Yearly Archives: 2010

Tactical Biopolitics: a review.

“How can we know for sure these days that the truck driver repairing his exhaust at the crossroads in your neighborhood is not a silent conceptual artist engaging you in a thought-through performative experience? ” asks Jens Houser in “Observations on an Art of Growing Interest,” part of the collection of essays in Tactical Biopolitics. An engaging overview of scientists as artists, artists as ethnographers, activists as sociologists, and women who do agility trials with their dogs as philosophers, Tactical Biopolitics presents the words and works of people who profoundly engage their ethics with their craft.

Largely centered around issues of biology and bioethics, the book often wades deep into the waters of scientific jargon and academic word-whirlpools. When it emerges into common reality, however, it does so resonantly. While artist Kathy High gives a factual breakdown of her reasons for working with a group of former lab rats (they were predisposed to have her same health issues), we get caught up in the story of the rodents, their namings and personalities. Donna J. Haraway manages to make us forget agility trials as a means to make dogs literally jump through hoops and see them instead as an exercise in human-animal communication.

The book emerged from a conference on BioArt and the Public Sphere at UC Irvine in 2005. It is, write editors Beatriz de Costa and Kavita Philip, “a hybrid, made possible by two recent histories: the enormously creative practices at the intersection of technoscience, activism, and art; and the explosion of cross-disciplinary conversations following Michel Foucault’s articulation of biopolitics.

We see artists confronted with the ethics of working with living tissue, witness the affect racism has on modern scientific research, and learn of the evolution of activist’s tactics for getting AIDS medicine to patients who need it. We hear artists talking about life in labs, and scientist talking about the craft of ethical living. It’s a smorgasboard of modern ethical thought, of challenges to the definitions of professional fields. It’s fantastic reading for anyone interested in cross-disciplinary work. But largely, it is the story of people using the tools they have at their disposal to positively engage with an increasingly complicated and manipulated world. So while the authors featured in Tactical Biopolitics might not be the truck driver in your neighborhood, they are, like him, attempting to fix what’s broken.

Go to the Green Museum

AIGA Green Day at self the remix « Mo`olelo Blog

AIGA the professional association for graphic designers has a Sustainability Committee in San Diego, and they are organizing a green day at Mo`olelo Performing Art’s SELF THE REMIX performance on March 12. Following the performance they will be holding a reception and we’ll chat about Mo`olelo’s Green Theater Choices Toolkit. You can read about the event here: It’s open to non-AIGA members, so if you’re interested in chatting green, order your tickets through them for March 12.

AIGA Green Day at self the remix « Mo`olelo Blog.

APInews: Out Now: Journal of Arts & Communities #2

Issue #2 of the Journal of Arts & Communities is out from Intellect in Bristol, England, examining “the arts as a socially relevant practice.” Edited by Hamish Fyfe, of the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Wales, the issue offers (not online) articles on “Along Paseo Boricua: The Art of Josué Pellot Gonzalez” by Sharon Irish, about a project that engages with the public on Paseo Boricua in Chicago's Puerto Rican neighborhood; “Inventing rituals; inhabiting places – ritual and community in public art” by Ruth Jones, who commissioned five temporary art events in public spaces in Cardigan, Wales, part of the project Holy Hiatus; “Riverscross – A Drama-in-Health Project with Young People, run by Spanner in the Works” by Tony Coult, which produced a soap opera with adolescents in a mental-health hospital, and more. Issue #1 is accessible online.

Posted by Linda Frye Burnham

APInews: Out Now: Journal of Arts & Communities #2.

Stunning Views of Glaciers Seen From Space |

To a geologist, glaciers are among the most exciting features on Earth. Though they seem to creep along at impossibly slow speeds, in geologic time glaciers are relatively fast, powerful landscape artists that can carve out valleys and fjords in just a few thousand years.

Glaciers also provide an environmental record by trapping air bubbles in ice that reveal atmospheric conditions in the past. And because they are very sensitive to climate, growing and advancing when it’s cold and shrinking and retreating when its warm, they can be used as proxies for regional temperatures.

Over geologic time, they have ebbed and flowed with natural climate cycles. Today, the world’s glaciers are in retreat, sped up by relatively rapid warming of the globe. In our own Glacier National Park in Montana, only 26 named glaciers remain out of the 150 known in 1850. They are predicted to be completely gone by 2030 if current warming continues at the same rate.

Here we have collected 13 stunning images of some of the world’s most impressive and beautiful glaciers, captured from space by astronauts and satellites.

from Stunning Views of Glaciers Seen From Space | Wired Science |

ART AND SUSTAINABILITY – New summer school program in English

ART AND SUSTAINABILITY – new Summer School program in English within the International Weimar Summer Courses from 27 June – 10 July 2010.

From Goethe and Schiller through the Bauhaus to Social Sculpture. Forum for Creative Action: The Shaping of a Humane World as an Aesthetic Challenge

This 12 day `theory-practice´ program runs annually in the summer. It actively engages participants in an introductory exploration of social sculpture and aesthetic questions relevant to the shaping of an ecological and socially just future. It looks back to Goethe, Schiller, the Bauhaus and Joseph Beuys and forward to developing new forms of social sculpture / connective practive appropriate to the challenges of the 21st century.

The program is led by artist Shelley Sacks, head of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, and Dr. Hildegard Kurt from and. Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability in Berlin.

Enrolment closes on 30 April 2010. Please enrol as soon as possible. Places are limited.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Dr. Hildegard Kurt
und. Institut für Kunst, Kultur und Zukunftsfähigkeit e.V. (und.Institut)
(and. Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability)
Leitung Büro Berlin / Head Berlin Office
Koburger Str. 3
D – 10825 Berlin
Tel. +49 (0) 30 782 74 12
Fax + 49 (0) 30 78 71 26 95

WESTAF releases cultural policy symposium transcriptions

WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation, is pleased to announce the release of transcriptions from two sessions of the most recent WESTAF cultural policy symposium, Engaging the Now: Arguments, Research, and New Environments for the Arts, which was held October 15-17, 2009, in Aspen, Colorado.  The sessions, titled Messaging I: Constructing the Argument, and Messaging II: Arts and Culture Redefined, are now available online at: The sessions include presentations and discussion about argumentation theory as it relates to the arts, considerations of ways to construct public-sector-focused messaging about the arts, and strategies for making the case for public art funding. Speakers include experts in the fields of communication theory, public policy, advocacy, messaging, economics, and popular culture. 

A previous release from this symposium, a podcast of Steven Tepper’s presentation during the Where Are the Young People (If They’re Not at the Symphony)? Shifting Gears in a New Era of Audience Participation and Engagement session, is also available. In the presentation, Tepper shares his perspective on the participation of young people in the arts and new patterns of arts participation by the public. His remarks are  available in .MP3 audio format at

Complete electronic and printed proceedings will be published and available this summer. Additional excerpts will be released as they are prepared.  To receive notification of the availability of future proceedings, please email Erin Bassity, WESTAF’s director of marketing and communications, at

About WESTAF: WESTAF’s mission is to strengthen the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the West.  Utilizing technology, advocacy, grantmaking and other services, we encourage the creative development and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances. Based in Denver, Colorado, WESTAF is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; the state arts agencies of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming; private and corporate foundations; and individuals.

Shannon E. Daut
Deputy Director

1743 Wazee St. Ste. 300
Denver, CO 80202
T 303.629.1166
F 303.629.9717

On houses that fall into the sea

Earlier this week the papers were full of stories of Ridgemont House in Devon – a house bought for £150,000 by auction, only to see its garden plummet down towards Oddicombe Beach.

The story brought together the national obsession with house prices with the fact of increasing coastal erosion due to climate change. Artist Kane Cunningham is jealous of the Devon housebuyer. He is actually waiting for his house to fall into the sea:

Landscape artist Kane Cunningham has used his credit card to buy a house that is about to fall into the sea. A bungalow at Knipe Point in Scarborough, North Yorkshire – near the scene of the infamous Holbeck Hotel cliff collapse 16 years ago has been condemned after a fresh landslip. Cunningham states:

‘I’ve bought a house that will be the next one to fall over the cliff. It feels like I have no choice. I’m going to rig the house with cameras and film the last sunrise before nature claims its bounty’.

‘It’s the perfect site-specific installation – a stark reminder of lost dreams, financial disaster and threatening sea levels. It’s global recession and global warming encapsulated. This little house is feet away from the edge of the cliff – it can go at any moment. The idea is to create an artwork on a scale never been seen before in North Yorkshire and to stimulate within the imagination of the public the idea that this house falling into the sea can become a work of art. If the aim of art is to stimulate discussion and debate on issues, then surely this will get people talking.’

His idea’s a little like Bettinna Furnee’s Lines of Defence, except this time with a real house involved. It’s an interesting thought; if you’re trying to make people act on climate, maybe you need to make the message as domestic as possible, like an English bungalow falling into the sea…


Go to RSA Arts & Ecology