Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Greener (and easier!) Approach to Stuffers

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance

Post by Jennifer Marik, Wicked Stage Manager

Printing your own stuffers in house as needed, rather than ordering them in bulk in advance, saves a lot of money, is very eco-friendly and is very easy!  At Wicked, we have a high-speed copier, an industrial paper cutter and a cabinet full of 100% recycled paper.  With just these tools, we are able to generate a stuffer for each performance – including bios and headshots for new performers and all of the necessary cast replacements.  If it is just a bio, or two or three replacements, we are able to print eight inserts to a page (which at the Gershwin is 225 copies per show).  If we need to include more information, we can generally put it on a four-up (450 copies per show).  On very rare occasions, we need to print three stuffers to a page to accommodate multiple bios, headshots and replacements. Depending on the number of copies, we can usually print the stuffers in about ten minutes and cutting the stuffers takes less than five.  We have templates set up in the computer (which prints directly to the copier), so we are able to quickly modify the stuffer each evening when we do our paperwork at hour before half hour. Our ushers generally have the inserts in hand 15 minutes after that.

WICKED has been a partner of the BGA since its founding.

WICKED has been a partner of the BGA since its founding.

What if the copier goes down at an inopportune moment?  Or what if an actor calls out at the last minute?  We keep one show of each cast replacement option in our emergency stuffer stash, so we are able to cover these contingencies.  And if the copier were to go down on a two-show day, or over the weekend (which has happened almost never), we would use Staples or Kinko’s for subsequent shows.

In an effort to be even greener, we do not cut the emergency stuffers ahead of time.  With the paper cutter, if we need to use them, we can cut them very quickly.  If we don’t use them and the actor leaves the company, we end up recycling only a total of 200-500 pieces of paper per actor leaving the company – we can use them for printing in/outs, scrap paper, etc.  What used to happen instead was that we’d have to get rid of 7200 small pieces of paper per actor leaving – and more if they covered multiple parts.  One bonus of this system is that we no longer need to store hundreds of stacks of stuffers that might never be used.

In addition to being a greener way to do stuffers, and being much easier for the stage managers, printing your own stuffers saves money – a lot of it.  Wicked saves about $5000 a month: just by making a one-time purchase of that industrial paper cutter and a monthly rental of the high-speed copier.  And an added bonus to having the high speed copier – we can generate scripts and scores on demand in-house as well, which even saves us more money.

Broadway Shows using GREENER Stuffers:

The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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Call for papers: Dreams, Revolution and Process : Spatial & temporal approaches to rural sustainability and regeneration

This post comes to you from Cultura21

handmadecabin02Deadline = August 9th

5th October 2013, Dreams, Revolution and Process : Spatial & temporal approaches to rural sustainability and regeneration, at fforest, Cilgerran, Ceredigion (UK)

This interdisciplinary conference aims to respond to a range of material that addresses rural sustainability and regeneration, with a focus on how and why decisions are made at individual, local, community and government level. Bringing together perspectives from geography, history, policy-making, regeneration practitioners and the arts, the conference will open up the gaps between individual and collective aspiration and reality.

Since the development of the urban, the rural has been a place of both harmony and negativism. It switches from radical, alternative (anti-industrialist) space where we can renegotiate a relationship with ‘nature’, to uncultured backwater, representing little more than material resource. Such perspectives are formed in relation to history and space and need to be considered when reaching an understanding of, as well as approaches to, rural regeneration, in order to ask : Who is regenerating, and for whom?

Submissions are invited from any discipline – sciences, humanities, regeneration practice, arts – which, within the overall theme of a temporal/spatial understanding of rural sustainability and regeneration.

More details on the website : click here

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Exhibition + Festival

logo-cf-c14-transThe Cape Farewell Foundation in Canada announced details today of a unique, visionary and powerful four-month cultural engagement on one of the most pressing issues of our time— climate change.

The Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Exhibition + Festival will take place between October 2013 and February 2014, encompassing multifaceted programs, including a major exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) Centre for Contemporary Culture, a performing arts festival with The Theatre Centre, and a rich series of public programs and events.

As the centrepiece, the Carbon 14: Climate is Culture exhibition at the ROM opens October 19, 2013 – February 2, 2014. The exhibition will include bold collaborative projects by: Zacharias Kunuk + Ian Mauro, Myfanwy MacLeod + Janna Levitt, Mel Chin, Lisa Steele + Kim Tomczak, Sharon Switzer, Minerva Cuevas, Melanie Gilligan + Tom Ackers, Donald Weber, David Buckland + Tom Rand, and Jaco Ishulutaq.

The Carbon 14: Climate is Culture exhibition was produced by Cape Farewell Foundation in partnership with ROM Contemporary Culture and is curated by David Buckland and Claire Sykes.

“Confronting the facts around global climate change, the artists participating in Carbon 14: Climate is Culture are all responding to different aspects of this climate challenge, in poignant, nuanced, subversive, often humorous, and always passionately human ways. Subjects include explorations of a changing Arctic, the health of the oceans, bio-diversity and extinction, sustainability and new, clean technologies; and centrally questions of politics, economics, and ethics.”

– Claire Sykes, Curator and Programming Director for Cape Farewell Foundation

For 12 years, Cape Farewell has successfully brought together artists and scientists—some of the most creative and insightful minds available to us— to interrogate the reality of climate change, to address causes and envision solutions, and to imagine, design, and communicate on an emotional and human scale what a resilient and exciting future might look like. Working internationally through a rich program of expeditions, research, exhibitions, public art projects, books, films and performances, Cape Farewell, as creative agent for change and the leading cultural catalyst on climate, has successfully inspired some of our greatest storytellers to address humanity’s greatest challenge. Now Cape Farewell has a North American base in Toronto.

“The people of the City of Toronto will be proud to be the first North American city to host a Cape Farewell Festival, and to have an opportunity to present the global issue of climate change through a Canadian lens. Torontonians are concerned about their environment and the effects of climate change, and we hope that the Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Exhibition + Festival will become an important part of the Toronto calendar.”

– David Miller, Chair of Cape Farewell Foundation, Toronto

“In November 2011, on the shores of Lake Ontario, we invited twenty-five North American visual artists, film makers, musicians, writers, and advertising directors to gather in Toronto to interrogate eight ‘informers’ drawn from across the professional spectrum of climate engagement; climate scientists, economists, new energy technologists, and social scientists; on the facts of climate change. The ask from the creative minds was to engage and through a process of action-based research make artworks, plays, music, poetry that would form the basis of an exhibition at the ROM. Two years later, they have triumphed! Fourteen collaborative works will be presented as part of the Carbon 14: Climate is Culture exhibition and surrounding festival.”

– David Buckland, artist, and Founder and International Director of Cape Farewell

For further information, interview requests, or media passes to events, please contact:

Debby de Groot, MDG & Associates
647.295.2970
debby@mdgassociates.com

Click here to download the Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Exhibition + Festival Press Release.

Sprit in the Air Exhibition Opening Invite

co2_eden_burgh_banner_550Creative Carbon ScotlandCollins and Goto Studio with Chris Malcolm, ecoartscotland and Art Space Nature are pleased to invite you to

Spirit In The Air

Opening: Friday 2 August 6-8pm

at the Tent Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Westport, Edinburgh EH3 9DF

(refreshments will be provided)

Spirit in the Air is a visual art, technology and performance project exploring the impacts of the Edinburgh Festivals on climate change. Working with ground-breaking technology generously supplied by Gas Sensing Systems and Envirologger to measure real-time carbon dioxide (CO2) levels when Edinburgh is packed to bursting with artistic activity and people, eminent environmental artists Tim Collins and Reiko Goto will work with Chris Malcolm to ask ‘Can art change the climate?’

‘Carbon Catchers’ will roam the streets and parks of Edinburgh to seek out CO2 hotspots whilst the artists at the Tent Gallery use the measurements to make the invisible comprehensible through visual and sound works.

Spirit in the Air is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival and will be open Monday to Friday, 12 noon-5pm, from 2 – 22 August at the Tent Gallery on Westport, Edinburgh EH3 9DF. For more information click here.

In addition to the exhibition, a discussion programme curated by ecoartscotland will consider questions of art, science, activism and environmentalism in a Festival-long conversation.

Wednesday 7 August 3-5pm, Tent Gallery

Bringing the emotion of the arts to bear on the rigour of the sciences

Saturday 10 August 1.30 – 4pm, Tent Gallery

Art, technology, activism and knowledge in the age of climate change (book here for this event)

Wednesday 14 August 3-5pm, Tent Gallery

Environmental monitoring: Tracking nature in pursuit of aesthetic inter-relationship?

Wednesday 21 August 3-5pm, Tent Gallery

Going beyond the material: Environment and Invisible Forces in the literary, performing and visual arts

For more information contact ben@creativecarbonscotland.com

 

Please forward this invite to anyone who might be interested.

Odyssey: Climate

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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All photos credit: Nikolai Wolff/Fotoetage

This information was shared with me by Natalie Driemeyer. Hearing about the festival and seeing the amazing photos that Natalie sent me makes me wish I could have attended.

*   *   *

This past June, the transdisciplinary festival ODYSSEY: CLIMATE  took place at the municipal theatre in Bremerhaven, Germany.

At the centre of the festival was the CLIMATE-PARCOURS. Actors, performers, musicians and dancers performed in exceptional venues – extreme-climate-spaces – dealing with the elements (fire, water, earth, air) and the extreme natural events caused by climate change. The artists were supported in their work by scientists from various fields. This transdisciplinary exchange allowed participants a different, more sensual approach to the creation of visions for our future on the planet; it opened up new possibilities and looked at our chances for adapting to new circumstances and ways of life.

The festival was proud to have both the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as partners. The involved scientists didn’t just advise the artists, some of them stood on stage as well.

Falck Safety Services

The festival presented guest-performances that dealt with climate change. The performer Eva Meyer-Keller cooked natural disasters with the help of gourmet chefs – naturally, everyone had a taste of the catastrophe. Anna Mendelssohn brought her one-woman conference on climate change Cry Me A River. And the renowned architect, designer and urban planner Friedrich von Borries let the audience in on his visions for our future ways of living.

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) asked performing artists from around the world to join in a live Skype debate. Artists from South America, Asia, and Africa spoke about the situation in their country and about their theatrical approaches to the topic.

In front of the theatre a tent city, the KLIMA-ZELT-STADT, hosted a scientific conversation and a laboratory for sustainable urban development. Food, which supermarkets would have thrown away, was served, films were screened, bands played, and a photo-exhibit about life in Antarctica was presented.

WeserWind

Climate is very topical in Bremerhaven: the city has become a major centre of excellence on climate change due to its scientific bodies and as a location for the offshore wind energy industry. Furthermore, Bremerhaven, which lies in the estuary of the river Weser, needs to adapt to man-made climate change. A few weeks prior to the festival, the new embankment, which was raised by two meters, was re-opened. Energiekonsens, a non-profit company that works on energy conservation in the region, advised the festival about CO2-minimization. For the CO2-emissions that could not be prevented 1 € per ticket went towards the climate fund “Klimafonds.”

Thanks to support from the German Federal Cultural Foundation as well as from the municipal environmental agency and friends of the theatre, the artists involved were able to continue their examination of relevant social themes through festivals, as begun with the festival ODYSSEY: HEIMAT (home/belonging).

For more information (in German):
www.stadttheaterbremerhaven.de

Filed under: Multidisciplinary, Performance

Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Call for Papers : “Where is our ecological art history?

This post comes to you from Cultura21

AAH_logo_CMYK_-_smallApril 10-12, 2014 : 40th Anniversary, Annual AAH Conference & Bookfair, Royal College of Art, London

Deadline for proposals : November 11th 2013

The discipline of art history has proved itself able to look various crises of culture in the face and open up the discipline to ideological struggles and debates. These debates have involved its own politics as a discipline in response to critical issues. Issues of gender, sexuality, race and social identity have strongly inflected the discipline and have importantly shaped its trajectories and characteristic preoccupations over a number of years, but what of the critical issue of our environment? There are some highly significant works which have discussed art’s and artists’ responses and interventions in the crucial area of ecology, but perhaps less talked about and made visible is art history’s disciplinary response to crises in nature and the environment throughout its history as a discipline.

AAH2014 will represent the richness and diversity of art historical debate across the broadest sweep of time and space. The conference will unite the interests of art history with those of contemporary practice, as well as a wide diversity of visual and material culture, including art, architecture and design. As it is in close collaboration with museums and galleries, most notably the V&A Museum, the RCA aims to offer a conference exploring ‘history in the making’ through engagement with practice, collections and exhibitions.

The aim of this session is to bring this ecological art history to the fore, to uncover, freshly discover and make visible examples of such an ecological art history. The session also offers the opportunity to discuss whether art history’s status as a ‘humanistic’ discipline has in the past hindered its concern for the natural world and the environment other than through strong human cultural paradigms, and consider how the discipline has started to change with further interests in ‘eco-aesthetics’ and other multi-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary approaches to the history of the environment and its critical future : “We feel that this is an extremely prescient moment for the history of art to engage more actively in this cross-disciplinary theme”, explains Andrew Patrizio, Professor of Scottish Visual Culture, School of History of Art, University of Edinburgh.

For more information click here 

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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Joan Sullivan: Living on the Edge

This post comes from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

Joan Sullivan’s winning photograph in this year’s Global Wind Day photo competition

Joan Sullivan’s winning photograph in this year’s Global Wind Day photo competition

Something that is often lacking in conversations about climate change, yet is an essential element in propelling us forward, is a sense of hope. We contemplate impending catastrophes, despair at the government’s inability to take action and get overwhelmed by a sense of doom. We forget to look at all the ways–big and small–in which we are, in fact, successfully addressing the problem. Then, believing there are no solutions, we simply fall into inaction.

Joan Sullivan, an American-born climate change photographer now living in eastern Quebec in Canada, photographs hope. She recently won the Global Wind Day photo competition organized by the European Wind Energy Agency and the Global Wind Energy Council. (You can  read another post related to Joan here.) Joan is also working on a documentary about climate change in Eastern Canada. She graciously accepted to answer a few questions about this exciting new project which has already raised half of its $6,000 goal on Indiegogo. Hint: There are only 9 days left to the campaign. Help Joan reach her goal!

 

Your documentary Living on the Edge seems to be an extension of your still photography. How did you first get interested in documenting climate change?

I first started photographing climate change in 2005 while living in Botswana during what evolved into a regional multi-year drought that affected several other southern African countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and parts of South Africa and Mozambique. Most of these countries experienced irreversible crop failure in both 2005 and 2007.  As a result, my first “climate change photos” focused on drought in Africa, and include what I would now consider to be clichéd photos of cracked soil on dry lake and river beds, as well as skinny cattle grazing in parched fields.

Since then, I have turned my camera to the opposite side of the climate change coin – too much water – such as storm surges and coastal erosion.  In December 2010, an historic ice-free winter high-tide storm surge wreaked havoc along the Saint Lawrence River in eastern Quebec where I now live.  While photographing the coastal and infrastructural damage from this storm — our own version of Hurricane Sandy — I met my first North American “climate change migrant”, someone whose life changed literally overnight because of an extreme weather event, and who ended up making the difficult decision to demolish his coastal home and move inland about 20 miles away from the river.

As a result of this work, I started collaborating with the CBC journalist Susan Woodfine on a few radio and web docs (human trafficking, climate change).  Two years later, we decided to apply for a grant from the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) via their 2012 Storynet documentary challenge to produce a documentary film about an English-speaking person living/working in a French-speaking province.  Susan chose me as her main subject.  But since I was also the Director of Photography for this documentary, I couldn’t be in front of the camera (yes, there are a few interviews of me, but mostly I am behind the camera) — so we use my still photographs liberally throughout the documentary to tell the story about climate change through the eyes of a photographer.  The result is an artistic mélange (à la Magnum in Motion) of stills, video and voice over, held together with a lot of silence and original music in order to give our audiences sufficient space to reflect on the images.

 Living on the Edge is not a documentary film about the science of climate change.  Rather, it puts a human face on climate change via stories about how real people are already affected by and adapting to climate change right here in our own backyards.  People that Susan and I have met on our journey up and down the Saint Lawrence.  We hope to bring the issue of climate change closer to home in a human and compelling way. Living on the Edge should help all Canadians, not just those living on the edge of Canada’s most important commercial waterway and largest estuary, to understand that climate change is not just some future problem affecting remote glaciers and stranded polar bears.  It is already here and is already affecting us, in many different ways.  We just need to open our eyes.

I like this Dorothea Lange quote:  “A camera is a tool to help people to see without a camera.”  That is what I am trying to do with this documentary film:  helping people to “see” climate change right here at home, right now.  To help stop the denial, to force us to accept that (borrowing from Paul Gilding) “We are the first generation that, rather than sacrificing ourselves for our children’s future, are sacrificing our children’s future for ourselves.”

So, the truth is, I am doing this documentary film for my daughter and for my daughter’s generation.  That is my motivation, and that is my obsession.  As I say in the trailer to our film, “This is a second career for me.  I have no intention of retiring.  Climate change is just too important.”  I am 55 years old, and I feel totally energized, like a soldier, ready for battle.

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How did people react to your project? Was it difficult to get them engaged?

The reaction to Living on the Edge has been consistently positive, at all levels:  homeowners and business owners located along the shore of the Saint Lawrence River, scientists, journalists, artists, activists, tourism officials and politicians. In fact, I would say that our strongest support to date has come from politicians, which was a pleasant surprise for me.  For example, the mayor of the city of Rimouski, Éric Forest (who also happens to be president of the Union of Quebec Municipalities), has become one of our most vocal and active supporters, writing letters of introduction for us to other government officials, speaking enthusiastically about our project, even making a personal contribution to our fund-raising campaign, etc.  As a politician of a major coastal city in eastern Quebec, he immediately saw the value of presenting climate change in a different light, i.e., putting a human face on climate change as a way to bring the topic closer to home, rather than just focusing on the abstract science behind climate change or the gloomy predictions 25, 50, 100 years in the future.

At another level of engagement, we have been overwhelmed by the generous in-kind support from friends and colleagues at various stages of this documentary project, including providing fundraising and film-making advice, lending us equipment (thanks Tortuga Films!), social networking advice, accounting, editing and translations, meals, overnight stays during our trips all the way to the Magdalen Islands, and just general overall moral support and encouragement!

CC-Ste-Luce-demolition-small

What kind of obstacles did you encounter in the making of the film? What were the happy surprises?

The major obstacle we have encountered to date is our own inexperience!  This is our first documentary film, and we didn’t go to film school!  Nothing like baptism by fire!  But our passion about climate change and our obsession about our childrens’ futures keeps us going, despite the bumpy road.  In retrospect, I can say that our first mistake was that we began filming almost immediately after we received our first grant from the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) — rather than spending time to use this grant to raise additional funds.  So today, after the filming has been completed, we find ourselves spending quite a bit of time trying to finance the post-production phase.  In addition to teaching ourselves Final Cut Pro, this post-production phase has included creating a projet blog and FB pages, plus the Indiegogo crowd funding site.  All of this is new to us!  But we have grown so much, and have no regrets.

We have less than ten days to go to raise our fundraising objective of $6000 to cover the final costs of the post-production, mostly the online editing, sub-titles in French, and final sound mixing.  My advice to other documentary filmmakers would be to set up the social networking and crowd funding sites at the beginning of the project in order to create buzz all along.  For our next film, we will know!

cropped-110601_erosion_boulders11

What do you think is the single most important thing artists can do to address the problem of climate change?

It seems to me that throughout human history, artists — dating back to medieval court jesters and minstrels — have always played important roles in challenging the status quo.  I grew up with the wonderful protest music of the 60s and 70s (and still draw inspiration from it today).  Years later, while working in Africa on HIV prevention, I had the privilege of working with local artists — musicians, dancers, storytellers, poets — to design community mobilization campaigns that resonated much more with our target populations than any of the scientific jargon or clever behavior change jingles produced by international “experts”.  So I am inclined to think that the role of artists in the context of climate change is no different than the role of artists associated with previous social movements.  Artists as activists.  Artists as philosophers.  Artists as political commentators.

EXCEPT THAT the consequences of climate change are much more dire and irreversible than, say, the Vietnam War or the HIV epidemic.  So like many artists, I initially thought that the best way I could contribute to “getting the message out” about climate change would be to photograph the most negative impacts of climate change — the droughts, the floods, the extreme weather — thinking that these kinds of dramatic images would force the general public to connect the dots between rising C02 levels and their own consuming behavior (what kind of cars they buy; what kind of vacations they take; what kind of diet they eat).  I am no longer convinced this is the right approach.

I often like to quote GEO Magazine’s Peter-Matthias Gaede, who noted way back in 2007 that “People will turn away from environmental issues if the media reports only on disasters and problems.”

This makes perfect sense to me.  As an artist, I have made the decision to use my camera to focus on the positive, on the way forward.  That is why I have dedicated the second half of my life to documenting the rapid expansion of renewable energy in the context of climate change.  The transition to a low carbon economy is already well underway and I can only hope that some of my images will speed up this transition.  We discuss this in our documentary Living on the Edge.

This is a very personal decision; each artist will have to find his or her own niche and turn it into a lifelong passion.  Like James Balog is doing with glaciers.  And the “good” news is that climate change is such a complex topic that artists will (unfortunately) never lack for inspiration — oil spills, biofuels, fracking, desertification, hunger, refugees, conflict, food strikes, less snow cover in the winter, earlier springs, biodiversity loss, forest fires, depleted fish stocks, deforestation, extreme weather, monoculture farming, cattle feedlots, even the folly of being able to eat fresh strawberries or watermelon at any time of year.

Or, as I have written elsewhere about the “silver lining” of the dark climate change cloud:  artists can also find inspiration from the growing number of individuals, communities, the private sector and even whole cities that are already mitigating and/or adapting to climate change in so many positive and creative ways:  accelerated technological advances and dramatic price reductions for renewables; the fabulous idea of “smart windows”; the growing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles; the new generation of LED lighting; sustainably forestry and fishing methods; green architecture.  There are even Fortune 500 companies joining the renewable energy boat, including GM, Intel, Unilever and Nike!  Not to mention Apple and Google’s long-term commitment to 100% renewables to run the servers on which your family photos are stored and which host your social networks.  Finally, I can’t resist squeezing in this one last thought:  if any artists truly want to make a contribution to climate change, they need look no further than our carnivorous ways:  the single most effective action that any of us can do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint is to stop eating meat.

All this to say:  there is a long list of worthy climate change-related topics just waiting to be embraced by artists of all disciplines. In the end, I don’t think it matters which climate change sub-plot an artist chooses — what is important is that each artist commits to choosing something that speaks to you profoundly, that burns a fire in your soul, that will sustain you till the end of your lives, and fly with it!  And I can’t emphasize enough the importance of becoming informed, both scientifically and politically, about whatever climate change sub-plot we choose.  Become an expert on it.  Make waves.  And never, ever give in to the despair surrounding most of the climate change debate.  Carry on.

What gives you hope?

This quote by Buckminister Fuller gives me hope, and I think it will resonate with many climate change artists:  “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  While it may not be easy to build that new model (a low-carbon economy), it is clear that artists can and will play an important role in helping the general public as well as our political leaders to visualize what this new model could look like.

I also take great inspiration from Paul Gilding.  His matter-of-fact approach — that we need to stop worrying about climate change (it is already here, stupid!) and instead brace for impact (start learning how to adapt to climate change and to a low carbon economy) — helps me navigate through all the doom and gloom.  According to him, all the cards are lined up to lead us through the inevitable transition from a carbon-based economy to a low-carbon (and eventually a no-carbon) economy.  “We don’t have 20 years to decide to act; we have 20 years to complete the task.”

We have adopted Paul’s optimism for our film Living on the Edge, with a sense of purpose, of moving forward, of hope.

Filed under: Film, Photography  

Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Summer of Soil

This post comes to you from Cultura21

summer-of-soilJune 15 – August 15, 2013

Summer of soil : A Green Exhibition in Järna, Sweden

Summer of Soil is a 5-week, multi-disciplinary accelerator program designed to awaken and inspire a collaborative movement to rebuild and maintain living soils. The program will include a series of hands-on soil-related courses, an exhibition of regenerative growing practices and the 5-day Living Soil Forum for bringing conversation to action.

The Exhibition serves as an entrance space into Summer of Soil, and aims to educate and raise awareness about the state of soil. It aims to give insight into the amazing substance soil really is, as well as showcasing different growing practices which promote soil regeneration in both rural and urban environments. It includes a pavilion with small scale “Do It Yourself” solutions, Ekoleden – an eco-tour around the local sustainable food society, a “2000 square meter project” –The Exhibition is open to the public and consists of three interconnected areas; the Pavilion, the Kulturcentrum Trädgårdsparken (Garden and Park) and the Ekoleden, helping to understand and realise the conditions of soils from a global point of view. The Soil Lab invites the visitor to experiment with soil, put your hands in the dirt, smell the soil, look at the roots and use your senses to experience the magic.

This summer, the park grounds will feature Summer of Soil’s Story of Soil, an intiative designed to raise awareness about soil. This will be achieved by identifying and explaining various processes connected to soil as they appear around the campus.This project aims to inspire people to care for the land and show how a good relationship with our earth can create a positive, creative development for our planet and for our fellow humans.

For more information about the project : click here

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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Merz DIY

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

e421449f2b5aca03a0e6369369fb25c2Miki, who along with Christine I met at Carrying the Fire where they were doing their Travelling Hearth project, asked me to post this, promoting Merz DIY this summer.  It’s an opportunity to experiment with being thinkers, builders, dwellers.  I should think the stuff on Let’s Remake might be useful.

Also download and circulate as a pdf: Merz DIY 13 e-flyer

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

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Cultura21 Nordic: How can culture lead transformations?

This post comes to you from Cultura21

cultura-21-nordic-300x176In the coming year, Cultura21 Nordic will be working with partners to bring pioneering agents from the Baltic Sea Region together and create a ‘flagship project’ on the issue of culture and sustainability: ‘Baltic Sea Region cooperation with a focus on culture as a part of sustainable development’.

In April 2013, Cultura 21 Nordic and Innogate launched a 16-page report titled ‘Culture and Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region – 8 findings, a number of opportunities and a way forward…’.

The Baltic Sea Region is very rich in networks and cooperation efforts – many of which build on and impact on culture and sustainable development. The mapping and findings reported aim to identify current actors, networks and existing relevant cooperation activities that address specific areas related to culture and sustainability in the Baltic Sea Region.

Commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers and based on research interviews with, among many others, cultural institutions such as the Danish Cultural Institute, the Swedish Institute, Intercult, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, the report is meant to serve as as a point of departure for discussions which, when duly digested, will lead to concrete and feasible activities designed to enable culture to impact more strongly on sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region.

The report also points at key areas of interest for further cooperation. Perhaps not surprisingly the first finding in the year-long process was that the sphere of cultural collaboration and sustainability is complex, or rather: that there are a number of spheres. Thus the overview presented in the report, according to the authors, is “more of a snapshot than a full picture.”

Lack of knowledge

Summing up, and looking through their findings, the authors conclude it is apparent that the largest obstacle for enabling culture to impact on sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region seems to be a lack of knowledge about culture-driven practises, tools and cooperation approaches for sustainable development:

“There are many actors that in different ways make an effort to impact on sustainable development through culture(s). However, their efforts remain fragmented – and knowledge of good (and bad) practices are not effectively collected and communicated. There is a need to link efforts more effectively through dialogue and cooperation, to facilitate exchanges of experience and mutual learning. There is also a need to assess current efforts if the key drivers for enabling culture to impact on sustainable development are to be better understood.”

Therefore the report suggests to investigate if one of the existing institutions in the Baltic Sea Region could/should host a knowledge hub on culture and sustainability – a hub that would provide access to practices, tools and networks within the Baltic Sea Region on culture and sustainability.

And if so, the authors ask, should such a hub have one location or rather be made up of a number of competence nodes – say “Culture and Sustainability Smart Labs” at different locations around the Baltic Sea – linked through the main hub?

“The advantage of multiple decentralised competence nodes/labs could be that it would allow local actors to tap more easily into the knowledge resources available in their region and, and through the link to the main hub across the Baltic Sea Region. Both the main competence hub and decentralised labs/nodes could be hosted by existing organisations.”

Slide presentation

In his presentation at the conference ‘Culture and Collaboration in the South East Baltic Region’ in Kaliningrad in June 2013, director Oleg Kofoed started out with asking the basic question: “How can culture lead transformations?”Oleg Kofoed’s 15-slide presentation can been seen onslideshare.net

Culture provides a framework

The report suggests an answer this question — how culture can lead transformations. For instance, it states that:

“Culture is of great importance to economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development. Culture is important not least because culture is a bond that brings people of a community (town, city, country or region) together and because it provides a framework that shapes people’s standards and behaviour. In so doing, culture impacts in multiple ways on development in most areas of society. For example culture impacts significantly on business opportunities, job creation, integration, health, education, technologies, and creativity – and in so doing culture impacts on sustainable development. This overall role of culture seems to be generally accepted, in particular – and not surprisingly – among stakeholders in the cultural sector/sphere but also increasingly so also across sectors/spheres.”

The report mentions that at recent COP meetings, cultural aspects of sustainability have grown in importance:

“In 2010 the UNESCO partner United Cities and Local Governments declared culture “The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability”. This was followed in 2012 by the Rio+20 UN conference, which declared: “We acknowledge the diversity of the world and recognize that all cultures and civilisations contribute to the enrichment of humankind and the protection of the Earth’s life support system. We emphasize the importance of culture for sustainable development. We call for a holistic approach to sustainable development which will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature.”

The logic is that by including culture in sustainability one achieves a more complete development model which – it is argued – better embraces the complexity of societies and highlights the importance of culture as a driver of societal change and development.” (…)

“The recently updated Action Plan for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region does emphasise the importance of culture to sustainable development, as part of a dedicated Priority Area for Culture and associated cooperation activities. The Nordic Council of Ministers is committed to taking responsibility for advancing regional cooperation under the Priority Area for Culture – including by leading the Flagship Project ‘Baltic Sea Region cooperation with a focus on culture as a part of sustainable development’.

This paper is a first effort under this flagship project. It is an attempt to map stakeholders and activities in the field of culture and sustainability. It is also a first effort to engage stakeholders in a new region-wide dialogue aiming at identifying opportunities for synergies in current efforts, and to propose practical steps for further cooperation in the field of culture and sustainability. The longer-term objective of the Nordic Council of Ministers is to take the first steps – along with partners from around the Baltic Sea – towards systematically developing knowledge and capacities in the Baltic Sea Region on ways in which culture contributes, and can contribute more, to sustainable development – whether be it economically, socially and/or environmentally sustainable development.”

Reposted from Culture/ futures

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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