Monthly Archives: September 2017

Blog: Hawick Green Tease Reflections

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

In September, Creative Carbon Scotland took part in River Ways: A Future Heritage for Hawick – a series of events exploring the cultural heritage of the River Teviot and the role that culture can play in building the future sustainability of the Scottish Borders.

Organised by choreographer Claire Pençak and the Hawick Community Energy Group Ltd in partnership with Creative Carbon Scotland, Wilton Lodge Park and Alchemy Film and Arts, the programme included screenings of short films by the Moving Image Makers Collective (MIMC) inspired by the River Teviot, a guided river tour and a Green Tease discussion.

Gathering Forces – Working Together for Change

The context for Green Tease was set by Claire Pençak, highlighting that rivalry – from reivers to rugby – has and continues to define and shape much of the cultural heritage of the Tweed Catchment. Regeneration projects are currently underway across a number of Scottish Border towns including a £3.6 million regeneration initiative in Hawick and a separate flood protection scheme which has brought into focus the town’s relationship to the river.

Taken together these projects create a real opportunity for the Scottish Borders to transition to a more sustainable future, so how can the arts help shape a new culture of working together towards this change, a cultural shift?

To make visible some of the work already taking place across the Borders addressing these questions, the following speakers gave short presentations:

  • Derek Tait, Future Hawick Development Trust who work on making Hawick High Street an attractive place to live and work;
  • Artist and academic Inge Paneels who highlighted examples of cultural projects contributing to the sustainability of their locality including Eve Mosher’s HighWaterLine project and Working the Tweed out of which emerged this River Culture Project;
  • Mark Timmins, Tomorrow’s People who create opportunities for young people to participate and build their confidence through film and media-based work;
  • Ruth Wolstenholme, Sniffer, who spoke about Sniffer’s theory of change which is based upon collaborative working between communities, organisations and policy-makers, and their interest in learning through doing including through arts based approaches;
  • Louise Cox, Economic Development within Scottish Borders Council, who shared the council’s low carbon strategy which covers business competitiveness, quality of life, adaptation through infrastructure, and increasing community resilience; and her view of the council’s continued role in stitching together the work of individuals and communities on the ground.

Tour of the River Teviot, River Ways programme, September 2017


Opportunities for change and cultural shifts

Following presentations, we broke into smaller groups to think about the opportunities for change locally and what’s needed to bring these about. The questions we were asked to consider were

What are the opportunities for change in the Scottish Borders?

What is needed to make these changes possible?

Can we identify strategies that help shift cultures and speed up transformation?

Going Forward: Suggestions for the near, far and infinite future.

Key themes identified included the need for:

  • Greater connectivity: including transport, digital, physical spaces, people
    Letting go of ownership: in terms of ideas, land, spaces, narratives
  • Visibility: giving greater visibility to what is already happening within the Scottish Borders and more widely
  • Re-localisation: supporting what’s already going on and is working successfully
  • Movement and flow: increased possibilities for municipal/government to meet and exchange with grassroots/community levels. Need for more connectors bridging grassroots and top-down.

The opportunities for change which implied a cultural shift included:

  • Making the space for alternative ideas to develop. Creating a culture in which people feel encouraged to try things out, practice and develop ideas through informal processes and activities (rather than formal ones that can slow down, stifle or hinder ideas). Trying to remove the obstacles to this such as access to empty/unused spaces.
  • Creating more of a culture of sharing rather than owning ideas and resources.
  • Re-localisation. For example, a trial operating high streets differently to enable local people to shop locally (e.g. shift in opening hours so people can shop after work, electronic local shopping with collection points open after work).
  • Finding, shaping and telling stories that help to make change. Working with creative writers, journalists, local papers to tell more and different stories.

Through our culture/SHIFT programme, Creative Carbon Scotland is focused on creating opportunities for cultural practitioners to work with sustainability organisations to bring about wider change.

The opportunities identified in Hawick echoed those explored during our recent T-lab workshop at the Transformations conference in Dundee in which we discussed the role of arts in the opening up spaces – both conceptual and physical – for different ideas and communities to come together to generate locally-grounded responses to complex sustainability-related issues.

Similarly, our work with Frances Whitehead on the Embedded Artist Project foregrounds the strategic contribution which artists can make to decision-making processes through (amongst other things) their ability to synthesise complex facts, goals and ideas, and making explicit the implicit and visible the invisible.

We look forward to continuing the conversations sparked during Green Tease and supporting the arts and sustainability network in the Scottish Borders. Thanks to all who participated and contributed to the event.


More information about the Hawick Community Energy Group Ltd can be found on their Facebook Page.

Green Tease is an ongoing informal events programme which connects creative practices and environmental sustainability. Our Green Tease Open Call is here to support cultural and sustainability practitioners and orgnisations to run your own events with support from Creative Carbon Scotland.

Find out more about previous and upcoming events and how you can get involved in the Green Tease network.

 



The post Blog: Hawick Green Tease Reflections 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

Imagining Water, #2: Flooded McDonald’s

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog



The second in a year-long series on artists who are making the topic of water a focus of their work and on the growing number of exhibitions, performances and publications that are popping up in museums, galleries and public spaces around the world with water as a theme.



 

Flooded McDonald’s

Although created nine years ago by the Danish three-man art collective Superflex, the haunting film Flooded McDonald’s is every bit as relevant today, if not more so, as we recall with horror the recent television coverage of unprecedented water damage caused by mega-hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Just 21 minutes in length, Flooded McDonald’s was produced by Propeller Group (Ho Chi Minh City) in association with Matching Studio (Bangkok), and co-produced by the South London Gallery, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark) and Oriel Mostyn Gallery (Wales).

Superflex

Superflex, founded in 1993 by Bjornstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger, and Rasmus Nielsen, calls their art projects “tools” that they feel can be used in many ways and in many contexts beyond the art world. As they describe it, Superflex “challenges the role of the artist in contemporary society and explores the nature of globalization and systems of power… with art work that addresses serious social and cultural concerns.” In Flooded McDonald’s, Superflex has taken on the topic of rising tides, a now-uncontested result of global warming, using a life-size replica of a McDonald’s restaurant that gradually floods with water. The British art critic Charles Darwent summarized the film by stating: “Imagine if a rising tide caused by global warming claimed the very thing that contributed to it.”

The Set

The set of Flooded McDonald’s was created in meticulous detail over a two-week period in an empty swimming pool in Bangkok, Thailand. Eerily devoid of staff or customers, it includes a fiberglass, life-size Ronald McDonald, real Big Macs, counters, freezers, banquettes, hundreds of paper cups, cardboard hamburger containers, fries, sodas, napkins, trays, signage and all the accoutrements of the real thing. For 21 minutes, the restaurant is gradually flooded with 80,000 liters or 21,000 gallons of water.

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Still image from the film Flooded McDonald’s. Courtesy of Superflex.

What Happens

At first, the water seeps in slowly under the door. The accompanying sound track is similar to the sound of the gentle lapping of the sea against the shore. Gradually, the level of the water rises, taking with it everything in its path. But even as the rising water fills the space, the scene is not what we expect of a forceful, full-fledge flood. As Superflex describes it, the film portrays a flood that is “destructive but in a mild, Scandinavian way.”

Although the artists admit that they scripted most of the shots for the film, in the end, the water “does what it wants,” creating unexpected and sometimes ironic images: the fiberglass sculpture of Ronald McDonald topples over and waves to the camera, bringing to mind the iconic image of Saddam Hussein’s statue, arm upraised, crashing to the ground in Baghdad and marking the end of an era; a plastic sign reading “wet floor” floats by, an understated reference to the way in which many government leaders have purposely underestimated the dangers of global warming.

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Production image from the film Flooded McDonald’s. Courtesy of Superflex.

The random beauty amidst the destruction is evident throughout the film. With its ability to reflect what is above and below the surface, water is its own work of art. Camera shots taken underwater reveal a murky world where oil, French fries, paper debris, bits of food, and even furniture form pleasing shadows and abstract images.

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Still underwater image from the film Flooded McDonald’s. Courtesy of Superflex

So What Does It All Mean?

In a video titled Why We Flooded McDonald’s, created by the Louisiana Channel, a non-profit website based at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, the Superflex artists “walk” the viewer through the film and talk about their artistic intentions.

In their narration, the artists describe the film as an “end of the world scenario,” a “conversation” on global warming that uses the most famous fast-food chain in the world as a powerful symbol of corporate greed and consumerism. In what to me is a brilliant metaphor for climate change in general and rising tides in particular, they state that “when you add water, you can’t move backwards from what it does.” Like climate change itself, once unleashed, flood water destroys everything in its path.

In preparation for writing this post, I sent an email to Superflex asking them how they feel about the film nine years later. I received the following response: “Flooded McDonald’s hints at the consumer-driven power and influence and impotence of large multinational companies in the face of climate change, questioning with whom ultimate responsibility lies.”

Where to see Flooded McDonald’s

If you are lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles area, you can watch the film at UCLA’s Hammer Museum through October 15. Otherwise, check out the Louisiana Channel video Why We Flooded McDonald’s for film clips and commentary by the artists or watch a brief film clip here.

(Top image: Still image from the film Flooded McDonald’s. Courtesy of Superflex.)


 

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

Maker Chris Wallace: Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Each year Creative Carbon Scotland put a call out through Creative Scotland for a Scottish-based artist or maker to create a unique and sustainable award piece for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice award. Here we find out a little more about the design process from our commissioned maker.

The commission based opportunity requests makers to experiment with the environmental, social and economic aspects of their work and reflect the inspirations and objectives of the award. This year the commission was awarded to Chris Wallace, a Glasgow-based crafter.

The ‘Green Man’

Chris used the image of the ‘Green Man’, a widely known ancient motif, as the main design element of his award. This commonly uses a face surrounded by leaves, composed of leaves or with leaves surging from the mouth and eyes. This image is commonly associated with natural rebirth and the cycle of natural growth.

Chris said of the image:

“I feel that the image’s link to the idea of recurrence makes it suitable for use in the Sustainable Practice Award. This is because recurrent or circular models of economics offer an alternative to prevalent linear models that currently serve our economy. A circular flow of materials that can be recovered and reused is a clear challenge to the narrow path that leads from manufacturing to disposability. The image acts as a reminder of our undeniable reliance on nature and its example of renewal.”

The core image was structured from reclaimed copper electrical wire which was sourced from a metal reclaiming business in East Kilbride. The wire was then made into the elements of the design and soldered together back in Chris’ studio at the Briggait, Glasgow, home to a host of Green Arts Initiative members. Once the image was complete it was fixed onto roof slate which Chris sourced from the cottage he stayed at in the Cairngorms. To finish the design, the lettering was soldered on once the award’s judges decided on a winner and partner logos were attached to the completed award piece by tin can.

This year’s award was won by Outland Theatre’s production, Towers of Eden, who loved the unique design concept of their award, and here at Creative Carbon Scotland, we were thrilled by Chris’ unique, detailed and thoughtful interpretation and implementation of the design.

You can see more of Chris’ work on his website: http://www.chriswallacework.co.uk/


The Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award is a collaboration between its founder, the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), and Creative Carbon Scotland, working in partnership with the List magazine and PR Print & Design.

Each year the award is given to a production that exhibits high quality artistic integrity and engages the company and audiences with the issues of sustainability in all of its forms. It celebrates different approaches to sustainable practice both in content and in the production of shows, and rewards those that take responsibility for their social, environmental and economic impacts and think creatively about how the arts can help grow a sustainable world.

For any further questions please contact catriona.patterson@creativecarbonscotland.com or call the Creative Carbon Scotland office on 0131 529 7909.

 



The post Maker Chris Wallace on crafting the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 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

Harvesting Human Energy

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Calling all dancers! Ballet, jazz, tango, ballroom, Zumba, breakdance, tap, disco, swing, line, hip-hop, pogo, calypso, square dance, cha cha, jerkin’…

You are an incredible source of untapped renewable energy!

Each footstep, each cabriole, each moonwalk, each jerk produces kinetic energy. This kinetic energy can be transformed into electricity to light up the stage upon which you dance, to power the audio system in your theatre, to charge the LED lights in your dressing room, or even to feed into the larger grid.

The Dutch company Energy Floors has created the world’s first dance floor that harvests human energy. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Power Of Dance (by Vice UK) from Energy Floors on Vimeo.

By “making energy fun”, Energy Floors is committed to raising awareness about energy production and consumption (note: we humans can do both!) in a way that is interactive, tangible and more accessible than, say, remote utility-scale solar or wind farms or hydroelectric dams.

“When you install an energy floor,” explained Energy Floors CEO Michel Smit to CNBC, “then the public is part of the solution, they are part of the energy contribution of that location, which makes them much more involved.” According to the company’s website, “We believe that consciousness about energy and the impact we have on it are the main conditions to create a sustainable world.”

renewable energy, dance, floors, energy

Photo courtesy of Energy Floors

Energy Floors wants people to understand the simple fact that “energy is everywhere” – it just needs to be harvested. Think about this: the average person takes about 150 million steps in a lifetime. “That’s a lot of steps, right?” says Sylvia Meijer-Villafane, Director of Marketing & Communication for Energy Floors. ‘Now multiply that by the billions of people on the planet. Harnessing all that kinetic energy and converting it into electricity creates an incredible opportunity to ensure access to sustainable energy for people across the world. Adding solar panels [starting October 2017] to our energy tiles makes this opportunity even more worthwhile.”

Energy Floors is not the only company experimenting with “smart floors” – UK’s Pavegen and Italy’s Veranu focus primarily on the built environment, with installations across the globe. But Energy Floors was the first start-up to promote the concept that human dancing is a potential source of renewable energy.

How does this technology work? The floor tiles produced by these companies convert the small vertical movement of human footsteps/dancesteps into a very high rotational motion (on the order of 1,000s of rpm) that drives a tiny internal generator to produce off-grid electricity. More movement, more energy; more dancers, more electricity generated. A diagram is provided in the following video beginning at 00:48.

Theoretically, almost anything could be powered through the simple act of a human footstep, multiplied hundreds of thousands times per day in heavy foot-traffic areas such as train stations, airports, museums, sports arenas, movie theaters, music festivals and exercise studios. As it turns out, there is a huge opportunity for harvesting human energy.

To date, renewable energy headlines are dominated by wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power. But human-powered renewable energy will surely become a “thing” in the not-too-distant future. There are many applications already. For example micro windmills – 1/15 of an inch wide – embedded into our clothing can generate electricity from the kinetic energy produced when we swing our arms or legs by walking, biking, running or dancing.

micro, wind, turbine, micro windmill, renewable, energy, kinetic

A micro-windmill is pictured on the face of a penny.

Alors on danse!


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

Tickets: The Green Arts Conference!

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Tickets are now available for this year’s Green Arts Conference! Taking place on 1st November 2017 in Glasgow, it’s the conference for Scottish cultural organisations aiming to increase their environmental sustainability.

Hosted by Creative Carbon Scotland at Partick Burgh Hall in Glasgow, this full-day conference will consist of a mix of plenary session, best practice show-and-tell from the Green Arts Initiative community, a supplier showcase and focused workshops. Confirmed speakers include Creative Scotland, Puppet Animation Scotland, Dundee Rep, and Starcatchers (Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years organisation).

The whole day will focus on how and why the cultural sector is creatively approaching environmental sustainability, and where organisations can go next in their sustainability work, as well as what is on the government, funder and grassroots horizons.

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 environmental 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!

Register for your ticket below, or on Eventbrite!


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

Imagining Water

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Introduction to the Series, Imagining Water

This post is the first in a year-long series on artists who are making the topic of water a focus of their work and on the growing number of exhibitions, performances and publications that are popping up in museums, galleries and public spaces around the world with water as a theme. Why are so many artists and institutions concurrently recognizing the relevance of this subject matter? Primarily because dramatic water events are occurring at a rapid pace all over the globe, and artists – who generally have a pulse on the most contemporary global trends – are feeling compelled to respond to the immediacy of climate change and its threat to our very existence through their paintings, poetry, plays, novels, dances, films, music and installations.

Some examples from just the last four months demonstrate the prevalence of catastrophic events related to water or the extreme absence thereof: (1) As of April 2017, almost 11 million individuals in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are suffering from extreme hunger – the effects of a severe drought, which has shriveled crops and caused a critical humanitarian disaster; (2) a huge iceberg the size of the state of Delaware and weighing a trillion metric tons, broke away from Antarctica on July 12, 2017, threatening the stability of the entire ice shelf; (3) a few weeks later in July, and perhaps of more significance to the problem of rising sea levels, a chunk of ice the size of three Manhattans broke free in the Arctic, providing a “worrying sign” for what, according to Laurence Dyke, a researcher at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, says is “happening in the rest of Greenland;” and (4) unprecedented flooding caused by intense and sustained rain in the amount of 50 inches in some areas of Houston, Texas, is devastating the fourth largest city in the U.S., today, as I am writing this piece.

As a painter and public artist, I have been engaged since 2011 with the topic of water, its impressive power, its potential for causing global conflict, and how it serves to unite us all through our mutual need for this crucial resource. Imagining Water, #1, the first installment of this series on water, addresses The Wave, my own on-going, public art project on water.

What is The Wave?

The Wave is a national, interactive, public art project celebrating water and its vital function in our lives, which I co-created with my close friend and fellow artist, Elena Kalman. Since September of 2011, The Wave has been installed in 23 museums, galleries, schools, universities, community centers, festivals and parks including: The Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA); The National Aquarium (Baltimore, MD); The Rose Kennedy Greenway (Boston, MA); The Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT); The Manny Cantor Center (NYC); Governor’s Island (NYC); The New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, CT); and others.

The Wave at National Acquarium.JPG

The Wave at the National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Origins of the Project

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.03 earthquake, centered in Japan, triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 133 feet and shifted the Earth on its axis a distance estimated between 4 and 10 inches. The ensuing tsunami devastated the island country, leaving millions of people without homes, electricity, and clean water and triggering nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Waves resulting from the tsunami traveled across the Pacific Ocean, reaching the coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and western Alaska.

Here, in Connecticut, Elena and I began imagining a picture of that powerful 2011 tsunami in Japan literally “connecting” us all to one another: this enormous wave originating across the world and traveling from continent to continent before washing up on our own “back door.” We talked about developing a project that would visually represent how dramatically we are all connected, regardless of our nationality, religious preferences, race or other artificial divisions, by our mutual dependence on water – one of the most fundamental requirements for life on Earth – and by our mutual susceptibility to the impact of major water events like tsunamis, rising tides, floods and drought.

The Wave as Public Art

During our conversations, we discussed an appropriate format for the project, which we eventually dubbed The Wave. Because we wanted to emphasize the universal nature of water, our individual and community responsibility to protect this vital resource, and the theme of “connected-ness,” we felt very strongly that it needed to be a community engagement, interactive, public art program.

Public art is generally described as any work that is exhibited, and sometimes created, in public spaces so that it is accessible to the general public, not just those who frequent museums and galleries. We chose to create a public art project because, by its very purpose, public art is meant to enrich communities, provoke discussion, and heighten awareness of significant public issues and events. An interactive, public art project enables members of the community, not just the artists, to participate in the creation of the work of art itself. Interactive public art inspires creativity among participants around a specific topic, generates community pride and fosters connections among the participants.

The Wave Participants.jpeg

Wave Participants, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

The Wave Design

We designed The Wave with these goals in mind. Because the material we use (recyclable, polycarbonate film) is especially unusual, enticing and beautiful, and because it is so easy to simply cut a piece of it into a wave-like shape, each individual coming to a Wave site can feel successful. Thousands of children as young as five, entire school communities including parents, staff, teachers and students of all abilities and ages, adults who are normally intimidated by making art, and seniors, have all embraced the opportunity to “connect” their pieces to the growing, glowing, and undulating Wave that we hope will roll right across the country and beyond. People have asked us why we join the pieces together with black parachute cord that shows up so prominently as an integral part of the installation. Why not use transparent fishing wire or some other invisible material? And, of course, that is the point. We are using the black cord to emphasize how this Wave is being created, piece by piece, connecting individuals, communities, states and, hopefully, an entire nation, to one another.

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Wave Participant, New London Public Library, New London, CT

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Wave Participants, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

For more information on The Wave, including hundreds of photographs of all the installations to date, resources for teachers on water issues, and my own blog entitled “On Water and Public Art,” please visit The Wave website.

(Top image: The Wave at the Chase Gallery, West Hartford, CT.)


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

LAGI Glasgow Exhibition

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Land Art Generator Glasgow exhibition
Tent: Art, Space and Nature, Edinburgh College of Art
8-21 September 2017

The award winning Land Art Generator Glasgow project, developed in collaboration with ecoartscotland, explores creative approaches to using renewable energy in urban contexts as part of place-making approaches to regeneration.

The Land Art Generator Glasgow project focused on the Dundas Hill regeneration site just North of Glasgow City Centre. The project has been develop in partnership with Scottish Canals, BIGG Regeneration and Glasgow City Council.

The exhibition includes the designs by teams led by landscape and architectural practices in Glasgow including ERZ, ZM Architecture and Stallan Brand, and also highlights examples from the Land Art Generator Initiative Open Competitions.

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) brings together artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, engineers, and others in a first of its kind collaboration. The goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative is to stimulate the design and construction of public art installations that uniquely combine aesthetics with utility-scale clean energy generation.

As we aggressively implement strategies towards 100% carbon-free energy and witness a greater proliferation of renewable energy infrastructures in our cities and landscapes, we have an opportunity to proactively address the aesthetic influence of these new machines through the lenses of planning, urban design, community benefit, and creative placemaking.

ecoartscotland and the Land Art Generator Initiative were awarded the 2016 Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM) Arts, Water and Environment Award. The Nick Reeves AWEinspiring Award is presented annually by CIWEM’s Arts and the Environment Network in association with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW). The award celebrates projects or practitioners who have contributed innovatively to CIWEM’s vision of “putting creativity at the heart of environmental policy and action”.

Dave Pritchard, Chair of CIWEM’s Arts and Environment Network, said: “The quality of nominations for this year’s Award was wonderful. LAGI and ecoartscotland’s work is a superb example of our belief that arts-based approaches offer massive potential for more intelligent ways of responding to environmental challenges”.

The Land Art Generator Initiative’s programme includes in addition to the Glasgow project, a programme of Open Competitions, the next of which will be focused on Melbourne, Australia, in 2018.

There will be a discussion event at MFA Art, Space and Nature 3pm on 21 September. The event will be an opportunity to discuss the role of renewable energy in urban environments, as well as the opportunities presented by the Land Art Generator 2018 Open Competition in Melbourne. Allison Palenske, Alumni and member of the Art, Space and Nature based team that was a featured finalist in the 2014 Copenhagen Open Competition, will discuss making a successful Competition entry.

Please RSVP here 

For further information please contact Chris Fremantle on 07714 203016

Publication from the Land Art Generator Glasgow exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 9 June – 29 July 2016

A5-LAGI-Glasgow-Brochure-16pages


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

[Int21] Residential Short Course and Evening Talk (UK)

Environmental artist Chris Drury and writer Kay Syrad lead a residential short course with guest artist David Buckland from Monday 30 October to Friday 3 November 2017. Chris will also offer a public talk on the evening of Wednesday November 1st.

Part of art.earth’s compelling new programme of short courses and talks. Context and Form, Art and Writing is facilitated by Chris Drury and Kay Syrad. Their special guest is David Buckland, Founding Director of Cape Farewell. Both events take place at Dartington in SW England and are open to all.

In this five-day intensive, Chris Drury shares his renowned practice of working with form, including whirlpool and vortex, fractal and wave patterns, exploring and investigating how aesthetic forms have the universal enfolded within them but are at the same time particular to individual experience.

Kay Syrad has collaborated closely with Chris on a number of art-text projects and brings her rich knowledge and experience of narrative and poetic form.

The programme days assume a regular pattern of immersion in the landscape: walking, collecting, making; reflecting and working inside, with short lectures, shared conversation and discussion, individual tuition, and studio time exploring visual and/or written forms that are personal and universal.

The course includes:
– a series of short lectures on context and form in art and writing
– meditative and sense-based engagement with the landscape
– a chance to experiment together and individually with different forms in language and image
– the opportunity to work outside and inside in dialogue with the tutors

Further information and booking can be found at http://artdotearth.org/context-and-form-art-and-writing/

On the Wednesday evening, Chris Drury will offer a public talk Wandering: earth, art and context.
Tickets are £5 and information can be found at http://artdotearth.org/chris-drury-wandering-earth-art-and-context/

Ullapool Green Tease Reflections

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

A few weeks ago, we held for our first Ullapool Green Tease, run in collaboration with An Talla Solais as part of their summer exhibition ‘Murmur – artists reflect on climate change’, curated by Jonathan Baxter.

A group of around twenty of us gathered in the MacPhail Centre, the building which hosts the Ullapool’s high school and library, as well as providing spaces for theatre performances, conferences and meetings. Over seaweed biscuits and tea, we heard short presentations by Gemma (Creative Carbon Scotland), exhibiting artist Sarah Gittins, Lindy Young and Anna Reid from Deveron Projects and local resident, boat builder and teacher Topher Dawson and held a discussion about the links between creative practices, community resilience and climate change.

Culture & climate change

Following introductions, Gemma outlined Creative Carbon Scotland’s culture/SHIFT programme which seeks to explore how artistic practices can contribute towards the significant social transformation required to meet national and global carbon reduction targets and adapt to a changing climate.

We see the arts as playing a key role in this transformation in various ways, including through its ability to create and bring communities together, make the invisible causes and impacts of climate change visible, and by helping society to think in new ways about complex issues and imagine different futures.

Exploring complexity

Sarah Gittins shared with us reflections from her research residency in Ullapool which explored the nature of local livelihoods based upon working ‘on, in or with the sea’, out of which she developed a series of printed works titled ‘Sea Tangle’.

Established by the British Fisheries Society in 1788, Ullapool has long been an active fishing port, surviving numerous busts and booms in the herring industry and supporting both small and large-scale fishing operations. Much of its current fishing catch is transported by refrigerated lorries to fish markets in Southern Europe.

The drawings which emerged from Sarah’s conversations and encounters shone a light on the complex interaction between local fishing practices, the marine ecosystem and how it is being and will be impacted by climate change in the future. We were told the story of the increasing numbers of swimming octopus and squid found in Ullapool waters. A result of rising sea temperature levels and predator loss, this change in the marine ecosystem has had a knock-on effect for shellfish populations, impacting the livelihoods of those dependent on creel fishing.

The octopus became an important symbol in Sarah’s drawings, encompassing what local writer John MacIntyre described as the need to “learn to think in tangles” to address the complexity of the challenges posed by climate change.

Community resilience

From Deveron Projects and Topher, we learned about some different approaches to building community resilience. Anna and Lindy introduced the Deveron Projects’ ‘50/50 model’ which aims to bring together the organisation’s artistic endeavours with the needs and interests of the local community in Huntly, following the maxim of Patrick Geddes ‘think global, act local’. Their current project ‘The Town is the Garden’ is supporting 100 residents to take up food growing initiatives, through which they will explore the wider question of what a sustainable food culture for the town could look like.

Topher shifted our attention from food to energy. He shared his experiences of living off-grid on Scoraig, a settlement located on a peninsula south of Ullapool on Little Loch Broom, highlighting the different relationship Scoraig’s residents have with their energy, and one another, being acutely aware of how one’s individual behaviour fits into a wider whole. He argued for the role of aesthetics in helping to change perceptions of landscape and increasing society’s connection to how energy is produced and consumed.

Topher concluded by asking what would it take for local residents to find beauty and power in a wind turbine situated in full visibility on a hill overlooking Ullapool. The Land Art Generator Initiative, which has a project currently under development in Glasgow, was referenced as a project which seeks to build popular acceptance of clean energy by integrating art and interdisciplinary creative processes into the development of renewable energy generating public artworks.

In different ways, the presentations highlighted the role which artistic practices can play in making new connections between previously disconnected areas, offering a means by which to approach and represent problems from a systems perspective. This ability to think at a systemic level is vital if we are to ensure the prosperity of the natural ecosystems and human societies, now and in the future. This was highlighted in ecological artist Newton Harrison’s recent talk at Woodend Barn and is something Creative Carbon Scotland is exploring through our Embedded Artist Project.

Closing discussion

In group discussions, we reflected upon what sources of hope we drew upon to address climate change, by what means we felt able to take action locally and what role, if any, the arts and culture might play in building community resilience to climate change. Themes emerging included:

  • Finding hope and sources of inspiration in the strong social ties and connections within the local community;
  • Identifying care as a strong motivating factor in local responses to climate change, both for one another and for the non-human;
  • The arts providing a means of developing a language which articulates the social and cultural value of the natural environment;
  • Arts spaces such as An Talla Solais offering important spaces in which to dwell in challenging questions, open-up debates and take risks.

We concluded by collating a list of skills, resources and community qualities which could be put towards the further development of an arts and sustainability network in Ullapool and the wider region in the future.


All images are credited to Saule Zuk

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the event! Green Tease is an ongoing informal events programme which connects creative practices and environmental sustainability. Find out more about previous and upcoming events and how you can get involved in the Green Tease network here.



The post Ullapool Green Tease Reflections 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

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In Conversation with Food

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Last month, I put my food play up onstage in its most fully produced iteration. Even though I had heard it aloud in front of an audience before, I didn’t really know what was going to happen. That’s the beauty of theatre, right? We never really know. But I had expectations, anxieties, hopes. I hoped audiences would connect with the piece, with the issues, with moments in a personal and political way. I hoped they would tell someone in their lives about the experience. I hoped everyone would have a good time.

Logo graphic design by Lucy Ressler.

For the most part, it felt like everyone – audiences and actors – did indeed have a good time. But in the weeks since, I’ve been ambivalent about UPROOT’s effectiveness. How does my play fit into a world where tragedies like the violence in Charlottesville and disasters like tropical storm Harvey are coursing through news media and every-day conversation? I consider this because I hold my processes and work to a socio-political standard, because myself and my collaborators and my work do not exist in a vacuum. Stepping back, I’m considering some of the moments of UPROOT that held particular socio-political resonance.

Over the past decade, I’ve been consuming various food documentaries and writings, which expose another side of the food industry not seen in the restaurants and stores where we actually get our food. These investigations have directly informed my food play, in which I raise questions about where our food comes from and how we in Western society got to be disconnected from those sources. I attempt to address metaphysical ideas in a pedestrian mode, through anthropomorphized foods, and utilizing multiple theatrical conventions. I use group scenes and two-handers and monologues and movement because I want to tear down the artifice of theatre. I am not looking for audiences to have an emotional catharsis by the end of the show: I am looking for audiences to feel a collective energy, to be ready to share their thoughts and questions with others. Not that these are mutually exclusive, but I personally prefer to circumvent and reutilize theatrical conventions to more aptly make space for dedicated conversation around pressing issues.

UPROOT, August 22, 2017. Photo by Ran Xia.

What I found in making a play about food is that I naturally took a route of exploration through words. I used my characters and their circumstances as a vehicle to explore my own ideas about food in America – a very particular Western, privileged culture. My food characters grappled with the existential questions that I ask my peers and myself on a regular basis: What is our purpose? Where do we have control? How do we have agency? In thinking about food, I think about existence, and thus, these broad, human questions arise.

The play also had moments without dialogue – moments between the lines, music, movement. My favorite element was the movement sequence in which the foods go through their physical life at the opening up of the grocery store. Choreographed by my collaborator Tyler Thomas, the store-opening movement sequence encapsulated the experience of a hectic grocery store from the foods’ perspectives. Without words, this part of the play opened up room for interpretation, but was also clear enough – with sounds of price-checkers and cash registers – for the audiences to identify and track the story. This sequence was fun, fast-paced, participatory, and provocative. It brought a new level of energy into the room, and I realize now that it needed a reprise, another offering of action between the lines.

UPROOT, August 22, 2017. Photo by Ran Xia.

This production had double the instances of audience interaction as the staged reading. This came most prominently in the form of audiences receiving things – coupons, snacks, resource sheets. Breaking the convention of the fourth wall in this way suggests to me that I take my play out of a conventional theatre space altogether, so that I might better position audiences to participate. At the same time, I am accustomed to the traditions and boundaries of theatres, and will remain interested in forging new dynamics and practices within such spaces. It was exciting to de-formalize theatrical norms, and I was pleased by the audiences’ receptiveness to the direct-engagement moments, when the house lights turned dimly on and the actors crossed into the seats, to either ask questions or pass out something.

At one point, the actors pass out coupons, to be “redeemed later.” About forty minutes later, they cross back into the audience to receive these coupons in exchange for one of two snacks: carrots or Cheetos. I could not have expected the responses – some audiences were disappointed in their snack, some were guilty at feeling disappointed, some were content with food of any form. While the snacks are being passed out, one actor tells the story of a town with different neighborhoods. One neighborhood has substantial economic resources, the other does not. I chose the snack types on impulse – carrots, a literal and symbolic fresh food, for the neighborhood with means; Cheetos, an epitome of processed, packaged food, for the neighborhood without. Audiences clicked into similar connotations: Cheetos are cheap, everyone is supposed to want to eat their vegetables, we aren’t supposed to eat the highly-processed fake-cheese crunchy goodness. I didn’t expect such excitement or aversion to one food or the other, or the degree of consideration that landed amongst audiences at this scene. It felt satisfying.

I was particularly excited about the post-show conversation on the first performance night. As a frequent theatre-maker and go-er, I am apt to steer away from such very hit-or-miss experiences as a talkback. But given the universal need to eat, audiences stuck around to hear from our panelists – Onika Abraham from Farm School NYC, Ashley Rafalow from CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, and Benjamin Sacks from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University – who localized the issues in the play, and spotlighted the people working on them. Our panelists broadened the topic of food and food justice, and hit on the intersectionality of the food movement, which cross-cuts immigration, workers’ rights, and trade.

I will continue to develop UPROOT, to write and edit, and to talk about food. Through this production process, I’ve felt that the topics and themes I want to hit upon, the vision I have for what role my art can play in society, both encompasses and transcends words (especially in the English language). In this way, I will continue to involve actors and audiences and experts in the development of UPROOT, to cultivate communities, and to usher in the spirit of a sustainable and equitable future for all.

UPROOT, August 22, 2017. Photo by Ran Xia.

Take Action
Donate to the Houston Food Bank to support victims of Harvey.
New York City has a primary mayoral election coming up. Know who’s on the ballot, and where they stand on issues of immigration, workers’ rights, and other justice issues.


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