Monthly Archives: July 2018

Open Call: Carbon Management Planning Officer

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland is looking for a talented and enthusiastic individual to join their team to assist in the collection and analysis of the first Carbon Management Plans of Creative Scotland’s 121 Regularly Funded Organisations.

Carbon Management Planning Officer

Reports toBen Twist, Director, Creative Carbon Scotland
Salary: £25,000 pro rata (2 days per week/0.4FTE) for 16 weeks, resulting in a rate of £192/week or £12.82/hour)
Application deadline: Midnight, Sunday 29 July
Start date: Monday 3 September or as soon as possible thereafter

Carbon Management Planning

121 organisations currently receiving Regular Funding from Creative Scotland, Scotland’s development body for the arts, screen and creative industries, are for the first time required to develop and submit a Carbon Management Plan by September this year. Creative Carbon Scotland has provided advice and training to the Regular Funded Organisations (RFOs) and we will now manage the submission process, and this will include analysis of plans and provision of feedback to the submitting organisations and to Creative Scotland.  

The Carbon Management Planning Officer will be responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the submission process and will lead on the analysis and feedback, working with our Carbon Reduction Project Manager. They will be given full training and an opportunity to contribute to the design of the submission and analysis process for this world-leading requirement. Feedback sessions with submitting organisations will be interactive and will provide an excellent opportunity for the appointee to learn about Scotland’s creative sector and strengthen their knowledge of practical carbon management by SMEs. 

Background   

Creative Carbon Scotland – a charity initiated by Festivals Edinburgh and founder members the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network – is working to help shape a sustainable Scotland.  

Our vision is of a Scotland where the essential role of culture in the transformational change to a sustainable future is fully recognised, developed and utilised by both the cultural and the sustainability worlds.  

Our mission is to connect the Cultural Sector with others working towards transformational change in society’s thinking on climate change. 

Job Description  

Main purpose of job:

  • To lead the submission process, receipt and analysis of and reporting on Carbon Management Planning reports from 121 organisations receiving Regular Funding from Creative Scotland 

Responsibilities: 

The post holder will be responsible for  

Tracking and reviewing submissions (15%) by  

  • Ensuring Carbon Management plans are received from all Regular Funded Organisations and follow up late submissions 
  • Reviewing all Carbon Management Plans against agreed criteria to categorise the level of feedback required, from 1 (satisfactory) to 4 (non-compliant)
  • Providing acknowledgement and feedback with suggestions for further action
  • Recording resulting advice on further action required. 

Analysing data (20%) on response tracking spreadsheet to calculate compliance rates, types of plan submitted, proposed emissions and cost savings. 

Preparation of reports (20%) on the result of data analysis for Creative Scotland’s technical team 

Disseminating report findings (10%) through:  

  • executive summaries for key, partners, stakeholders and participants; 
  • resource publishing on the Creative Carbon Scotland website 
  • news blog and associated social media using the Creative Carbon Scotland online platforms. 
  • Liaising with Creative Scotland’s and Creative Carbon Scotland’s communication teams to support communication to the wider Creative sector 

Post submission support (25%)

  • Providing support to Regular Funded Organisations categorised in groups 3 and 4 through telephone calls or webinars 

Taking part in internal and external meetings (10%) to report on progress and contribute to this area of work  

Person Specification 

Essential characteristics

  1. A good understanding of Carbon Management  
  2. Ability to use Excel to analyse data and create reports 
  3. Excellent written and oral communication skills, including presenting to audiences 
  4. A high degree of numeracy 
  5. Ability with Microsoft programmes including Access/Powerpoint/MS Office/Outlook/Sharepoint 
  6. Facility with common online tools Including Mailchimp, Survey Monkey, Doodle  
  7. Ability to run online meetings 
  8. Ability to make a strong contribution to the Creative Carbon Scotland team 
  9. Flair and imagination 

Desirable characteristics 

  1. Knowledge of the cultural sector 
  2. Knowledge of the sustainability and climate change sector 
  3. Knowledge of behaviour change  
  4. Familiarity with Wordpress content development  

How to apply

Please send a CV with a covering letter explaining why you would like to work in this role for Creative Carbon Scotland, clearly evidencing how you fit the person specification, saying where you found out about the job and confirming that you have completed the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Survey (see below). Applications must be sent by email to ben.twist@creativecarbonscotland.com by midnight on Sunday 29 July.

Interviews will be held on Friday 3 August in Edinburgh and the appointee would need to be available to start by the first week of September.
For an informal conversation about the job please contact Ben Twist on the address above or call 0131 529 7909.

Equalities

Creative Carbon Scotland is committed to equalities and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates: we will make reasonable adjustments where necessary to enable people with particular needs or requirements to work with us. Our Equal Opportunities Policy is available on our website.  Please complete the Equal Opportunities Monitoring survey here and confirm that you have done so in your application – this is anonymous and the information provided will not affect your application in any way.

 


The post Opportunity: Carbon Management Planning Officer at Creative Carbon Scotland (Temporary, 2 days per week) 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: Public Art Commission

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

An opportunity to create a piece of permanent functional public art in Cowie, Stirling.
An opportunity for an artist/creative team to create a piece of permanent functional public art, in collaboration with the local community, as a gateway feature at the entrance to Berryhills Park in Cowie.

The work needs to be:

  • Site and community responsive and appropriate to the context
  • Thoughtful and thought provoking
  • Engaging, distinctive and imaginative
  • High quality, robust work that enlivens the area it is sited

The artist / creative team will be expected to:

  • Engage with communities in an imaginative and authentic way, allowing for meaningful involvement in the creation of the work, working with local people and project partners to advocate for the role of public art on the path and encouraging people into outdoor activity.
  • Involve a group of children and young people in the design and making of the work. They do not need to be involved in the making of the complete work, but must be involved in making in some way and this must be taken into account in the design of the work.
  • Create a minimum of 3 early design proposals/directions, after the community engagement stage is complete to allow the partners to consider and influence the direction of the final proposal.
  • Design the final artwork, responding to community influence and partner dialogue, using materials that will be robust, safe, easy to maintain and not easily vandalised.
  • Foster a sense of ownership and pride in the public art project within the local community. It should also be engaging, accessible and sympathetic to local culture and environment.
  • Make and install the final artwork after agreement from the project partners, considering landscaping around the work.
  • Supply a maintenance schedule for the finished piece.
  • Consider how the work will be decommissioned at the end of its lifespan, or if for unforeseen circumstances the public art is no longer suitable for the context.

Provide the client with a report on all activities undertaken as part of the project evaluation.
After interviews up to 4 artists/creative teams will be invited to deliver a short programme of workshops in local schools in Sept 2018. The final artist/team will be selected after these workshops. There will be a budget of up to £1000 for the initial workshops.

Timeline & Budget

The budget for the project will be £21,000 for the successful artist / creative team selected to move forward after invitations to tender have been submitted and must include all costs associated with the project. It is envisaged that the design and development stage / community consultation will be between October to December 2018 and manufacturing of the final piece of work will be January to March 2019. Work must be completed and installed by the end of March 2019.

How to Apply

If you would like to receive an Artist Brief with further information about the opportunity and how to apply please email: creativelearning@stirling.gov.uk


The post Opportunity: Public Art Commission 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

90N: North Pole Installations

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

The Arctic Cycle is partnering with Xavier Cortada and Creative Pinellas to support the global reach of 90N: North Pole Installations. As Cortada’s work demonstrates, the melting of the North Pole will have implications for every being on this planet, from the eight Arctic states to the Florida coast, and everywhere in between. And we cannot tackle this challenge alone. By amplifying the local exhibition of 90N to a broader global community, we seek to inspire, motivate, and equip more audiences with tools for action. Through the course of this summer, we will share the visual and participatory elements of 90N on our A&CC blog and social media platforms. The outcomes of this process are exponential, and we are working with Cortada and Creative Pinellas to note and promote the sparks of connection along the way.

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90N: North Pole Installations and Florida Is Nature is an exhibition of artwork by internationally-acclaimed artist Xavier Cortada, a Florida-based artist who has developed numerous art projects globally, including art installations at the North and South Poles to address environmental concerns at every point in between. 90N features over 400 pieces, as part of the following categories:

ARCTIC ICE PAINTINGS
In the summer of 2008, Cortada used Arctic ice to create a series of Ice-paintings aboard a Russian Icebreaker as it made its way back from the North Pole.

icepainting_2008_Cortada_90N-1_web

Xavier Cortada, Arctic Ice Painting | “90N-01,” 12″ x 9″, North Pole sea ice, acrylic, and mixed media on paper, 2008.

NATIVE FLAGS
At a time when melting polar sea ice had many focus on which political power control the Arctic (using the Northwest Passage shipping lanes and the petroleum resources beneath the sea ice), Cortada planted a green flag and reclaimed it for nature. To do so, he developed Native Flags, a participatory eco-art project that engages others in planting a green flag and native tree in their homes to prevent the polar regions from melting. Reforestation sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, helping reduce greenhouse gases that warm the planet.

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Xavier Cortada, “Native Flags | North Pole,” 2008.

ENDANGERED WORLD
Cortada highlighted the need to protect our endangered species by placing the names of 360 endangered animals in a circle around the North Pole, each aligned with a longitudinal degree in which the struggle to survive in the world below.

endangeredworld_Cortada-EW-90N-600

Xavier Cortada, “Endangered World | North Pole,” 2008.

LONGITUDINAL INSTALLATION
As he did in the South Pole, Cortada placed 24 shoes in a circle around the North Pole, each shoe representing a person living in a different part of the world affected by climate change. Afterwards, he approached each shoe and recited a statement from each person about the impact of global climate change in their lives.

longitudinalinstallation_Cortada-LI-90N-600

Xavier Cortada, “Longitudinal Installation | North Pole,” 2008.

NORTH POLE DINNER PARTY
On June 29th, 2008, Cortada arrived at the North Pole to create ritualistic installations addressing global climate change and the melting polar caps. One of Cortada’s performances included a ritual where he fed his fellow travelers pieces of ice collected at the North Pole, thereby integrating the North Pole into their very being. “I figured that if they ingested a piece of the North Pole, it would become part of them.” said Cortada. “The North Pole water molecules would be swirling through their bodies. The North Pole atoms would be incorporated into their very cells. My sense was that after having North Pole communion, they would protect the North Pole. If nothing else, they would do so for self-preservation.”

NorthPoleDinnerParty

North Pole Dinner Party/Miami 2008: The Green Project | Claire Oliver Gallery.

90N: North Pole Installations by Xavier Cortada is being exhibited at Gallery at Creative Pinellas, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo, FL 33778, from June 29, 2018 through September 2, 2018. Follow along via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and learn more at www.cortada.com/90N

This post is compiled with permission from Xavier Cortada’s website, where full details and more images from 90N: North Pole Installations can be found.

90N-CreativePinellas-Xavier-Cortada

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About Creative Pinellas
At Creative Pinellas our mission is to facilitate a vibrant, integrated, collaborative and sustainable Pinellas County Arts Community and cultural destination. We strive to be the premier Local Arts Agency, recognized locally and globally for our contribution to arts and culture. We are focused on creating vibrant communities; supporting artists, arts organizations and the creative community; supporting economic development; showcasing Pinellas County as a cultural destination, and making arts and creative expression and experience available to all. As the County’s Local Arts Agency, Creative Pinellas and the programs we deliver are funded by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, Visit St Petersburg / Clearwater, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and by sales of the State of the Arts specialty license plate in Pinellas County.

About the Artist
Xavier Cortada created art installations at the North Pole and South Pole to address environmental concerns at every point in between. He’s been commissioned to create art for CERN, the White House, the World Bank, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, Florida Botanical Gardens, Port Everglades, Florida’s Turnpike, the Museum of Florida History, the Frost Science Museum and Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse. Locally, his work is in the permanent collection of the Frost Art Museum, PAMM and the NSU Art Museum of Ft. Lauderdale. Cortada has also developed numerous collaborative art projects globally, including peace murals in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama, AIDS murals in Geneva and South Africa, and eco-art projects in Taiwan and Holland. His studio is located in Pinecrest Gardens. For more information please visit www.cortada.com

About The Arctic Cycle
The Arctic Cycle uses theatre to foster dialogue about our global climate crisis, create an empowering vision of the future, and inspire people to take action. Operating on the principle that complex problems must be addressed through collaborative efforts, we work with artists across disciplines and geographic borders, solicit input from earth and social scientists, and actively seek community and educational partners. We manifest this mission through our ongoing initiatives, including Artists & Climate Change. Through the publication of essays, interviews, and editorials, the blog and international network Artists & Climate Change creates community and promotes the inclusion of the arts in the global climate change conversation. Since its launch in 2013, A&CC has become an educational resource for art, environment, and social change classes.


 

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

Grief and Melancholia

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

After reading the artwork’s mission statement, a mother carefully removed her shoes and socks, and waited patiently for her teenage son to do the same. He did so between gazes at his phone – completely absorbed with his handheld device. Per the rules of the installation, the mother put her phone away and opened her palm to receive the roughly two tablespoons of tiny black pellets she was instructed to carry into the exhibit.

She looked at her son.

“Put away your phone,” she said.

Her son did not look up from the screen. The mother, exasperated, retrieved the phone from his hand and put it in her purse.

“You buy a bottle of Gatorade every day,” she said. “Own your part.”

Confused but captured, the young man opened his palm, received the pellets, and followed his mother into the vast warehouse. Far ahead of them, reaching up towards the light of three massive sunlit windows, loomed Omega.

***

I created Omega from various forms of plastic. It spirals in structure, reaching up and outward like a post-apocalyptic tree covered in pitch. The majority of the sculpture consists of black plastic wings cast from taxidermized goose and pheasant. These wings twist, bend, and arch in a posture of both growth and deflation. Black morning glory vines climb from the base to the top, dripping with shiny black plastic ooze. Crawling around the work are the molted husks of cicadas, their backs split open and empty, their claws gripping the plastic “trunk” of the sculpture.

In five places are pools of imagery and natural relics. Cupped by black wings, the painted images of grasses, seaweed pods, and flowers float in pools of solid clear resin. Fake meets real in each pool, where a 3-dimensionally painted jellyfish floats with bright red wasp nests. A coyote skull – topped with a massive black wolf spider – bisects another pool… its teeth jutting out from beneath. Children often see this skull first because it sits low to the ground.

The base of the sculpture is made of thicker wings that were poured directly from a local recycling plant. Thick and spindly ropes of black plastic – the leftover purges from the massive machine – reach and crawl out from the base of the sculpture. They dive and scatter out into the space of surrounding pellets.

Amongst the antlers, the flowers, the insects, and the dripping resin, a story unfolds that wraps back on itself like a mobia strip. Is this sculpture alive? Are the colorful pools full of newly adapted forms of growth? Are they proof of Life’s unstoppable potential to evolve from dead seas, oil-soaked beaches, and charred landscapes? Is it an uplifting sign of rebirth? Or a post-apocalyptic monument to the hubris of our species?

Finally, there are the nurdles.

Tiny virgin and recycled pellets, or “nurdles” as they are known in the industry, are the means of transporting plastic around the world so that it can be melted down into various products. They can often escape into the environment, threatening wildlife. I purposefully chose to use something this controversial because I wanted to make a point…. a rather colossal point.

The sculpture is sitting in three and a half tons of these little black pellets… or, roughly eighty-seven million of them. If one black pellet represents one plastic bottle, then Omega is sitting in eighty-seven million metaphorical bottles. This is an abstract number and thus an abstract concept. It becomes significant when one enters the space holding in their hand 200 metaphorical bottles (the average for an American to purchase in one year).

But when one’s foot touches the pellets in Omega, where eighty-seven million pellets only represent the number of bottles that will be purchased globally in the next seventy-three minutes, the experience moves past significant.

It becomes undeniable.

***

We are in the midst of overlapping, abstractly huge, relentless environmental deaths all around the world because of climate change. Every day we hear of more melting glaciers, rising seas, burning forests, extinguished species, and bleached coral. We also hear of doubt-seeding climate change deniers, or leaders who opt out of climate change treaties. All of this is damaging us, and all are forms of death we cannot bury, and consequently cannot mourn. How does one have a funeral for habitat loss, let alone the death of our most treasured ideals and ethics?

When we cannot mourn something (via ceremony, symbol, or symbolic act) we enter a state of melancholia. When that loss is related to the Earth, it is considered environmental melancholia. Last year, I published a paper which argues that the melancholia, if left festering, will be overrun by an unconscious attempt to find another focus. A melancholic person can become manic… meaning they will shop, drink, smoke, overwork, watch tv, or dive deeper into their devices. I call this behavior collective social mania.

Why is this so common, and yet so misunderstood? Think about it: we are all encouraged to do this by advertisers, because a culture that is driven, encouraged, and addicted to consuming – and by that, I mean consuming everything: products, data, land, information, and entertainment – is a culture that is numb, indebted, and controllable.

In the paper, I argue that our environmental melancholia and collective social mania are connected in a loop, and the loop is destroying the planet. We are horrified and sad by what we see, so we check out… we consume. The more we consume, the more strain we put on the planet. The more strain we put on the planet, the more climate change happens. And on… and on… and on.

My argument is that in order to stop the cycle, we must allow ourselves to reconnect to our evolved, inherent affinity for other living beings on the planet, something that E.O. Wilson calls biophilia.

When we love something, and it dies, we grieve its passing. We have a funeral. We burn a love letter. We release doves to symbolize a soul’s exit. Yet, with all of these simultaneous ecological “deaths” happening, how do we have a funeral? How do we break our gaze from our devices, and feel our surroundings again? How do have conversations about how painful it all is? How do we pause to reflect on our part in both the collapse, and the rebuilding? How do we allow ourselves to grieve this very unique and crucial time in the Earth’s history?

***

The docent who volunteered at the gate of Omega was the one who told me the story of the mother and son that day. The pair apparently wandered around in the artwork for a long time, whispering to each other about what they saw. There were evidently long, silent pauses as the young man made the connection between his seemingly uneventful Gatorade purchase and the pellets that both spilled from his hand and stuck to the sweat of his bare feet. How overwhelmed he must have felt. How angry, perhaps… or determined? Saddened? Fearful? Responsible?

The amalgamation of all of these emotions is, in fact, the goal of Omega. If nothing else, the abstraction of numbers crystallizes into a tangible response… an emotion. With an artwork like this, the indisputable distance between one’s actions and one’s consequences dissolves. Distraction gives way to awareness, melancholia is replaced by mourning, and suddenly there is room for grief.

The more individuals can utilize artistic symbolism to experience their grief (and thus, their love for what has been lost), the more authentically they can connect with themselves, and then move towards meaningful, pragmatic changes of behavior in the face of overwhelming collapse. The goal, if there is one, is not to solve the world’s problems, but to first get individuals to confess that they hurt at all.

In the age of climate change, artists are not just helpful.

We are crucial.

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Regan Rosburg is an artist and naturalist. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she teaches Fine Arts and Foundations at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and Metro State University. She is known for her carefully constructed, layered resin paintings, as well as her sensory-laden, emotionally evocative installations. A published writer and passionate speaker, Rosburg’s commitment to environmental causes is evident in her poignant artistic imagery, talks, and writing. Her first curated show was Axis Mundi, a massive exhibition on the topic of eco-psychology (2017 Denver Biennial of the Americas). She is represented by William Havu Gallery.


 

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

Renewable Energy Soundscapes

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

This is an exciting time to be alive: we are living witnesses to the third energy revolution.

  1. The first energy revolution – wood to coal – was in the second half of the 18th century with the invention of the steam engine;
  2. The second energy revolution – coal to oil/gas – at the beginning of the 20th century with the invention of the internal combustion engine;
  3. The third energy revolution – oil/gas to renewables – is currently underway.

Some have described this third energy revolution as a tsunami. I would add: a tsunami that has already crested. There is no turning back. As an artivist, I am inspired by a sense of awakening, by the promise of clean abundance, of jobs, and justice. No more wars for oil.

Joan Sullivan, wind, Canada, photographer, winter, blur, renewable, energy, transition

Photo © 2017 Joan Sullivan

The dominant visuals in our collective memory of the third energy revolution to date are photos/videos of white horizontal axis wind turbines, blue rectangular photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, and large hydroelectric reservoirs. Yes, there are many other forms of renewable energy, but at this early stage of the current energy transition, our visual landscape is dominated by wind, solar, and hydro.

In contrast, the soundscape of this energy transition is not yet clearly etched into our collective memory.

A new exhibit in Venice by American composer and sound art pioneer Bill Fontana could change that. According to Fontana’s artist statement, Primal Sonic Visions “aims to awaken a sense of astonishment, wonder and curiosity in the power and beauty of wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy sources.”

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IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin (left) and the artist Bill Fontana (right) at the Venice opening of Fontana’s Primal Sonic Visions exhibit on May 26, 2018. Photo downloaded from IRENA flickr stream.

Commissioned by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Fontana’s Primal Sonic Visions is an “immersive series of sonic and visual abstractions” that focuses our attention on the primal beauty of renewable energy. During the exhibit’s opening in May, the former President of Iceland, Olafur Grimsson, suggested that Fontana’s work could be the “missing link” in communicating the transformative power of renewable energy to a larger public audience.

For me, this quote says it all:

Primal Sonic Visions prompts deep reflection on the power and effectiveness of energy capable of ensuring the future of our planet and triggers an emotional response to the environment, now under violent attack from the effects of climate change and atmospheric agents. As people enter the space, they are met with an emotional experience that at first instills a sense of wonder, and later transforms into a deep reflection of the potential and power of these energy sources to be used in securing a future for our planet.
Bill Fontana

To get a sense of the exhibit, click on each of the photos below (reprinted with permission) to view Fontana’s immersive videos of geothermal, wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects around the world.

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Bill Fontana, Fontana, Primal Sonic Visions, Venice, biennale, soundscape, sound sculpture, Austria, hydro, hydroelectric, renewabable, energy

Internationally renowned for his pioneering use of sound as a sculptural medium to transform our visual perception, Fontana has only recently begun exploring renewable energy from his unique artistic perspective. “The IRENA commission has transformed me as an artist,” he explained in a phone conversation. “It gave me the chance to experiment with moving images in ways that I had never done before. This project has helped me to invent a new visual language, one that has shifted from the literal to the abstract.”

“This whole project has been quite liberating,” he continued. “I’m 71, and have been working with sound for over 40 years. It’s really great at my age to feel like a beginner. I feel reborn!”

A blogger from Paris described Fontana’s Primal Sonic Visions as a “musical cathedral” that seduces visitors to “follow the call of the wind” and “surrender completely” to this abstract world. As a renewable energy photographer, I can’t think of a more beautiful paean to an artist whose highly technological methods stir such visceral emotions about renewable energy. To the best of my knowledge, no other renewable energy artist has accomplished this to date.

So how does he do it? Fontana’s work speaks to us at a primitive, subconscious level. Visitors are virtually bathed in the primordial ooze and steamy atmosphere of ancient Earth. This immersive experience helps us to embrace the undeniable fact that we live on a truly magnificent planet that has been generating its own carbon-free energy for millions of years. This energy is literally bubbling right below our feet and shining down upon us from above. It promises a future of limitless potential. It is free for the taking. Enough for everyone.

What the hell are we waiting for?

This must be the “missing link” that Grimsson was referring to at the exhibit’s opening. I would take it one step further and suggest that Fontana may have discovered the holy grail of climate change communication: a hypnotic combination of elemental sound and visuals that gently remind us – without politics, without environmentalism – that the solutions to climate change already exist. In fact, they have always existed, long before our species evolved. Yet somehow, wise man chose to ignore these incredible gifts of nature.

It is time to put the pedal to the metal and embrace the third energy revolution. Artists like Bill Fontana can help us get there faster.

Primal Sonic Visions continues through September 16, 2018 at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Sponsors include the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. The exhibit was organized by Arthemisia in collaboration with IRENA, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and Science Gallery Venice.

For those who missed the exhibit’s inauguration in May, Mr. Fontana will return to Venice in September to direct a two-day accompanying workshop at the Ca’ Foscari entitled Acoustic Phenomenology (September13-14). I wish I could attend!

(Top image: Video still of a waste water electric turbine in Austria, downloaded with permission from Bill Fontana’s website.)

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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

Sir Peter Scott: the embodiment of art and conservation

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

As part of the #art4wetlands series the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)have very kindly provided us with the following images and story on their founder, artist and conservationist Sir Peter Scott. Sir Peter epitomises one of the many ways that the power of art can be brought to bear on the challenges of conservation. One of the WWT reserve managers mentioned that every time Sir Peter wanted to do work to improve a reserve he would simply, “create another painting to sell.”

Image courtesy of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989) knew how to take action, and how to inspire others.  He was a visionary who understood that people and nature are part of the same intertwined ecosystem. He realised – ahead of his time – that our wealth, our health and our emotional wellbeing all depend on the natural world. He understood that showing people how amazing nature is, can ignite a passion to conserve it.

Scott was an accomplished artist, writer, world-class sportsman, Naval Commander and the son of one of the most famous explorers of the 20th Century.  Famously, his father’s last letter from Antarctica prophetically instructed his wife to “Make the boy interested in nature – it is so much better than sports.”  As fate would have it, he was brilliant at both.

Image courtesy of WWT

Added to this he was an extraordinary wildlife artist with a particular passion for wildfowl art.  He produced hundreds of original wildfowl artworks in his lifetime and his deep love of painting birds must surely have driven his passion for working to save wetlands and wildfowl around the world.

In 1945/6 he became determined to set up a Wildfowl Trust – but where?  At Slimbridge – he had a ‘eureka’ moment.  Here, on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire he spotted two unbelievably rare Lesser White-Fronted Geese in a flock of White-Fronted Geese.  So, Slimbridge would become the home of the Severn Wildfowl Trust – later to become the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

More than that, he began to address wider, global conservation issues.  A co-founder and first chairman of the World Wildlife Fund (1961), his work on international conservation issues continued over the coming decades.  He was instrumental in setting up the Ramsar Convention in 1971.  This international agreement works to protect wetlands of international importance and now includes over 2,300 sites covering 2 million square kilometres. In 1982 he established an international moratorium on whaling and later worked to secure agreements for the protection of Antarctica from international exploitation.  In 1973 he became the first person to be knighted for services to conservation.

Sir Peter Scott with Néné Geese. Image courtesy of WWT

Over the coming years he developed new conservation techniques and honed existing ideas; he saved the Hawaiian Goose (the Néné) from extinction; he established international protocols for conservation (i.e. the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species) still used today to categorise the conservation status of all known species; he brokered national and international agreements for the conservation of wildlife; he championed research into the damage done to our wild places and how to address this; he tracked the migratory patterns of wetland birds; he resolved to work across borders to protect their flyways and – insightful as ever – he recognised the power of bringing wildlife into people’s homes through the evolving medium of television and his ‘Look’ series on the BBC.

It is hard to identify anyone before him who had such an impact on raising conservation issues with the general public, and on bringing governments together to address global issues.


 

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.

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Born of a Singularity: Art and Our Position in the Ecosystem

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

If you look through critical writing about Siobhan McDonald’s artwork you would not be immediately aware that she is pre-eminently a painter. But it is with the sensibility of a painter that she views the issues of our time. On the day on which I first met her, at her studio in the Science Faculty at University College Dublin, it had just been announced that Cheddar Man, the oldest known human inhabitant of the British Isles and ancestor of the British (and Irish) people was not white, as previously thought, but black. New DNA evidence revealed that the ethnic purity of the white ‘master’ race was based on nothing more than a false, and generally, harmful assumption. Science has a way of reviewing even the most cherished beliefs, and confronting us with alternative hypotheses to what we think is the truth. As an artist, Siobhan McDonald has devoted herself to bringing visibility and sense to subtle, even invisible shifts in knowledge.

Siobhan McDonald – art pieces and source material

Like the great painters of the past, she is interested in the mystery of existence, “what is still unknown to science, exploring the origins of life and plants as a way to see clearly into the future.” Her field of vision is large. It extends across time and space in search of artistic vehicles that can carry the wonder, the mind-numbing terror of change over temporal and spatial spans that we cannot begin to imagine. She invites us to consider how past and future might come together, keeping a forensic as well as an aesthetic eye on the traces and residues of past activity and the scientific studies that suggest future direction, bringing her closer to an understanding of the phenomena that feed her art project. She moves between examination of the evidence of biological and historical activity hidden in the icy landscapes of the Arctic Circle, to volcanic activity in the same region, creating her own seismometer to record tectonic shifts in the earth’s substrata, making artwork to reflect the fossilization of an object as modern as an abandoned Dakota DC3 aircraft, bringing a painter’s eye to bear on the accretions painted by time on to its surface. This merely parallels her own painting process. “Paint congealed and reacting to time for me suggests possibilities… a form of alchemy that transforms our understanding”.

Her philosophical landscape is filled with evidence of the strength and continuity of natural forces. While there is something biblical about the power and might of geological change, McDonald is just as quick to spot and be moved by quieter, but no less inexorable temporal alteration. Thus, Silent Witnessing (2017), is simply composed of a sheet of paper, which once formed the backing to a collection of rare butterflies in UCD. The butterflies had long since turned to dust, and been swept away to prepare for other research species. Only McDonald was sensitive to the potent image left in their wake by dust and melanin, describing their patterned imprint as “a natural photogram.”



In pursuit of her goals she has embraced sculptural installation, photography, sound, video, found objects and chance occurrences, even materials so new, they are only being invented as she uses them. Her paintings, as the short documentary video Chrystalline: Disappearing Worlds reveals, are informed by all of them. What does it mean to take a pre-existing image, literally frozen in time as the plate glass photographs of failed, nineteenth century Arctic expeditions were, and to re-imagine them in paint? The act of painting becomes a means to feel your way into the experience of the original photographers, to consider what they saw, to add the dimension of present time and your own thoughts as you examine each mark, scratch and erasure in the original. The paintings are influenced by the ravages of a century of concealment in ice on those glass plates; their tracery becomes part of her painterly alphabet. The battered figures in paintings such as Unknown Landscape (2016), blurred and partly obliterated as if time and snow and desperation withholds them from our re-discovery, result in a real sense of encounter with the ill-fated expedition team. Their moment in time and the climatic conditions which paradoxically caused their deaths but preserved the evidence; simultaneously showing the “then” and the “now,” become the emotional stimulus for the contemporary painting. Importantly, the time-based painting process, itself, adds an emotional dimension to mere scientific “evidence” of time, cold and certain death. Inevitably the little expedition paintings evoke Caspar David Friedrich’s figures gazing over the cliffs at Rügen. But no matter how terrible Friedrich’s sublime is, his well-dressed protagonists retain a sense of agency over the landscape. It is clear from McDonald’s paintings that the blizzards of ice that already sweep her human inhabitants away from each other, deny such power. In this, McDonald’s paintings are closer to those of Turner, speaking of vulnerability, refusing the comfort of a church spire, however distant.

Writing about McDonald’s work in 2012, Tim Robinson noted, “Since the Cosmos and all that’s in it were born of a singularity, all things are related”. If the narratives of the cosmos from the Jurassic periods to the Anthropocene yield the subject matter for McDonald’s work, time, matter and space are also implicated as co-workers in it and it is her role as a painter to make that visible. The charred animal bone, the chambers of air, preserved since the Triassic period and toxic to humankind today, the 190-year-old seeds, preserved in ice since the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, the crystalline deposits grown and metamorphosed by atmospheric action in an old drawer; the seismic drawings on charcoal-dusted paper made by imperceptible movements of the earth all perform themselves. They are like other kinds of paint, growing, layering, removing, creating meaningful surfaces. McDonald recognizes that and frames them on the walls.

Where Leonardo da Vinci, observed, sketched and pondered the movements of water and wind, land-locked fish fossils, the flight of birds, McDonald, the UN Climate Action Program’s first artist of the week, (2017), took her thoughts out of the sketchbook and into the public domain. Leonardo had time on his side. But there is a sense of urgency now, as man’s actions on a global and industrial scale change the nature of the universe, and appear to be hurtling us to an unpreventable catastrophe. McDonald has to work across a wide range of data, using every tool in her scientific and artistic repertory to inform and persuade us that the pace of deep time and geological change may still have lessons for us. Leonardo and his contemporaries believed in the harmony of the spheres, where every organ contributed to the balance and order of the universe. McDonald asks us, instead, to look at the effects of imbalance, to listen to the drips of the dying glaciers, to witness the impacts of global warming in Crystalline, where large panels of sponge, coated in Solar White – a mix of carbon and bone (about to be used on the European Space Agency’s 2018, Solar Orbiter) –recall frozen wastelands and dried out riverbeds. Leonardo constantly reminded those around him of the inter-dependence of science and art. Nowhere is this more evident than in McDonald’s Solar Skin which combines seismographic drawings on smoked paper, basalt and stretched calfskin. Science may have dictated the seismographic technologies and even the use of basalt, but the calfskin is a direct link to the Book of Kells and a reminder of McDonald’s artistic heritage.

For the first time in history man is responsible for climate change. Somewhere along the vast spread of time that McDonald’s work examines, it would appear as if mankind forgot that it, too, is part of the natural world. Leonardo’s blunt language about human biology, “the tree of the heart has its roots in the dung of the liver,” brings us right back to our roots, to the dust and bacteria that reach far beyond Darwinian and Freudian analysis. The vulnerability so evident in the Arctic expedition paintings, or the narratives of cosmic activity in paintings such as her Peter Doig-like Meteorite hits Savissivik 2017 insist on the centrality of change, implied in every living thing. Two-thousand years ago, Ovid, brooding over the way rocks, animals, people and plants developed in Metamorphoses, concluded:

Thus are their figures never at a stand
But chang’d by Nature’s innovating hand:
All things are alter’d, nothing is destroy’d,
The shifted scene for some new show employ’d.
Then to be born, is to begin to be
Some other thing we were not formerly:
And what we call to die is not t’appear
Or be the thing that formerly we were.

Although mindful of the damage man’s actions have caused to age-old habitats and processes, Siobhan McDonald’s work, like Ovid’s words, remind us that the seeds of a different future, not necessarily the end of life, are contained in the scientific evidence. It is the emotional energy transmitted through the artworks that will decide how the wider community, beyond the laboratory, engages with that knowledge.

(Chrystalline: Disappearing Worlds is available for purchase as a full-color book designed by Oonagh Young with texts by Helen Carey and Catherine Marshall.)

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Catherine Marshall, is a curator, art historian and writer. She taught history of art at Trinity College, Dublin and the National College of Art, before becoming the founding Head of Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She is Co-Editor of the Art and Architecture of Ireland, Volume V, Twentieth Century, Yale University Press and Royal Irish Academy, 2014. She has curated exhibitions of Irish Art all over Ireland and as far afield as China, the United States of America and Canada.


 

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

An Interview With Writer Krista Foss

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

I am pleased to share this interview with Krista Foss, an Ontario-based writer of novels, essays, short stories and journalism. Her first novel Smoke River was published by McClelland & Stewart (2014). Krista recently published a short story in Granta called “Cloud Seeding” about a futuristic company that learns to control the weather through technology and human activity. We spoke about why the story resonates in the Anthropocene era, how climate change is intertwined with capitalism, and why storytelling is key to getting the public to take climate change more seriously. I hope you enjoy it!

Amy: Your recent story in Granta is about a “cloud seeding” company that uses technology and child labor to generate and move storms. What inspired this idea?

Krista: The technology of cloud seeding has been around for at least 80 years, deployed most commonly for farms and ski hills. But a decade ago, Moscow’s mayor used it to prevent rain on parade days (he wanted to reduce his snow clearing budget with it too.) Beijing has its own weather modification office; it was used to hustle stormy skies away from important events at the 2008 summer Olympics, for instance.

This was all news to me: I stumbled upon it while researching something else and of course got hooked.

In Canada, weather is religion. The idea that it could be so easily manipulated (although weather modifying technology is expensive and not always reliable) was intriguing and disillusioning.

So this hubris, this god-like posturing, became the story’s starting point. I speculated about a world where weather mod was a more effective and competitive remedy for climate change and asked myself, what happens when we’re no longer in awe of the weather?

Amy: Do you think about extreme weather patterns, environmental issues, and/or climate change beyond what you write about in your fiction?

Krista: I live in a mid-sized southwestern Ontario city that’s physically scarred by its industrial past and in the midst of reinvention. It’s surrounded by a unique escarpment and swaths of Carolinian forest. This ecology is vulnerable to every variety of human encroachment. Climate change is a biggie.

As I write this, it’s 40 C. (with the humidex). Grass is brown and crispy and it’s only mid-June. New species and diseases have migrated here – possums (adorable), Lyme-disease infected ticks (less adorable). Emerald ash-borers and gypsy moths regularly attack the tree canopy. Our storms are wild – they’d be thrilling if they weren’t so damaging.

But compared to the whole country, my corner of Ontario is not getting the worst of it. The severity of forest fires, flooding and infestation is on the rise in other provinces. For our First Nations communities, climate change converges with all the other injuries inflicted by colonialization.

It’s impossible not to think about it; it’s right there, just outside my front door.

Krista Foss on her bike. Photo by John Martin.

Amy: Your story speaks to so many real-life issues, including the capitalistic mindset that drives climate change. In “Cloud Seeding” the capitalist critique manifests as the company’s willingness to let children die to increase their profit margins. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the intersection of capitalism and climate.

Krista: Where to begin? By using the technology to write these answers, I participate in capitalism and will contribute to climate change by pressing the send button. My choices are made at that intersection. So how do I square my individualism with the collective needs of the planet, and those displaced by climate change?  One way that’s fresh for me is how I vote.

We just had an election in Ontario that brought in an inexperienced politician who leaned on the Trump playbook: He leveraged public outrage over high electricity costs to win votes. One of his first promises is to end our cap-and-trade system that makes companies pay for greenhouse gas emissions in his quest to create a more business-friendly environment (code for trashing environmental regulation among other things.) Two-thirds of voters did not choose him. (So now we have an issue of electoral reform converging with climate change.) But his appeal to the “big-government-stealing-from-your-wallets” mindset highlights an essential tension. What are we individually willing to give up for a greater good?  Or, alternatively, why are we so okay with climate–the natural world – acting as a subsidy for big business and the artificially low costs we pay here for food, fuel and stuff?

Our political economy, our corporate oversight, reflects our shared values. On a fundamental level our values got us here. Every kid who walks outdoors and looks at bugs or salamanders or wants to identify a bird, gives me hope. Because they’re engaged: They’ve got a personal stake in something bigger than themselves. And those kids grow up to be activists and leaders and voters.

Amy: The ending of your story cuts through the heart by suggesting that the people in charge of the company have grown emotionally numb to loss, to death. Again, I can’t help but think of this story in terms of our larger cultural moment, of how there still seems to be such a psychological barrier to climate change. There’s lots of discussion about how best to break through. Some say that stories of hope are the answer. Others argue that fear is a more useful tool. What do you think?

Krista: A story breaks through when it leaves readers thinking with more complexity about the world or themselves. We have to earn that: we have to enchant readers with that complexity. It can be ugly or it can be beautiful.

I know my barriers are broken down by writing that moves me from my comfortable pieties to somewhere else, disorienting even distressing, wholly unexpected. As long as I’m left looking at the world in a way I didn’t have the imagination or the subtlety for before, I’m paying attention. I’m changed.

The litmus then isn’t whether it’s hopeful, or fearful, but rather, did it wake me up?

Amy: What can fiction show us about climate change that perhaps scientific reports can’t? 

Krista: I go full nerd for scientific reports, journals and writing: it’s a source of inspiration. But of course, scientific objectivity and evidentiary rigor limit the way I can be moved by that information. I don’t expect a lot of pathos with data. Fiction that is scientifically, as well as imaginatively informed, doesn’t have these limits. It can bridge the silos of art and science and show us what we care about (or don’t), understand (or don’t). It can confront us with our sanctimony and unreliability and that intriguing gap between our actions and words. It helps us imagine where we’re going, fathom what is gone and leaves us with a richer understanding of what’s happening out there right now.

This post was originally published in Amy Brady’s “Burning Worlds” newsletter. Subscribe to get her newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

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Amy Brady is the Deputy Publisher of Guernica magazine and Senior Editor of the Chicago Review of Books. Her writing about art, culture, and climate has appeared in the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Pacific Standard, the New Republic, and other places. She is also the editor of the monthly newsletter “Burning Worlds,” which explores how artists and writers are thinking about climate change. She holds a PHD in English and is the recipient of a CLIR/Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship. Read more of her work at AmyBradyWrites.com and follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x. 


 

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

Manifesta 12: The Planetary Garden

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

During the renovation of the sanitary system of Palazzo Butera, one of the many crumbling yet spectacular palazzos of Palermo, Sicily, a Jacaranda tree’s centuries-old root was discovered. The seed of this beautiful fragrant tree, native to tropical and subtropical regions, had found a new home in the humidity of the Italian palace. Palermo is a city of human and non-human migratory flows. Over the centuries, plant and tree seeds from all over the world have travelled to Palermo and found new habitats. There, they adapted, grew, reproduced, and combined.

This cosmopolitan (bio)diversity is apparent in Francesco Lojacono’s 1875 painting View of Palermo, which depicts the Orto Botanico – the city’s lush botanical garden. The garden was founded at the height of the European colonial period as a place to collect and crossbreed different plant species, and classify them according to Linnaeus’ classification system. It comes as no surprise that none of the plants, flowers, and trees in Lojacono’s painting are indigenous. One can recognize aspen from the Middle East, agave from central America, eucalyptus from Australia, prickly pear from Mexico and loquat from Japan. The citrus tree – now a symbol of Sicily – was originally from Asia and introduced under Arab rule. Today, Palermo’s botanical garden is one of the main venues of Manifesta 12, the European Nomadic Biennial. It was Lojacono’s painting that inspired this year’s theme: The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence.

domus-palermo-atlas-00.jpg.foto.rmedium

“View of Palermo” by Francesco Lojacono, as printed in Atlas Palermo by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture for Manifesta 12.

Based in Amsterdam, Manifesta travels to a different European city every two years, and transforms it into a large contemporary art exhibition. The organization’s aim is to “prompt reflection through contemporary culture on what it means to be European.” After Zurich (2014) and St. Petersburg (2016), Palermo is a timely and interesting choice. Located in the south of Europe and northwest of the Middle East, Palermo exemplifies Europe’s history of multiple identities while at the same time being a place where key transnational issues – such as climate change and trafficking – converge. Above all, the architecture of Palermo is an incredible backdrop for an art exhibition. The slowly disintegrating palazzos, with trees piercing right through them, ensure that pretty much any art is going to look good. From the incredible State Archives of Palermo with papers piled to the eves, to the magical oratorios, the venues steal the show at Manifesta 12.

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Protocol no. 90/6 (2018), MASBEDO at the Archivio di Stato di Palermo (State Archives of Palermo, Gancia venue – Cortile della Gancia).

Though it might be highly enjoyable for visitors, it is slightly colonial to fly to a new place every two years, take over the city, and hope to transform it with contemporary art. The Manifesta team must be aware of this as this year more in-depth, pre-Biennial research was conducted. The urban research study of the city of Palermo was (ironically?) done by the also Netherlands-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and resulted in the Palermo Atlas – a collection of stories gathered on the ground and supported by data. The book aims to enable a more integrated approach and allow for a deeper understanding of the urban realities and cultural, social, religious, ethnic, and geo-political complexities of the city. To me, this investigation is not a luxury but the basic foundation of any Biennial – especially one that lands in a new country every two years. The art event stands or falls according to how genuine the city’s interest is. This can even influence the quality of the artworks; the more the work interacts with its context, the stronger it seems to be.

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Un-Built Palermo, Palermo Atlas, Office for Metropolitan Architecture for Manifesta 12.g

The most striking example of this is the work that filmmaker Laura Poitras did with a group of Italian film students. Building on her personal interests and expertise, Poitras pointed the students towards the strong U.S. military presence in Sicily, the island being crucial to the U.S. military communications and drone operations. She worked with them and guided them for several months. Though she has shot incredible footage herself at the Sigonella station – supposedly the hub of U.S. naval air operations in the Mediterranean – the real revelation came from the students. Their confidence boosted by their world-famous mentor’s reputation, they produced four short films that each tell a different story about the U.S. military bases. The films are informative and telling, but also manage to keep their artistic and poetic character. The students got their moment of fame at the opening of Manifesta 12 at Teatro Garibaldi, the main venue. It was clear that the audience was there to see Poitras, but she generously gave the stage to them, showing sneak previews of their work and letting the (very shy) students speak about their films.

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Still from Signal Flow, 2018 – one of the films Poitras made with Italian film students.

The question remains as to what the Manifesta legacy might look like. After all the confetti has blown away, has the art crowd really contributed to Palermo’s transition to a city that is not under unlawful control? Will the palazzos turn back into decaying homes for Jacaranda trees and crumble away over time? Will the students’ films be seen by international audiences? Though it is hard to say, it is clearly the elephant in the room. But it appears that all the praises and appreciation for the handsome venues have sparked a renewed interest by local citizens to look after them. I call it the holiday effect. Sometimes all it takes is a foreign eye to recognize the beauty of what you already have. Now let’s nurture this renewed appreciation for these Sicilian gems – without becoming colonial about it.

Teatro Garibaldi

Manifesta 12: The Planetary Garden. Cultivating coexistence. is on June 16–November 4, 2018 in Palermo, Sicily.

(Top image: Bo Zheng, Pteridophilia, 2016. Video in the Orto Botanico Palermo as part of Manifesta 12.)

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Curator Yasmine Ostendorf (MA) has worked extensively on international cultural mobility programs and on the topic of art and environment for expert organizations such as Julie’s Bicycle (UK), Bamboo Curtain Studio (TW) Cape Farewell (UK) and Trans Artists (NL). She founded the Green Art Lab Alliance, a network of 35 cultural organizations in Europe and Asia that addresses our social and environmental responsibility, and is the author of the series of guides “Creative Responses to Sustainability.” She is the Head of Nature Research at the Van Eyck Academy (NL), a lab that enables artists to consider nature in relation to ecological and landscape development issues and the initiator of the Van Eyck Food Lab.


 

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

Now Hiring: Sustainable Scotland Network

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Sustainable Scotland Network are recruiting two new positions to join the team at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation – a Network Engagement Officer and a Project Administrator. This is an exciting opportunity to work at the frontline of delivery and engagement on climate action in Scotland.

Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) is Scotland’s professional network for public sector sustainability and climate change action. SSN works to support improved public sector action on climate change through capacity building, support for mandatory reporting, knowledge exchange and sharing of good practice.

SSN is supported by a secretariat and run by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (University of Edinburgh) and Sniffer.

Both roles are fixed term until March 31 2020 with possibility of a one year extension subject to funding. Secondments are welcomed. For further details on each role or to apply please follow the links below, Deadline is the 17th July.

SSN Network Engagement Officer: This is a part-time role (0.6FTE) 21 hours per week available for immediate start. Salary: £27,285-£31,604 (pro rata). Find out more and apply

SSN Administrator: This post is full time with immediate start. Salary: £22,876-£27,285 per annum. Find out more and apply

 


The post Opportunity: Two New Positions with the Sustainable Scotland Network 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