Yearly Archives: 2017

Last Call: BGA College Green Captain Prize in Final Week of Submission





The Broadway Green Alliance College Green Captain Prize was created to reward College Green Captains for their greening efforts on campus productions. This years winners will be announced by Hamilton’s Seth Green at the 2017 United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) Annual Conference & Stage Expo, March 8-11 in St. Louis, Missouri.

To apply for the prize, College Green Captains should submit a one-page summary statement explaining their greening efforts and a pdf of a 18″x 24″ cardboard poster showing off the best elements of their greening program. Additional documentation can include a 3-5 minute video or up to 10 pages of written reports or spreadsheets documenting the greening.  Photographs with captions explaining the greening program are encouraged.  Winners will have brought innovative, creative, and/or widely-applied greening and energy-efficiency methods into the design and/or production of theatre at their campus.  The posters of finalists will be displayed at the BGA booth at the USITT Expo in March.

Greener practices can involve – but are not limited to – designing theatrical productions in a greener manner (e.g. alternate materials, energy, lighting, costumes or set pieces); running the show in a greener manner (e.g. energy-efficient lighting, rechargeable batteries, or educating the cast and crew about better practices); striking the production in a way that reduces waste (e.g. re-use, recycling, or composting); or changing front-of-house operations to reduce waste and encourage greener audience practices (e.g. alternative advertising, programs, or tickets).

Entries are due by March 1, 2017 and a winner will be announced at the USITT conference in St. Louis.
Entries can be sent to The winner of the BGA College Green Captain award will receive, subject to availability, tickets to the Broadway production of HAMILTON along with a professional backstage tour of the production and a meeting with a current Broadway Green Captain. Though groups can apply, only two tickets are available.  The entire group will receive a certificate commemorating their win.  Any student or faculty/staff member interested in helping to green their theatre department is encouraged to volunteer to be a College Green Captain and to sign up at

All prize applicants must be College Green Captains.

More information about the BGA and the Prize for Achievement in Greener Theatre


Wayfinding in a Time of Resistance 

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

by Guest Blogger Andrea Krupp

(Pictured Above) Flag of retrospection – 18 x 25 – 2017 – acrylic, upcycled synthetic fabric

On November 8, 2016, America elected a new president, and with that the world slipped out of joint. Gone sideways, I vacillate between states of dread, grief, confusion, panic, and self-medicated retreat. I know you feel me, but don’t let’s fall into despair. We are lost, but we will find our way. I believe that as long as we have air to breathe and water to drink, humanity will continue to evolve because it is “in our nature” to strive. As a break from all that striving, it’s comforting to sink into the long view, to think about deep time and humanity’s profound insignificance in the universe, to gain emotional distance from this broken world.

Yet the here-and-now urgently requires our attention! As we know too well, it is also in our nature to destroy. The second hand of the Doomsday clock just nudged closer to midnight and we really do not have time for an evolutionary detour into anti-science, post-factual, cultural chaos. I have never been an activist, but something is WOKE, as they say, and I need to respond.

Art serves as a way finder for culture. Art provides new perspectives and emotional context for thinking about our past and our future, and uncovers essential truths about our existence in the here-and-now. As a visual artist, I believe that what is deeply personal is also deeply human, and therefore “universal.” But when it comes to addressing a global crisis, can subtlety and nuance be useful? What does art activism look like? Can art that arises from an inward-turned process effect outward change? How?

Flag against Arctic Ocean Oil Drilling

Flag against Arctic Ocean Oil Drilling – 18 x 25 – 2017 – acrylic, upcycled synthetic fabric

With these questions in mind, I have been doing online research using keywords like “artists,” “scientists,” “interdisciplinary,” “respond,” and “climate change.” The Artists and Climate Change blog came up right away. I read many stories here and elsewhere of artists who are examining their role in shaping culture, finding a seat at the table, and working with direction and purpose. Culture moves forward incrementally as each one of us builds on the work of others. I am grateful for the artists and thinkers who have come before me, whose labors and love instruct and inspire. To keep the ball rolling, I’d like to point to a book and an article that have been influential in helping me articulate my own response to this crisis.

In 2015, Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin edited a collection of essays in a book called Art in the Anthropocene Encounters among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies.  (Free online PDF, though it’s 400 pages long, or check your local library.) It highlights artists and projects around the globe that respond to and communicate about many aspects of the Anthropocene, including climate change.  From interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists and researchers, to philosophic and poetic musings, this book presents many points of view and many “ways in” to critical discussions around this global environmental emergency.

This blog is a vital resource for learning. I have spent hours exploring links on the frontpage blogroll. On one such foray, as I learned about the Canary Project, I found this article: The Pensive Photograph as Agent: What can non-illustrative images do to Galvanize Public Support for Climate Change Action? by Edward Morris and Suzannah Sayler.

The authors, both Loeb Fellows, are creators, leaders, and teachers of art and activism. The Canary Project was recognized in 2016 with the Art/Act Award. In this article, they discuss their photograph-based project “A History of the Future.” They provide a philosophical framework that explores the intertwining of seeing, knowing, and believing. The article goes deep into the nature of art, and the role of the image as a bridge between scientific data, public understanding, and political will.

Flag for Arctic Sea Ice

Flag for Arctic Sea Ice – 25 x 18 – 2017 – acrylic, up cycled synthetic fabric

“A History of the Future” ostensibly documents climate change through photography and research. Morris and Sayler examine their own response to “looking at” climate change. They present a nuanced reading of how their project unfolded and what they learned from the process. They describe the indifferent, blank stare of nature and the psychology of a populace frozen in a state of inaction vis-a-vis climate change.  Thoughts about collective trauma lead to a discussion of activism in art and beautiful, insightful musings on “the pensive image,” to name a few highlights.

Addressing the challenge of conveying the reality of climate change through visual means, particularly through photography, they say “…climate change cannot be seen in order to be believed.  At the end of the day it must simply be believed, because climate change is a proposition and not a fact (no matter how empirically grounded that proposition might be).”  Their writing opened up new ways of thinking about how to communicate about climate change both directly and indirectly.

Greenlandic Flag

Greenlandic Flag – 18 x 25 – 2017 – acrylic, upcycled synthetic fabric

My takeaway is that, to paraphrase the authors, while art may not be better than direct action to effect change, it contributes to the cultural foundation of public sentiment for direct action to take hold. They continue “Art is good at this because it opens rather than closes thought.”  Or as they say elsewhere in the article, “Art makes space for belief, and belief makes space for change.”

The world needs art and artists. This might be a time for self-reflection and learning.  Good.  We’ll gather our strength, knowledge, passion, and the will to create… and resist.

About the images: These four flags are based on the beautiful red and white Greenlandic flag. Even though it is quite ingeniously abstracted, Greenland’s flag “pictures” nature: the massive ice sheet, the sea ice, the low sun. But what happens to this social imaginary of Greenland when the ice sheet is gone?  Or when lack of sea ice disrupts age-old cycles and opens up new vulnerabilities? Visual art, through the act of picturing, seeds the social imaginary with new ways of seeing and understanding nature. This in turn shapes how we relate to nature, and so on, in a chain of cultural transmission.


Through visual art and the written word, Andrea Krupp engages with recognizing and attending to the exterior world, i.e., earth, nature; the interior landscape of self; and their twining. She believes in the power of visual language to provide new perspectives and deeper context for thinking about our past and our future, and to uncover essential truths about the here-and-now. Both personal and universal, her work explores the critical juncture between humanity and the earth.

Andrea lives and works in Philadelphia. She studied at the University of the Arts, graduated with honors and a BFA in Printmaking in 1984. She is furthermore a historian, rare book conservator, diarist, and word-hoarder.

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

Opportunity: Eco Drama Board of Trustee

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The current Board of Directors comprises individuals with experience in Arts & Events Management, Education, Project Management, Fundraising, Technical Operations and Health and Safety.

We are particularly looking for individuals with skills in Fundraising, Marketing, Strategic Development, Business Management and Finance; ideally who are, or have been, involved in the arts, environment, education or social enterprise sectors.

We are looking for Board members that have a successful record of achievement in their field and ideally a genuine interest in children’s theatre, the arts, education and conservation of the environment.

Board members must be advocates for Eco Drama and its aims and objectives as a social enterprise, be eager to maximise their professional and personal connections to help promote and/or raise funds for the company, and be able to support Eco Drama to develop and present ambitious projects both locally and nationally.

Trustees would be required to attend 4 Board Meetings per year, lasting 2 hours each, usually on week day evenings 6-8pm at Eco Drama’s Glasgow city centre office. Trustees would also be required for a reasonable amount of contact on email/telephone when advice or skills may be sought. Eco Drama will actively seek out opportunities for training and professional development that will nurture the role of a Trustee.

Trustees are voluntary and unpaid roles, however reasonable travel expenses to and from meetings will be paid.

Becoming a Trustee with Eco Drama is a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the community and to be a hands-on part of a developing organisation, as well as adding value to your CV.

Eco Drama is an award winning touring children’s theatre company delivering theatre productions, workshops and creative learning projects to schools, festivals, theatres and community venues across Scotland. Uniquely touring in an electric car and eco van run on recycled cooking oil, our work is celebrated for engaging and inspiring young people in the value of caring for our natural world. The company also creates educational resources, deliver continued professional development sessions for teachers and host community events.

The Trustee Job Description & Application Form are available on our website:

The post Opportunity: Eco Drama Board of Trustee appeared first on 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

Renewable Energy Can Be Beautiful™

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

For me, it was love at first sight: “Renewable energy can be beautiful.”

Back in 2013, when I first saw this trademarked tagline on the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) website, I remember shouting out an involuntary “YES!” to my computer screen. I then copied these five words to a piece of paper and taped it to the filing cabinet next to my desk, where it continues to inspire me to this day.

Founded in 2009 by co-directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, LAGI is a bold multi-faceted, multidisciplinary global collaborative platform to accelerate the transition to post-carbon economies by challenging creatives – artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers and scientists – to design site-specific public art installations that generate carbon-neutral utility-scale clean electricity.

It is called “solutions based art”: part renewable power generators, part large-scale public art installations.

LAGI, 2010, Lunar, Cubit, Abu Dhabi, Masdar, solar, energy, renewable, desert, arid, UAE

Lunar Cubit was the winning submission from the first LAGI competition in 2010, designed for Site #3 in Abu Dhabi near Masdar City. A simple, elegant design: nine pyramids made of solar panels.           

LAGI employs a variety of strategies to advance popular acceptance of clean energy infrastructure: commissions and requests for proposals (RFP), biennial competitions, educational material development, and facilitating participatory design processes within communities.

Of these, LAGI is best known for its free and open biennial competitions that have attracted, since 2010, nearly 1,000 proposals from over 60 countries. The power of the competition model, according to Mr. Ferry, “is that it allows people to be playful, innovative and creative, without the bounds of a specific client.”

“The competition model encourages people to work collaboratively across many disciplines in order to imagine, which is of tremendous value in itself,” Mr. Ferry added.

LAGI, 2012, Freshkills, Fresh, Kills, NYC, New York, solar, renewable, energy, kinetic

A submission to the 2012 competition, Fresh Kills Coaster combines solar (purple panels) and kinetic energy (from human footsteps on the running track, created from repurposed running shoes).                

No monotonous rows of solar PV panels or fields of spinning horizontal axis wind turbines here (ahem… which is exactly what I have spent the last decade photographing!) LAGI takes us in an entirely new direction that elevates clean energy infrastructure to the level of civic art and creative expression.

LAGI submissions are universally elegant, visionary, dazzling and yes, playful. In a word, awesome! Clicking through the design boards from each competition, I feel a rush of emotion: hope, optimism, confidence that the Holy Grail is finally within reach: a 100% clean energy economy in our lifetimes. LAGI shows us the way.

LAGI, Santa Monica, 2016, Wake Up, renewable, energy, CA, water, wave, duck

A whimsical submission to LAGI’s 2016 competition, Wake Up proposes to repurpose retired swan boats (keeping them out of the landfill) into wave generating converters to help power California’s iconic Santa Monica Pier.    

Here are links to each of the four LAGI competitions to date:

  • 2010: Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE
  • 2012: New York’s Fresh Kills Park, US
  • 2014: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2016: Santa Monica, California, US

I am particularly fond of the 2014 winning submission. Argentina-based designer Santiago Muros Cortés’ Solar Hourglass reminds us that “energy is just as precious and fleeting as time, and thus we should take care of it, appreciate it, not waste it.” This luminous hourglass – which doubles as a concentrated solar power station – sends “an optimistic message to those who visit it: that we still have time to make things right environmentally, that we are not beyond the point of no return… and most importantly, we don’t need to be.”

LAGI, 2014, Copenhagen, solar, concentrated, thermal, hourglass, renewable, energy

The 1st place winner of the 2014 LAGI competition, Solar Hourglass, elegantly showcases concentrated solar power technology, designed to produce electricity for 1,000 homes in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. 

The 2018 competition, to be announced soon, will coincide with LAGI’s 10-year anniversary. Reflecting on their first decade, Ms. Monoian credits a large part of LAGI’s success to early support from Abu Dhabi’s Masdar which was “absolutely critical at the beginning, and continues to be so today.”

Looking forward to the next 10 years, Ms. Monoian says the biennial competitions “will continue as long as cities around the world keep approaching us,” but acknowledges, “It’s time to start implementing.”

Which means that within a few years – around the same time that countries like Norway will have completely banned petrol powered cars and Sweden will have completely eliminated fossil fuel usage within its borders – clean power stations as tourist attractions will have become a reality. Here’s a great example as imagined by Munos Cortés:


This is heady stuff! We are living witnesses to the third energy revolution. It’s happening now, all around us. The tsunami has crested; it is irreversible. Creatives around the world should seize this moment to shift the global conversation from despair to optimism, from apathy to action. As Mr. Ferry emphasized, “Make your art social. Hit the streets. Find opportunities to collaborate. Bring it to solutions.”

Through its website and multiple publications, LAGI provides a veritable goldmine of inspiration for urban planners/architects/engineers around the world to rethink our built environments in the context of climate change. More importantly, LAGI encourages us all to embrace utility-scale net-positive energy infrastructure as an integral and vibrant part of our commercial and residential centers.

When asked what is the single most important thing artists can do to address climate change, Ms. Monoian and Mr. Ferry answered simultaneously, in unison: Collaboration. “We are not equipped to work alone.” To create a livable, just world in this age of the Anthropocene, we must embrace the cross-disciplinary creative collaborative process that focuses on solutions. LAGI shows us the way.

Addendum: To the best of my knowledge, there is no other site on the Internet where one can find, all in one place, nearly 1,000 stunningly beautiful and replicable infrastructural solutions to climate change. Collectively, they help us visualize the beauty and promise of our post-carbon future. To quote futurist Alex Steffen, “We can’t build what we can’t imagine.”

Follow Joan Sullivan on Twitter @CleanNergyPhoto


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

Holly Keasey: Santa Fe Art Instutite Water Rights Residency – Introduction

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Holly Keasey is currently undertaking a residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute as part of the Water Rights programme. During the next 8 weeks Holly will be sending regular updates.

“156. Why is the sky blue? -A fair enough question, and one I have learned the answer to several times. Yet every time I try to explain it to someone or remember it to myself, it eludes me. Now I like to remember the question alone, as it reminds me that my mind is essentially a sieve, that I am mortal.

157. The part I do remember: that the blue of the sky depends on the darkness of empty space behind it. As one optics journal puts it, “The color of any planetary atmosphere viewed against the black of space and illuminated by a sunlike star will also be blue.” In which case blue is something of an ecstatic accident produced by void and fire.”
― Maggie Nelson, Bluets (Wave Books, 2009)

A primary observation when arriving in Santa Fe, New Mexico is blueness. Blueness not of water like I am accustomed – that blue filled with surrounding green and a durational dampness – but rather blueness that reflects a niggling lack. A blue where no cloud resides.

A second observation enforces that niggle further as you become physically aware that breathing in this geographical climate, and therefore basic survival here, is a laboured task.*

And a third observation then pushes that niggle down into the gutturals, as the dominant ‘Santa Fe Style’ architecture** conjures up an uncanny reminder of Disney World and yet inside a fe-adobe building you can still find an independent coffee shop, generic in style and intended cliental to any recently gentrified area.


Yet, it is observations like these that make Santa Fe a prime site for reflections on ecological situations developing across the globe and fortunately, many individuals, community groups and organisations here are already undertaking such reflections and acting upon them. This includes Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) that run an annual residency programme with set thematic, which for 2016/17 is ‘Water Rights’.

SFAI was established in 1985 by William Lumpkins and Pony Ault to provide unique opportunities for artists to conduct brief, intense periods of study. The current programme format continues and expands upon this original intention, hosting over fifty local, national or international creative thinkers, artists, designers, educators, policy makers, poets, architects, journalists, and activists to reflect on the issue of ‘Water Rights’ for one to three month periods. During these times, residents are able to establish a network of peers working within a common context; are provided support to develop collaborations such as with the Land Arts of the American West programme and the Academy for the Love of Learning; encouraged to develop their professional profile through press coverage with media consortiums such as Circle of Blue; given access to the community workspace MAKE Santa Fe; and invited to attend interdisciplinary discussions with other research institutes such as Santa Fe Institute that conduct research on complex system-theory application.

That said, the primary purpose is to provide residents the time and space to conduct research and/or develop new work in relation to ‘Water Rights’ which may, one-day, indirectly impact the water rights of the surrounding area.

New Mexico is a state where all its waters sources are transboundary (i.e. are shared with other States), a situation that continues to add to a complex history of water rights influenced by the cultures of the Pueblos, the Spanish Colonists and US Federal Government. This history includes occurrences, such as the use of written law as a weapon of dominating power, that reflect Karl Wittfogel’s theory of the Hydraulic Empire, when control of a society is established through the manipulation of its water supply.11 My particular area of research during this 8-week residency will be on this misuse of law and whether non-specialists can develop tactics that makes use of their potential misunderstandings of intended meaning to create space to dream of alternatives. This research will be part of an on-going body of performative work that aims to establish a need for critical formations of public art to aid ecologically sensitive modes of living, with a particular focus on Water Sensitive Urban Design.

So far though, myself and several of my fellow residents have spent our time soaking in much needed doses of vitamin D as we say hello to the sun after dark winters whilst accepting that altitude sickness has a similar and undesirable effect of a heavy night of drinking and a life-time smoking habit, and it can last twenty-five days.

* The human body works most efficiently at sea level whilst at high altitudes the saturation of oxyhemoglobin in the blood plummets. Santa Fe is situated at 7198 feet above sea level.

** Also known as Pueblo Revival style, it is a regional architectural style that is mandate on all new-buildings in the central Santa Fe area. This includes the use of rounded corners, irregular parapets and thick battered walls to simulate original adobe construction.

Holly Keasey is an artist currently based between Dundee and Stockholm. She graduated with a BA in Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practice from the University of Dundee in 2011 and completed a post-masters course in Critical Habitats from the Department of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm in 2016. Holly’s focus is on the performative role of public art and her approach to practice has led her to take on a variety of roles including Chair-person for the Generator Projects Committee, lead-artist for the Clyde River Foundation and writer-in-residence for Doggerland. More recently, Holly has produced collaborative designs with artist-design Jessie Giovane-Staniland including finalists in the tender competition for the restaurant design of the Dundee branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum; been the DD artist-in-residence at THIStudios; and recently exhibited a solo show at the Scottish Jute Museum. She is currently working with Studio Mossutställningar to program work challenging the urban development at Norra Djurgardsstaden, Stockholm and producing a one-off publication with Kathryn Briggs of Ess Publications on over-coming trauma through aesthetics.

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

Indonesia: Country of the Future

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

20th of January 2017. A friend from Indonesia calls me. Not for anything in specific, just a bit of friend-to-friend chitchat. I can’t help to start a rant about something that starts with a T and ends with rump. Arief interrupts me: ‘Don’t worry sis’, he says. ‘The world has new countries.’ Arief, I have to explain, runs Jatiwangi Art Factory, a non-profit space in the region of Jatiwangi, and manages to mobilise thousands of people in the wider (rural) area to organize all types of cultural events; from performances to discussions and from exhibitions to radio broadcasts. This community is active, engaged and inclusive. They share responsibilities and resources. Still it takes me a few seconds before the penny drops: Arief is telling me the future is not America, it’s not even China, it’s Indonesia. And the reason is that Indonesia is the country of creativity and the country of the commons.


Not for Sale, picture by Jacob Gatot Surarjo

You must have come across this word recently; commons. Whether it was in an art, environmental, social, or policy context, the term ‘commons’ seems a good candidate to replace 2016’s ‘Post-truth’ and is certainly a more reassuring and constructive buzzword. If you’re not familiar with it yet, my personal, non-academic way of explaining the concept of the commons is as a form of sharing of resources by a community without private or governmental intervention. This could concern inherited commons (for instance rivers, forests, air), immaterial commons (for instance intellectual, cultural) or material commons (for instance machinery). It concerns communal resources that are (or rather could be) managed collectively without identified ownership but with shared responsibility. Though the concept of the commons often remains in the topic of social processes, more and more artists, city planners, environmentalists, philosophers, designers and architects around the world are recognising ‘commoning’ as an interesting way of working and as alternative to our broken capitalist and neoliberal systems – keeping commodification, commercialisation and privatisation at arm’s length. Indonesian urbanist Marco Kusumawijaya explains: ‘communities can play an important role in moving towards a different paradigm that is not dominated by capitalism and neoliberal governments. Rather, communities[1] can be the stewards of land and resources as well as being an essential place where relationships, alternatives, substitutes and critiques are constantly in the making.’

13. Nurvista.jpg

Elia Nurvista. Performance. Hunger Inc. Courtesy of Jogja Biennale

Indonesia has a long history of what we might now call ‘commoning’ but what is locally known as gotong royong[2] or bersama sama.[3] Traditionally both social and environmental stewardship have been at the heart of Indonesian kampung[4] life and in Indonesia artists have a key role in keeping this spirit alive. Artist Gustaff Harriman Iskandar explains that artists traditionally have a special status and social function in Indonesian society. ‘The artist often has an important position in the community (sometimes as spiritual leader, or politician) and is expected to make a contribution to society. They are not seen in the individual domain but rather seen in a social context.’


Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina. ‘Trash Ball’.

Beside their sometimes ‘special status’ artists in Indonesia often work in collectives. Art collectives across Indonesia, and particularly in Yogyakarta, are practising this way of working in which they share knowledge, skills, responsibility and resources. Because the government often lacks in providing resources for artists, the artists started to organise themselves. ‘The sheer size of the country [1] makes that things only work on a small scale’, artist Andreas Siagian from Yogyakarta based art/science collective Lifepatch explains. In a country that is so big and diverse, things function better in smaller systems and structures that allow for flexibility, fluidity and self-organising. Lifepatch enjoys the process of collaborating and call this approach DIWO: ‘Not just do it yourself (DIY) but to do it with others (DIWO).

Across Indonesia art collectives are leading the charge in creating alternative ways of dealing with our resources, alternative currencies, exchanging skills, repairing, that have created a strong DIY culture and arts infrastructure, are innovating, experimenting and having fun. The collective is a good alternative to what artist Ade Darmawan from Ruangrupa calls ‘the big structures’. ‘Big structures have more difficulties to be relevant. They are always slow. You need to have real conversation with society and they miss a radar or mapping system. That’s lost. It’s hard for an institution to be localised. My experience with Ruangrupa is not bringing the community to an institution but the other way around.’

At Arsitek Komunitas, a community architecture initiative in Yogyakarta, each project starts with advice from the community. ‘The community doesn’t want to be an object in the collaboration’, says Amalia Nur Indah Sari  from Arsitek Komunitas. ‘Our principle is: believe the people, they are the solution. You need to trust the community and the community needs to trust you.’


Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina. ‘Public Furniture’. Jakarta, 2010.

In addition to Indonesia’s creativity, solidarity and resourcefulness, there is a vast amount of (localised) knowledge of the natural world, whether it’s the indigenous communities in Riau, farmers on the rice fields of Bali practising subak[2] , or the Tukang[3] in Jakarta, the amount of knowledge and creativity this country holds is unseen of. All together it forms a strong set-up for a sustainable society. There is so much to learn from this society that has been through wars and genocide, which is at the forefront of climate change, centre of environmental degradation and one of the biggest carbon emitters in the world.This is our chance to widen our thought horizons: there are alternatives on offer.

[1] Indonesia is not only the world’s fourth most populous country in the world with its 257,563,815 inhabitants:, based on data from 2015

[2] A sustainable form of water management developed in the 9th century that is based on sharing.

[3] Repairmen

[1] Kusumawijaya explains community as ‘a group of people where its members live together in a territory, and share some commons in concrete way, with bounds and consequences immediately felt when something goes wrong.’

[2] Refers to a collaborative approach and a way of working for a higher communal goal

[3]  A Malay word that translates as togetherness.

[4]  Village or community

This research was commissioned by the Asia-Europe Foundation and the full research publication will be freely available on Culture 360 from April 2017.

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