Monthly Archives: May 2018

Queer Climate Performance Art in the Most Unlikely Places

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

“What is your presentation about?” Clara asks. Like most undergraduate science majors in this lecture hall, Clara has never seen a one-person performance art piece. Without stage lights or a sound system, I set up in the multi-purpose room. A console the size of a small car serves as lectern. Two hundred students sit in tiered seating above me. I tell myself, “It is just like an Amphitheater in Ancient Greece.”

I tell her, “Everything is Connected is a one-person play. Don’t take notes; just enjoy.” She must be thinking, “I could be doing real work right now.” A professor introduces me, “Peterson is a quirky queer Quaker, a playwright, actor, performance artist, Bible scholar, LGBTQ rights activist, and host of Citizens’ Climate Radio.” A handful of students applaud. I begin.

“What you are about to see is a performance lecture in three acts. These acts may seem unconnected. l will talk as myself and also perform in character.” I don’t tell them this type of presentation rose out of the tensions I feel being an artist, an activist, and an academic. These roles pull at each other, competing to take a prominent place. My shows attempt to give them each equal pull, like the cords that enable a tent to hold its shape.

I seek to use my skills as a playwright and actor to take on LGBTQ issues, justice, privilege, and climate change while revealing the interconnectedness of these issues. I also throw in a Bible story. Within these different frames, I repeat core concepts knowing audience members will begin to see patterns emerge. In first performing my own very personal story, then an ancient Bible story, and finally the unfolding global story of climate change, I lead them to a synthesis of abstract ideas as outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning.

Act One
The first act of Everything is Connected includes me talking about my weird coming out experience coupled with a scene from my one-person play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. The play comically exposes the dangerous world of gay conversion therapy—programs promising to “cure” LGBTQ people. As someone who survived seventeen years of this before coming out as gay, I want to highlight both the foolishness and the destructiveness of these “straight camps.”

The main character, Chad, a campy gay man who cannot tamp down his fem side, addresses the audience as if they just arrived for a tour of the house. This relationship heightens the audience’s experience; Chad addresses them as if they are totally on-board with the misguided facility.

Act Two
Something similar happens in Act Two where I talk about discrimination within the LGBTQ community—racism, sexism, and transphobia. I perform a scene from Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible about Joseph and his famous dream coat; I suggest it might actually be a princess dress. I narrate the scene as Joseph’s butch, gender-normative Uncle Esau. Scornful of Joseph, he never once makes eye contact with the audience until the final line. There is a pause and deep breath as Esau lifts his head and in a husky whisper admits, “He saved us all.”

I imagine Clara is thinking, “What on earth does any of this have to do with climate change?” I am performing stories about outsiders rejected—a white gay man who loses male privilege in an Evangelical church and brothers who assault and exile their gender non-conforming sibling. I reference the HIV/AIDS crisis, Ancient Egypt, and my own working class Italian-American family. I’m throwing out threads and asking, “Aren’t we all in the same boat together?” I’m setting Clara up for Tony Buffusio in Act Three who weaves it all together.

Act Three
Tony, a working-class, bisexual, Italian-American from New York City, pokes fun at polar bears, explaining coffee is also an endangered species. He jokes how he came out bisexual and vegan at the same time; his family struggles more with his diet than his sexual orientation.

Talking about queer responses to climate change, Tony revisits the Joseph story as a climate narrative, reveals how early responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis serve as a model for climate advocates today, and stresses climate change is about justice and human rights, “We’re all in the same boat together—just not on the same deck.”

Then in an explosion of emotion ranging from rage to frustration to fear, Tony demonstrates what many people feel today. He next admits he’s been hearing voices from people in the future. “You don’t expect they have anything nice to say to us. But I’m confused by what they’re saying. They’re telling us,” and he looks out an audience member, “Thank you!’” He looks at another, “Thank you,” and another, “Thank you for everything you did for us!” He scrunches up his face puzzled, and ends the show, “So I’m thinking, what the hell are we about to do that they’re going to thank us for it?”

In a proper theatre, there would be a black out. Exit Tony. In this multipurpose room, I slip behind the lectern and say, “We have time for questions.” Deep, thoughtful questions emerge. They are hungry for solutions, to discover their role.

For fifteen years, I have been doing theatre for clients in venues that usually never hosted a queer theatrical production. These include the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Hartford City Social Workers, Offices of Sustainability at Penn State, University of South Carolina, and Villanova, Haverford College’s Office of Religious Life, Boston Public Schools, Britains’ National Health Service, the Church of Sweden, the Norwegian Christian Student Movement, the Lambeth Conference, Vanderbilt School of Religion, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia Theological Seminary, and a Mennonite Church in Pittsburgh.

The solo stage work of Whoopi GoldbergJohn Leguizamo, and Lily Tomlin taught me marginalized people can use comic storytelling and character acting to communicate personal and political messages. These comic actors shape-shifted and embodied multiple personalities as they developed immediate and intimate relationships with their audiences. Unlike a traditional play with multiple actors interacting while the audience observes, the one-person comedy turns the audience into a character. We speak directly to them, casting them in roles.

Since I take on hot-topic issues in front of diverse audiences, I always expect someone to leave offended in a huff or to start an argument during the Q&A. Climate Change presentations can overwhelm audiences or they can become defensive. Instead after my shows people stick around. I hear laughing and chatting. I see people connecting with each other. Some approach me just to thank me. Others want to tell me their stories. There is a lightness in the audience as they disperse.

As I pack up, Clara smiles. “I get it now, and you gave me so much to think about!”

(Top image: Courtesy Peterson Toscano.)

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Using theatre, comedy, and character-driven one-person shows, Peterson Toscano explores LGBTQ issues, privilege, religion, and climate change. Peterson’s unique personal journey led him to performance art. After spending seventeen years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay himself through gay conversion therapy, he came out as a quirky queer Quaker concerned with human rights and comedy. In 2017 Peterson produced Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a film about gender non-conforming characters. Toscano studied theatre at City College of NY and has authored eleven performance pieces. He is also the host of Citizens’ Climate Radio.


 

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

Catch of the Day

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

I’m interested in water and the different pathways it takes. Not only the recognizable flow of rivers and glaciers, or global currents of air and sea water, but the obscure shifts of water from one state to another or across cell membranes. I’ve been tracing water pathways and their stories while developing ways to create environments as art installations.

I was given the opportunity to mount my first installation, Catch of the Day, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Mazatlán, Mexico. The exhibition consists of a 45 x 7 meters suspended fishing net. Woven into the net is a school of plastic fish and plastic water bottles with notes inside of them. A series of 11 monoprints hangs on the wall and at the entrance there are 10 wooden boxes containing children’s toys accompanied by lost and missing posters. Catch of the Day opened March 15 and runs until May 11, 2018.

Catch of the day is derivative of the work I started at an artist residency in Rota, on the southern coast of Spain. My objective during this residency was to investigate how the tide could leave marks on paper. This was to be an extension of work I started in Ireland but I soon realized my plan was physically impossible. What I did instead was start a deep listening practice. For 2 months, just before sunrise, I walked the beach for several hours documenting the tideline marks and collecting plastic and other shoreline flotsam.

Photo credit: Joyce Majiski.

In effect, each tideline is a drawing, telling the story of that day’s tides through the marks on the sand and what has washed up on shore. I discovered that the variety and abundance of plastic landing on the world’s shorelines is astounding. Each day’s harvest was strangely and inexplicably unique, revealing plastic toy shovels one day, bottle caps, colorful plastic straws, and cutlery the next. For an entire week I witnessed lines of persistent oily brown foam, which was suddenly replaced by huge amounts of white Styrofoam that disintegrated and flew along the length of the beach. Some items became buried in the sand or pushed further away from the water line with successively higher tides, but most of the garbage was carried away by the wind or returned to the water, in an endless cycle. When clothing and shoes tangled in bits of fishing nets appeared I was alarmed enough to speak to the authorities about the possibility of refugees capsizing in boats offshore. But I was assured that the currents and the refugees’ countries of origin made it almost impossible for this to be the case.

Day after day I returned to the tideline while researching current marine ecology issues. This led me from plastics and global dumping of refuse to over-fishing, habitat destruction, changes in salinity, and dead zones. I discovered that despite the many innovative solutions that are being developed to mitigate our destruction, the problems we have created are massive and seem beyond our capacity to repair.

In Mexico, I began to look at the situation from another point of view. What if a collective of creatures such as whales, seahorses, and coelacanths decided they were fed up with humanity using their homes as dumping grounds or with their fellow tuna being overfished – creatures fed up with the toxic waste, the thoughtless plundering of resources, the accumulation of garbage, and total disregard for sea life on this planet of water? This Ocean Administration would be comprised of the Departments of Plastics, Human Relations, Toxic Waste, Lost Objects, General Neglect (to name a few), and would address the issues, sending messages back to us in our own discarded plastic bottles. This became the first component of the exhibition Catch of the Day and I included eight letters from various departments of Ocean Management. Each letter is signed by one of the ancient sea goddesses, stamped with the Ocean Management crest and suspended throughout the fishing net for people to discover.

Photo credit: Miguel Angel Roman.

Also interwoven in the net are schools of plastic fish that I created using a technique developed by Canadian artist Laurel Paluck, which involves ironing plastic bags together to create “ocean leather” fish, beautiful and tough.

We often overlook that plastic degrades in the ocean, becoming a particle soup almost impossible to clean up. Microscopic filaments are ingested by microscopic creatures, which are in turn eaten by larger invertebrates and so on. The chemicals (and the plastic) bio-accumulates and since we eat the largest fish in the food chain, we ingest more plastic/chemicals than we know.

I wanted to reinforce this idea so I included a tray of gelatinous fish-shaped h’or doers at the opening reception that had people wondering “What exactly did I just eat?”

Another component of the exhibition is a series of 10 “precious” boxes containing intact children’s toys that I found washed up on the beach in Spain. (See photo at the top.) Lost and missing posters that depict these toys as precious objects accompany the boxes, alluding to the fact that if we took better care of our things, perhaps we wouldn’t lose or discard them. Our thoughtlessness leads to more consumerism.

Photo credit: Miguel Angel Roman.

The final element of the show is a line of 11 monoprints mounted side by side on the wall behind the fishing net. These multi-layered pieces start in the light blues of the shoreline, and gradually get darker as we move towards the ocean depths. The last two monoprints feature images of plankton and the shadow of a coelacanth rendered with glow in the dark ink. The monoprints represent the intricacy and beauty of nature, reinforcing the interconnectedness of all life. Ironically the viewer cannot get very close to this work because the net is blocking their way.

I was heartened by the many conversations I had during the installation and exhibition opening, often referring to a collective consciousness about how we exist in this world and what we leave behind for future generations. My aim is always to walk people through an environment with the hope of raising awareness and posing questions from different perspectives. I believe that humanity has the capacity to make change as long as there is a clear direction and the public and political will to support it.

I am grateful to all of the individuals who helped me during my research and hanging of the exhibition. Special thanks to Cecilia Sánchez Duarte, Director of the Museo de Arte de Mazatlán, for her vision, and to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel support.

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Joyce Majiski’s work examines connection to place within a context of global environmental concerns. Past careers as a biologist and wilderness guide and several artistic residencies have taken her to remote wild places contributing to her artistic practice. Moving between wilderness and urban landscapes, she seeks out connections between these environments and how humans live and find connection within them. Joyce’s North of Myth exhibition travelled to Finland, Sweden, and Northern Ireland. Her current investigations about water have been exhibited in Spain and Mazatlán, Mexico. She lives in the Yukon



 

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

From Freelance to Fulfillment

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

When I was small, like most kids I loved to draw and was obsessed with animals. But as I grew up, my fascination never went away. I instinctively knew that art had to be an integral part of my life. I applied to schools and was lucky enough to be accepted into a prestigious college where I spent my first year immersed in foundation studies — drawing, painting, and sculpture. At the beginning of my second year, the time came to choose a major. Without giving it too much thought, I and the majority of my class chose illustration.

And so I began my artistic education in earnest. I learned to accurately represent people, places, and things on paper. I learned to boil down the concept of a magazine article or book and draw it in one frame. I learned pen and ink, watercolors, acrylic, and oil painting. I learned how to work with clients who needed to sell a product or an idea quickly and effectively. My work was not deemed successful unless the message and intent were easily gleaned in three seconds or less. Although I am grateful for the education I received, the career path this training led me to ultimately left me deeply unfulfilled.

Not wanting to live an unsatisfying life, I tried to figure out the reason for my discontent. It seems obvious now, but it took me about eight years to find that what I was missing was the ability to be regenerative to self and society. The concept of creating easily-digested images felt like I was fueling the capitalist machine and reinforcing our ever-shortening attention span. The more I researched, the more I realized I was not alone. Even the college that I went to, Rhode Island School of Design, now offers an MA in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies. The burgeoning fields of social practice and interdisciplinary art indicate to me that there is a whole generation of dissatisfied artists looking for ways to use their skills to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

I chose to radically change the course of my artistic practice when I enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Hartford. I sometimes find it hard to believe that both this program and my course in illustration fall into the same category of “art.” The artists that I have been introduced to in the last year, such as Mark Dion, Hope Ginsburg, Ernesto Pujol, and Linda Weintraub, have reminded me how art can be a powerful tool for social change, not just another trade to further the destructive goals of capitalism.

Through these and other artists, I have discovered the importance of making open-ended and sometimes ambiguous art. They have demonstrated why making work that requires contemplation and interpretation is so important in today’s fast-paced world. Slowly, I am learning to let go of the control over my own work that I cultivated for years as an illustrator.

Why is it so important to release control over your message? I have asked myself this many times over the past year. As a trained illustrator, it seems so fundamental that the point of art is to communicate. I still believe this to be true, but my understanding of the word “communicate” has evolved. An illustration conveys the client or illustrator’s point of view. It supports a campaign, article, or written piece. If it is successful, an illustration evokes the same response in most, if not all, viewers. The viewer understands that this is what they are meant to think or feel, and they move on. This happens to each one of us hundreds of times a day as we are bombarded with all forms of media. I believe it creates a numbing effect that cancels out the very intention of the work. Instead of feeling a certain way about an idea, we get so overwhelmed that we feel nothing at all. Apathy becomes a coping mechanism for most people just to survive the day.

When we create work that requires interpretation, we ask the viewer to stop, think, and most importantly, engage. Although we may not reach everyone, those who accept the challenge and create their own narrative begin to feel agency over the work. It becomes a collaboration through the mere act of a viewer’s engagement and interpretation. This connection is important because those who feel agency can begin to feel empowered to engender change on their own. It opens up dialogues that would not have occurred if everyone agreed on the subject and intention of a given work of art.

With many of my most recent paintings, I begin as an illustrator would with a specific story or idea in my mind. My painting E Pluribus Unum (2017) was conceived of when I read an article about the Trump administration’s decision to reverse the ban on lead bullets for hunting on federal grounds. This decision has led to thousands of raptors, including bald eagles, to die of lead poisoning in the wild. When I show the painting, I have rich and deep discussions with viewers because they see different things depending on their own experiences. Some latch onto the imagery, some to the text, others just to the colors and textures. Through this one piece, I have been able to discuss environmentalism, public policy, Greek mythology, race relations in America, the gun debate, and so much more. Although much of what has been brought up was not my original intention, I still feel a sense of satisfaction and success that I have never felt with an illustration, precisely because of these conversations.

Art in its myriad forms has many levels of power. It is often used as a tool for propaganda, but I believe its most potent use is to connect people through dialogue. I still use the skills I learned as an illustrator to point the conversation in a particular direction, but I no longer see any value in choreographing the conclusion to that conversation as well.

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Sophy Tuttle is an artist from Boston, Massachusetts whose work reflects her interest in politics and the environment. She received her BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and is currently working on an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from the University of Hartford Art School. Her work has been shown extensively in New England, as well as nationally and internationally. Influenced by artists such as Walton Ford, Mark Dion, Alexis Rockman, and J. J. Audubon, her work calls attention to the environmental consequences of humankind’s collective values and decision-making in the Anthropocene era. 


 

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

Green Picks: Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival 2018

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

As Green Arts Initiative Member, Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival, kicks off this week we’ve picked out some of the exhibitions which connect with environmental sustainability and climate change – ranging from shows situated in subway stations and charity shops, to exhibitions addressing Glasgow’s historic role in colonialism and global trade, and work exploring speculative futures and processes of social change.

Low carbon travel

Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero, LOOP

SPT Subway System, Around the city

For ‘LOOP’ artworks by Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero are situated across Glasgow’s network of subway stations (SPT). Prints, drawings, large scale installations and live pieces examine the nature of travel and daily routines, exploring the overlooked absurdities of everyday life.

Festival cycle tours

These guided cycle tours around selected exhibitions will follow themes present in the festival programme and the city itself; environment, changing urban landscapes, and continuous regeneration. As well as being a green way to see Glasgow, getting to know its cycle routes and some of the festival’s more hidden venues, the tour will explore the past, present and possible futures of the spaces we live in. Tours take place on Saturday 4thand Sunday 5th May.

Colonialism, trade and transportation

Lauren Gault and Sarah Rose, Sequins

 Forth and Clyde Canal, Various Locations

Lauren Gault and Sarah Rose present new works in, around and surfacing the Forth and Clyde Canal water at the edge of Glasgow’s city centre.

Historically a trade and transport route connecting the city to its wider environs, the canal is now a leisure area. This hierarchical shift in function from the industrial to recreational results in a latent energy – a quiet stasis of managed movement. The artists’ works emerge through the indeterminacy of the outdoor habitat and the canal’s rhythm – its movement and circulation.

Nadia Myre, Code-Switching and Other Work

The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, G1 5HZ

This solo presentation of new work from Montreal-based artist Nadia Myre responds to the history of clay tobacco pipe production in Glasgow, and its entanglement with the city’s colonial past.

A by-product of the tobacco trade with the so-called New World, the pipes were one of the first ‘disposable’ items to enter the market, purchased pre-stuffed with tobacco. Curated by Mother Tongue, Myre’s new work explores processes of imprinting, documenting, weaving and excavating to ask enduring questions around colonial legacies.

Built environment, urban greenspace and ecology

Group show, Bone Meal

The Hidden Gardens, Tramway, 25A Albert Drive, G41 2PE

Bone Meal brings together six Glasgow-based artists to show new work at The Hidden Gardens. Using performance and writing to develop sculpture, sound, and video installations, their work engages with the living and life-supporting elements of the garden.

Group show, Glasshouse

Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Rd, G12 0UE

This group show addresses Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens as a heterotopic space containing its own oppositions; interior and exterior, nature and culture, global and local. It explores how these paradoxes relate to the interplay of local and global forces upon the communities and places of Glasgow. The artists bring their own experiences as international artists based in the city, to engage with the unique setting of The Botanic Gardens as a site for constructing and maintaining unexpected encounters close to home.

Jonny Lyons and Matt Barnes, We Disappear

Govan Project Space, 249 Govan Rd, G51 1HJ

We Disappear is an immersive photographic odyssey, allowing the viewer to question the still image and its relationship to our physical presence in the landscape of Glasgow. The show confronts the idea that people are disappearing from the landscape in favour of cars, public transport and home entertainment. We still, however, have a place – in public space, in both rural and built environments. An atmospheric, visual and physical feast inspired by the vistas of the city.

Governance, power and economy

Deniz Uster, Citadel

The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, G1 5HZ

Citadel proposes ecological, alternate mechanised cities in transit, which evade the authority of traditional infrastructure and class. The exhibition includes a scaled model of a moving city, an audio piece authored by Gurcim Yilmaz, drawings and public engagement events.

Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, In Kind

Various locations

In Kind is a research project by visual artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, which maps the hidden economies of Glasgow International and the “below the water-line” economy of the arts. Using visual mapping techniques developed by Rutherford through her work on The People’s Bank of Govanhill, as well as Nicoll’s experience of participatory and large-scale curatorial projects, their information booth will gather and display data that exposes this outpouring of creative energy that normally goes unseen.

Kirsty Hendry and Ilona Sagar, Self-Service

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD

Self-Service takes the form of a publication and event series produced in response to the archive of The Peckham Experiment – a radical vision for encouraging health, local empowerment, and self-organisation in the first half of the 20th century.

Science fiction and social change

Group show, Cellular World: Cyborg-Human-Avatar-Horror

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Royal Exchange Square, G1 3AH

We live in a world where technology plays a large and changing role in everyday life. In an age of social media, most of us will have avatars – versions of ourselves – online, prompting us to question how we are represented and how we represent ourselves. At the same time, we are at a historical moment where the future frequently appears as a precipice between utopia and dystopia.

Kapwani Kiwanga, Soft Measures

Tramway, 25 Albert Drive, G41 2PE

The continent of Europe is moving towards Africa at the rate of approximately 2cm per year – eventually it will slide underneath entirely. Paris-based Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga takes this fact as a starting point for a new multi-faceted installation at Tramway. Through new sculptural works Kiwanga suggests speculative fictions that stretch through a perspective of deep geological time.

Materials and consumerism

Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré Present FOUNDATION PAINTING SHOW

British Heart Foundation, 22 Stockwell Street, G1 4RT

Instead of being hung on a gallery wall, the paintings in this accessible and playful exhibition are placed on sofas in the window of the British Heart Foundation shop on Stockwell Street. Each day, Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré will arrange a new configuration of three or four pieces by a host of international artists.

Sculpture Placement Group, Sculpture Showroom

Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Whisky Bond, 2 Dawson Rd, G4 9SS

Sculpture Showroom is an adoption service for sculptural objects, seeking to match works of art with new guardians. Sculpture Placement Group works with artists to identify sculptural works in long-term storage with no current future. Sculpture Showroom will bring sculptural joy into people’s daily lives, meanwhile testing a new model for circulating artworks, increasing access to art ownership and alleviating artists of the pressures of storage and space. Let’s give work hidden in storage a new life!

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Glasgow International is a member of the Green Arts Initiative – Scotland’s community of cultural organisations committed to reducing their environmental impact, and increasing their environmental sustainability. Find out more about the 200+ members and join the initiative! 

Image credits, from top to bottom: 1) Deniz Uster, Citadel, photo credit Tom Harrup; 2) Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero; 3) Nadia Myer, ‘Code Switching’; 4) Courtesy of Aideen Doran; 5) Janie Nicoll, ‘Tsunami’, photo credit Alan Dimmick; 6) Kapwani Kiwanga, Afrogalactica, Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Jérôme Poggi; 7) Reclaimed: The Second Life of Sculpture,  Courtesy of Dapple Photography.



The post Green Picks: Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival 2018 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

“On Site” Opening, Trestle Gallery Brooklyn NY

On Site
Opening Reception & VIP Mixer Thursday, June 14th, 7-9pm
On view through July 18, 2018

Join us for Trestle’s Summer Tastings & VIP Mixer Thursday, June 14th from 7-9pm at our main location, 850 3rd Ave, Suite 411, Brooklyn, NY. This year’s mixer is free & open to the public, and will coincide with On Site, Trestle’s annual salon featuring artwork made by artists working in our space.

At the party there will be a live art auction, specialty beverages, tasty samplings provided by local, artisanal vendors, live music, wine, and over 60 artworks on view. In addition to attending the VIP Mixer party, attendees will have an opportunity to meet the artists and curators that make Trestle so special – including new Chief Curator, Alex Paik! As an artist-run space Trestle Gallery’s overarching goal is to put artists first, and in support of this ideal we will only be receiving 10% of each sale. Support emerging artists and curators by supporting Trestle Gallery.

Co-curated by Jacqueline Ferrante & Jen Nista

Featuring artwork by:
Yasmeen Abdallah – Angela Alba – Hannah Berry – Julia Blume
Rosa Bozkov – Nell Breyer – Andrea Caldarise – Nathan Catlin – Haleigh Collins
Jessica Dalrymple – Kat Deiner – Martin Dull – Todd Durm – Eliza Evans
Jacqueline Ferrante – Alexandra Frankel – Mayuko Fujino – Katherine Gagnon
Christina Graham – Abigail Groff-Hernandez – Kristen Haskell – Christopher Hayes
Dianne Hebbert – Erik Hougen – Lehna Huie – Caitlin Hurd – Rhia Hurt
Jessica Rose Jardinel – Christina Kelly – Richard Kessler – Myra Kooy – Nikolina Kovalenko
Taeko Kuraya – Seung Won Lee – Sandra Lippmann – Genevieve Lowe – Katrina Majkut
Allison Maletz – Sarah Mallory – Jamie Mirabella – Katherine Muehlemann
Steven Nedboy – Gal Nissim – Jen Nista – Justin O’Brien – Alex Paik
Panos Papamichael – Aston Philip – Mari Renwick – Jessica Rosen – Erika Roth
Zoe Schwartz – Zach Seeger – Alexandra Seiler – Julie Snyder – Marcy Sperry
Jeanette Spicer – Melissa Staiger – Rosemary Taylor – Carlos Torres-Machado
Ruyin Tsai – Lesley Wamsley – Lisa Warren – Chris Weller
Ezra Wube – Heidi Yockey – Sooyeon Yun – Cindy Zaglin – Ping Zheng

More Information:

Trestle Gallery
850 3rd Ave., (Between 30th and 31st st) Suite 411, Brooklyn NY 11232
train/bus: DNR – 36th, R – 25th, B37 – 3rd & 29th/30th
Gallery Hours: MWF 1:30-6:30p

Event Website: http://www.trestlegallery.org/on-site

A Brief History of Wind Energy for Artists

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

We humans have been harvesting the wind for at least 5,000 years. A clay vase dating to 3500 BCE from Egypt’s pre-dynastic Naqada II period depicts what is considered to be the world’s first clear image of a boat under sail. The square sail illustrated on this vase, presumably made of linen, was used to propel early Egyptian rudderless boats upstream on the Nile River, catching the northerly winds against the flow of the river.

wind, sail, Egypt, Naqada, vase, jar, linen

Photo of the pre-dynastic Naqada II vase. Reprinted with permission from the British Museum online.

It would take another three millennia before humans transformed the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy to operate machines to pump water, grind grain or mill wood. Early records suggest that by 200 B.C., simple windmills in China were pumping water. In 9th century Persia, vertical axis windmills with woven reed sails were grinding grain. In 14th century Europe, horizontal axis turbines were reclaiming land from low-lying marshland. By the 17th century, the Netherlands was home to approximately 9,000 windmills. Rembrandt’s The Mill, part of the National Gallery of Art’s Widener Collection in Washington, is widely considered to be one of his most famous paintings.

Rembrandt, The Mill, wind, windmill

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 – 1669), The Mill, 1645/1648, oil on canvas, Widener Collection 1942.9.62, National Gallery of Art.

But it wasn’t until the late 19th century that sapiens finally figured out how to convert the mechanical energy generated by a windmill into electricity. In 1887, the Scottish electrical engineer James Blyth built the first battery-charging wind machine that powered his cottage for 25 years. Later that same year, the American inventor Charles Brush built what is considered to be the first automatically operated wind turbine. It took another 100 years before multi-megawatt wind farms became commercially viable, prompted in part by the oil crises of the late 20th century.

But who, you might be asking, was the first artist to incorporate wind energy into a work of art? We may never know. Perhaps it was an ancient musician, who created – accidentally or intentionally – wind chimes of shells, bone, or bamboo. Wind chimes, a type of percussion instrument, are an example of chance-based music due to the randomness of the wind, which acts simultaneously as composer and player.

Or perhaps it was an Egyptian or Persian architect. Windcatchers (malqaf in Arabic; badgir in Farsi), also known as wind towers or wind chimneys, were a traditional Persian architectural roof-top structure designed to catch the prevailing winds to provide top-down natural ventilation and passive cooling within thick-walled buildings (often constructed partially or completely underground) in desert environments. So effective were windcatchers at cooling buildings that they were routinely used as a form of refrigeration in ancient Persia. The beautiful photo below of abandoned windcatchers near Yazd in central Iran was taken by Dave Ways.

Iran, Persia, architecture, wind catcher, windcatcher, wind tower, wind chimney, ventilation, passive cooling

Photo by Dave Ways, reprinted with permission from The Longest Way Home.

For a stunning contemporary interpretation of windcatchers, look no further than avant-garde Paris-based Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut’s The Gate Heliopolis, currently under construction in Cairo. Callebaut’s design includes nine oval “mega-trees” which function as giant windcatchers to suck prevailing winds deep into the heart of the building as natural (and free!) air conditioning in Cairo’s hot urban environment.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.52.21 PM
Image downloaded from http://vincent.callebaut.org/
Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.59.34 PM
Image downloaded from http://vincent.callebaut.org/

Another example of a contemporary artist inspired by wind energy is the renowned American sculptor Anthony Howe. I first wrote about Mr. Howe’s hypnotic wind-powered kinetic sculpture back in 2014. Since then, whenever I needed a creative fix – to be carried away by the beauty of his hypnotic artworks – all I had to do was visit his YouTube channel and start clicking away…

A 2016 headline in the Dallas News says it all: “Anthony Howe creates art that seeks to slow your heartbeat down and make your life better.” I promise you: this is not hyperbole!

In case you missed the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, here is a video link of Mr. Howe discussing his massive two-tonne cauldron being “lit” by the olympic flame.  In an interview with PR Newswire, Mr. Howe explained that his olympic vision was “to replicate the sun, using movement to mimic its pulsing energy and reflection of light. I hope what people take away from the cauldron, the Opening Ceremonies, and the Rio Games themselves is that there are no limits to what a human being can accomplish.”

We Canadians are the lucky recipients of one of Mr. Howe’s most recent installations, right in the middle of downtown Montréal. Last year, Concordia University’s chancellor Jonathan Wener and his wife Susan donated Di-Octo II to their alma mater in honor of the 375th anniversary of Montréal and the 150th anniversary of Canada. This eight-meter-high kinetic sculpture now graces the northeast corner of De Maisonneuve Ouest and Mackay Streets.

Anthony Howe, kinetic, sculpture, Di-Octo, Di-Octo II, Montreal, Montréal, Concordia, wind

Photo by John Mahoney, Montreal Gazette, September 2017.

Although most of Mr. Howe’s sculptures are powered by the wind, they do not (yet!) generate electricity. Perhaps we will have to leave this challenge to the next generation of kinetic sculptors. In the meantime, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is leading the way: encouraging artists and architects around the world to adopt “solution-based art practice” by designing public art and sustainable infrastructure that generate renewable energy within urban environments. One of their visions: clean power stations as tourist attractions.

We’ve come a long way since 3500 BCE. In fact, we’ve come full circle, back to the future: the very first energy revolution was renewable (wood, wind, water); the second was coal; the third was oil; and the fourth – which we are currently living through – is renewable once again. But tighten your seat belts! This time around, the 21st century version of the renewable energy revolution portends virtual power plants, energy democracy and the break up of energy monopolies within our lifetimes. The Holy Grail is finally within reach: a post-carbon economy. Artists can help get us there faster by creating positive stories of clean abundance and endless possibilities.

(Top image: Wind turbines by Joan Sullivan.)

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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 the energy transition. Her goal is to create positive images and stories that help us embrace the tantalizing concept that the Holy Grail is finally within reach: a 100% post-carbon economy within our lifetimes. 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, Italy and the UK. You can find Joan on Twitter 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

Ethical Making Resource Launched

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Fairtrade, Fairmined and Sustainable

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths have just launched their Ethical Making Resource: a website dedicated to the social, economic and environmental sustainability dimensions of jewelry design and making.

www.ethicalmaking.org

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths has created the Ethical Making Resource in the interest of helping jewellery and silversmithing community of makers to access information which supports their ambitions towards ethical making.

Previous research had found the pre-existing information unclear, difficult to locate, and sometimes dubious in origin and accuracy, and this new resource has been produced in collaboration with the sector to make it as clear, useful, truthful, concise and accessible as possible. The resource takes the form of a website covering everything from the sourcing of materials (a particular concern in the metal and gem industries, where unethical practices are rife) to sustainable studio practices which minimise chemical use and maximise resource efficiency.

At Creative Carbon Scotland, we’re thrilled that this resource is being made available to makers, especially as we know through our work with Craft Scotland and the Green Crafts Initiative that there is a big demand for this information and support from jewellers. We have supported the development of the resource in advising around the environmental sustainability dimensions of the resource.

Ethical Making Symposium

The resource was launched at the Incorporation’s second Ethical Making Symposium – one year on from the inaugural event which spurred the research and action presented at the 2018 symposium.

Over the course of the day (held at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall – a venue member of our Green Arts Initiative, and itself committed to sustainability in its own operations) delegates heard from a range of practising makers, academics, and support organisations, including:

  • Dr Greg Valerio, MBE on how he has tried to change the ethics of the sector – from a ‘we do not do ethics’ approach, to the introduction of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards. Greg challenged all makers to be honest and be engaged in the ethics of their practice: doing what they can in small steps to transform their part of the sector.
  • Ute Decker, Jen Cunningham and Alison MacLeod on how the issues of unethical and unsustainable production are essentially ‘man-made’ problems which can equally be solved by humans, and how makers must ensure that jewellery that is externally beautiful has not had a destructive and ugly origin. Each of the three makers spoke of the origins of their practice, with an emphasis on how small changes (like putting pressures on their suppliers, investing in tools which enabled them to recycle small amounts of metal, and launching small ranges of Fairtrade products) have transformed their approach.
  • Ian Nicholson on how his work as director of the Precious Metals Workshop and his visits to international mines have influenced his commitment to Fairtrade and Fairmined metals and spurred his ‘Going for Gold’ project, which aims to raise awareness of the issues around artisanal gold mining.
  • Dr Peter Oakley on the complex issue of recycled silver (a material that has traditionally been a by-product of other metal-mining industries, and which has a majority industrial rather than jewellery use) and the role of education and academic research in this field.
  • Jane Barnett and Theodora Panayides on how consultancy organisation Levin Sources is working on responsible sources and mining practices, how such material sourcing is often a long journey, and how ultimately ethics are subjective so each maker should define their own approach.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”
Mark Twain, via the Ethical Making Symposium

To complete the symposium, the Incorporation of Goldsmiths hosted a ‘Circular Economy Design Challenge’ and competition, where delegates had a short amount of time to design an item of jewellery that was inspired by the
principles of the circular economy: an economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, maximising their value, recover materials at the end of that particular use, and reject the ‘take, use, dispose’ model of our current system. ‘Designing for disassembly’ and being inspired by the ‘waste-free’ model of natural systems was a theme throughout the ideas generated.

Commitments from the Sector

Also at the Ethical Making Symposium were several announcements from those in the jewellery-making sector about their new commitments to ethical and sustainable making. In particular, a commitment from all the jewellery and silversmithing courses, HND level and above, in Scotland to include ethics and sustainability within their courses curriculum, and to make responsibly-mined materials the norm in their workshops – making it the expectation for all new jewellers, and developing a generation of informed makers.

 


The Incorporation of Goldsmiths is a not-for-profit organisation, based in Edinburgh, which runs the Edinburgh Assay Office and supports the jewellery and silversmithing trade in Scotland and beyond.

The Green Crafts Initiative is a joint project between Craft Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland aiming to enable the craft sector to contribute green actions within Scotland’s cultural industries. Becoming a member of the Green Crafts Initiative is easy, quick, and free! Complete this form and we’ll be in touch.

All photos by James Robertson.

 


The post Ethical Making Resource Launched: Fairtrade, Fairmined and Sustainable 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

Kate Foster: Engaging with Peatland Restoration

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

As artists, we (Kerry Morrison and Kate Foster) have discovered a common purpose of embedding ecological artistic practice and research within peat landscape restoration projects. This post invites readers to ‘watch this space’ for how we are, and will be, involved in restoration work on blanket peatland and raised bogs that will be carried out by three Landscape Partnerships that have been recently funded by the Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Fund.

The significance of peatlands in terms of wildlife, climate action and hydrology is increasingly recognised by government policy which is leading to artists’ opportunities, such as with the Peatland Partnership in the Flow Country. For anyone interested in the cultural values of peatland, there is much artwork to draw inspiration from, such as Sexy Peat ; ongoing work by postgraduate students of Art Space and Nature at Edinburgh College of Art; the respective work of Laura Harrington or Lionel Playford, both based at the University of Northumbria; and Wind Resistance by singer-songwriter Karine Polwart.
Within this wider context, our respective artistic aims include profiling existing community culture, skills and knowledge – the living heritage. We will be developing artwork during the stage of ecological restoration, contributing further ways to how peatlands can be culturally valued. We see this as an opportunity to reflect on art practice with others (artists and non-artists) who have similar interests, over a three-year period.

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership programme

As director and lead environment artist at In-Situ, Kerry had been working with the Forest of Bowland during the development stages of their Landscape Partnership Heritage Lottery bid for Pendle Hill. This included developing and managing a pilot arts programme which informed the final, and successful, bid. Working closely with Cathy Hopley (Development Officer at Forest of Bowland AONB) to embed art into the landscape restoration strand of the Pendle Hill four-year programme, In-Situ have become one of the partners and will lead an art strand called The Gatherings which includes a two-year artist residency during which Kerry will work alongside the team restoring the upland peatlands of Pendle Hill Summit.

The Gatherings programme integrates arts practice and research into a number of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership themes, including: Pendle Hill Summit, Archaeology, High Nature Value, Traditional Boundaries, Woodlands, and What’s a Hill Worth?

The Gatherings strand has been designed/curated as a coherent programme consisting of temporary interventions, events, residencies, films and public gatherings. The art projects, beginning in 2018, will evolve in partnership and collaboration, developing and responding to the project strands as they progress over the 4-year delivery period. The role of the artist will be multitudinous: to shed light on the landscape restoration programme, to outreach and engage communities including audiences that have been identified as the most infrequent visitors to the Pendle landscape, and to contribute to new knowledge. The creative processes, outputs and new knowledge gained will be shared in year 4 (2022) at a 3-day conference.

The image below is of a group of young people from Brierfield Action in the Community, celebrating, having achieved the steep climb to Pendle Hill Summit. Their day out was part of a series of workshops to test the Pendle Hill Engagement Kit, developed by In-Situ in partnership with The Forest of Bowland and artist Amy Pennington.

Image Source: http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/68e4ff_4cea9d953e814874aab938ba380a4638.pdf

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership programme

“The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership aims to connect people living and working in the area with its heritage and landscape in a drive to secure a prosperous future for the communities around the Water of Ken and River Dee, right from their source to the sea.”

source: http://www.gallowayglens.org/about/

Further details of the scope of the proposed programme can be seen here. Peatland Connections is one component, led by Dr. Emily Taylor of the Crichton Carbon Centre and to be jointly funded by the Scottish Government programme, Peatland Action. Peatland Connections aims to:

… highlight the significance of Galloway peatlands and, using a demonstrator site beside the Southern Upland Way, trial a new framework to be used to revert areas of forestry back to peatlands, highlighting the resulting water quality, biodiversity and carbon balance benefits. These capital works will be supported by a suite of public engagement/artistic activities highlighting the importance and relevance of peatlands. Source: http://www.gallowayglens.org/projects

Kate’s art practice is concerned with different kinds of land use, focussing on wetlands. Various projects prepared the way for making links to Peatland Connections. For example, in 2016 she co-ordinated an event themed Wetlands, Flow, and Questions of Scale, at the Stove in Dumfries.  The range of inspiring and thought provoking presentations revealed the depth of existing interest and also the possibilities for further connections.

Image source: https://inthepresenttense.net/2016/07/17/getting-down-to-the-ice-age/

The image above shows a group with a demonstration peatcore at a workshop on Kirkconnel Flow, led by Dr. Lauren Parry of the University of Glasgow.

Kate proposed Peat Culture as an element of the Peatland Connections in consultation with Emily Taylor. As lead artist, Kate intends to profile the biocultural heritage of Galloway Glens Peatlands by creating an anthology; by developing original artwork as artist-in-residence to the restoration; and by jointly creating material for an exhibition.
Recognising synergies in their practice and collaborative approach with landscape Partnerships, Kerry and Kate began to discuss the potential of connecting Galloway Glens and the Pendle Hill Partnerships to widen the scope, reach and impact of ecological art and peat restoration. Both Landscape Partnerships embraced the idea of connecting and partnering, and to also work with the Carbon Landscape Project (another Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership with a peatland focus), which is in the early stages of delivery.

The Carbon Landscape Project

The Carbon Landscape Project is a Landscape Partnership based around Salford and Warrington, and draws on the area’s importance in the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. A short informative video Taking a Round View of the Carbon Landscape can be seen here.

The Carbon Landscape Project is changing the way in which we approach landscapes and communities in Wigan, Salford and Warrington. Twenty-two interlinked projects will provide a forward-thinking and effective programme that will have lasting benefits for local communities and wildlife.

Source: http://www.lancswt.org.uk/carbon-landscape-project

The scheme is in its first year of their 5-year delivery phase, with work getting underway.

Peat Meets

People involved in developing peatland projects of the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, and the Carbon Landscape Project travelled to a Great Peat Meet in New Galloway last November, in order to exchange information about their programmes. The proposed peatland restoration projects will offer varied ways of engaging communities. Once the projects are all underway, further exchange visits are planned.

Image source: http://www.gallowayglens.org/2017/11/

The image above was taken during a site visit to Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre Galloway, allowing informal discussion during a walk over deep peatland. Glens Development Officer, McNabb Laurie, said:

“We were proud to welcome these other Landscape Partnerships to Galloway and to hear how the condition and use of peatland sites varies across the UK. It is great that a number of schemes are coming together to highlight the importance of peat on factors such as water quality, biodiversity, flood management and also the global significance as a carbon store. We can contribute to a national approach to these issues.” Source: http://www.gallowayglens.org/2017/11/

As artists, we attended and have both been proactive in making proposals and connections between the Landscape Partnerships. The aim is to profile the many and varied ways that peatlands are already valued culturally, as well as contribute new creative work. Plans include a seminar series, to create a network with people involved in similar projects elsewhere and to encourage reflection on interpretation and creative practice.

This article has been prepared by artists Kate Foster and Kerry Morrison in consultation with colleagues in their respective Landscape Partnerships projects.

Contacts for further information:
Kerry Morrison – kerry@in-situ.org.uk
Kate Foster – art@meansealevel.net
Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership:
Cathy Hopley: cathy.hopley@lancashire.gov.uk
Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership:
McNabb Laurie: mcnabb.laurie@dumgal.gov.uk

 

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.</ br></ br>

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Guest Blog: Images From a Warming Planet

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Photographer Ashley Cooper writes about documenting climate change and the rise of renewable energy on every continent on the planet.

I have spent the last thirteen years travelling to every continent on the planet to document the impacts of climate change and the rise of renewable energy, the only living photographer to have done so. This epic journey involved visiting over thirty countries and took me from nearly 300 feet below sea level in Death Valley to 18,000 feet above, in the Bolivian Andes, from 500 miles from the North Pole, to the Antarctic Peninsular, from remote Pacific Islands to the Chinese/Russian border.

Along the way I documented extreme weather, flooding, drought, permafrost melt, glacial retreat, sea level rise, sea ice retreat, impacted communities, impacted plants and animals, food security, forced migration, all types of renewable energy, and much much more.

A month in Alaska

It all started off in the early part of this century when I started reading about climate change in scientific journals. I decided to do a specific climate change photo shoot, which was to spend a month in Alaska. I planned to cover glacial retreat, permafrost melt, forest fires and had a week on Shishmaref, a tiny remote island between Alaska and Siberia. Shishmaref is home to around 800 Inuits. Their mainly hunter gatherer lifestyle meant that they had a tiny carbon footprint. I was to learn something on Shishmaref, that I have seen many times since in my travels, and that is those that are least responsible for climate change are most impacted by it. The problem on Shishmaref was that the sea ice that used to form around the island in late September, was not forming till maybe Christmas time. Any early storms hitting the island before the sea ice had formed, were knocking great chunks out of the land and tumbling the Inuits houses into the sea.

Four feet under water

Even in 2004 it was obvious the Arctic was warming very rapidly, and the many impacts of climate change were blindingly obvious and in your face. I returned from Alaska determined to do more. My second photo shoot was to the remote island Nation of Tuvalu, in the Pacific Ocean. More people climb Everest every year, than visit Funafuti, one of Tuvalu’s main islands. These low lying coral atoll islands are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. I had planned my trip for the highest Spring tides of the year. At high tide the middle of the islands were in places four feet under water. Tuvalu will probably be the first country to completely disappear as a result of climate change.

Documenting climate change

It wasn’t long before I decided I should try and document the impacts of climate change on every continent. Something, that thirteen years on I have achieved.

Following a successful crowd funding program, I have just published “Images From a Warming Planet”, a 416 page hardback, art photography book containing 500 of the best images from my epic journey around the planet. The book has come out to amazing reviews and is on sale now. You can read the reviews and see around 100 of the pages online, as well as purchase the book at www.imagesfromawarmingplanet.net. The Images from a Warming Planet exhibition is currently on display in Brantwood in the Lake District. Get in touch to discuss hosting the exhibition.


Ashley Cooper is an award-winning environmental photographer. In 1986 Ashley became the first person to climb every 3,000 foot mountain in GB and Eire in one continuous expedition. A feat that involved over 1400 miles walking and 500,000 feet of ascent. the event raised £14,000 for the British Leprosy Relief association. For the last 25 years Ashley has been a member of the Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Teams, one of the busiest teams in the UK, and has personally attended over 700 rescues. Following the publication of Images from a Warming Planet Ashley now plans to raise an additional £55,000 to set up iCommit, a new, global climate change initiative.

All images copyright Ashley Cooper

 



The post Guest Blog: Images From a Warming Planet 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

Imagining Water, #8: Rachel Carson’s Poet Heiress of the Sea

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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

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Although most commonly known as the author of Silent Spring, the 1962 book that is credited with starting the environmental movement, Rachel Carson was also what historian and author Jill Lepore described as a “scientist poet of the sea.” In her recent article in the March 26, 2018 issue of The New Yorker, entitled “The Right Way to Remember Rachel Carson,” Lepore describes Carson’s enduring love of the ocean and its shorelines. Lepore notes that all of Carson’s books prior to Silent Spring, including Under the Sea-Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951) and The Edge of the Sea (1955), focused on her decades of research on the life of the sea and her daily observations of ocean life. Carson’s lyrical and captivating writing style, which reinforces her own sense of herself as a poet of the sea is reflected in this excerpt from her first published work, “Undersea,” an essay that appeared in a 1934 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

Who knows the ocean? Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats over the crab hiding under the seaweed of his tide pool home; or the lilt of the long, slow swells of mid-ocean, where shoals of wandering fish prey and are preyed upon, and the dolphin breaks the waves to breathe the upper atmosphere. Nor can we know the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where the sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait among the rocks. Even less is it given to man to descend those six incomprehensible miles into the recesses of the abyss, where reign utter silence and unvarying cold and eternal night.

In 1964, right before she died and after Silent Spring brought environmental issues into public consciousness, Carson had been observing another puzzling phenomenon that, unfortunately, she did not have the chance to pursue. She wrote presciently: “We live in an age of rising seas…in our own lifetime we are witnessing a startling alteration of the climate.”

Timeless_YK0318_082.jpg

Rachel Carson observing the sea.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is an internationally acclaimed poet and spoken word artist who was born and lives on the Marshall Islands, a remote chain of coral atolls located in the Northern Pacific Ocean halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Although she is not a scientist like Rachel Carson, Jetnil-Kijiner shares Carson’s love of the sea and her use of poetic language to express her feelings and concerns about the environment, especially her acute alarm about the rising tides that Carson had observed 54 years ago.

Jetnil-Kijiner’s poetry is focused primarily on her beloved Marshall Islands, which lay only six feet above sea level, the same six feet that scientists predict the seas will rise by the end of the century, and which are already experiencing significant tidal flooding once every month. According to Marshall Island Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, the island of his childhood is “not only getting narrower – it is getting shorter…There are coffins and dead people being washed from graves – it’s that serious.”

02marshall-web4-jumbo.jpg

A seaside cemetery on the Marshall Islands that has been eroded due to rising tides. Credit: New York Times.

In 2014, Jetnil-Kijiner was catapulted from her relatively obscure presence as a “YouTube poet” into a highly sought-after global poet/climate activist after she was selected to perform as the Civil Society Speaker at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. In the poem she recited that day, “Dear Matafele Peinam,” Jetnil-Kijiner promised her baby daughter that she and an army of others would work ceaselessly to ensure that her homeland would not be overcome by the rising tides threatening its shores and that she would not become a homeless climate refugee.

This excerpt from “Dear Matafele Peinam” is followed by a video of her 2014 UN presentation.

dear matafele peinam,

you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles
you are bald as an egg and bald as the Buddha
you are thighs that are thunder and shrieks that are lightning
so excited for bananas, hugs and
our morning walks past the lagoon

dear matafele peinam,
I want to tell you about that lagoon
that lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise

men say that one day
that lagoon will devour you

they say it will gnaw at the shoreline
chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees
gulp down rows of your seawalls
and crunch your island’s shattered bones

they say you, your daughter
and your granddaughter too
will wander rootless
with only a passport to call home

Since her breakout 2014 performance, Jentnil-Kijiner has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including CNN, Democracy Now, Mother Jones, The Huffington Post, NBC News and National Geographic. In 2017, her first collection of poetry, entitled, Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter was published by the University of Arizona press, giving her the distinction of being the first published author from the Marshall Islands. Not limiting herself to poetry as her only form of action against the dangers of climate change, though, Jetnil-Kijiner has co-founded Jo-Jikum, an organization empowering Marshallese youth to “seek solutions to climate change and other environmental impacts threatening their home island” and has spoken all over the world on climate change including at COP (Conference of the Parties) 22 in 2016 and COP 21 in 2015.

As she warns in her poem “Butterfly Thief,”:

But what if we don’t save Tuvalu
what if bees and butterflies become extinct
what if our/my islands don’t survive

just who
do you think
will be next?

I’m taking you with me

As a poet lover of the sea and environmental activist, Kathy Jentnil-Kijiner is a legitimate heiress to the spirit and work of Rachel Carson.

(Top image: The Marshall Islands during a King Tide.)

______________________________

Susan Hoffman Fishman is a painter, public artist, writer, and educator whose work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries throughout the U.S. Her latest bodies of work focus on the threat of rising tides caused by climate change, the trillions of pieces of plastic in our oceans and the wars that are predicted to occur in the future over access to clean water. She is also the co-creator of two interactive public art projects: The Wave, which addresses our mutual need for and interdependence on water and Home, which calls attention to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our cities and towns.


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