Monthly Archives: July 2017

Edinburgh Festivals: A Summer of Sustainability

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Here at Creative Carbon Scotland, we’re lucky to be based in the home of some of the world’s largest cultural events and festivals! This summer there are lots of sustainability and cultural events taking place: both run by CCS, and by our collaborators – take a look and see what’s on.

The Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

Running since 2010, one of our major summer projects is the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice award! Any production taking part in the 2017 Edinburgh Festival can apply for the award, and Creative Carbon Scotland the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts are also running a help session for anyone wishing to apply: ‘How to Win the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award’ 

We’ll also be holding an award ceremony at the end of August! Keep you eyes peeled for more information!

Events for Artists and Industry Professionals at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

On Monday 21st August, Creative Carbon Scotland will be participating in The Fringe Fair, alongside other key strategic and supportive organisations for the cultural sector. With drop-in advice on specific issues, to information about first steps in sustainability, there will be plenty of chat! 

Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s Participant’s Programme, Creative Carbon Scotland will be hosting ‘Sustainable Shows: Emerging Trends’ on Wednesday 23rd August: a facilitated workshop for cultural producers, directors, writers and other arts professionals. With speakers from the USA, the UK and Australia, the session will actively examine how to integrate sustainability into production planning.

As in previous years, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society will also be running The Fringe Swap Shopa zero-waste initiative that aims to re-purposes props, costumes and materials from Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows for new productions!

Events as part of Edinburgh Art Festival

With a core theme among commissions of Sir Patrick Geddes, this year’s Festival explores some of the better physical, social and emotional ways of living, inspired by the town planner/polymath/conservationist. Responding to Geddes’ key work ‘The Making of the Future: a Manifesto and Project’, EAF’s The Making of Future: Now summer meeting at (Green Arts Initiative member) North Edinburgh Arts is essential for those engaged in exploring the legacy of Geddes, and the role of artists in city regeneration.

Equally, combining the work of Geddes at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, and the urban ecosystem, Bobby Niven: Palm House (part of the Festival’s commissions programme) will be based at the Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden from July 27th – August 27th.

Image credit: David Monteith-Hodge

 



The post Edinburgh Festivals: A Summer of Sustainability appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Greener Print Deal for Fringe Companies

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

 

We are delighted that PR Print and Design are supporting the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award and the Green Arts Initiative: continuing the success of this work, and offering their high quality, affordable and speedy Climate Neutral print and publications to the arts and cultural sector!

Creative Carbon Scotland first came into contact with PR Print and Design when we were sourcing a supplier for our own printing needs. We were impressed that their products have no environmental impact, as they generate almost all their required energy by their 192 onsite solar panels; they send zero waste to landfill; and they deliver the print by carbon-neutral courier!

They also calculate any remaining impacts of the print job, and offset this through a recognised carbon offsetting organisation that supports low-carbon technologies in the developing world – providing the customer with a certificate to keep which verifies and demonstrates your organisation’s commitment to the environment.

A Special Offer for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For Summer 2017 they’ll be offering a special deal for Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows and promoters. We know that print is currently one of the key ways to direct audiences to shows, but that striving to do it in a sustainable way, and on a budget (in the madness of the summer festivals) can be difficult.

They can create custom jobs of all shapes and sizes. but for a starter-for-ten, they can do:

  • 1000 A5 flyers for £75
  • 2000 A5 flyers for £119
  • 200 A3 posters for £69

They also tend to work on a 3-day turnaround, meaning they can deliver repeat orders (so you don’t overorder in one go) during the festival, or can top up new materials with fresh information (e.g. show review ratings) when you need it.

A Year-Round Arts Offer

However, if you’re not a Fringe company, there is still a way to benefit from this carbon-neutral opportunity. PR Print offer a huge range of print services (look out for a GAI report or Green Arts Conference programme, for example), and are set up to cater to the needs of the Scottish cultural sector, making:

  • Posters and printed materials of any size
  • Postcards
  • Programmes and other booklets
  • Business cards
  • Tickets
  • Exhibition stands and boards

They also have the benefit of being a local, Scottish business! Check out their MakeWorks video to get an idea:

Make Works visits PR Print & Design in Glasgow from Make Works on Vimeo.


PR Print and Design supports Creative Carbon Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, and our Green Arts Initiative, and has done since 2016. For more information, contact catriona.patterson@creativecarbonscotland.com or phil@prprint.net.

Image via MakeWorks



The post Greener Print Deal for Fringe Companies appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own `;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Open Call: Adaptation Scotland

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Community Engagement Pioneer Project

Support and funding of up to £10,000 is offered for one Community Engagement Pioneer Project to be developed and run as part of the Adaptation Scotland programme between September 2017 – March 2018.

This opportunity is open to all organisations and community groups based in Scotland. This includes public, private and third sector organisations and community groups based around particular locations and/ or interests.

Read more here including Case Studies.

Download the application form here – application deadline Friday 11 August 2017

 



About EcoArtScotland:



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

Everything is (Dis)connected

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

“Art could help us to question our perceptions and relationships to the climate and its changes. Artistic explorations should not be restricted to illustrating our scientific discoveries, as is done in contemporary climate-change showcases. Art should instead help us to experience and reveal our inner participation with climate, the rupture of its balance and its meaning for our inner world, in the same way that landscape artists reframed the relationship of humans to their environment.”
—Julien Knebusch, The Perception of Climate Change (2007)

I have always loved the idea of using art to advance social causes, to make us reflect and rethink what it means to be human today. My artwork is an ongoing exploration of the unresolved environmental concerns of this century. It attempts to define the world we live in by contrasting aspects of a disintegrating planet with the beauty of all living things. Yet despite this overwhelming beauty, the reality is that we are on a precipice of extinction, balancing on the edge of a global meltdown. The ravages of climate change have already been experienced in the form of more frequent floods, violent storms, drought, and the destruction of wetlands and other natural habitats. All of this has contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of species of animals, birds, and bees. As human beings, we are dependent on Nature for our survival. Everything humans need to survive and thrive has been provided by our natural world: food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, etc. Supplies of coal, gas, water, steel, wood are seen as infinitely available. Technology and industry have distanced us from nature, but our reliance on the natural world is still as important as ever.

A Question of Balance.

How do we make climate change real? Many of us have difficulty recognizing the link between our environmental problems and the way we live. A large percentage of the world’s population doesn’t feel the effects of climate change, unlike the farmer who works the land, the fisherman who harvests the sea, people living in low-lying coastal areas, and inhabitants of drought-ridden developing countries. One of the consequences of urban lifestyles, industrialization, capitalism, nationalism, the global economy, and social divides is that we have lost our connection to the natural world. These deep divisions are preventing us from addressing the problem collectively. We must recognize that because of our carelessness and neglect of our planet, climate change has become the greatest threat to future generations. Those least responsible for the damage will have to carry the greatest burden. Is this really the legacy we want to leave?

What role can the artist play in this debate about the environment?

The informed artist is an observer. The artist can ask questions, help shape our understanding of the world, open up hearts and minds to new ways of thinking, and offer visual interpretations of various global issues. Through my own personal practice, I express my concerns by adopting a balance between realism and surrealism. When attempting to open up people’s perspective, it is important that art be presented in a language that is accessible. Ultimately, I hope I can communicate the idea that if we manifest a positive outlook, protect, nurture, and realize what we have, we  can make a difference. Change needs to be radical, both globally and politically. We need to consume less, destroy less, conserve more, and embrace the abundance of renewable energy resources. If we want to protect future generations, immediate action is required before it is too late.

The Erosion of Eden.

Everything is (Dis)connected and A Question of Balance are part of my “Split World” series. Water divides the images, creating two separate worlds; one above, one below, each with their own message to the viewer. I use water in many of my images, such as in Plastic!, to create scenarios that communicate the devastating effects of rising sea levels, pollution, melting ice caps, etc. The images are messages of beauty presented at the dawning of the apocalypse. They warn of what the future might hold. They question our failure to integrate with the natural world, our failure to realize that we are dependent on our planet to survive, our failure to take responsibility and acknowledge the consequences of our actions.

The Erosion of Eden and Coming Undone make use of the triptych format. Both images depict one scene: a landmass that provides a rich, unkempt, and decaying environment. Both of these eroded landmasses are strewn with “found” objects, some a testament to the throw-away society we live in, others gifts from nature. They serve as symbols of hope, negligence, reverence, destruction, ignorance, awe, and desolation. All reference mortality, impermanence, and the widespread and consequential harm that is being done to plants and animals that are trying to adapt to new conditions. The use of the triptych format differs in both images; The Erosion of Eden depicts one moment in time and Coming Undone portrays different instants, albeit the same location. The panels descend from a heavenly, idyllic scene to a world in ruins. It could be said from heaven to hell!

Coming Undone.

Artists throughout history have made significant contributions to social, political, and environmental challenges by using their creative practice to reflect upon and confront the issues at hand. If we are to alter, even reverse climate change, we need to reach out to people through their emotions to inspire action. Art is one of the ways of doing this.

(Top image: Everything is (Dis)connected.)

______________________________

Christine Simpson lives in County Waterford, Ireland. She is employed as a Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Design Communications and BA (Hons) Fine Art at Waterford Institute. Outside of academia, Christine is a practicing artist. Recently, the National Museum of Living Treasures in Tokyo purchased The Erosion of Eden, and she was invited to show at The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. She has received numerous awards including the Waterford Crystal Arts Award; a Gold Award from Graphis, New York; and The Silken Photo Award, Brussels. She was shortlisted in the top ten for the Sony World Photography Awards. Christine’s work is in many private collections.

 



About Artists and Climate Change:



Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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 the Artists and Climate Change Blog

The Green Arts Conference

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Save the Date!

We are pleased to announce that The Green Arts Conference: Spotlight on Sustainability will take place on Wednesday 1st November 2017, this year at Partick Burgh Hall in Glasgow. Creative Carbon Scotland will be hosting a full day of discussion on how and why the cultural sector is creatively approaching environmental sustainability.

Building on the success of  50 Shades of Green: Stories of Sustainability in the Arts Sector (2015)and 51 Shades of Green: Action in the Arts (2016), this year’s conference will highlight and share the innovative steps the sector is taking to reducing its enviornmental impact, and challenge how the arts can contribute to a more sustainable Scotland.

Whether you’re a Green Arts Initiative member, a Regularly Funded Organisation working towards Creative Scotland’s ‘Environment’ Connecting Theme, an arts venue keen to find out what your peers are doing, an arts company who has been working on sustainability for years, or just coming to sustainability in the sector for the first time, there will be something for you!

To register your interest and share your ideas, please find our event page here. By registering you will be the first to hear when tickets become available for the event.

If you have any further questions, please contact catriona.patterson@creativecarbonscotland.com.

 



The post The Green Arts Conference: Spotlight on Sustainability appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Opportunity: Stalled Spaces Glasgow

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Local groups & organisations across Glasgow are invited to submit proposals for temporary activation of stalled or underused open spaces in the city. Funding of up to £4,500 available.

Have an idea for the temporary activation and improvement of a stalled or underused open site in Glasgow?

With Stalled Spaces there is an opportunity to bring value to the activation of derelict spaces in the city through the use of arts, design, and cultural activity; creating connections between people and spaces and creating social, economic, environmental and cultural value in order to build more resilient communities for everyone.

Stalled Spaces are particularly interested in projects that:
• are imaginative in the processes employed to have the desired impact;
• contribute to the development of artistic practice, particularly where that involves working with site and community;
• demonstrate a clear and considered approach to public engagement which will create an effective dynamic between the artist(s), the community and the site involved.

For more information, and to submit an application, go to the Stalled Spaces website.

Closing Date for applications: Friday 18 August 2017

Image credit: Rollmo Design, Alex Reece

 



The post Opportunity: Stalled Spaces Glasgow appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Open Call: Carbon Management Tool Trial

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

More arts organisations than ever are measuring their carbon footprint and many Green Champions are keen to find ways to make reductions in emissions. With so much data available we are developing a better understanding of how the creative sector produces emissions. We are now working on ways to support organisations to develop Carbon Management Plans to proactively avoid emissions on their next projects.

As part of this support we are developing a customised tool which will allow cultural organisations to track their current carbon footprint and to examine opportunities to reduce it. We want to make the tool useful and easy to use so we are asking for help to trial the tool during this development phase.

We will be holding a session for around 5 potential users to come along and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. The session will take place during August in at our office in Waverley Court in Edinburgh.

If you are interested in helping us with the project, please contact fiona.maclennan@creativecarbonscotland.com.

Deadline July 27 2017.

 



The post Participants Sought for Carbon Management Tool Trial appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

We Are the Climate

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

The task here is to look at theatre and climate change within the context of the current administration. Yep, that administration. The one that is attempting to eliminate climate consciousness from the national narrative by removing the climate page from the White House website, threatening to slash the EPA by one-third, and green-lighting the Keystone Pipeline project in the face of enormous coordinated dissent. Yep, the one that favors entertainment—heck, the one that is entertainment—but is not at all interested in artworks activating complex, nuanced conversation around current issues, and proposed to eradicate the NEA and the NEH completely from the federal budget. Yep, that administration.

Well, shall we start the way we often do? Theatre is a storytelling, community-based phenomenon that manages to survive, if not thrive, on next to nothing and is the perfect means to effectively counter the current administration’s “alternative facts” and erasure, especially in these divisive times…blah, blah climate blah f*cking Trump blah Pruitt EPA zzz blah NEA slashed z zzzz Betsy DeVos zz zzz education zzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz.

I’m sorry, I fell asleep.

It’s not the argument that’s wrong. It’s just exhausting. Theatre may be the perfect vehicle to keep necessary counter-narratives alive, but has never, under any administration I’ve ever known, been well-positioned to do so. Embedded in the familiar argument about theatre’s potential is the deeper argument about theatre’s worth. I’m tired of endlessly justifying on grant applications, in marketing campaigns, and in fundraising letters the relevance of what we do. On a federal level, our country just doesn’t believe in theatre’s worth. This feels especially true now under Trump, but even under administrations more friendly to liberal creative causes, theatre is rarely considered necessary to our national well-being. For a time, the NEA’s tagline was “Because a great country deserves great art”—an assertion I find problematic because it makes art seem like dessert, rather than something with actual value, like grains, meat, and vegetables.

The conversation amongst the theatre community about ways to keep (or make) our theatre relevant, equitable, and inclusive is ongoing. There is rigorous debate and concrete action, including the way so many of us—regional theatres, and independent artists, and companies—are putting more resources towards building relationships with the communities we work with and for. I’m also thinking of nation-wide actions like The JubileeThe Ghostlight Project, and the wave of support for projects in Creative Placemaking, and other socially engaged work. But in light of the ongoing global climate crisis and the Trump administration’s policies, the conversation is ready to take another giant step, brought to a head, like it or not, by the sheer, audacious rebuttal of things that we artists and citizens know to be true and important.

Let’s talk about climate.

At the end of eight hours, the build team for HOW TO BUILD A FOREST (PearlDamour + Shawn Hall) extracts the last bit of breath from their forest ecosystem. Photo by Paula Court.

New Allies: Theatre and Climate 

Imagine this: Theatre and Climate as allies, thrown together by the Trump administration as being two things it discredits, discounts, and largely disregards. Well of course! Both have power beyond the control of a single man or administration. Interestingly enough, both have that power because they’re situated outside the administration’s market-based lexicon. Environmental issues don’t sit easily within a profit-based model. Creativity—like theatremaking—doesn’t either. When the environment is forced to bend in order to “produce,” the effect can be similar to when theatre artists are pressured to produce—and when humans are seen only in terms of their use. The soul gets squished. Language gets co-opted and compressed.

When my company  PearlDamour was researching our piece HOW TO BUILD A FOREST,we met with people in the timber industry. They spoke to us of “product” instead of “trees.” On our tours, we often saw a field of trees planted around the same time in regular, mathematical rows just to be cut down for profit as soon as they matured, therefore, “product.” But calling trees product shifted both my perception ofthem and my relationship to them. It severed our connection as fellow living things. Words matter. What changes in our country when, as Toni Morrison notes, we go from being called “citizens” to being called “taxpayers”? When the new administration took down Obama’s climate policy page on the White House site and replaced it with the America First Energy Plan, a friend posted on Facebook: “Since when does ‘Energy’ mean ‘Fossil Fuel’?”

That word is being shut down, actually enervated, by being forced into a one-to-one relationship with oil. What does “Energy” really mean? So much more than solar versus petroleum. If we look at the word through a Theatre Lens, energy means: connections, interactions, and reactions. It’s powerful to remember that the only meaningful way to really understand climate and environmental systems is this way as well, via connection, interactions, and reactions. Energy in both the theatre and the climate is its dynamism, its process, its transformation. Energy is story.

Storytelling

I watch Trump as a storyteller and for the first time, I really understand storytelling’s power as a market-driving medium. Trump is a professional entertainer and racketeer, a storyteller who knows his audience and knows how to play to them. Where the climate is concerned, his stories affect the entire planet. He boils complex issues down to sound bites that sway mass markets, sell tickets, cement opinions, erase experiences, and win elections. And they have the advantage of being carried by every media outlet into living rooms, kitchens, car stereos, and ear buds across the country—an advantage our plays and performance works don’t have.

Can we compete? Our storytelling offers a different kind of narrative, driven by a different kind of energy—one that deepens thinking, expands empathy, introduces new worlds, explores imaginative possibilities, and rebuts current conditions. We could take it as our responsibility, our mandate, to keep using our storytelling to keep the realities of our climate in front of audiences, even as Trump’s cabinet is doing everything it can to make those same audiences believe those stories don’t matter.

Sure. We could do that. But the focus can no longer be on impactful storytelling. We can’t stop there because those stories aren’t reaching enough people. We can’t stop there because our current metrics of success, including getting reviewed in major publications, keep us from heading towards different kinds of performance work that might have a different kind of impact, and affect more change. We can’t stop there because as theatre artists, our power doesn’t merely exist in the plays we create and the stories we tell. It also exists in our creativity itself. It also exists in the way we move through and think about the world, as people, as artists, and as citizens.

In Lost in the Meadow (PearlDamour + Mimi Lien), climbers get ready to hoist a giant megaphone up a 60-foot tower so the meadow can speak directly to the audience. Photo by Katie Pearl.

The Artist Citizen is also a Citizen Artist

For years, I’ve responded to current events by making theatre about it. It made sense that as a theatre artist, I would do that: “Oh, I’ll do a performance about Hurricane Katrina…” or “I’ll write a play about the Dakota Pipeline, or building a wall, or the BP Oil Spill…” It was how I brought my citizenry into my artistry, and it led to some good work that many people saw and were affected by. But lately I’ve been thinking about those two words “artist” and “citizen” and wondering if I haven’t been giving myself—ourselves—enough credit. We spend so much time arguing about the power of theatre, and the importance of our product, that we’ve neglected the fact that we as theatre artists have power too. My provocation here is: how can we bring our artistry into our citizenry, rather than the other way around? How can our creative minds, our ability to make imaginative leaps, envision futures, and empathize and connect with others serve the communities that live outside of our theatremaking?

Perhaps we need to start showing up not only as people who make plays and performances about issues, but also as people who think deeply and have smart things to say and know how to say them well. We know how to tell a good story—do we only need to tell it on a stage? What about in board rooms? In Town Halls? At the Parent Teacher Association?

Inviting versus Welcoming

I’ve spent the past four years working in small towns named Milton across the US. One thing The Milton Project has taught me is the difference between “inviting” and “welcoming.” Over and over I hear, particularly from one racial community regarding another, “we invited them, but they didn’t come.” The lesson is this: inviting is very different than welcoming. Ironically, to welcome someone into a relationship with you, you often have to invite yourself to where they are. To their space. As theatre artists, a quality many of us share is a sense of adventure. We can use this quality to propel us not just towards new projects but towards new people. Towards new issues, new places. As this administration seeks to divide us both from one another and from our relationship to the natural world, we cannot wait to be invited to connect. Let’s welcome ourselves into civic, policy-making conversations about the climate and otherwise. Let’s welcome ourselves into conversations with political leaders, neighbors, disenfranchised communities, small town conservative communities, and business executives. And then, bam! Suddenly, our expansive, imaginative, and creative thinking is right in there, opening up possibility, creating connection, and making space.

Intersectionality

At the Women’s March in Washington, DC, California Senator Kamela Harris described a time when she arrived at a meeting and someone said, “Oh good, you’re here, we’d like to talk about women’s issues.” Kamela responded, “Oh good. Let’s talk about immigration. Oh good, let’s talk about climate. Oh good, let’s talk about race relations, about civil rights, about education, about health care, about poverty. These are all women’s issues because they are all issues.”

The Women’s Marches empowered us by shifting the idea of multiplicity from being something that diffused power to intersectionality—something that increases it. I started this essay proposing the alliance between theatre and climate, but as I finish, I want to widen our gaze. Alongside theatre and climate, there is an extensive network of phenomena sharing a debased status under the Trump administration. Rather than feeling drained by the fight to assert our relevance and importance, let’s feel empowered and energized by the new collaborations and cross-currents of our intersectionality! Here’s a partial list:

The dangers of climate change
The importance of theatre
The systems of racism
The realities of classism
The saturation of white privilege
The pervasiveness of xenophobia
The prevalence of misogyny

These phenomena aren’t just aligned by being maligned by the Trump administration. More interestingly, in terms of storytelling, they are deeply, dramatically linked. Issues of climate cannot be extracted from economics; economics cannot be separated from race and class; issues of race and class cannot be untied from white privilege, xenophobia, and misogyny. Can you tell a story about any one of these issues without involving the rest? Sure you could—many of us have. But the final provocation is: let’s not. Let’s welcome this intersectionality into our stories, performance structures, collaborative models, and visions of where we make work and who we work with. Let’s keep the climate foregrounded in both our artistic and our civic lives (and perhaps there will be less and less of a difference between them) by seeking out and acknowledging its connection to, and influence on every story we tell.

There is no us versus them when it comes to our climate because we aren’t just in relationship to the climate, we are the climate. And if that’s the case, then every story is about climate—no matter how loudly the administration argues otherwise.

______________________________

Katie Pearl is a director and writer of new plays and performance for both traditional and alternative spaces.  As co-Artistic Director of PearlDamour, the interdisciplinary company she shares with playwright Lisa D’Amour, she has received an OBIE Award and grants from Creative Capital, Map Fund, and the NEA. Current work includes: the multi-year project Milton in five small towns named Milton around the country, and a new performance about climate and the deep ocean co-commissioned by the ART and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.  Katie is currently an Anschutz Fellow at Princeton, where her teaching and research focus on the concept of the Artist-Citizen.



About Artists and Climate Change:

Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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 the Artists and Climate Change Blog

The Garden as Exhibition Space

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Museums and others cultural agents are key interfaces between the government and the public. As a centerpiece of the Age of Enlightenment, public institutions were founded to advance ideas, knowledge exchange, and to offer new perspectives on all forms of scientific research and humanistic endeavors. However, by the 19th century many art museums in Europe had become instruments of power for colonial regimes, classifying and “exoticizing” nature and its species. Many of today’s art institutions and artists are expressing awareness and concern about prevailing power structures and critiquing their inherent impact on our cultural discussions and commercial interests. A genuine quest for new forms of art production, interpretation, and dissemination is spreading across the globe. Central to this attitude is a new consciousness based on an awareness of one’s own contributions, resources, and relation to audience as well as nature.

Cornucopia, 2017. Climbing holds, plastic drainage tiles, metal screws. Orti Ghiglio produce garden, Parco delle Cave, Milan. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti.

The work of Italian artist Mirko Canesi fits right in with this movement; his work bypasses traditional art spaces and power structures, and is activated directly by audiences. Canesi’s work Cornucopia proposes a community garden as an exhibition space. The selected cultivated vegetable garden is located in Milan’s Parco delle Cave, a park that used to be home ground to the mafia. In recent years, this previously rather dodgy place has been through a process of regeneration and is being revamped as an ecological area where people can recreate and fish. The Municipality of Milan, who is leading the project, has given the park back to the people through a “bando public” (an open call). It triggered Canesi’s interest as he has been working on the idea of the garden as exhibition space in Milan for a few years.

Though Canesi is an artist working on vegetable plots, he is not focusing on production of art or production of vegetables. Rather, his work is about process and observing the use of space. Canesi explains his fascination: “I like it how people use the land as an expression of the self; some plots are very wild, some very orderly, some build with wood and some use cables, the latter one actually being cultivated by an electrician.”

Pls… 2017. Apartment plant, plasticine, variable dimensions. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti.

Canesi’s subtle art interventions are like treasures amidst the veggies, in some cases only spotted by the diligent observer. For instance, some leaves might be carved using artisan skills, have plasticine coatings, or be carefully laser-cut. His key not-to-be-missed intervention, however, is located between the zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes in the middle of the garden, and between the peppers, zucchini, and salads on the left of the garden. This work is as philosophical as it is practical. He changed the existing paths in the garden with alternative ones made of stones that only loosely remind us of what nature looks like: the paths are made of rock-climbing handles. The quality of the material is odd in this environment and the handles are only vaguely reminiscent of that which was once natural. These simulated stones, shaped to pleasantly fit around the human hand, are nature in its most extreme artificial version: these rocks are produced by humans, for pleasant and safe use by them. Canesi, however, proposes a reversed use for them; instead of helping you climb your wall, the handles form a climbing path that is horizontal, on the ground. Canesi is interested in questions such as “What if the gardens were an exhibition space?” Can artworks exist like an agricultural cycle that never stops? Can artmaking be a seasonal process?” Though I’m not sure pumpkin sculptures or ice-art are particularly good ideas, I find the thought of an artistic practice being in line with natural cycles interesting. I agree that the garden as exhibition space can be much more than land-art or sculpture parks. It can be an alternative to the system, a place for un-planning and process, for unexpected and non-art related encounters and conversations, a place to Touch instead of Not-Touch, and a place with inhabitants rather than viewers.

Laser cut, 2017. Laser cut pvc with wooden effect, variable dimensions.

Infamous artist Vito Acconci, known from his groundbreaking and pioneering performance art and for first introducing “Body Art” in New York knew it all along: “What I never wanted in art, is that I never wanted viewers. I think the basic condition of art is the viewer: The viewer is here, the art is there. So the viewer is in a position of desire and frustration. There were those Do Not Touch signs in a museum that are saying that the art is more expensive than the people. But I wanted users and a habitat. I don’t know if I would have used those words then, but I wanted inhabitants, participants. I wanted an interaction.”

(Top image: Cornucopia detail, 2017. Climbing holds, plastic drainage tiles, metal screws. Orti Ghiglio produce garden, Parco delle Cave, Milan. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappe.)



About Artists and Climate Change:

Artists and Climate Change is a blog 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.

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Bibliography on critical approaches to toxics and toxicity

This post comes to you from Discard Studies:

Thanks to the excellent Discard Studies for this important bibliography

Critical approaches are those that question premises, assumptions, and ways that things become normal or stable. Toxicity, toxins, and toxicants are areas of critical concern because controversies over what they mean, how they act, how they come into being and where, and what counts as evidence have high stake ramifications. Contrary to popular adage, the meanings and methods of toxicity weren’t decided by Paracelsus in the moment he declared, “the danger is in the dose.” Rather,as a description of chemical harm, toxicity is constantly being upset, resettled, and contested. These texts offer critical insights into these processes.

·       Aftalion, F. (2001). A history of the international chemical industry. Chemical Heritage Foundation.

·       Ah-King, M., & Hayward, E. (2013). Toxic sexes—Perverting pollution and queering hormone disruption. O-Zone: A Journal of Object Oriented Studies1.

·       Allen, B. L. (2003). Uneasy alchemy: citizens and experts in Louisiana’s chemical corridor disputes

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