Monthly Archives: February 2019

How do YOU do Green Arts? Get planning for #GreenArts Day 2019: Thursday 14 March

How do you do #GreenArts? Get set to join in with #GreenArts Day 2019 on Thursday 14 March to share your work, find out about what’s happening in the cultural sector, what sustainability in the arts looks like, and how we all can contribute to a better and more sustainable Scotland.

#GreenArts Day was held for the first time in March 2018, it was an exciting day of stories from across Scotland’s cultural sector and beyond, reaching an audience of over 1 million people! This year we hope you’ll join us in making it even bigger and better.

What can I expect from #GreenArts Day 2019?

  • Inspiration, humour and community
    We were overwhelmed with the huge number of organisations and people who got involved with #GreenArts Day 2018 across all sorts of different channels, you can get a sense of the day from the #GreenArts Day 2018 twitter moment.
  • The launch of the Green Arts Initiative Annual Report
    As part of their membership of the community, our Green Arts members report each year on the actions they’ve taken, and the ambitions they have for their environmental sustainability efforts. This year we’ll be live publishing the report during #GreenArts day, pulling out key activities, insights and member successes. For an idea of previous annual reports, and to get a sneak peak of what might be in this year’s edition, take a look at the Green Arts Initiative Annual Report 2017.
  • The showcasing of the Green Arts member community
    Our Green Arts community is driven by the amazing members from all corners of Scotland. We’ll be highlighting those taking strides on sustainability from different art forms, different locations, and different situations.
  • Exciting announcements by the Green Arts community
    #GreenArts Day is a great moment to announce new initiatives to achieve even more ambition in creating a better, sustainable Scotland (and world). #GreenArts Day 2018 saw the Scottish Government supported announcement of HebCelt’s ban on single-use plastics.
  • Questions to prompt your own green arts thinking
    Over the course of the day, we’ll also be posing key questions that the Green Arts community is working with, challenging the cultural sector and those participating in it to develop the ideas which underpin all our efforts towards a sustainable Scottish cultural sector.

What is the Green Arts Initiative?#GreenArts Day: Wednesday 14th March 1

The Green Arts Initiative is a community of practice of cultural organisations in Scotland, committed to reducing their environmental impact. We are working on this in a huge variety of ways – everything from reducing the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, to programming artistic work which directly tackles the issues for Scottish and international audiences.

It is free for any cultural organisation in Scotland to join and participate in the Green Arts Initiative. To find out more, and to become part of the community, head on over to our project page. We currently have 220 members from across Scotland, and we guarantee you’ll spot some you already know on our interactive map.

How can I get involved?

  • Use, like and retweet the hashtag #GreenArts
  • Connect with Creative Carbon Scotland on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.
  • If you are a Green Arts member, think about what you could share during the day:
    • Could you introduce your Green Champion or Green Team to the world?
    • Have you got a good sustainability story to share?
    • Are you launching a new sustainability initiative?
    • Can you show off your environmental policy?

If you have something you are planning to share as part of the #GreenArts day, or if you have any questions, please do get in touch with Catriona on catriona.patterson@creativecarbonscotland.com

The post How do YOU do Green Arts? Get planning for #GreenArts Day 2019: Thursday 14 March 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

Powered by WPeMatico

2019 College Green Captain Prize Now Open for Submissions

The Broadway Green Alliance is pleased to once again offer the College Green Captain Prize to an outstanding college student who has helped his or her campus theatre department become greener. The deadline for all applications is March 4, 2019.

Winners will have brought innovative, creative, and/or widely-applied greening and energy-efficiency methods into the design and/or production of theatre to their campuses. Entries from this year’s finalists will be displayed at the BGA booth at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) Annual Conference & Stage Expo, which runs from March 20-23, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The winner will be selected by a panel composed of members of the Broadway Green Alliance and will be announced at the USITT Expo. He or she will receive tickets to the Broadway production of Hadestown and, subject to availability, a professional backstage tour of the production or a meeting with a current Broadway Green Captain.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the BGA website by clicking here. Entries can be sent to green@broadway.org. Students or faculty/staff members interested in helping to green their theatre departments are encouraged to sign up to be a College Green Captain.P

Let There Be Puppets – and a Green New Deal

by Julia Levine

Persistent Acts kicks off a second year at the intersection of performance, climate, and politics, with a look at Bread & Puppet Theatre’s recent tour to New York.

As 2018 came to a close, I had the privileged of seeing a Bread & Puppet show at New York City’s downtown Theater for the New City. On tour from rural Vermont, in the off-season of the farm, they presented their new opera Or Else, written by Bertolt Brecht, composed by Hans Eisler, and directed by Peter Schumann. What I knew of B&P was large puppets, bread, and that my friend Paul was in this show. I’ve encountered B&P’s puppets before, like at the Women’s March in 2017.

As we assembled into the sold-out house, I took in the shower curtain with “Or Else” written on it; the tight rows of papier-mâché puppets hanging from the grid; the traveling-salesman-type trunk with a suit hanging off the edge; large-scale beast-like puppets; rows of cardboard buildings and Schumann, the founder of B&P himself. He blew the whistle and the show began, with a man appearing behind the trunk, dropping an ice cube on a row of spoons, which fell onto a drum. This ice played out differently than it may have when the show was created, during the summer in a barn, but the implication was similar – ice melts, turning to water, which drips. Elsewhere on the stage, the buildings and beasts are pulled to the wings. What unfolded during the show was a series of movement-based, object-based, and musical moments. The music was performed by Pi Ensemble, and included brass, piano, and violin, and two singers who wove in and out of the stage action. A description of the stage action and its potential meanings can be found in Wonderland, from when the piece was performed over the summer at the farm.

As the ensemble cast of word-less actors maneuvered the puppets and objects around the stage in choreographed synchronicity and through the music, I made a similar meaning to Wonderland writer Greg Cook: Or Else “is a show about dark times in the land, channeling a national sense of things gone dangerously wrong, of wicked people in charge who dictate cruel punishments and arrests and violence. It’s a show full of forebodings of the forces of fascism and torture coming awake.”

How is this show different than what’s on the news? What is elucidating about this performance? The cast manipulate puppets, gather as a crowd, and dance in pairs – depicting life of what seemed to me a version of Marx’s proletariat. The show is abundant with metaphor, starting with the puppets themselves: A number of human-shaped puppets, of varying sizes, make appearances as anonymous individuals. We see the actual humans who manipulate the puppets; they are also anonymous. These people – as humans and puppets – act out scenes of labor, through varying levels of industrial support. And in one scene, after dirt has been poured on the rows of stationary puppets, humans clean up the mess.

What is resonant to me about Or Else is both in the making-of and in the witnessing. From what I saw onstage, a group of people came together to make something out of nothing – the human touch is viscerally clear when looking at the puppets. By centering the puppets, I felt even more of a connection to my fellow humans because, though I could see the actors manipulating these puppets, I could ascribe my own meaning to their actions. I felt a connection to my species that is less tangible in this hyper-digital time. When the puppets moved together, it was like magic. I made my own meaning of the scenes as a whole, based on my experiences and inclinations. I have the luxury of time and space to really chew on a piece like this, but as the play seemed to echo: freedom and individuality are not to be taken for granted. At the same time, this piece highlighted the potential of a group of humans. By the end of the show, the ensemble had raised a giant human-shaped puppet up to the tall grid of the theatre, which I took to represent the rise of a fascist dictator. Finally, the scene returns to how it was at the beginning, with the large puppet looming in the background.

In B&P fashion, bread and aioli were brought out after the curtain call (rye bread and garlic grown on the farm), for a full sensory experience. I left with many potential meanings to a given scene, and continued questions about the state of our country. What happens in an absolute dictatorship? What are the alternatives? With the stage returning to its original state, it feels like the events of the play are on loop, a cycle that perpetuates – “or else” a different direction is imagined and pursued.

We are already seeing the hard-hitting effects of our current economic and political systems on our climate: the IPCC’s report lays out what the negative “or else” consequences could be in twelve years. Fueled by this, some Democrats in the current U.S. Congress are envisioning “what else”: a Green New Deal, rooted in decarbonizing the economy and justice for those communities hardest-hit by climate disasters. As my friend Blake iterated in our year-end post What Gives You Hope?, there is momentum around this platform, especially amongst youth who won’t take the cycle of “or else” anymore. Until there are concrete policies enacted, I feel cautiously optimistic about this GND, and propelled to stage more “elses” in this year to come.

(All photos: Bread and Puppet Theater performs Or Else in the troupe’s Paper Mâché Cathedral in Glover, Vermont, Aug. 17, 2018. Photos by Greg Cook.)

This article is part of the Persistent Acts series which looks at the intersection of performance, climate, and politics. How does hope come to fruition, even in the most dire circumstances? What are tangible alternatives to the oppressive status quo? The series considers questions of this nature to motivate conversations and actions on climate issues that reverberate through politics and theatre.

______________________________

Julia Levine is a creative collaborator and vegetarian. Originally from St. Louis, Julia is now planted in the New York City downtown theatre realm. As a director, Julia has worked on various projects with companies that consider political and cultural topics, including Theater In Asylum, Honest Accomplice Theatre, and Superhero Clubhouse. She is the Marketing Manager at HERE and is Artistic Producer of The Arctic Cycle. Julia writes and devises with her performance-based initiative, The UPROOT Series, to bring questions of food, climate, and justice into everyday life.

———-

Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Powered by WPeMatico

Opportunity: Platform : 2019 Open Call at Edinburgh Art Festival

PLATFORM: If you are an early career artist ready to showcase your work, Edinburgh Art Festival would like to hear from you!

ABOUT

Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is the platform for the visual arts at the heart of Edinburgh’s August festivals, bringing together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces in a city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art.

Each year, the Festival features leading international and UK artists alongside the best emerging talent, major survey exhibitions of historic figures, and a special programme of newly commissioned artworks that respond to public and historic sites in the city.

PLATFORM: 2019

If you are an early career artist ready to showcase your work, we’d like to hear from you.

We are delighted to announce the call for proposals to participate in Platform: 2019. This will be the fifth edition of our annual initiative designed to provide a dedicated opportunity for artists at the beginning of their careers to participate in the Festival.

Between 3-4 artists selected through the Open Call, will be invited to present their work in a group exhibition as part of the 2019 Festival. Selected artists will receive an artist’s fee, a dedicated budget to support the production of new work, and will be supported by the Festival team, with opportunities for individual mentoring throughout the development of the exhibition.

Platform: 2019 is part of the Platforms for Creative Excellence (PLACE) programme, launched in November 2018 by the Edinburgh Festivals, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Applicants must:

  • Be based in Scotland and have been living here for a minimum of 2 years
  • Have graduated with a BA in Fine Art, or closely related subject, a minimum
    of 2 years ago and not more than 10 years ago *
  • Have not yet had a significant solo presentation within a public institution, or
    achieved representation by a commercial gallery

* We will also consider applications from artists who have not followed a formal fine art
education route, where they can demonstrate that they have developed an independent
professional practice for a minimum of 4 years, including a track record of exhibitions,
studio membership etc.
* Current students will not be eligible.

If you have any queries about the above criteria, please contactprogramme@edinburghartfestival.com 

SUBMISSION PROCESS

To apply, please use the Platform: 2019 Proposal Form on the Edinburgh Art Festival website to tell us about your practice, and propose a project you would like to develop for Platform: 2019 (including information about the likely costs).

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel comprising Edinburgh Art Festival Director, Sorcha Carey and artists Toby Paterson and Monster Chetwynd who have previously been commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival. The panel will select works on the basis of their eligibility and individual quality, with a view to forming the strongest collective presentation.

The selection panel can only assess applications on the basis of material submitted. It is therefore essential, and in your interest to supply the highest quality visuals possible that fully represent your work. Please be aware that while a website portfolio can provide good supporting documentation, the dedicated images or links to specific material for your project requested in the form will be the key materials reviewed by the panel.

Work in any medium will be considered, and the production budget should include any costs related to your proposed activity. Collaborative proposals may be considered, but the limitations to the fee and budget offered should be taken into consideration within any collaborative proposal.

Due to the high volume of proposals received we are unable to offer feedback to proposals that are not selected.

KEY DATES

  • Deadline for proposals (to be received no later than midnight) Sunday 3 March
  • Notification of decision to successful applicants Week of 18 March
  • Detailed planning of final exhibition May/June
  • Exhibition install to commence Early July
  • Launch of Edinburgh Art Festival 2019 Thursday 25 July
  • Opening preview of Platform: 2019 Friday 26 July
  • Festival closes Sunday 25 August
  • Deinstall Week of 26 August

FESTIVAL SUPPORT FOR SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES

EXHIBITION

Successful candidates will be invited to participate in a group exhibition, with the following support offered for the production and installation of work:

  • Provision of a city centre space, branded as a Festival venue and invigilated by staff for the duration of the Festival
  • Artist’s fee of £1,000
  • Dedicated production allowance for each participating artist (up to a maximum of £2,000), to include any external production fees, expenses and related costs, materials, equipment, etc.
  • Mentoring support to be agreed with selected artists according to their individual needs
  • Technical support with installation
  • Exhibition interpretation panels, leaflet, vinyls and labels
  • Dedicated launch event
  • The exhibition will documented by a professional photographer and resulting images will be shared with the exhibiting artists

MEDIA, MARKETING & PR

Platform: 2019 will be included in all of Edinburgh Art Festival’s promotional materials:

  • Festival Print Platform: 2019 is listed in the Festival Guide, with text, images and artist biographies. The Festival Guide will be distributed widely throughout Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, to partner galleries and cultural venues. Exhibition signage and an information booklet will also be produced for Platform: 2019.
  • Website Exhibition details, artist information and related events will be added to a dedicated section
    at www.edinburghartfestival.com. Information will also be sent via our weekly festival enewsletter, giving subscribers up to date information on the latest exhibitions and events.
  • Social Media Festival content is promoted via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Artists will be encouraged
    to share relevant content on their own pages to highlight to wider audiences.
  • Festival PR Our appointed PR agency will target a large range of local, national and international press
    and media outlets to promote Edinburgh Art Festival.

SUBMISSION

Completed proposals should be received by midnight, Sunday 3 March 2019.
Please email to programme@edinburghartfestival.com with the subject line Platform: 2019.
Emails should be no larger than 5MB. For attachments or large files, please use a file sharing facility such as WeTransfer.
For any queries please contact us: 0131 226 6558 | programme@edinburghartfestival.com

The post Opportunity: Platform : 2019 Open Call at Edinburgh Art Festival 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

Powered by WPeMatico

Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land review in Artillery magazine

Read a review of  
Moving Off the Land
a performance by Joan Jonas 
at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture
on January 19th
by ecoartspace founder, 
Patricia Watts,  

———-

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

Powered by WPeMatico

A New Narrative for Landscape Photography in the Anthropocene

by Virginia Hanusik

The landscape you grow up in influences how you see and move through the world. At least that holds true for me.

I spent most of my life in rural New York where I was lucky to develop an understanding of the unbalanced relationship between people and the natural environment at an early age. Most residents in my community were proud that the cornerstone of their identity was being distinctly anti-city (particularly New York City). They, and myself included at the time, believed that the urban metropolis was primarily comprised of pollution and people who didn’t care about the environment: how could they care when they were so removed from nature? The hypocrisy of this way of thinking, of course, can be found in the enormous amount of energy required to live a rural lifestyle. You must be transported – individually – to be educated, to earn a living, to buy food that’s been shipped from distant places, to have human connection. This produces an immense amount of carbon. And it’s what American national identity was built on.

Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York

I currently live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, but I still find myself seeking out areas of the city that are less populated, and where other aspects of the natural ecosystem are more explicitly synthesized.

I make my images from the perspective that the landscape I’m photographing is changing at a more rapid rate than ever before. Prior to moving back to New York, I lived in Louisiana for several years where a trip to the coast is never the same because of rapid coastal erosion.

We are often told that certain weather events are the most severe, the most catastrophic, and the most rare. But many of us – those fortunate enough to have been spared from a terrible environmental disaster – don’t experience these events in the same way, or at least in a way that encourages lifestyle change. It’s too easy, despite continuous media coverage, to be removed from the wildfires in California or the flooding in Houston. Because of this distance, climate change remains an abstract concept for a majority of people.

The impact of climate change is more commonly conveyed through images of disaster or aerial shots that give the viewer an opportunity to dissociate. Though important to see, in the longer term these images do not motivate people to believe in a better world

Pierre Part, Louisiana

In my projects, I focus on daily life in landscapes most vulnerable to environmental changes or landscapes already facing the need to adapt. I approach scenes that are reflective of the everyday, but incorporate symbols of a changing physical world with details that only become visible when the photographs are viewed together. Very few photographs of mine convey the same message when viewed alone. An image of a sinking houseboat in the Atchafalaya Basin of Louisiana develops a more holistic meaning when viewed alongside a survey of different structures in the area. Architectural style and land use patterns of a region provide details and insight into the values of a certain place.

Historically, men have dominated landscape photography and painting, as well as most other art forms. Their images have taught us how to live, what a desirable landscape might be, and how to interact with the physical world. The male perspective on the land created American Landscape Art as a genre – our national identity was built on idealized images of nature as much as it was built on portraiture.

Muir Beach, California

Some of my favorite photographers are those who were able to communicate a sense of place through massive photographic surveys. Edward BurtynskyFrank GohlkeRichard MisrachJoel Sternfeld, and Ansel Adams created images that changed my life and inspired me to see more of the world. At the same time, these images were taught to me because of the immense privilege and affluence that these men possessed. They were able to travel alone, across great distances, to secluded places, and had the ability to create pieces of art without fear.

Photographs are subjective. The reasoning behind the creation of an image is imbedded in one’s personal history – their life experience, their memories good and bad, their aspirations. As a woman, I know it’s important to bring a perspective on landscape that’s been historically marginalized. In her book As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art, Rebecca Solnit describes the difference between the photographs produced by men and those produced by women, stating that “compositionally, the work of the genders seemed distinct, with the women’s work abandoning the sweeping prospect for more intimate and enclosed scenes.” Of course, this is not meant to be a generalization – there are certainly respected female landscape photographers. However, at this moment in environmental history, it’s critical to recognize that the male gaze on the land has helped shape our relationship with nature.

This unique moment in time forces us to re-conceptualize how and where we live, and to acknowledge that the right to build wherever we want will likely cease to exist. Before physical and structural changes can happen, however, there must be changes in how we think about inhabiting the world. We can build levees, but without an understanding of ecosystems and environmental stewardship, those levees will become isolated fortresses. Art provides endless opportunities to bridge that gap by engaging people and catalyzing collective action to create strong communities.

(Top image: Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana.)

______________________________

Virginia Hanusik is a photographer whose work focuses on architecture and landscapes impacted by climate change. Her projects have been featured in Places Journal, NPR, Fast Company, Newsweek, and The Atlantic, among others, and she has exhibited work internationally. Her most recent body of work, A Receding Coast: The Architecture and Infrastructure of South Louisiana, documents climate adaptation along the Gulf Coast and has been shown in New Orleans and Berlin with support by the Graham Foundation. She grew up in the Hudson River Valley region of New York and currently lives in Brooklyn where she is a member of the Climate Working Group at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute. She likes to kayak more than almost anything.

———-

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

Powered by WPeMatico

News: Festivals and Tours turn travel CO2 into Solar for Schools

Energy Revolution balances 3 million travel miles from 2018 festivals & tours with Solar for Schools

Energy Revolution is a charity with a mission to help the live events industry tackle the negative environmental impacts from fossil fuel travel to events. In 2018, it helped its members, from a growing number of festivals and their audiences, suppliers and touring artists, to balance or ‘offset’ the carbon emissions from over 3 million average car miles to events – the equivalent of 962,274 kg CO2e.

100% of balancing donations from 2018 will to go to Solar for Schools, an initiative that puts solar panels on the roofs of schools in the UK, allowing them to produce low-cost clean electricity, while also educating children about the importance of a low carbon future.

New Energy Revolution members in 2018 included: Download and Reading festivals, produced by Festival Republic, who have long championed festival sustainability initiatives. They donated £1 from every car-parking pass sold to Energy Revolution. Artist, Novo Amor joined the charity in 2018 to balance the CO2 from his 2018 European and North American tour travel. Festival travel provider, Tuned in Travel joined last year balancing 100% of the CO2 from passenger travel to events. Ticket agent, The Ticketsellers, who have worked with the charity from the start, have continued to support the project by introducing their clients to travel-balancing and making it simple for them to join by embedding a travel carbon calculator into the ticket-buying process.

Since it was founded in 2015 Energy Revolution has supported its members to balance over 8.4 million average car miles – that’s more than 2.6 million kg CO2e – with donations in previous years supporting reforestation and wind turbines in India and community-owned solar and wind projects in the UK.

Energy Revolution’s original aim was to help their members balance 10 million travel miles by 2020, but, with growing commitment from the industry and more festivals, suppliers and artists joining the movement, they are on track to reach the goal ahead of schedule this year. Ultimately the charity aims to create a grant-making legacy fund, which can support on-going work to reduce carbon emissions created by the festival and touring sector.

The post News: Festivals and Tours turn travel CO2 into Solar for Schools 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

Powered by WPeMatico

About Snails, Extinction and Hope

by Yasmine Ostendorf

Apparently a lot of people experience this: you get ill the moment the holidays kick in. It happened to me this Christmas and for this reason, I missed my deadline for the New Year’s What Gives You Hope? article published on Artists and Climate Change on December 31, 2018.

Nevertheless the posed question “What gives you hope?” remained on my cloudy mind. Even with the slightest interest in politics and the current state of our natural world, it can feel naive and unrealistic to “hope for a better future” – and worse if you actually engage and care. It would be more appropriate to instead invest our energy in what MoMa design curator Paola Antonelli proposed this week in an interview about her forthcoming exhibition Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. “We’re proceeding faster than many other species that have become extinct,” Antonelli said. “I don’t see any other possibility than to designing an elegant ending for humanity.”

We are not only hurtling an astonishing number of non-human species towards extinction; we are rapidly making the planet unlivable for ourselves. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Antonelli, in particular when she refers to Todd May’s recent article in the New York Times, which questions if human extinction would actually be a tragedy. I’m not sure if this was the illness talking, but a beautifully green planet without any people on it suddenly didn’t seem that terrible. It would definitely make the non-human species on this planet a lot more hopeful, I thought.

A theory that is often heard in our field – the intersection of art and climate change – is that the general public finds it hard to engage with climate change because none of the “potential solutions” can be implemented within the capitalist system. When financial profit is prized over anything else, the environment always pays the price. It makes it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

The optimistic response to that line of thinking is often that this is exactly why we need artists. Artists can supposedly propose alternatives to the system, tell positive and inspiring stories. Out with the doom-and-gloom, we say and in comes HOPE and POSITIVITY! Aside from the fact that I’m losing faith in this narrative, which I was always the first to embrace, it lacks a description of what it is we hope for and how we can work towards it. After learning about the death of George the Snail – the last of his species – last week, I re-read Thom van Dooren’s essay “The Last Snail: Loss, Hope and Care for the Future” published in the great book Land & Animal & Nonanimal. Van Dooren, an environmental anthropologist and philosopher, writes about what he is hoping for, why and what it will cost. He asks:

Can our hopes be translated into meaningful action and taken up in a way that recognizes the myriad losses and expose the dangers that lie buried in the things we hope might yet come to pass? I see this kind of hope as a practice of ‘care for the future.’ Care must be understood here as something far more than abstract well-wishing. […] The grounded and responsible hope that we need today, hope for a world still rich in biocultural diversities of all kinds requires this kind of care for the future. It requires a grounded and practical care, but also one that is committed to critical engagement with the means and consequences of its own production.

The Open Call for Valley of the Possible, a refugio for art and research in the Chilean Andes.

I agree with van Dooren that hope in itself is not enough and should go hand-in-hand with grounded care, critical reflection and ultimately, action. So what actually gave me hope recently was to see two friends, Mirla Klein and Olaf Boswijk, tick all of those boxes when they set up a refugio for art and research in the Chilean Andes. Called Valley of the Possible, the refugio offers artists, scientists, and other creative thinkers and makers space and time to (re)connect with nature, conduct research, and develop artistic work. Mirla and Olaf want to renew participants’ perspective on our relationship with our planet and provide a platform to investigate an artist- and community-led model for nature conservation.

Mirla Klein and Olaf Boswijk of Valley of the Possible.

To end this article and add my contribution to the Core Team‘s What Gives You Hope? article, I followed the same format and asked Mirla and Olaf what gives them hope. Here is their answer:

Mirla and Olaf: The rise of international art and science initiatives joining forces and researching ecology and sustainability. The New Zealand Prime Minister becoming a mother on the job and banning offshore oil exploration. Rivers, mountains and other “natural” actors gaining legal rights. Literature from contemporary writers and philosophers such as Timothy Morton and Rebecca Solnit. The resilience and activism of the Mapuche in Chile, who have been fighting patriarchal, (neo)colonial and neoliberal powers for centuries. And what gives us the most hope is that throughout our lives and various careers, we have never received so much voluntary support from friends, family and, most of all, total strangers for a project that is not about money. It really is astounding how much goodwill there is in the world – how it is human nature to collaborate and form communities for the greater good, regardless of how we have all been indoctrinated by the idea that everything needs an economic purpose. The more you research the initiatives and networks around ecology, sustainability, different ways of thinking and other (economic) models, the more you find them. That in itself can help to create a more positive, and most of all, more constructive mindset for the 21st century.

PS: There is currently a very exciting Open Call at Valley of the Possible! Check it out!

(Top image: This snail, named George, died on January 1, 2019. Scientists believe he was the last of his species, which was native to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Photo credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.)

______________________________

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

Powered by WPeMatico

Port Mone Trio

by Joan Sullivan

To kick off the third year of our monthly renewable energy series, I’m delighted to introduce our readers to Port Mone Trio, the award-winning Belarusian instrumental trio whose upcoming third album Whisper was recorded entirely onsite of two utility-scale renewable energy projects in Belarus: a 9 MW wind farm near the village of Pudovnya and a 6 MW solar farm built on top of a former landfill in Rudashany.

To the best of my knowledge, Port Mone Trio is the first musical ensemble in the world to have recorded an entire album powered 100% by clean electrons drawn directly from wind turbines and solar panels (rather than indirectly from the grid or storage batteries).

Members of the Minsk-based trio include: Alexsey Vorsoba, accordion; Sergey Kravchenko, percussion; and Aleksey Vanchuk, bass guitar. They have been called “one of the most original collectives in the post-Soviet alternative scene.” According to The Guardian, the trio has “forged their own voice from a mix of influences, including jazz, minimalism and ambient music.” Others have described Port Mone’s sensual and complex soundscapes as minimalistic folk, extraavantgarde, and post-rock.

Port Mone aims to “appeal to the natural, pure and primordial in the human soul; to something that exists beyond social regulations and codes.”

Belarus, Port Mone, trio, solar, renewable, energy, music, recording, studio
Reprinted with permission from Port Mone Trio

Whisper is part of a joint art project with the Belarus Green Network to raise awareness of the potential of renewable energy to diversify Belarus’ energy supply and increase its energy independence.

In an email exchange, Port Mone explained: “We continue to use music to talk about issues that are important to us. For Whisper, we wanted to develop the idea of independence in a wide sense and at different levels. For example, a country’s energy independence as a metaphor of independence of personality. Our main message to the people is to be independent, which requires being honest with oneself and not to lie. In Belarus, the main ecological issue is ignorance and indifference.”

The album’s title refers to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear tragedy, the memory of which has become an inaudible whisper in Belarus today. Located north of Ukraine, Belarus received the majority – nearly 70% – of the radioactive fallout from the explosion six kilometers (four miles) south of its border. More than two million Belarusians were affected by radiation; one-fifth of Belarus’ agricultural land was heavily contaminated. The full social, economic, environmental and psychological costs of the disaster may never be known; it is estimated to be 20% of Belarus’ annual budget since 1986, or approximately US$235 billion over the past three decades. Despite the risks, the government of Belarus continues to promote nuclear energy as the “single best way” to secure the country’s energy independence. But critics of Belarus’ first multi-reactor nuclear power plant, currently under construction in a seismically-active zone near the Lithuanian border, suggest that Russian construction and financing (US$10 billion) of the 2,4 GW Astravets nuclear power plant will ultimately increase – not decrease – Belarus’ energy dependence on Russia.

Renewable energy makes up only 5% of Belarus’ current energy mix. With technical and financial support from the UN and the EU, Belarus is taking baby steps towards the clean energy transition. A 2018 study by the French company Tractebel estimated that Belarus could install up to 1.2 GW of solar in regions affected by Chernobyl, despite the high radiation levels. For example, construction has begun on Belarus’ largest solar project to date, a 109 MW solar power plant on land irradiated by Chernobyl fallout near the village of Blizhnyaya Rechitsa in Cherikov District.

Prior to recording Whisper, Port Mone Trio embarked on a 3,000 kilometer scouting trip across Belarus in search of wind and solar locations with the best acoustics (i.e., minimum noise) for an outdoor recording studio. This week-long expedition sharpened the musicians understanding of renewable energy technology, but perhaps more importantly, it allowed them to rediscover the beauty of their country – even in former exclusion zones – while meeting passionate individuals experimenting with wind and solar throughout Belarus. The Ukrainian documentary filmmaker Vadim Ilkov accompanied Port Mone throughout the road trip, and documented the two outdoor recording sessions. In partnership with Green Network, a documentary film about Whisper will be released later this year.

 
Reprinted with permission from Port Mone Trio.

Free electricity for the outdoor recording sessions was provided by the owners of the two wind and solar power plants mentioned in the first paragraph. Electricians working for these power plants supplied the necessary cables and sockets that connected Port Mone Trio’s rolling studio directly to the wind turbines and solar panels. Dozens of microphones were used to record not only the musicians, but also birds, rustling leaves and grass, spinning turbine blades, blasts of wind and other ambient sounds. Although challenging, outdoor recording can enrich the music in unexpected ways. Port Mone’s website describes it this way: “Everything that happened to and around us turned into colors and semitones in the music, into shades and intonations of Whisper.”

Nota bene: This is the second time that Port Mone has opted to step away from the laboratory-like conditions of a studio to record in a natural acoustic environment. Port Mone Trio’s second album Thou (2014) was recorded in a forest, resulting in a “loose and enchanting” sound. Thou is available on Apple Music and Soundcloud.

Port Mone Trio hopes to release Whisper in 2019, along with Vadim Ulkov’s documentary film. In the coming months, Port Mone’s main focus is to find an international label to release Whisper. Interested individuals should contact Port Mone here.

Reprinted with permission by Port Mone Trio.

Addendum: Could this be a trend? A growing number of musicians are inspired by wind energy: in 2017, I profiled three musicians from Québec, Canada, who climbed to the top of a Senvion wind turbine (80 meters above the ground) for a live performance of an original composition by Justin Garneau, a former wind technician.

(Top image: Screen shot from the Port Mone Trio website.)

This article is part of the Renewable Energy series.

______________________________

Joan Sullivan is a Canadian renewable energy photographer. Since 2009, Joan has found her artistic voice on the construction sites of utility-scale wind and solar projects. Her goal is to help others visualize – to imagine – what a post-carbon world will look like. Joan is currently working on a photo book about Canada’s energy transition. She also collaborates with filmmakers on documentary films that explore the human side of the energy transition. Her renewable energy photographs have been exhibited in group shows in Canada, the UK and Italy. You can find Joan on ElloTwitter 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

Powered by WPeMatico