout if you are interested on helping out on day that is set to be super soily and sustainably wonderful.
Sustainability and Contemporary Art: Hard Realities and the New Materiality Central European University Budapest
2-6pm 26 March 2009
Janek Simon, Niszczarka
Since the last symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art held at CEU in February 2008, which took as its subject the Operaist dilemma of ‘Exit or Activism?’ and examined Paulo Virno’s idea of ‘exit’ as the ultimate form of resistance, the world has witnessed an intensifying fight for resources under the Arctic, the rocketing of food and oil prices, the Russian gas crisis, and the systemic failure of international financial institutions. These ‘hard realities’ have caused a switch from concerns of immaterial labour to recognition of the ‘new materiality’ of current circumstances.
This recent turn has been addressed by theorist Slavoj Žižek, who notes that while in the last decades it was ‘trendy to talk about the dominant role of intellectual labour in our post-industrial societies, today materiality appears in an almost vengeful way in all its aspects, from a future struggle for ever-diminishing resources (food, water, energy, minerals) to the degradation of the environment.’ The 2009 edition of Sustainability and Contemporary Art therefore brings together artists, theorists and environmental activists to investigate the implications of ‘hard realities’ and ‘new materiality’ for political action, artistic theory and practice, and sustainable living in the 21st century.
Marina Grzinić, Sustainability and Capital
Marina Grzinić is a philosopher, artist and theoretician. She is Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Institute of Fine Arts, Post Conceptual Art Practices and a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy in Ljubljana. She is a founder of Reartikulacija (Ljubljana) and recently published the book Re-Politicizing art, Theory, Representation and New Media Technology.
Tamás St.Auby, The Subsistence Level Standard Project 1984 W.
Tamás St.Auby was born in 1944 and lives in Budapest. In 1968 he founded IPUT (International Parallel Union of Telecommunications). He was censored for his artistic radicalism, promotion of art strikes and questioning of ideology and forced to leave Hungary in the mid-1970s. Since returning from Geneva in 1991, St.Auby has lectured at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.
Tadzio Müller, It’s economic growth, stupid! On climate change, mad-eyed moderates and realistic radicals
Tadzio Müller lives in Berlin, where he is active, after many years of being a counterglobalist summit-groupie, in the emerging climate action movement. Having escaped the clutches of (academic) wage labour, he is currently writing a report about ‘green capitalism’ for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and otherwise doing odd translation jobs. He is also an editor of Turbulence – Ideas for Movement
Janek Simon, How to Make a Digital Handwatch at Home
Janek Simon was born in 1977. Studied sociology and psychology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. His artistic activity began around 2001. He is author of interactive installations, videos, objects. Simon takes inspiration from computer games, Internet and the archive (in its multiple meanings).
Sebastjan Leban, Silent Weapon of Extermination
Sebastjan Leban is an artist and theoretician from Ljubljana. His artistic practice involves the collaboration with Stas Kleindienst, the group Trie and the group Reartikulacija. He is one of the editors of the journal Reartikulacija and has exhibited in numerous national and international exhibitions, participated in many symposiums and lectures and published texts in several different publications.
Alina Asavei, A Sustainable Aesthetics: Contextual and Ethical Beauty
Alina Asavei is from Romania and currently she is a PhD candidate in Aesthetics (Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest). She works principally in the areas of social philosophy, cultural studies, art and disability, the politics of aesthetics, forms of artistic engagement during and after totalitarian regimes. She published articles in the domain of Art History, Aesthetics and Social and Cultural History.
Alan Watt, Sustainability in the Face of Hard Reality
Alan Watt is a lecturer in environmental philosophy and the development of environmental thought at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Central European University.
Maja and Reuben Fowkes The Environmental Impact of Contemporary Art
Maja and Reuben Fowkes are curators and art historians who deal with issues of memory, ecology and translocal exchange. They have curated and written extensively on the issue of contemporary art and sustainability.
The programme of the Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art is devised by Maja and Reuben Fowkes (Translocal.org) and co-organised with the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy and the Centre for Arts and Culture at Central European University.
For further information and booking details please see the project website:
Friends of the CSPA and all around fantastic Resource, Re-Nourish, has this exciting update:
As the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition draws to a close,* the three of us have been doing a ton of talking, reflecting, questioning, and planning (and the occasional heavy drinking). As with our previous foray into the world of social media popularity contests, we’ve been grappling with the question of what is the best approach to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish? Which is, at it’s most simple, to build an efficient organization tasked with making graphic design a more sustainable industry.
That aim has gotten more complicated as we’ve gone through the planning and strategizing required for grant funding, legal paperwork filing, and so on. While a Refresh Everything grant would have opened a lot of doors for us, we’ve also come to believe that our mission will be best served by now investing our energy into more actionable growth strategies.
The organizational plan
Re-nourish didn’t start with some grand vision of changing the world. We started with three individuals who found each other because of our own inability to find the information we needed to make better decisions about our work. As we started answering our own questions and sharing resources, we realized there are a lot more people who might want and benefit from this information.
Our goal has always been, and remains, to provide good information—independent information—to those of you who want it, and to help you use that information to make better decisions in your design work. To do this effectively, we’ve decided that we must remain independent ourselves. While we’ll continue to work actively in the field as individuals, Re-nourish will become a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Being a nonprofit entity will allow us to work with the entire supply chain without the embedded risk of serving a private, commercial interest.
The programming plan
We want to be very careful about how we actually fulfill our mission. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel (there are a ton of incredible organizations who do really great work in this area), and we don’t want to just throw a bunch of stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Because our resources are so limited and our goalposts are so high, we need to work smarter, not harder. To this end, we’ve identified three primary areas of work that we feel will most effectively accomplish our mission:
Deliver reliable, vetted information about sustainable graphic design practice and theory (much of which is still in its infancy) to graphic designers, design students, and educators.
Develop practical tools to make integrating this information into day-to-day design work easier.
Connect designers to their supply chain to facilitate idea exchange, innovation, and thus real change, throughout the industry.
The challenge with all this, which is the same for most young organizations, is that of resources. That we’ve come this far without any formal funding, and with each of us working full time, is a testament to how important this stuff is to each of us. Either that, or it’s a testament to our psychosis.
The Pepsi competition represented an opportunity for us to shift from labor of love to structured organization. It seemed appropriate to choose a platform like Refresh Everything because everything we’ve done so far has been out in the open, with the engaged support of our fans and users. And regardless of where we placed (in the top 5% of projects, it might be worth pointing out), we feel the Pepsi campaign has been incredibly successful.
But now, we turn our attention forward. We’ll be spending the coming weeks writing our articles of incorporation and bylaws, building a board of directors to provide appropriate oversight, and developing specific programming strategies for the short and long term. Once the paperwork is filed, we'll begin a more traditional fundraising program, which will involve both grant seeking and turning to individual donations to help fuel our efforts. We expect this process to be somewhat slow going. We intend to be more consistent in terms of keeping everyone updated on our progress and specific plans. We also want to be very careful about how we handle fundraising, because we don't want to alienate the very people who have already shown us so much dedication and love.
Finally, as always, we want to thank everyone who has lent their support, shared their ideas and opinions, and offered help. Please, please continue to do so. If you would like to be involved in Re-nourish’s organizational growth, please email us at info (at) re-nourish (dot) com. And please, feel free to share your thoughts about this process in the comments below.
*We should point out that because we placed in the top 100 projects, Pepsi has automatically rolled our project into this month's competition. This means that if you'd like to, you're still more than welcome to vote for us each day of March.