Monthly Archives: January 2018

Opportunity: Home Energy Research Project

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Households in Edinburgh and the surrounding (EH and KY1-7,11-12) postcodes are invited to take part in the IDEAL Research Project

IDEAL is a research project investigating how smart technology can help people find ways to use less gas and electricity in the home. It uses sensors to record energy use and details such as temperature and humidity and gives feedback to help reduce energy use, while maintaining comfort and convenience. Households in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife (KY1-7,11-12) are invited to take part.
The main criteria to be eligible are as follows:

  • Participants must have a gas combi boiler heating system.
  • Participants must not be planning to move before the end of June 2018
  • Participants must have home broadband

Please note: Homes with a smart meter are not eligible due to smart meters not being compatible with the energy monitoring equipment.

Benefits of participating include:

  • Gain insight into your home energy use
  • Receive tailored advice from University of Edinburgh experts
  • Receive a tablet used to display energy use information
  • Save money on your gas and electricity bills

To register your interest in this cutting edge smarter home energy research please email IDEAL@changeworks.org.uk or call us on 0131 539 8610 before the 9th of March 2018.


The post Opportunity: Participants wanted for cutting edge home energy research project 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

Opportunity: Scottish Collaborations

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland is looking for arts organisations interested in participating in the Cultural Adaptations project which, if we are successful in our bid to the EU’s Creative Europe fund, will start in October 2018.

Cultural Adaptations will be led by Creative Carbon Scotland. In Scotland we will be working in collaboration with our adaptation partner Sniffer and the Climate Ready Clyde initiative on:

  • Developing methodologies for cultural SMEs to assess the risks to their business from the impacts of climate change and to create strategies for adapting to those impacts; and
  • Embedding an artist in an adaptation project to apply their unique set of skills and practices to tackling adaptation challenges in a non-artistic field.

We will then review these activities with our cultural and adaptation partners from Belgium, Ireland and Sweden and with two evaluators, to draw out the learning and good practice and create a Toolkit and supporting Digital Resource that will enable other cultural and adaptation actors to replicate them.

Do you fancy registering an interest in …

  • the workshop for cultural managers to benefit from the methodologies developed by the project (March 2019)?
  • coming along to our end of project conference in October 2020 (there will be some subsidised places for freelance artists) to discuss the learning from the project and hear more about the Toolkit and Digital Resource produced by the project?
  • Receiving regular email updates about the project as it progresses?

Click the link below to register your interest in Cultural Adaptations. You will be redirected to the Original Posting.


 

The post Opportunity: Cultural Adaptations – Seeking Scottish collaborations 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

IN KINSHIP: A River and Recovery

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Oh silky salt flat of muck
you hide the mercury methylating
within
The crickets don’t care
—Cheri Domina, Participant
IN KINSHIP “Penobscot Estuary Great Migrations Writing Tour”

In the winter of 2015 I began spending time with the Penobscot River, the heart of the largest watershed in Maine, while meeting and conversing with folks who are connected to it. Working closely with several artists and community advisors, we initiated a series of collaborations now collectively called IN KINSHIP. A multi-year performance project, this river-driven community dialogue is made up of many discrete nodes in a variety of experimental formats. They function as individual performative events with their own dramaturgies and smaller audiences but also come together to make up a larger, cohesive dialogue. The IN KINSHIP Visioning Group is Eric Green, Jennie Hahn, Gudrun Keszoecze, Bonnie Newsom, Ian Petroni, Kris Sader, Rory Saunders, and Cory Tamler; many of these central collaborators appear in the text below.

Maine rivers once supported hundreds of millions of migratory fish returning from the ocean each spring. Now several critical species hover near extinction. The Penobscot River is in recovery, like many rivers in North America, from two centuries of industrial abuse. Penobscot Indian Nation, indigenous to this watershed for at least 10,000 years, is at the forefront of these recovery efforts. The Tribe has consistently implemented the highest environmental standards to protect their ancestral homeland. The State of Maine is currently challenging Tribal sovereignty, and attendant rights to determine stewardship practices, in multiple federal court cases. Residual pollution from historic paper mills, corporate efforts to secure groundwater extraction rights, landfill expansion, and metallic mining round out a series of threats that are echoed in river systems around the globe.

Challenges are plentiful. Nevertheless, water quality has improved greatly in the past generation and swimming in the river is once again possible. Three years ago, two hydroelectric dams were completely removed, returning a portion of ancestral habitat to the twelve diadromous fish species native to this system.

IN KINSHIP is not designed to address a single facet of environmental harm or manifestation of climate change for this river. Rather, it is an arts-based effort to help increase the resiliency of the system and everyone who is a part of it, to tell its many stories, to invest in recovery, and to shift the consciousness of its communities toward justness. The project employs three guiding principles that apply to theatre in a time of climate change: reducing remoteness, dispersed leadership, and partnership with nonhumans.

Reducing Remoteness

Remoteness allows a high level of dissociation between costs and benefits, between elite consumption benefits and ecological damage.
Val Plumwood, Environmental Culture

Val Plumwood, an Australian eco-feminist philosopher, offers many useful distillations regarding how activists can focus their efforts to move societal consciousness away from anthropocentric plunder. Among them is the idea of “reducing remoteness.” Manifestation of remoteness from environmental harm can be spatial, temporal, consequential, and communicative. What we can do is reduce this remoteness through any means necessary: by telling the stories, building the bridges, and revealing connections.

Our earliest conversations in the watershed led us to the fisheries. In our first IN KINSHIP collaboration, writer Cory Tamler and I shadowed Maine DMR biologists for four days and co-wrote a collection of scores for performance in response. We launched a deeper partnership in 2016 that paired three artists each with a biologist and a community organization to co-create a small group public event. These six- to eight-hour dialogues included fisheries science education, a group creative process in the discipline of the artist, and site-specific outdoor experiences on the river. Some of the excerpts included here provide glimpses into the experiences that were created.

Working closely with biologists over the last two years we learned that efforts to support migratory fish populations historically focused on the species of greatest value to human communities. But research conducted a decade ago argued that to restore Atlantic Salmon, the best hope lay in improving conditions for all of the other fish that call the river home. The interactions among participants in the system enable a thriving life for all.

Each of the biologists we worked with last year chose to thematically focus their material on connectivity. The term has physical implications: lakes and streams in the headwaters must be physically connected to the Atlantic Ocean and free of human-made barriers for salmon to successfully spawn. But the less tangible interpretations of connectivity, and their applications among human communities and between and among all life, are just as critical to successful recovery of balance within our ecosystems. How do we increase our awareness? How do we see the connections we are blinded to?

I encourage people to think of self as a kind of spiritual, ecological life force. And every one of us shares that same thing with the fish, with the trees, with each other and when we acknowledge that connection, that same life force, that same energy that connects us, we treat each other better…it gives us a common relationship. If you walk through life and think of what your spiritual ecological life force (self) can do in this world, instead of what life can bring to you…if you can practice the value systems of our ancestors and walk a little more humbly through life, you will help heal the world.
—Bonnie Newsom, Archaeologist
IN KINSHIP “Songwriting, Archaeology, and Fisheries Restoration Site Visit”

Eric Green, artist, Dan McCaw, fisheries biologist, and Alexis Ireland, dialogue participant, view construction of a new lake outlet designed to improve passage for migratory fish in Penobscot Nation territory. Photo by Jennie Hahn.

Dispersed Leadership
When I began working on IN KINSHIP, I knew that choosing the Penobscot River as an anchor and a guide would require me to seek creative relationships in Maine’s indigenous communities. My family has lived in Maine for twelve generations; the first of my ancestors to settle here arrived in 1632. The violence of early settlement and the ongoing cultural genocide it unleashed unquestionably live in my blood, along with a fierce love for my homeland and an unshakable commitment to the communities she nurtures.

Correcting course in a time of environmental crisis is going to require us to nestle in the most uncomfortable sticky places we can find and wait for guidance. The inequity inherent in my relationship with indigenous people, the necessity of placing myself to actualize its repair, and the intersection of racial justice with the environmental protection I hope to address require a form of leadership that disrupts and replaces the largely colonial and patriarchal models I have inherited.

As the instigator of IN KINSHIP, I have spent a fair amount of time sitting with the paradoxes of how to lead by following, how to initiate with listening, and how to make concrete choices while maintaining an expansive openness to redirection. The goal for IN KINSHIP and the culture it creates is genuinely dispersed leadership. This does not mean that there is no leadership, or that all decisions must be collectively made. Rather, it means that no decision is made in isolation, and that everyone is invited to assume a leadership role when they feel called to take it. In the hope of creating these conditions, we have recently implemented two new structural mechanisms: the first is a Visioning Group, managed with rotating leadership, that includes many of our cross-sector partners from previous initiatives. The second mechanism diversifies the initiation process. Individual members of the IN KINSHIP community (artists and non-arts partners) identify new collaborations according to their personal interests and expertise, and are supported in development efforts by the broader group.

It is also possible for IN KINSHIP to bolster other like-minded initiatives outside of itself, not by drawing them in to IN KINSHIP activities but by standing alongside them. Several months ago, in a personal effort to prioritize indigenous cultural narrative by learning from and directly supporting the vision(s) of indigenous leaders, I volunteered to help coordinate an event called Healing Turtle Island. Four days of healing and prayer organized by Sherri Mitchell and led by spiritual elders from around the globe, this event was open to all. We sat together, accepted deeply relevant offerings of story and song, and worked to heal the wounds of violence between and among people and the earth. While this event was in no way affiliated with IN KINSHIP, its objective is similar, and my participation in this parallel work is likely to inform IN KINSHIP creative processes and partnership approaches.

Did you lose your way?
Propel yourself around the globe
I’ve had a heck of a ride
From the sea we came
I’ve been here and there
Farther than you think my son
Like we always were
Now you show
—Collectively written lyrics
IN KINSHIP “Songwriting, Archaeology, and Fisheries Restoration Site Visit”

Artist Cory Tamler holds a river herring she has pulled from Blackman Stream with her bare hands. This unexpected moment of cross-species interaction took place during a three-day job shadow of Maine DMR biologists in migration season. Photo by Jennie Hahn.

Partnership with Nonhumans
Olfactory: A Score for One Performer

Recall the dominant smell of your childhood home. Find it.
—From IN KINSHIP Performance Scores, co-written by Cory Tamler and Jennie Hahn

Melded with efforts to reduce remoteness and establish naturally dispersed leadership models is a need to more accurately see our human place in the natural world, particularly in relation to the nonhuman inhabitants we share it with. We must actively labor to adjust our consciousness, personally and collectively. Both individual practices and community performance can help unravel our assumptions, revealing the information necessary for culturewide behavioral change.

IN KINSHIP aims to consider this in practical terms: how might we expand our partnership development strategies to incorporate nonhuman partners? If we view the river and its nonhuman populations as both characters and participants in our dialogue, how might it help us strategically care for the needs of an entire ecosystem?

This impulse has found awkward and fledgling expression. Sometimes it manifests in a startling moment of increased collective awareness, arrived at by curating a rich and layered community experience. Sometimes it emerges as a formal collaborative writing process. Sometimes, it is simply a message of love.

‘I’m going to give everybody a piece of this lightweight paper, which is made of the inner bark of the mulberry bush. It’s biodegradable and nontoxic. You’re going to write your wish (for the river) on one of these.’
‘I don’t know how to spell.’
‘That’s why your other person is going to help you. And you know what? The river doesn’t care. Right? As long as the thought is there?’
‘And you’re going to put it inside of the mussel?’
‘You bet. We’re going to roll it up like a little secret scroll message, after you write it…I want you to take these home and you throw it in the river sometime… The first thing that will happen is the wheat will dissolve, and this will come off, right? And it will fall to the bottom of the river and it’s bark, really. Right? What happens? It will decompose. The clam will be able to open up, and your message will come out, and flow down the river for as long as the paper lasts. Okay? Does that sound like a cool thing?’
—Kris Sader, Artist, with participating children
IN KINSHIP ‘Pushaw Paddle: Art & Fisheries for Families’

To understand the scope of our planet’s health crisis and to visualize its healing requires hefty imaginative capacity. Individually and collectively, that capacity can be strenuous to summon. I find some gritty kind of comfort in the particular magic of the theatre to make worlds manifest. I wonder, in a time of climate change, can our theatre succeed in sculpting the reality that we want to enter? In what it reveals and in how it functions, can theatre enact the balance, the equity, and the environmental vitality we fervently hope for in our world?

(Top image: Building a web of connections: after a two-hour canoe paddle and discussion led by biologists, these children and their families link painted beaver sticks according to the ecological connections they have observed. Photo by Jennie Hahn.)

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Jennie Hahn is an interdisciplinary theater producer, director, and performer with a focus on community engagement and civic dialogue. Deeply committed to the vitality of community life in her home state of Maine, Jennie’s work explores the impact of economic, demographic, and land use changes on rural identity and culture.


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

In Conversation: Gudrun Filipska and Veronica Sekules

Gudrun Filipska from the Arts Territory Exchange in conversation with Veronica Sekules the founder of ‘Groundwork‘ the First Gallery in the UK to be dedicated to Art and the enviroment. The conversation covers issues surrounding arts and ecology, artists and travel, fracking, global warming and discusses the last exhibition held at Groundwork ‘Fire and Ice’ by Jessica Rayner and Gina Glover as well as advertising the start date for the next exhibition Trash Art by Jan Eric Visser opening on the 9th of March.



Download the Original Article <<<<…Or Read it Below Here:



 

Groundwork is located near to the banks of the river Ouse in the slowly regenerating post- industrial docklands area of Kings Lynn, UK. When the gallery opened in 2016 the curator and owner Veronica Sekules asked artist Richard Long if he would make a piece for the gallery – he agreed and requested a sample of Ouse mud, he subsequently made The Great Ouse River Drawing which is on permanent display at the gallery.

The river Ouse, with a winding course of 143 miles, ambles its way from central England through the Fens, past Ely and onwards to Kings Lynn where it it flows into the mouth of the Wash. The name itself suggests the slow moving Laugour of a river laden heavy with mud and silt. In the Fens it is an essential and highly modified channel which takes the burden of overflow water from the periodically flooded and highly prized agricultural land. The Fens are a place of silt, a land deforested, desiccated and compartmentalised and much Fen silt ends up deposited at the mouth of the Wash in Kings Lynn.

GF What does it mean to you to be close to the Ouse?It is such a powerful emblem to me of the drainage of the Fens and the subsequent ecological consequences, I can’t imagine a more perfect location for Groundwork and the work by Richard Long using the Ouse mud further embeds the gallery in its location…The emblem of the river seems to be a very important one in ‘environmental art’ I am thinking of Jem Southam’s River photographs and Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Riverbed’ among others…

VS The river location is absolutely critical to the gallery’s identity and ethos. It is exactly because of it, and the fact that it is in a food plain, that a focus on the environment made complete sense, both in the context of the town and the need for it to be explicit about its perilous position in the light of climate change, and in terms of the art world at large. There are no other galleries with quite the same concentrate and consistent focus. Its location gives it its legitimacy and the reason for its urgency. Apart from this important foundation idea for the gallery, I have not yet pursued it specifcally as a theme (except with Richard Long), although I have been talking for some time to Simon Faithfull about exhibiting a series of images he has made while sailing the Great Ouse. I hope that will form the core of a theme to be pursued from 2019.

The specifc details of the history of the local river, or rivers, as you say are pertinent – not so much literally, but as a symbol of how environmental change is a part of bigger societal change and often controlled by factors which are not benefcial for it. The Great Ouse has had a chequered history and now is hardly used by boats. It fows out to the Wash and the opening out of the fenland landscape can be seen just beyond the town boundary. The conficting pull of the tides has always made it difcult to navigate, which the engineers who drained the fens in the 17th century tried to avoid, or remedy, by opening up alternate river channels. It has also always had a tendency to silt up badly, a fact noticed by Daniel Defoe in the early18th century. Its tributary, the Purfeet upon which the gallery building sits directly, was worse, as it was slower to drain and fow and was known as a stinking drain in the 19th century. Now it is culverted and maintained (sort of) by the Council as a reed-bed, seldom cut, in order to preserve its biodiversity. In summer, ducks live there, as well as moorhens, reed warblers and plenty of dragonfies.

Richard Long made his 2016 drawing with Great Ouse mud, as it needed to be tidal. For me it is a

symbol of the endurance of nature, its structures surviving and adapting to change and it holds out hope, not least that an artist can be the one to remind us of its modest powers.

The Great Ouse River Drawing – By Richard Long, July 2016. Created specially for Groundwork. Image Veronica Sekules

GF Your recent exhibition ‘Fire and Ice’ by Gina Glover and Jessica Rayner touched on so many issues, from energy use and climate change to post industrial futures and economies of human confict. I was particularly struck by the theme of ruin and degradation. Ideas of ruin, which have long been explored in environmental art are touched on here in a literal sense by the melting of ice and the destructiveness of fre but also in a more complicated way in ‘Poisoned waters run deep’ Glover’s black and white series of photographs documenting fracking sites in the US – on frst look the images echo Bernd and Hilla Becher’s industrial photographs (1966-1999) they have a similar formalist style and it almost takes a second look to realise the series is contemporary.The aesthetic of the photographs speak through a similar nostalgia to that evoked by the Becher’s images of post industrial monuments but their positioning as new emblems of industrial intervention mean they act both as markers for future ruin and degeneration as well as cleverly harking back to ‘ruin’ as nostalgic site of mourning…do you have any thoughts on these ideas?

VS Yes, this is very interesting indeed and the more one thinks about it and views the images, the more complex the issues become. I have had the privilege of talking quite a lot to the artists, and

then seeing the images every day for several months, and engaging in numerous conversations, some of them with people who have been very thoughtful and knowledgeable about the issues they tackle. Gina Glover’s Poisoned Water Runs Deep images were generally reckoned to be powerful, hard hitting. In fact they were printed in black and white, with heightened negative in the background, but there is one of the original colour prints reproduced in her book ‘The Metabolic Landscape’ which shows how extensively she manipulated the image subsequently to give it a doom-laden edge. So, in monochrome, it has become superfcially more like a Bernt and Hilla Becher than before, though, while I agree theirs suggest ideas of post industrial ruin and a nostalgia for a lost economy, I think that Gina’s images aim to portray the machinery as an active agent of destruction rather than ruin. There is something of the science fction about her tanks and ladders and rocket-like projections, and I fnd them a little frightening. On the other hand, equally manipulated digitally to enhance their soft colours and mists, her melting ice pictures are simply beautiful, one of them, someone said they could just stand in front of endlessly, as it took their breath away. That was their strange power – we ought to be disturbed because of the loss they represent, yet their beauty induces a sense of guilt.

Image from Gina Glover’s Poisoned Water Runs Deep photographic series. Groundwork 2017.

Jessica Rayner’s work has quite a diferent emphasis I think, on renewal, innovation, resourcefulness. The fre integral to her work ‘Conversion’, never appears as destructive. The bale of biofuel at its centre, lives on through the work as the fre roars around it and is then absorbed back into it in an endless loop. So the fre is in efect the force which enables transformation from one medium into another, but we never see that happening, as the bale of straw-fuel never disappears. So, it is an illusion. The work doesn’t answer the question as to whether or not this is a good idea but it raises many questions, and it is an image, once again, that stuck in people’s minds very powerfully. Others of Jessica’s works tackled similar issues of apparent renewal. The ice block which I showed opposite ‘Conversion’ is called ‘Nothing is Destroyed’ and is chipped away to shards and then reappears as a block, endlessly repeating its life-death cycle. So it is not for me a cycle which is about mourning, but it expresses hope that we are not actually witnessing complete loss, but change, and that in order to understand the forces of change, we need to rethink our prejudices. That for me is a very strong message about climate change.

GF…I was also very interested in the varied locations of the works in the Fire and Ice show (Iceland, the US, Greenland…) and how important ideas of travel and journeying have been historically in work which considers the environment, whether as a narrative device as in Patrick Keiller’s ‘Robinson in Space’ or as a performative and explorative tool as in the work of many ‘land artists’ and contemporary ‘walking artists’ such as Francis Alys, Hamish Fulton and members of WAN (the Walking Arts Network). As an aside, Im also wondering how the economies of travel which are necessary to further research work in the humanities and sciences are both aided by narratives of globalisation and its ease of travel and at the same time troubled by air travels impact on climate change for example and how these tensions and contradictions can be managed…perhaps opening up new opportunities for engagement that can be both local and far reaching such as Chris Kraus’s propositions for radical localism1… I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the political implications of artists ‘travel’ and how these ideas may have changed post ‘Land art’?

VS The whole question of travel in the art world is fraught with contradictions. It was a problem for Cape Farewell, who were criticised for sending artists on expeditions to the Arctic, and that being in contrast with the idea of a low carbon economy necessary for mitigating some of the impacts of climate change. Yet, the role of the artist as ‘witness’ is a crucial and long-standing one. We need the authenticity and independence of vision that an artist can contribute, and not least, the willingness to be critical and both to take risks and portray them. For artists too of course, travel is an important professional development thing and means for inspiration. Gina and Jessica cemented their relationship as artists through their travels to Iceland. For Hilary Mayo, it enabled a complete change of direction, giving her work new force and imagery.

Land Art is also complex – depending on whether we are talking about the American or the British versions, which are deeply contradictory, the former being very much about dramatic reshaping of landscape and the latter about minimal and very personal intervention. Ditto, the whole notion of walking art, which can be equally about risk, about modernisim, history, location – depending on who you are talking about. I think that your Arts Territory Exchange, enabling virtual and locally based collaborations and initiatives, is one of the ways forward. There is a big localism movement developing, which I also have written about – and at best this can be about regeneration and understanding indigenous knowledge as well as valuing the minutiae of place.2

GF I was struck by a quote I read recently by Nancy Holt about her ‘Sun Tunnels’ (1977) in rural Utah, that the landscape ‘…could speak of walking on earth that has surely never been walked upon before,(evoking) a sense of being on this planet, rotating in space, in universal time’3. I was considering how our concept of time in ‘environmental art’ may have changed over the past 50 years, the idea of a universal time or being suspended in space in this way seems an impossibility now – due largely to the fact that environmental issues are far more pressing and urgent – the feeling that we are existing on a kind of borrowed time now the climate change tipping point4 has been passed and even if co2 ommisions were reduced completely, the damage already done is no longer reversible…I suppose I am wondering what these knowledges mean for contemporary arts practice and activism in general, especially in an age when the president of the United States denies climate change in favour of industry and economic development. So the idea of ‘universal’ time that Holt talks about has been perhaps been replaced by some kind of anxious and increasingly frenetic temporal landscape, and i’m interested in what this may mean for the making work and the need as talked about by artists such as Marina Abramovic to be inside of time and to suspend time somehow in order to carve out a space in which to make art…?

VS Regarding the notion about time, it depends very much on who you are looking at. For many artists now, the idea of deep time is more relevant than ever – look for example at the great interest

being shown in geology and eg. Doggerland – the prehistoric environment beneath the North Sea, or at the impact of development of the Anthropocene. Mind you, both these ideas speak of landscape that has very much been trodden – and that is the really big diference from Nancy Holt’s era. And I think that the Climate change and the feelings of human responsibility for it have very much led to and accelerated interest in these ideas about traces from former civilisations and the impact on the present – and how we read the past. I think that Marina Abramovic’s concerns come from a diferent place – being very sensitive to the autonomy of art, and the idea of the artist as author deeply within a protected practice, with a right to dip in and out of time at will. She may or may not share concerns about climate change, but I don’t see that as being primary for her, as much as the idea of Vanitas – focussing on life and death and on the limits of human life and experience.

GF …also in terms of audience engagement and ideas around ‘looking’, slowness is equally as important as an urgency in consumption, how as as curator do you balance the delivery of a message or the raising of awareness around environmental issues with the importance of the suspended time necessary for spectator engaging with the work? And how important is the delivery of a message to your remit as a gallery?

VS I love the whole idea of ‘slow’ – as in slow food, slow art – and I think it can also be applied to slow looking. But there is also an urgency in terms of the environment. They are not necessarily contradictory ideas though. In order to understand the environment and the issues we face in our relationships with it, we need to focus on its minutiae. In both cases, being slow often involves careful looking and engaging in conversation. I very much regard the gallery as a place for both and try to engage people in conversation, though of course silent contemplation is important too. Roger Ackling used to tell a wonderful story about the best tutorial he ever held at Chelsea with two artists, was a completely silent communion in front of their work. He had told them only to talk when they were ready and they saw no need. Silence can be a bit of an elite thing though – like minimal art – very much for those who already understand things deeply.

As for the environment and how I relate to it via the gallery, it is a question of watching listening and being attentive to what artists are doing and using the work of theirs that I show as a springboard for campaigning about issues it raises. That happens through conversations, discussions, colloquia, conferences, workshops. These have to work across disciplines and I am a great advocate for that, as a means to engage people beyond the confnes of the contemporary art world. I see the gallery as a place that bridges between specialists and non-specialists, and people of diferent specialisms. It is, and ought to be a social space, welcoming of diferent points of view. My space is intentionally hybrid – using the methods of a public gallery with the practices of a commercial one, i.e. being a shop, as it matters to me ethically to engage in the economy. Being on the high street is as important as being on the river. I am bringing international and global artistic and environmental concerns there, and I hope, a greater interest in how art can engage with environmental politics as well as with people’s daily lives.


Groundwork’s next exhibition Trash Art opens on the 9th of March and Veronika Sekules new book ‘Cultures of the Countryside, Art | Museum | Heritage | Environment ‘ is available now published by Routledge.


1Chris Krauss, 2012, Kelly Lake Store & Other Stories, Portland, Companion Editions.
2Veronica Sekules, 2018, Cultures of the Countryside, Art | Museum | Heritage | Environment, London and New York, Routledge.
3 Lucy Lippard, 1983, ‘Overlay – Contemporary Art and the Art of Pre-history’. NewYork.pantheon. page 106.
4 A few years ago, 400 parts per million for carbon dioxide was widely cited as the tipping point for climate change. Whether it’s a tipping point or a milestone, we have decisively passed it and CO2 levels appear certain to continue rising. Forbes www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2017/03/16/. Article written by Earl J. Ritchie.

 

Persistent Acts: Belarus Free Theatre

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

This season, I will be taking a closer look at the intersection of performance, climate, and politics with the Persistent Acts series. In this divisive political moment, I will share examples of performances that persevere in pursuit of intersectional justice and sustainability. How does hope come to fruition, even in the most dire circumstances? What are tangible alternatives to the oppressive status quo? I will consider questions of this nature to motivate conversations and actions on climate issues that reverberate through politics and theatre. To kick off 2018 and the series, I explore my experience at Belarus Free Theatre’s latest touring work, Burning Doors.

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One of my favorite theatre companies of all time, Belarus Free Theatre, brought their new work, Burning Doors, to New York City’s La MaMa last October. I first encountered this Belarusian company in London, when I saw their piece on capital punishment, Trash Cuisine. I got to see BFT again with their production Red Forest, about climate change. Those two productions from this now London-based company rocked my world, and my ideas of what theatre can be and do: Not only can performance be immersive, it can also plant seeds of change and cultivate actions. As a political theatre company, BFT raises consciousness about pressing socio-political concerns. Like the previous two shows I saw, Burning Doors is extremely urgent, as the dialogue, physical moments, and music track contemporary human rights violations.

Burning Doors investigates and meditates on questions of freedom, expression, oppression, and art, through the lives of Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian artists who have been persecuted for their creative expressions, resulting in violent imprisonments. In the pre-show, profiles and images of the persecuted artists are projected on the wall, as an introduction to the performance and to the stories being investigated. At the top of the show, the stark space fills with ominous sounds, and the voices of the performers draw us into an Eastern European setting.

Burning
The performance toggled between soliloquies from or about these three artists and scenes of Russian government officials conspiring on their persecution. In addition to these textual moments in Russian and Belarusian, instances of intense physical action enveloped the stage, as actors ran in circles or ran directly towards the audiences for extended durations. This rigorous physical element evoked the corporal condition: we humans only have these breathing, blood-pumping bodies. In the scenes with government officials, the corporal is also evoked as these officials are in dialogue while sitting on toilets. These compromising positions were welcome moments of humor and deepened the satire on such bureaucrats. Though I am a theatremaker concerned with climate, with what’s beyond the human, I do start with myself, with the body that I have. Once I recognize my own form and hold awareness for my capabilities and limitations, I am better prepared to get to work on climate action.

In another scene, three women sit in a triangle, while a fourth gets into their faces, berating each woman for saving a moth. After the sequence of questions and answers, the women would trade places and rotate, so that everyone filled each of the roles. This scene was fascinating to me in that the questions being asked were so elementary, yet the delivery was filled with vigor: Why did you save the moth? Did you know the moth would die by the end of the day? The juxtaposition of fury and innocence, and the way that the players rotated, evoked questions of authority. The subject of the questioning, an unseen moth, introduces a hierarchy of species: How are moths impacted by humans? Who, among humans, is able to save a moth? Do moths want to be saved? From my climate perspective, this scene referenced the era of the Anthropocene, with human activity as the dominant influence on other species and on our planet. I was left with even more questions about who has the power in our ecological system.

I was also struck by the participatory elements of the production. One of my favorite moments (spoiler alert!) comes after a woman delivers a monologue about her imprisonment. Suddenly, the stage action holds, the house lights dim on, and we are met with the woman, Maria Alyokhina, of Pussy Riot, and a male moderator. The play opens up to include a “talk-back” for the audience with Alyokhina herself. At first, the downtown New York audience was timid, too accustomed to the “typical” role of audience as passive spectator. With some coaxing from the moderator, a few hands raised to ask Alyokhina about her life post-imprisonment, about her perspective on the United States and Russia and democracy. This moment was a practice in democratization itself; the audience suddenly had a chance to participate directly in the performance. I was surprised by this dialogue with the audience, and thrilled at the opportunities that such a theatrical device can offer, as I seek more and more to make space for conversations with and amongst audiences in my own work.

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The final segment of the performance highlights Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is currently imprisoned for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks. After curtain call, the artistic director of BFT, Natalia Kaliada, brought postcards designed by Ai Weiwei for the audience to write notes for Oleg. This tangible step resonated – skilled artists of multi-media coming together around human issues to support our shared humanity. BFT is effective in that they highlight human rights that are easily taken for granted by Western (American) culture, and provide direct roads to action. In this time of political and ethical divisiveness, I seek the issues and injustices that bridge various identities, that transcend political affiliations, and reach the core of what makes us human.

fingers

Image designed by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei for BFT’s I’m with the Banned campaign.

In BFT’s Burning Doors, I experienced how political acts of resistance can have a role on the stage. Through rigorous physical moments, BFT cuts to what it viscerally means to be human, and in their playing around with hierarchies and authorities, I reckon with my political implications. I know that those with political power are not doing their jobs for vulnerable populations, for our planet, or for our future. These instances of interrogating authority are vital toward altering this status quo, and reconfiguring how decisions, from tax brackets to healthcare to energy regulations, can be made.

(All photos of Belarus Free Theatre’s Burning Doors unless indicated otherwise.)

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Julia Levine is a creative collaborator and vegetarian. Originally from St. Louis, Julia is now planted in the New York City downtown theatre realm. As a director, Julia has worked on various projects with companies that consider political and cultural topics, including Theater In AsylumHonest Accomplice Theatre, and Superhero Clubhouse. She is on the Marketing team at HERE Arts Center and is a co-organizer with Climate Change Theatre Action. Julia writes and devises with her performance-based initiative, The Food Plays, to bring questions of food, climate, and justice into everyday life.


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

Sea of Troubles

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

As human systems affect the Earth’s oceans, the oceans in turn affect life on land. The oceans function as the Earth’s climate system, pumping heat and moisture around the globe. Ocean currents regulate the temperature and precipitation on the continents, shaping the climate. Climate change has drastically affected the health and function of our oceans.

The ocean’s role in climate change is explored by many contemporary artists who take on the topics of melting glacial ice, warming seas, storm surge, flooded coastal cities and ocean water pollution. These artists communicate the science of these environmental issues in an accessible visual manner, and consider science, exploration and activism as a key part of their art.

As those familiar with the fundamentals of global warming know, the root cause is the warming of the earth due to the increased emission of greenhouse gases. The burning of fossil fuels releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it traps heat. The earth’s oceans absorb most of this excess heat.

The effect of this extensive heat absorption on the oceans is drastic. As the temperature of the oceans rise, the seawater expands, resulting in rising seas. This sea level rise is one of the most dramatic consequences of global warming, flooding land and infrastructure, particularly along coastal areas.

Warmer temperatures also precipitate the melting of the glaciers and the enormous ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica. As the ice melts a huge volume of water is added to the oceans, causing the sea levels to rise drastically.

Diane Burko, Landsat Jakobshavn B, 2015. Oil and Flashe Paint on Canvas, 42″x72″.

Melting glaciers have been the focus of artist Diane Burko for several decades. She has investigated geological phenomena throughout the world in collaboration with research scientists, and has undertaken expeditions to some of the largest remaining ice fields.

Large-scale series of paintings and photographs document the disappearance of glaciers. Her painting of Greenland’s largest outlet glacier (Landsat Jakobshavn B) depicts a glacier that has receded over 40km in the past 100 years.

Diane is an environmental activist and has been a keynote speaker at scientific conferences such as the American Geophysical Union, and she is written about in scientific journals such as Scientific American. She considers her environmental work as an integral part of her artistic practice.

Global warming also affects oceans by increasing water vapor in the atmosphere, resulting in more precipitation and stronger storms. These storms developing at sea, such as Katrina, Harvey and Sandy Super storms, are becoming more cataclysmic every year.

The deluge that comes with warming waters is forcefully depicted in Marina Zurkow’s video installation Dreams of the Deluge.

Marina Zurkow Elixir I,ii,ii,iv. Series of four works(4) 5:00 minute loops. Dimensions variable; custom framed 24″ monitor with MPlayer for 1920×1080 projection or monitor.

Zurkow is a founding member of the “Dear Climate” project. She and her collaborators are trying to encourage personal engagement with the climate to change the way both the science and the thinking around climate change is communicated. The project is deeply rooted in research, scientific fact, and data collection.

In this essay, “Crossing the Waters,” author Michael Connor writes:

“Marina Zurkow’s recent works in video problematize our relationship with images of apocalypse…. But Zurkow’s floods, unlike most apocalyptic imagery, are not purely dreams, allegories, or devices; they are based on natural science research, on the calculations of supercomputers that project present ocean temperatures into an uncertain future. They refer not only to the future, but to the recent past of extreme weather events.”

Resa Blatman, Drenched and Overgrown (detail), 2016. Oil and Latex paint on hand- and laser-cut Mylar, PETG, and Lexan, 108h x 234w x 10d inches.

Global warming also increases ocean acidification and affects the environment. Much of the increased carbon dioxide is being absorbed by the ocean. This disruption causes severe problems for marine species and vegetation.

Artist Resa Blatman says her current paintings and installations speak to issues surrounding climate change within the natural environment and in particular the oceans.  Her dazzling painted laser cut and cut mylar installations are about oceans, living and dying vegetation in the oceans, and the fragile environment.

More intense storms amplify ocean storm surges, resulting in inundation and destruction. Storm surges are the increased rise in seawater due to the storms. The destruction is predominantly along coastal areas as super storms charge up the coast.

The clash between rising seas and built infrastructure is the focus of my work. Much of the devastation is due to water activity, including intense precipitation and floods. My aerial view paintings explore the consequence of building along fragile coastal ecosystems.

Lisa Reindorf, 6 panels Storm Surge, 2017. Oil and gel on Metal Panels, 96” x 64”.

Much of the work addresses the obliteration of the natural world to make way for cities — and the obliteration of cities by the natural world. There is an inherent conflict between nature and building. Nature has created its owns systems, and anytime we build or put in infrastructure, we’re interfering with that. The environment strikes back- with storms and rising seas. In the multi panel Storm Surge, waves and rising seas inundate a coastal city. Some of the structural grid is unmoored and floats out to sea.

I am is an active member of the Citizens Climate Lobby and speak at environmental conferences and symposiums on the conflict of infrastructure and rising seas.

As we become more aware of the precarious nature of our habitat, this work highlights the extreme vulnerability of the oceans. The world’s biggest metropolises are located along coastal areas. The calamities wrought by climate change compel us toward a greater sense of ecological justice.

The topic of climate change and the oceans is extremely complex. Artists can convey visual information in their work, connecting scientific information with human insight in a manner that engages the viewer. Additionally, many artists, including the ones described above, are involved in environmental organizations that are concerned with educating the public and protecting our oceans. A few of these organizations are listed below.  I encourage you all to join one, become more informed, and contribute to the excellent work being done.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
The Ocean Foundation
350
Oceana
Ocean Conservancy
And many others!

(Top image: Lisa Reindorf, Ocean Invaders, 2017. Oil and gel on 6 Metal Panels, 96” x 64”.)

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Lisa Reindorf is an artist, architect and environmental activist. Her work concerns the collision of architectural systems and natural systems, as it relates to Climate Change. She has a BA in Design of the Environment from the University of Pennsylvania and received her MA from Columbia University. She was also an instructor at RISD. She is represented by Galatea Gallery in Boston, and has exhibited extensively in NY, California, Mexico and Europe.


 

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 Children’s Zero Waste Climate Quilt Project

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Empowerment: The Children’s Zero Waste Climate Quilt Project made its debut at the Cheshire Children’s Museum in Keene, New Hampshire in March of 2017. It was inspired by another art piece that I started working on in New York City in 2012. I had been engaging the public at art openings and ecologically minded events to think about our plastic waste footprint through my art piece The Plastic Bag Project – a giant ball made from single-use plastic bags that have been cut into strips and then braided and crocheted together to form a kind of plastic rope. Imagine a huge ball of yarn, but made entirely out of plastic bags. The ball weighs over 80 lbs and when unrolled stretches out to the length of four football fields.

I invited people to touch the ball, pull on it, try to lift it, unroll it, sit on it and sometimes even stand on it. It was a big hit and really helped people understand that one plastic bag might seem inconsequential, but more than six thousand bags can have a serious impact. I had many conversations about the problem of plastic pollution and its effects on the environment. Children, in particular, easily interacted with the ball and had much to say about the issues facing the planet. This inspired me so much that I began to think of another art project that would directly engage children to create their own art, and give them the opportunity to chime in on the issue.

At about the same time that the idea of a children’s art project began to take shape, I was educating myself on the science of climate change and its relationship to human waste and, in particular, to non-biodegradable and/or non-recyclable garbage. Through the course of my research, I came across the Zero Waste Movement, which aims to show that we can make a difference in the future health of the planet if we are mindful of the non-biodegradable or non-recyclable garbage that we put into landfills on a daily basis, and try to reduce it. Additionally, rather than contributing to unbridled consumerism and purchasing new items, we can strive to put to good use worn or used items that still have life in them.

I wanted to find a way to bring this information to children in a visceral and intuitive manner. Because of the The Plastic Bag Project, I knew that it was possible, but I wanted to go deeper by challenging the children to create their own art out of materials such as packaging and plastic that so often go directly into a trash can without any thought for how many dozens or even hundreds of years that waste will remain buried under the ground or drifting in an ocean. If The Plastic Bag Project was a public, interactive art piece created to raise awareness, now the goal was to have the public not just interact with an already-formed art piece but to raise the stakes and create mindful art as a community.

Empowerment: The Children’s Zero Waste Climate Quilt Project takes place in a workshop setting. Typically, the first half of the workshop is a presentation by a guest speaker or myself on the human contribution to climate change and its harmful effects on all life forms. Then the children are given the opportunity to respond to what they’ve just heard. Each child is given a cardboard square and makes a statement on that square in the form of a drawing or through words. Painted cardboard boxes with waste statistics imprinted on the outside are set up around the classroom filled with discarded things that are found or collected in the community. Children are encouraged to browse and look for waste to use in their quilt square. The squares come from pre-cut cereal or snack boxes and other packaging that I collect from the trash or through donation from the community.

In keeping with the ideology of Zero Waste, none of the tools and materials used to assemble a quilt are purchased. All the pens, pencils, crayons, glues, scissors, etc. are used art supplies donated by citizens. After the children have created their artistic statements on the squares, the squares are “quilted” or tied together with strips of plastic from single-use plastic bags or packaging such as bread bags that have been collected from the trash or donated by the community. The cardboard squares have holes in them around their edges that allow them to be tied together with the plastic strips. Since nothing has been purchased to make a quilt, there is no financial cost. The entire project is made from recycled or reused materials.

While the workshops typically last two hours, the time needed to assemble a quilt, including the preparation of gathering packaging and garbage from the local waste management facility or donation boxes, and then sorting it, cleaning it, drying it, cutting it into useful portions or strips, and boxing it can take weeks. I do most of the prep work, but other artists, educators and members of the community are instrumental in helping to organize, present, gather materials, promote, and support the project. We work together to ensure that children feel empowered, not just when they see their artwork displayed, but also when they realize that their opinions and outlooks on the future health of the planet are valued and needed. They become part of the solution by becoming involved, growing more mindful, expressing their opinions and helping to educate others.

Currently, five quilts have been made and are traveling to different venue in the Northeast to help raise awareness about climate change and waste.

(All photos by Carolyn Monastra.)

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Danielle Baudrand is an emerging self-taught artist, working primarily in mixed media. She often uses discarded objects, and explores the feelings associated with discarded objects. Her most recent work The Plastic Bag Project uses the repeated process of braiding and crocheting bags together to make one long chain that reaches over four football fields long. In this process she turns the thoughtlessness of discarded objects into mindfulness. Her work has been featured at the New York Hall of Science, The Iran International Green Festival, the Green Festival along other galleries, conferences and public spaces.


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

Life, Death, Doppelgangster and the Anthropocene

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

It’s 1957, and eminent herpetologist Dr. Karl Patterson Schmidt is examining a juvenile rear-fanged boomslang snake at the Chicago Field Museum, when he grasps the serpent behind the neck and is pierced by a single fang on the fleshy area between thumb and forefinger on his left hand. Presuming the snake’s venom to be non-toxic, Schmidt spends the next 24 hours documenting the increasingly horrifying effects of the venom until, in the middle of the following day, he suffers respiratory paralysis and shortly afterwards dies; hemorrhaging blood from his eyes, nose and mouth.

Fifty-eight years later, December 2015, I am perched amongst the early morning coffee drinkers in a busy Parisian street cafe close to Place de la République. I’m here with Doppelgangster as part of a Wales Arts International funded initiative for Cape Farewell’s ArtCOP21: a global festival of cultural activity on climate change running parallel to the 21st United Nations Climate Talks (COP21). My multi-award winning Australian colleague, playwright and cultural commentator Tobias Manderson-Galvin’s voice cuts through the French chatter, as he assertively slides a copy of American writer Roy Scranton’s recently published essay Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene (2015) under my nose and suggests that one of us ought to read it.

Scranton reflects philosophically upon his nightmarish experience as a United States soldier in Iraq during the second major Gulf conflict. By drawing upon Samurai teachings and accepting that he was, in effect, already dead, Scranton explains that he was able to reconfigure his relationship to the horrors of war and operate effectively in hazardous circumstances. Upon returning to America, Scranton’s attention turned to global warming and the advent of what scholars proposed as a new epoch, the Anthropocene; a new age in which the effects of human activity are so profound that we are considered a significant geological force, nudging ourselves towards our own extinction with every purchase of multipack avocados. Drawing upon his earlier experiences, Scranton proposes that in the face of this ecological crisis, there is more dignity to be found in accepting our death and greater hope in the possibilities that that acceptance affords.

The Paris Climate Accord (December 2015) offered hope that collective action might prevent global temperature increases from rising above the agreed safe limit of two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. Whilst many were skeptical –  including environmentalist Naomi Klein who rebuked the deal as “woefully inadequate” due to its failure to directly reference fossil fuels – there was great enthusiasm in response to global support for it and, more specifically, the public commitment of wanton carbon emitters the United States. The mood was celebratory. However, in the two years that followed, while death quietly clipped the wings of great cultural icons (and a number of animal species), the United Kingdom shamelessly turned away from climate politics, towards the slightly less looming concern of whether to remain part of the European Union. Then came the tawdry US presidential campaign, which farcically put Trump and his band of climate denying cronies in power and actively threatened the Paris deal. By the end of 2016 that target of staying below two degrees was looking less achievable.

Dr. Tom Payne in Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Petterson Schmidt. Photo by Keith Morris.

Two years on from Paris, and on the eve of the 23rd COP in Bonn, Germany, Tobias and I wanted to create a performance that responded defiantly to these catastrophic events. We were also intrigued by Scranton’s ideas and wanted to put them to work in a theatrical context. Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt seeks to respond to current ecological and geopolitical events whilst at the same time exploring and problematizing Scranton’s notion that somewhere in the acceptance of our inevitable death lies hope. Everybody Loses is staged as an aesthetic contemplation of Schmidt’s “death diary.” At the same time, it is an oblique investigation into the greatest concern of our age, the onset of the sixth great extinction.

Everybody Loses is a one-man show in which the audience encounters Schmidt (played by myself) in his final hour. The scholarly detail with which he documents his own passing mirrors the detail with which we are currently documenting the calamitous changes in our planet, and similarly failing to act; whether through denial, cognitive dissonance, or impotence in the face of the bloody symptoms. Doppelgangster’s overtly antagonistic aesthetic seeks to stage the moment before death as a space of provocation and an opening of a political dialogue with the spectator.

Tobias and I had been toying with questions of life, death, creation and destruction, in Doppelgangster and MKA: Theatre of New Writing’s recent work Eternity of the World: Part Missing (Melbourne/Sydney July 2017). Tobias co-wrote and performed it as a two-hander with the Australian performance artist and writer Kerith Manderson-Galvin. Everybody Loses was conceived as a companion piece and we’ve labelled them Doppelgangster’s Ouroboros plays – a reference to ancient Egyptian mythology and the serpent that ate its tail; a symbol first seen in an ancient funerary text found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Dr. Tom Payne in Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Petterson Schmidt. Photo by Keith Morris.

In the development of both performances we worked closely with improvisational guitar and drums duo Maria Moles and Adam Halliwell (Melbourne). Their percussive and flute driven compositions have given Everybody Loses a hypnotic, sensual and at times disturbing quality, reinforced and interrupted by the sharp, dark, brooding and often brutal film footage, shot in the post-industrial wastelands outside Sheffield (UK) by British documentary filmmaker and The Guardian contributor Dr. Sam Christie (Forecast 2015). The provocative text, which is infused with Tobias’ trademark humour and lyricism, and my own emphatically British and pseudo-colonial delivery to microphone, combine with these digital elements in a relentless seventy-minute monologue-cum-autobiographical obituary. Our aim is to create an edgy and at times startling performance about the moment before death, one that draws the audience in with a heady mix of charm and humour whilst simultaneously placing real demands upon them to contemplate our individual and collective mortality.

Everybody Loses was developed with support from Sheffield Hallam University, MKA Theatre of New Writing and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales, where it underwent development in the summer before premiering at the venue on 23 November 2017.

(Top image: Dr. Tom Payne in Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Petterson Schmidt. Photo by Keith Morris.)

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Dr. Tom Payne is a theatre-maker and ecological raconteur. He is Co-Director of the UK/Australian performance company Doppelgangster, which he runs with award-winning Melbourne-based playwright Tobias Manderson-Galvin. He is a Lecturer in Performance Studies in the Department of Stage and Screen at Sheffield Hallam University, and Chairperson of the highly acclaimed MKA: Theatre of New Writing. His research specialisms include site-specific performance, performance and online environments, relational aesthetics, and participatory arts approaches to climate change and the eco-social.


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

Open Call: Creative Climate


Creative Climate Seeks Participants for Conversations, Papers and Performances

Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

Birkbeck College, University of London

8 May 2018


About The Event:

This one-day symposium explores new critical-creative responses to climate change in performance, and discusses performance as a space of engagement with and communication of the larger-than-human issue of climate crisis (particularly in relation to the post-political climate). The symposium aims to generate vigorous conversation through dialogue-panels in which artists and scientists/academics pair up and have a discussion following their individual talks about their works. Hence, we call for artists, scientists and academics from all disciplines whose work explores climate change and who would be interested in participating in a dialogue-discussion.

The symposium concludes with Birkbeck’s artist-in-residence Lily Hunter Green’s Bee Composed Live exhibition and a wine reception at the Keynes Library (5.30-8pm).

Key Note Speakers:

Zoë Svendsen (Artistic Director, METIS)

Jonathan Bartley (Co-Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales)

How to Participate:

Please send your proposals for papers, performances and provocations to s.ilter@bbk.ac.uk

  • Max. 250 words
  • Deadline: 1 March 2018.
  • Include full name of the author/s, institutional and departmental affiliation and contact details in the proposal file.

Each participant will have 10-15 minutes presentation to talk about climate change in relation to their work (or others’ work) and/or respond to a topic decided together with his/her peer, and then, the duo will have approximately 15 minutes to have a conversation between each other and with the audience.

After the receipt of the proposals we will match the artists and scientists, but please do not hesitate to let us know if you are already working on a project with an artist/scientist.

How to Attend:

There are no fees for this event but spaces are limited and can be booked here: Book Now! 

WIND, A New Font.

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Amsterdam-based book and graphic designer Hansje van Halem just designed her first published typeface, and she named it WIND.

Those who follow this monthly column on renewable energy art know that I am a sucker for anything and everything WIND. To celebrate the end of my first year writing this monthly series for Artists and Climate Change about a wide range of renewable energy artists – including musicians, poets, architects, engineers – here is a brief introduction to Hansje van Halem and her playful capital-only multi-layered variable font, WIND. (More technical information on van Halem’s WIND font can be found here.)

wind-variable-demo-edited-cropped

According to Typotheque, which published van Halem’s new font, her work is “highly experimental” and “uses vivid colours and intricately detailed patterns to create unexpected optical illusions… its various layers can be combined and overlaid to create vibrant, hypnotic patterns.”

WIND is available in four styles, defined by the cardinal wind directions: NE, SE, SW, NW

In an email exchange, van Halem explained to me that “WIND was created while playing with shapes.”  Although she did not set out to create a new typeface inspired by one of the Netherland’s most plentiful natural resources, the name WIND became obvious when “we saw what was happening visually.”

Here is a close up of the letter “D” using NE winds:

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 7.45.26 PM

As an example, I have pasted below four versions of the same word, starting with NE winds, then progressively overlaying a new cardinal direction to each version:

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 7.45.02 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-08 at 7.44.46 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-08 at 7.44.26 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-08 at 7.43.27 PM

The combinations of style and color are endless! I encourage you to play around on the Typotheque website experimenting with this delightful font. But be forewarned: it is addictive!

“I am very curious to find out what other designers will discover with the playful functions of this layered type,” explained van Halem. “I would love to see WIND being used as animated lettering…. I can imagine that the font could be connected to real time wind-data like wind strength and wind direction and displayed as such on use for screens.”

Trieste’s Wind Museum has already tried its hand with the WIND font, posting recently on Twitter :

MuseoBora, Wind, Museum Wind Museum, Trieste, Italy, Museo, Della, Bora

The WIND font is van Halem’s second wind-related artwork. In 2014, she designed 16 perforated sliding sun screens with wind-flow patterns for a new school building in Amsterdam North in collaboration with Berger Barnett Architects. 

At the end of our email conversation, when asked what gives her hope for the future in the context of climate change, van Halem replied “As a kid I grew up with the idea mankind is ruining and eventually killing the world. After seeing the elasticity of nature in areas like Chernobyl, I believe in the power of nature and its everlasting search for regaining balance. I choose to believe that earth will survive mankind, which to me is a very soothing thought.”

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Joan Sullivan is a renewable energy photographer based in Québec, Canada. Since 2009, Joan has focused her cameras (and more recently her drones) exclusively on solutions to climate change. She is convinced that the inevitable transition to a 100% clean energy economy will happen faster – and within our lifetimes – by creating positive images and stories that help us visualize and embrace what a post-carbon future will look like.  Joan collaborates frequently with filmmakers on documentary films that explore the human side of the energy transition. She is currently working on a photo book about the energy transition. Her renewable energy photos have been exhibited in group shows in Canada and the UK. You can find Joan onTwitter and Instagram.



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