Monthly Archives: January 2020

ecoartspace – Open Call for Writers

ecoartspace is looking for writers to review exhibitions of work that addresses environmental issues for our new blog (and website to launch soon). We are also interested in writings on the state of the environment, the science of climate change, and alternative approaches to mediating the climate crisis. Feel free to message us here on Facebook, or you can email info@ecoartspace.org.

Opportunity: Hidden doors commission – Traquair Maze

Up to five commissions available to create hidden doors in the Traquair Maze.

Traquair’s Maze is the largest hedged maze in Scotland and was planted in 1981. It covers approximately ¼ acre and is planted with a mix of Cyprus Leylandi and beech. It is visited by thousands of adults and children every year and is one of the main attractions at Traquair.

Proposal

We would like to commission up to five hidden “doors” in the Traquair Maze to add another intriguing dimension and a further element of surprise.

We invite artists/designers to design and install some innovative doorways in the Maze. The doors would be inserted into the hedge structure and would provide a short cut, or not, to the footpath on the other side.

The doorways could be either proper working doors or perhaps false doors, tiny doors or natural doorways. However, it is envisaged that the majority of these doorways will be permanent fixtures so artists should bear in mind the materials used should be sustainable and also that this is a public space so designs should be able to withstand use by children and not present any dangers.

The theme of “hidden histories” will be explored in 2020 as Traquair’s own history is filled with secrets and the concept of hiding and disguise was a necessity due to the family’s allegiance to the Jacobite cause and as Roman Catholics they were forced to hide their religious beliefs and political allegiances.

Fee

4/5 commissions are available – each receiving a fee of £1000.

Timescale

Applications will close on Friday 10th April 2020.
Implementation and installation over the summer months with opening planned in September. There will be an opportunity to exhibit your work and developments for this project in the Pavillion Galleries at Traquair.

How to Apply

Please email Catherine Maxwell Stuart and include:
Reasons for your interest in this project and how it relates to your current practice;
An outline vision of your idea for the project
Please also include:
• Your CV/artist statement
• Four examples of your recent work
• Website/online links to view your work

The post Opportunity: Hidden doors commission – Traquair Maze appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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

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Opportunity: Freelance Exhibitions Photographer Call-Out

Edinburgh Printmakers are looking for exhibition/installation/architectural/events photographers with a proven track record of being able to construct high-quality images that document the atmosphere and presence of exhibitions and details of artwork within.

Job summary

Edinburgh Printmakers are a major contemporary arts space and one of primary centres for print in Europe. We function to support and facilitate artists and creative practitioners. We engage wide audiences in beautiful critically engaged exhibitions and contemporary print practice in our year-round programmes of exhibitions, events and educational experiences.

We are looking to build relationships with photographers based in Edinburgh, Lothians, Scotland and beyond who can capture the essence of exhibitions and associated events in compelling images. We ask interested individuals to share their portfolio of relevant images, and their day/half day rate, with the intention to match you with projects that would benefit from your style and ability as a documentation photographer.

We require photographers to take images of artistic installationsobjects and exhibitions, as well as documentation of people engaging in creative settings and events. We want to work with photographers who will use their artistic and technical skills to create images that are appropriate to the work, within existing compositions and with the ability to work with natural light-conditions where necessary. Applicants should have skills in retouching.

Own studio/lighting equipment preferred.

Please submit your portfolio, rates and any additional relevant information to Judith Liddle by 10am Tuesday 18th February.

The post Opportunity: Freelance Exhibitions Photographer Call-Out 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

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Ecological City: Art & Climate Solutions – Panel & Planning Meeting

Date And Time

Wed, February 5, 2020
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar

Location

Loisaida, Inc.
710 East 9th Street 
New York, NY 10009 
United States 
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Join Ecological City: A Cultural & Climate Solutions Project engaging the #LowerEastSide community through creative #collaborativearts strategies to bring together and celebrate #climatesolutions and ecological #sustainability initiatives throughout the #communitygardens, neighborhood and #EastRiverPark #waterfront on the #LowerEastSide of #NYC.

Share ideas, brainstorm and and collaborate co-creating the Ecological City: Procession for Climate Solutions at the ECOLOGICAL CITY – PLANNING MEETING

Find out how to participate in #EcologicalArtsWorkshops from February 29 – May 6 every Wednesday 6-9pm and Saturday 12-4pm creating spectacular giant puppets, costumes and performances exploring local sustainability sites and climate solution initiatives.

Groups and organizations are invited to create groups arts projects.
Visual arts and performance projects created through the workshops are presented in the culminating Ecological City: Procession for Climate Solutions on Saturday May 9, 2020 with 20 sites performances celebrating climate solutions and ecological sustainability initiatives throughout community gardens, neighborhood and East River Park waterfront on the Lower East Side.

MORE INFORMATION: www.earthcelebrations.comFB Message: Earth Celebrations-Ecological and Social Change through the Arts
Earth Celebrations’ Ecological City: Cultural & Climate Solutions Action Project in partnership with LUNGS (Loisaida Urban Neighborhood Gardens – representing 48 Lower East Side Gardens), Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, NYC Community Garden District, Green Map, East Village Community Coalition, Lower East Side Girls Club, University Settlement, Educational Alliance, Sixth Street Community Center, Loisaida Inc. Center, GOLES,, East River Park Coalition, East River Alliance, East River Park Action, Friends of Corlears Hook Park, Lower East Side Ecology, Solar One, Waterfront Alliance, Gaia Institute, FABnyc, Arts Loisaida, 4th Street Block Association, Times Up, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, One Brick, PS364-Earth School, Childrens Workshop School, New School/Parsons, Hunter College-School of Community Organizing and NYU.

REGISTER


OrganizerEarth Celebrations Inc.

Organizer of Ecological City: Art & Climate Solutions – Panel & Planning Meeting

Earth Celebrations is a non-profit orgization founded in 1991 on the Lower East Side of New York City to apply the inspirational power of the arts to build community, collaboration and action on climate change, river restoration, waste management and the preservation of species, habitats, community gardens, parks and a healthy urban environment. Earth Celebrations has developed and utilizes collaborative art processes, civic engagement and environmental action to build broad-based coalitions and cross-sector partnerships with local organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, schools, and community residents to generate ecological, policy and social change.

Our pioneering environmental arts programs include the 15-year Save Our Gardens project (1991-2005), which utilized the transformative power of the arts, creating a theatrical Procession to Save Our Gardens to mobilize a coalition effort that led to the preservation of hundreds of community gardens in New York City. The Hudson River Pageant (2009-2012) applied this creative model to engage community in restoration efforts of the Hudson River estuary and waterfront.

Our current Ecological City: Cultural & Climate Solutions Action Project launched in 2018, engages community, through the cultural strategies of arts and collaborative action we have developed over the past 30 years, on climate solution initiatives to mitigate climate and environmental impacts flooding, carbon pollution, run-off, waste and sea-level rise throughout the gardens, neighborhood and waterfront on the LES.

Ecological City engages the community to co-create a public theatrical pageant through 5 months of environmental place-based learning workshops and visual art and performance creation engage participants to explore and celebrate local sustainability sites, connecting climate solution initiatives as a cohesive urban sustainable ecosystem and amplifying their importance to city and global climate challenges.

www.earthcelebrations.com

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS URANIUM FILM FESTIVAL

[This] year, May 21st to 31st 2020 we’re celebrating the 10th birthday of the International Uranium Film Festival (link is external) and we want to bring the best nuclear films and its filmmakers from the last ten years together with new productions to Rio de Janeiro. The venue will be like in the years before the Cinematheque of Rio de Janeiro’s prestigious Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio) (link is external). Already more than 25 awarded filmmakers and producers from 12 countries agreed to come to Rio in 2020. 

NUCLEAR POWER & CLIMATE CHANGE

In addition to the screenings of dozens of nuclear films this in the world unique film festival about the atomic age is planning a powerful panel on one of the most important questions of our time: Climate Change and Nuclear Power. Are nuclear power plants a solution to global warming?

Join us and help the Uranium Film Festival to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Whether you are for or against the use of nuclear power or uranium: Everyone should be aware of the radioactive risks.  Make a mark and contribute to the festival.

ATOMIC FILMS AND FESTIVAL SPONSORS WANTED

The Uranium Film Festival’s call for entries for 2020 is sill open. Filmmakers and producers can send their documentaries, animations, non-fiction or experimental movies until 1 January 2020. In addition the festival invites the media and social or environmentally conscious companies as festival sponsors and partners. 

DONATE NOW with PayPal

AN UNLIKELY IDEA BECOMES A BIG SUCCESS (LINK IS EXTERNAL)

„We founded the International Uranium Film Festival in 2010 just a few months before Fukushima especially to ensure that atomic disasters such as Chernobyl or the horror of nuclear bomb  attacks and nuclear bomb tests are not forgotten nor repeated,” recalls festival director Norbert G. Suchanek. „When we published our first call for entry, very surprisingly one of the first productions we received and awarded was the extraordinary short film Atomic Bombs On The Planet Earth(link is external) by Peter Greenaway. Since that we have shown more than 200 nuclear films from around the globe until today.”

The first edition of the International Uranium Film Festival was held in May 2011 in Rio de Janeiro. Since that it became quickly the world’s premier annual film event about nuclear power and all radioactive risks, from uranium mining to nuclear waste, from Hiroshima to Fukushima.It is today a global event highlighting nuclear awareness. Uranium Film Festival were organized already in 7 countries more than 40 cities around the globe, from Rio(link is external) to Berlin(link is external), Washington DC, New York(link is external)Hollywood(link is external)Santa Fe(link is external)Window Rock,(link is external) New Delhi,(link is external) Mumbai, Amman, Quebec(link is external) and Montreal; from Brazil to Germany, USA, India(link is external), Portugal, Jordan(link is external) and Canada. And film journalists already called it the “Atomic Cannes”(link is external).

MAM Rio Uranium Film Festival - Director Marcia Gomes

Márcia Gomes de Oliveira, Uranium Film Festival co-founder & executive director in front of the Modern Art Museum of Rio (MAM Rio).(link is external)

Every penny collected during this campaign will be used to organize the film festival and to bring as many filmmakers as possible to Rio. The more support we get the more filmmakers we can invite and the better and the more impact will have the festival to achieve one of our major goals: nuclear awareness. Any additional funds beyond that goal will help us to organize the festival in other locations too. Like in the years before, further Uranium Film Festivals are also planned in other countries like USA, Germany (Berlin), Portugal, Spain and Greenland. Environmental conscious people and nuclear activists around the world are eager to have the Uranium Film Festival in their country to support their nuclear campaigns against (for example) planned uranium mines like in Spain and Greenland or for the clean-up of abandoned uranium mines in the USA or Portugal.

DONATE NOW with PayPal

French-Canadian Actress (link is external) Karine Vanasse (link is external) attending the International Uranium Film Festival 2015 in Quebec. (link is external)

What others are saying

Students of Rio de Janeiro’s State school FAETEC Adolpho Bloch for film, TV, Event & Dance: Opening of the Uranium Film Festival at Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio) (link is external)

In Rio de Janeiro the Uranium Film Festival is supported since 2011 by the Rio de Janeiro’s FAETEC State school for film, cinema, TV, dance and events (Adolpho Bloch). FAETEC students serve also as festival volunteers. During the festival they can practice their skills and meet international filmmakers and producers. Further supporters are the Cinematheque of Rio’s Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio), the local bars and restaurants in Santa Teresa, Bar do Mineiro, Armazém São Thiago e Esquina de Santa and Rio de Janeiro’s best cachaça producer Cachaça Magnífica.

Uranium Film Festival Rio Volunteers and directors

Photo: Festival volunteers and the founders of the Uranium Film Festival in the centre.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR DONATION AND SUPPORTING THE FESTIVAL. 

Marcia Gomes de Oliveira and Norbert G. Suchanek
Founder and directors of the Uranium Film Festival

DONATION VIA BANK TRANSFER TO

Name: Norbert Suchanek / Uranium Film Festival
Bank: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank Bochum / Germany
BIC: GENODEM1GLS
IBAN: DE80 4306 0967 7007 8348 00

Please contact us for general information and sponsorship
International Uranium Film Festival
Rua Monte Alegre 356 / 301Santa Teresa / Rio de Janeiro / RJ
CEP 20240-195   /  Brasil
www.uraniumfilmfestival.org
Email: info@uraniumfilmfestival.org (link sends e-mail)

See also our Crowdfunding Campaign! (link is external)

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/10th-international-uranium-film-festi…(link is external)

Dates announced for Cultural Adaptations conference

Save the date: the Cultural Adaptations conference will take place in Glasgow, from 6-8 October 2020.

This unique event will combine keynote presentations and participatory workshops to share international learning on how culture can play a central role in climate change adaptation. 

Across three days, the conference will present the learnings from workshops in four European nations (Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and Scotland) as well as expert speakers from case studies, successful initiatives and exemplary international leadership in adaptation and culture. 

The programme will explore:

  • How cultural organisations can adapt to the projected impacts of climate change using new methods and digital tools
  • How adaptation by cultural SMEs can lead and support other city-region organisations to adapt
  • How creative methods and arts practice can shape how regions adapt to climate change
  • How cross-sector collaboration on climate issues can be a future role for the arts

Register your interest to be notified when ticket registration opens in April 2020.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST


More about Cultural Adaptations

What is the Cultural Adaptations project?

Learnings from the embedded artist process

More about the Cultural Adaptations Conference


Opportunity: Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) Edinburgh

Funding available for Edinburgh based visual artists and craft makers.

Visual artists and craft makers are invited to apply for a new round of grants of between £500 to £1,500 for the development of their practice.

Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards – awards grants to individual artists/makers towards costs in developing new work. Awards of between £500 and £1500 are available.

New Graduates/Emerging Artists Bursary – £500 bursaries are available to new graduates/emerging artists/makers who have less than three years’ track record outside of education or training or graduated since 2016.

Development/Mentoring Bursary – the bursary programme will support up to two successful applicants to develop and progress their creative practice over 12 months. The successful applicant will be awarded £1,500 as a bursary.

Deadline: Tuesday, 4 February 2020, 5pm

To find out more come along to the Edinburgh local advice session taking place on Friday, 24 January 2020, 10am at the City Art Centre. For further information and to book a place, visit VACMA Edinburgh Local Advice Session.

For further information and application pack contact:

Jo Navarro, Cultural Development Officer
Tel: 0131 529 6716
Email: jo.navarro@edinburgh.gov.uk
Visit: VACMA Edinburgh

Further helpful general information/advice about VACMA funding is available on Creative Scotland’s website.

The post Opportunity: Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) Edinburgh 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

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Ecoscenography workshop for designer/director/production manager

It’s time to talk about the environmental impact of the work we make!
Together!

This workshop will bring together designers, directors and production managers for an interactive talk on ecological design for performance and its merging within theatre making, followed by a workshop exploring ecological processes.

We will address the importance and advantages of integrating ecological principles into all stages of the performing arts. There will be opportunities to work in creative teams to explore how we can co-create sustainable new narratives in the entertainment industry for the future of our society and the planet.

Venue: Rockvilla
Date: Thursday 6th February
Time: 2-5pm (with tea break!)

Who is it for?
Designers
Directors
Production Managers

This workshop is currently not open to students (sorry).

How do I apply?
Please send us an e-mail to hello@enveloperoom.org.uk requesting a place and letting us know what your usual job role is.

We want to ensure as many perspectives are in the room as possible, so have a limited number of places for each discipline (designers, directors, porduction managers), places will be filled on a first come, first come basis with a reserve list being used to fill any empty spaces that may be left.

Facilitator
The workshop is organised by The Envelope Room and will be facilitated by Mona Kastell Eco Designer.

Mona Kastell is an ecoscenographer, ecological designer, community engagement practitioner, and leader in the emerging paradigm of Ecoscenography. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, she freelances between Set & Costume design and Ecological Design talks, workshops & Consultancy. As a designer/maker, Mona holistically combines stage design, Permaculture & Ecological Design to actively instigate positive change for the future of our society and the planet. She places Nature, interconnectivity, and authentic community engagement at the heart of her creative practice.
Website: www.monakastell.com

ONASSIS FOUNDATION: CULTURE & SUSTAINABILITY

AN INTERDISCIPLINARY SYMPOSIUM EXAMINING THE ROLE THAT THE CULTURAL SECTOR CAN PLAY IN THE FIGHT FOR SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.

04-06 – 06-06-2020

ONASSIS STEGI

107-109 SYNGROU AVENUE
11745 ATHENS, GREECE

FREE

Living in an era when the human impact on the climate and ecosystems is rapidly becoming catastrophic, cultural institutions need to be at the forefront of the effort to achieve environmental sustainability. Onassis STEGI is committed to embedding sustainability in its activities at all levels. This includes reducing our own environmental footprint, contributing to social awareness, developing good practices through EDUCATION and the arts and joining forces with environmentally active PEOPLE and organizations throughout the world.

Two years after the launch of our sustainability program here at Onassis STEGI, in collaboration with Julie’s Bicycle –a London based charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental change– we are inviting artists, scientists, activists and cultural practitioners to gather in ATHENS for an interdisciplinary symposium including various parallel events. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss in public the role of the cultural sector in this most urgent fight to preserve our earth. Environmental protection is a cultural issue.


CREDITS

ORGANIZED BY ONASSIS STEGI
IN COLLABORATION WITH JULIE’S BICYCLE
SUPPORTED BY THE BRITISH COUNCIL (GREECE)


SPONSORS / PARTNERS

IN COLLABORATION WITH

SUPPORTED BY

How Object Puppetry Confronts Climate Change

By Caroline Reck

I want to tell you a story about a Styrofoam cup, and how, in giving voice to this one cup, many others were saved from a wasted life.

I’m the artistic director of Glass Half Full Theatre in Austin, Texas. Our company creates new works of theatre using the precise physical language of both humans and puppets – through clowning and object puppetry, in which existing objects are manipulated as characters – to confront global issues of environmental and social justice and explore imaginative solutions. In 2018, we presented an original stage production called Polly Mermaid, Apocalypse Wow!, based on a “walk about” persona that Indigo Rael, a company member, had created. Polly, whose purpose is to help people rethink their interactions with “disposable” plastic, has been an in-demand persona at live events such as Earth Day ATX and the San Marcos Mermaid Festival, and even has a short film detailing her origin story.

Indigo and I co-wrote the script for the stage production, which features live actors and object puppetry. While some of our company’s work is for all ages, this one is aimed at adults. Polly Mermaid is “polymer-made,” a mermaid who, sometime after the demise of humanity, evolved from the plastic trash in the ocean. She reigns over numerous species of sentient sea creatures, including schools of flip-flop fish, crabs made from discarded prescription bottles, and jellyfish created from plastic umbrellas. Polly loves plastic – can’t get enough of it, really – and couldn’t be more pleased that humanity (long extinct) has gifted her ocean with so much plastic garbage.

In this eco fable, an incidence of time travel propels a Styrofoam cup, named Cup, from our present time into this imagined future. Cup describes to the ocean trash puppets how her entire life – from being molded into shape, to waiting to be selected in the store, to being filled with hot liquid – is just the preamble to the shining moment of being brought to the lips of a human woman who is about to take a sip. This magical, sexy moment, this fulfilment of Cup’s life purpose, is so brief, and so honestly performed by puppeteer Gricelda Silva, that the devastation Cup feels once she is discarded after only seconds of fulfillment is legitimately heartbreaking. The other plastic trash commiserate; they too were used only temporarily before being tossed away. They mourn their brief instant of utility and languish, unloved and devoid of purpose for hundreds of years, outliving their “people” ten to fifteen times over.

Part of the value of this scene is that it is slightly ridiculous yet oddly compelling. In our experience as clowns, it’s easier to gut-punch an audience once they’re laughing. Cup is just a small part of the show, one of many that ask audiences to reverse their perspective on patterns of behavior. Yet in the year and a half since the production, so many people in town have come up to me and the other performers telling us how that moment changed how they viewed and used disposable objects. They tell me how they’ve stopped using plastics. They are fixing things that break rather than discarding them. They are buying fewer products. They’ve stopped relying on recycling as a solution. They are enforcing new rules in their households and communities.

Theatrical moments like these put people in the position of empathically recognizing their own ecological impact, which results in them actively changing their daily habits.

In the spirit of climate justice, Glass Half Full Theatre has set a goal to reach people less actively engaged in the battle against climate change, people who might be enticed by a sci-fi play, or a clown show, or a revisionist bilingual Don Quixote. We devise in a variety of sophisticated puppetry and physical theatre forms, but we often return to object puppetry because it is such an effective tool to help audiences reenvision the mundane world.

The Global Arena featuring Adam Martinez, Marina DeYoe- Pedraza, Connor Hopkins, Rommel Sulit, and Indigo Rael. Photo by Jefferson Lykins.

I believe this imaginative reenvisioning is key to breaking open the complex work that must be done to reverse climate change. As a society, we don’t pay attention to the small objects that surround our day. Most of us buy things and dispose of them almost without thought. It isn’t just carelessness; we are compelled by advertising and planned obsolesce to consume and dispose without imagining where the object came from or where it will go when we are done with it. We were raised to demonstrate our own value through the value of the objects that surround us, and that means regularly buying new things for ourselves and our loved ones to show we value ourselves and others.

If climate change is a result of our cultural values, then it follows that we can fight it by reevaluating those values, by championing the future over the present, the givers over the takers, and the collective over the individual. Inherent in object puppetry is a sense of cosmic equality: every object can become the protagonist in its own story. Once an audience accepts this, they can begin to undermine the prevalent assumption that humans are the inalienable protagonists in the story of planet Earth.

Glass Half Full Theatre’s productions often point out that humanity (more specifically, dominant Western culture) hasn’t been the best steward of the planet, and that humankind’s current pattern of behavior does not indicate that we’re well suited to saving the planet. Many of our company’s futurist narratives include the demise of humanity and the survival of a resilient Earth. Our intent is not to be pessimistic. Rather, we provoke audiences to defend humanity’s place on Earth through a reevaluation of lifestyle.

Another of our shows, The Global Arena, features WWF-style wrestlers representing climate change solutions (“Carbon Capture,” “Alternative Energy,” “Rubber Man”) fighting against “Mz. (mass) Extinction” to save the planet. It’s exhilarating to participate in a live theatre experience where the audience is yelling and screaming in support of lifestyle change, propping up the potential solutions against the seduction and ease that is represented by Mz. Extinction. Audiences leave the experience pumped up, looking for action and accountability, rather than depressed by the statistics that occasionally make even the staunchest environmentalist want to curl into a ball and sob.

We want people to feel energized, to be reminded of what we are fighting for. We don’t want audiences to feel judged or that we are somehow holier-than-they for caring about these things. To that end, we are trying to set impossible goals with the likelihood that we will fail miserably and publicly. We plan to produce a show this season with a zero-dollar materials budget. It will mean more time, more labor, more creating, but we’d rather put every cent we can into the hands of the creators and performers, and openly show how much harder it is to avoid buying new. When we fail, because we break down and buy batteries, or gaffe tape, or lighting gels, we’ll share our failures audaciously on social media and as part of the show.

Climate change is such a monumental problem that it can feel like we’ve all already failed, and nothing can be done. So let’s be open about striving hard and failing big. Our cultural narrative is full of characters we love and admire who achieve glory in striving for the impossible. It’s Don Quixote tilting at giants, Luke confronting Darth, David fighting Goliath. It’s time to get comfortable with the likelihood of failure, and practicing terrifying realities onstage is the dominion of the theatre artist.

One There Were Six Seasons featuring Connor Hopkins, Katy Taylor, Rommel Sulit, and Noel Gaulin. Photo by Gricelda Silva.

Cup will be making a return, this time to a virtual reality video experience Glass Half Full Theatre is creating, which will be available on the internet or as a live installation in 2020 in Austin. It’s called Trash Trial/Trash Trail. The year is 2050, and zero-waste practice is strictly enforced. Random audits are performed in landfills using DNA analysis, and the user of any improperly discarded item is brought to justice. Audiences experience this 360-degree movie from the point of view of the defendant on trial. Every disposable cup they’ve ever used, and every hairbrush they’ve tossed out, becomes both evidence and witness in a case against them. Babies fill the jury box and preschoolers are the judge and prosecutor. Our audiences took the planet away from these young people, and now the audience has to pay. Luckily, trash mutant Polly Mermaid is the lawyer, and she’ll be able to get their sentence reduced if they participate in a live event called Trash Trail, a trash hunt where convict-participants collect trash from the park.

The point of the hunt is to expose participants to new ways to view trash. They can collect items and find a new use for them with the help of artists, who will be on hand, to envision that future. Or, they can dispose of it and learn, through our team of experts, how to be more detailed in their sorting. We hope that Trash Trial/ Trash Trail can be replicated in other localities by interested artists to reinforce the “think global/act local” practice that is so important in environmental justice.

In a spirit of joy, hope, and accessibility, Glass Half Full Theatre moves forward into the widening jaws of climate crisis with the recognition that while not all individuals are responsible for this crisis, we must all be responsible for its resolution if we want to stay in it at all. We are always looking for new ideas to make the solutions more palatable, possible, and potent, and we welcome outreach from other groups and individuals in pursuit of this goal.

(Top image: Polly Mermaid: Apocalypse Wow! featuring Indigo Rael.)

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on October 3, 2019.

______________________________

Caroline Reck is the Producing Artistic Director of Glass Half Full Theatre, an Austin, Texas based theatre that creates new works of theatre using the precise physical language of both humans and puppets to confront global issues of social and environmental justice. Caroline is a graduate of Ecole Jacques Lecoq (France) and teaches Physical Theatre at St. Edwards University in Austin. She curates The Austin Puppet Incident and has performed with Trouble Puppet, The Rude Mechanicals, and Ballet Austin.

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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

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