Monthly Archives: October 2021

BASICS – 14th International Design Contest Trieste Contemporanea

The competition deadline is midnight (italian time) of the 12th December 2021
The entry is free

Designers from 24 Central Eastern European countries are called to propose and design a basic object fit for serviceable use, iconic of the process of change underway. Contestants are asked to conceive an original and innovative item of contemporary design taking into account sustainable development objectives, while reflecting on new meanings and purposes, which also objects and tools take when addressing sustainable goals or facing contingencies (e.g. as it occurs during an unprecedented outbreak).

The contest is promoted by the Trieste Contemporanea Committee and is under the auspices of the C.E.I. (Central European Initiative). 

The rules, the provided prizes, the registration form and the previous editions’ archive from 1995 are available on the website www.triestecontemporanea.it

For further information please contact:
Trieste Contemporanea Committee
e-mail info@triestecontemporanea.com
telephone +39 040 639187

Who Owns the Earth? by Louis Bury for Hyperallergic

Who Owns the Earth?

This group show proposes fresh paradigms of land ownership and art making in contrast to the rugged individualism of much early Land Art.

Review by Louis Bury for Hyperallergic 9/8/21

Includes works by ecoartspace member Eileen Wold, Eliza Evans.

There’s a curious paradox in the title of Unison Arts’s Owning Earth, a seemingly straightforward group exhibition about our species’ complex attitudes toward land. Curator Tal Beery and assistant curator Erin Lee Antonak clearly intend the exhibition to question anthropocentric ideologies of mastery and domination over the earth. Yet the title speaks of the earth as being owned. This paradox, it turns out, is not a misnomer. Instead, many of the exhibition’s 18 artworks, by 24 artists, incorporate the visual language of property relations as a way to propose alternatives to the norms of ownership.

This dynamic manifests most pointedly in Eliza Evans’s ingenious piece of artistic activism, “All the Way To Hell” (2020–ongoing). The artist has divided a three-acre Oklahoma property she owns into a thousand 6-by-18-foot parcels. Each parcel’s mineral rights — which extend, under United States property law, to the center of the earth — are being sold or given away to a thousand individuals, creating a bureaucratic morass for the fossil fuel companies interested in acquiring the land for fracking. When Evans has displayed the work in a gallery setting, the visual focus has been on core samples and property deeds; installed along Unison’s wooded trails, the focus shifts to a plot of land demarcated in the manner of a grave site, equivalent in size to one Oklahoman parcel.

Continue reading on Hyperallergic HERE

(Top photo: Eileen Wold, Square Meter (2021), recycled aluminum post)

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ecoartapace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Wild Authors: Venetia Welby

By Mary Woodbury

I had the wonderful opportunity to connect with author Venetia Welby late last year and learn about her novel Dreamtime (Salt Publishing, September 2021). Signed copies are available from UK bookshop Burley Fisher here, and here is the Amazon UK link.

I’ll admit to being distracted these days when trying to focus on a book. COVID and climate catastrophes are worrisome without clear and consistent leadership. We read about eco-grief a lot these days, and it’s real. But Venetia’s Dreamtime blew me away and kept me hooked. For that, I’m forever grateful. Seems like a good book is sometimes enough to keep me going.

This world spotlight travels to Japan with Dreamtime.

About the Book

From the publisher:

The world may be on a precipice but Sol, fresh from Tucson-desert rehab, finally has an answer to the question that has dogged her since childhood. And not a moment too soon. With aviation grinding to a halt in the face of global climate meltdown, this is the last chance to connect with her absentee father, a US marine stationed in Okinawa. To mend their broken past, Sol and her lovelorn friend Kit must journey across poisoned oceans to the furthest reaches of the Japanese archipelago, a place where sea, sky, and earth converge at the forefront of an encroaching environmental and geopolitical catastrophe; a place battered by the relentless tides of history, haunted by the ghosts of its past, where the real and the virtual, the dreamed and the lived, are ever harder to define. In Dreamtime, Venetia Welby paints a terrifying and captivating vision of our near future and takes us on a vertiginous odyssey into the unknown.

My immediate thoughts were as follows: The novel is brilliantly complex, emotional, and frightening. Venetia’s writing gets deep and challenges the reader to think about consequences of our way of life.

The story takes place in the future and follows a woman named Sol and her best friend Kit, who have grown up in a cult in Arizona. A lot of the complexity of the novel is due to humans unable to truly embrace reality in all its dimensions, including how the history of humans has changed the physical, cultural, and emotional landscape of the world through conquest, ecological ruin, killings, torture, climate ruin, and so much more.

How do humans live in such a world without some utopian climate-controlled cult where drugs and sex help one to forget? And that’s how the story begins. But Sol’s estranged mother comes to her to let her know about her real father, that he’s alive, in Japan – a missing puzzle piece that has haunted Sol forever. Because of climate catastrophe, planes are soon being outlawed, and she and Kit catch one of the last planes to Japan.

The crazy, raw descriptions of Japan are miraculously beautiful at times, full of Japanese myth and animal spirits, yet also horribly accurate and impactful when exploring the aftermath of America’s history of dumping waste and using the islands from WWII onward – and now the islands are sinking due to rising seas. There are no safe places.

Venetia propels us into a haunted world of the future, to lost worlds and oneiric places, which are in ruin, screaming of the past, present, and a questionable future. Ghosts, memories, mutations, and consequences filter into the present. Disease and pollution make the world a place where the only way to forget is to get inebriated somehow, but to truly rise above might just mean facing harsh truths, strengthening one’s will and spirit, and finding love.

The inclusion of love and care made the novel sing and transitioned the most ominous dystopia into something that might have a chance. Some of the best fiction about our natural world involves humans who inspire us and give us courage as we chart the path ahead.

A Chat with the Author

I was completely immersed in Dreamtime, but, first, can you tell us something about your previous book and the experiences that led you to write such a novel?

I’m thrilled to hear that! Thank you. My first novel Mother of Darkness was set closer to home in Soho, a wonderful part of London with a long, rackety history that’s being destroyed by luxury apartment developers and retail chains. It tells the story of the fragmenting mind – through a splintered story – of Matty, a young man in crisis who tries to run from his past and reinvent himself, with limited success. I’ve always been interested in madness and when I studied Classics, it was always the tales of insanity and early psychology that most fascinated me. I also knew a few people who, like my dubious hero, were converted hedonists, the energy trammelled into new, extreme religious stances, and I shared a flat with a psychiatrist friend. The upshot of all this was that I spent a lot of time thinking about the link between madness and epiphany, the internal experience of drifting from reality, and the Jungian archetype of the puer aeternus, the boy who will not grow up, with its links to mother and messiah complexes. I also really love old Soho and wanted to capture its filthy fading glory before it vanished entirely. As in Dreamtime there are themes of disappearing culture and the climate crisis, which is the spark that ignites Matty’s delusions of saviorhood.

Your novel Dreamtime is a story taking place mostly in Japan. When you actually traveled there, how long did you stay, what was it like, and what about Japan’s natural landscapes and history inspired Dreamtime?

Dreamtime is about two Americans, Sol and Kit, who travel to Japan to search for Sol’s GI father before a worldwide aviation ban descends. As the greatest concentration of Americans is on the island of Okinawa, this is the conflicted area I wanted to investigate. My trips have focused almost entirely on Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands, rather than the more familiar, contrasting mainland Japan, which colonised the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1879. I stayed a month, initially, and after a short wild burst of Tokyo overstimulation, I explored Okinawa, Ishigaki and Iriomote, subtropical islands of devastating natural beauty. The sea is alive, an extraordinary turquoise; the coral sand a pristine white; the Iriomote jungle hiding the only lynx of its kind, coconut crabs that can crush a skull, dugong in the water. When I returned a year later, I stayed solely on Okinawa: in the capital Naha, in the American Village where the military bases are densest, and in Yomitan, a more rural region. This was meant to be a shorter trip, but Typhoon Trami came along, my flights were cancelled and I had to stay put while the eye of the storm passed directly over. This was exciting, terrifying and ultimately quite boring, trapped in a room with no power for days – particularly noticeable there, where even the lavatories are electric.

Okinawa is different: different culture, religion, language, food – different indigenous people, who have suffered unspeakably under Japanese rule, rolled out on the front line of WW2 to protect Japan in a battle that killed a third of the island’s civilian population. The island was in ruins, Okinawans herded into unsanitary camps, and when the Americans released them they discovered that roads and bases had been built over their bulldozed houses, schools and graves. The American Occupation turned beautiful Okinawa into ‘the Keystone of the Pacific’, GIs seizing more land at gunpoint, building forty bases on this little coral island to stockpile nuclear and chemical weapons and fight their wars. Okinawa was sold back to Japan, but Tokyo betrayed them again and allowed the American bases to remain. The military has committed a litany of violent crimes against the Okinawan people, unleashed untold pollution – see Jon Mitchell’s brilliant Poisoning the Pacific for more on this – and exhibited a complete disregard for what the locals want on their islands. So Okinawa’s landscape is conflicted: astounding nature carved up by highways, barbed wire and military equipment, the sky roaring with Ospreys and fighter jets, the jungle ripped up by training camps and firing ranges. What drew me to the story of Dreamtime is this essential conflict – Okinawa’s troubled, persecuted soul, oppressed by Japanese law and American military culture. Its islands are split three ways.

I really loved the depth of the characters: Sol, Kit, Phoenix, Hunter, and all the rest. It’s honestly refreshing and amazing for a story about humanity and human relationships to include the state of nature around them, but also for the people’s story to be so raw, honest, longing, redemptive. Similarly, the plot was an immersive piece of storytelling. How did you come up with these people, this story?

Sol, as many of my characters and stories seem to do, came out of a place I’d been: one of my tutees was in rehab in Arizona and I stayed in the desert nearby, teaching her English and philosophy. Sol bears no resemblance to anyone I met there but my surroundings conjured her. Having explored Freudian mother issues in Mother of Darkness, I was drawn to father issues this time – Sol has something of an Electra complex and this, combined with her errant father and an impulsive, addictive nature leads the plot as much as the wider ideas of climate breakdown, the end of aviation and war with China. Sol is determined to find him, whatever the cost. Similarly, her lovelorn friend Kit can’t act other than to follow Sol, try to protect her, given his character, their history. Hunter, a marine, was more difficult to pin down, more mercurial in conception and in execution, and Phoenix, the abusive cult leader of Sol and Kit’s childhood, hovers over the whole book, his legacy inescapable, yet he is directly referred to only a handful of times.

The books I love are character-centric, no matter how elaborate the plot. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles and The Beach by Alex Garland were big influences on Dreamtime. Each has an extraordinary storyline, but it was the knotty, inscrutable characters who hooked me in and kept me in their world long after reading. There’s truth and depth in folklore and fairy tale too, and I drew on these to explore the trickster archetype across eastern and western mythology, there on an island where the cultures clash so cruelly. The story of Okinawa’s future emerges directly from its past, how it has been treated – and continues to be – by Japan and America, how issues with North Korea and China serve to justify further development of US military might there, and how islands of the Pacific at the mercy of their colonial overlords will suffer as the climate emergency progresses and migration is policed. In Dreamtime, I wanted to consider the end of aviation not as an attempt to curb climate change – but as a nationalistic government’s bid to win favor by slowing climate migration. Keep the good land for themselves while the sea swallows up the bad.

I want to mention utopia and dystopia. I always fall back on Ursula K. Le Guin’s thoughts:

“Good citizens of utopia consider the wilderness dangerous, hostile, unlivable; to an adventurous or rebellious dystopian it represents change and freedom. In this I see examples of the intermutability of the yang and yin: the dark mysterious wilderness surrounding a bright, safe place, the Bad Places – which then become the Good Place, the bright, open future surrounding a dark, closed prison . . . Or vice versa.”

Your novel really brought this home because the cult described at the beginning may have been a utopian place, whereas outside of it appears dystopian (i.e., nature’s wrath/danger), but outside does really represent freedom. What do you think?

I love this piece by Le Guin, and certainly Sol views the desert rehab Lights, where the novel begins, as a suffocating prison. Lights exists within a glass dome, even the air tightly controlled, since the temperature of the Sonoran Desert is now unliveable. The wilderness is dangerous, patrolled by what wildlife can survive the sun, waiting to commit violence against those who leave the clinical confines. Dreamtime, the cult where Sol and Kit grew up, was rather wilder than rehab, within – yet mostly safe from – the savagery of the desert, deemed utopia by a disturbed few. Things happen in these cut-off spaces. Sacrifices of humanity can be made, unobserved by the outside world. Sometimes such sacrifices must be made, to preserve their cut-offness. Once an inmate is free in nature, the inherent vice of utopia may be seen more clearly. There is risk in freedom, the sea, the desert – but liberty is worth it. Surely a prerequisite of true utopia should be living in harmony with the planet you’re on? Although they do that in The Beach and it doesn’t turn out brilliantly… And what happens when nature is no longer conducive to human life? At that point, it’s probably best to scuttle into an imperfectly utopian hole – a cave maybe – and hide.

At the start of the novel, there’s a sense of virtual reality, including the cult that Kit and Sol were raised in being a place where control, authority, lies, and ways of virtual escape (drugs, for instance) keep people from dealing with truth. Such a concept is increasingly prevalent around the world, like for instance in America where QAnon is growing. How does this happen?

In the novel, it seems our ongoing disruptions that cause climate catastrophe and loss of landscape, culture, and lives might be just too hard for humans to deal rationally with. I was particularly drawn to this line: “People have largely stopped acknowledging the quiet death sentence upon them. They have come to accept inertia and stasis in the face of climatic catastrophe and the invading seas.” And this line about what might be the seduction of escape from reality:  “’It’s real and it’s not real,’ he used to say. ‘It’s not just in your mind but a place created by all minds over all time.’” What are your thoughts on that?

Yes, I think it’s really worrying – but psychologically plausible. The truth is too painful. It’s hard to face our own mortality, let alone that of the planet, the human race. It feels too big: people don’t believe they can make a difference or persuade the big polluters to do so. It’s easier to live in denial and it’s in the interest of avarice to facilitate that denial. In Dreamtime, the same tycoon owns the news and Virrea, a virtual reality company with devices as prevalent as smartphones. Virrea’s obscuring of the truth is itself justified by the climate catastrophe: if people shouldn’t travel, VR provides an alternative. Its version of the news is now all people know – and they’re happier that way. VR is used as a tool for manipulation, for covering the government’s tracks and for one powerful nation to control the international narrative. The plight of the vulnerable, the dealings of the military abroad: it can all slip under the radar.

I do think escape is seductive. It’s innate to seek it however we can – alcohol, drugs, religion. Human brains want us to be happy: they direct us away from pain and towards pleasure. The last line you quoted refers to the spiritual teachings of cult-leader Phoenix, pillaged from his experience in the Australian outback. His commune Dreamtime is named after Aboriginal cosmology, in particular the belief in a time out of time where the great spirit ancestors of the creation may still be found – an eternal present and neverwhen. This dimension, confused with the Jungian collective unconscious, is what Phoenix’s followers seek to access through ritual and peyote. Real life is hard! Coming to terms with the idea that we’re causing the only life-supporting planet we know of to become uninhabitable is even harder. Knowledge is brutal, changing our ways uncomfortable. Both are vital.

I kept going back to this line, “In the Golden Age, gods and monsters lived alongside men. Then we all moved into cities. We banished the mythical creatures and ghosts with our bright lights and civilisation.” How do you think environmental and cultural destruction go hand in hand with building cities, settling down? It reminds me of Daniel Quinn’s novels, which greatly informed me at a younger age.

Well, it’s worth pointing out that Phoenix, who says this in one of his sermons, is a deranged criminal – but I think he had a point here. Out of sight, out of mind. We lose touch with nature almost entirely in cities – even the parks are humanised, sterilised, only diverse enough for pigeons, rats and the odd grey squirrel. Cities have their own microclimates: heating in the cold, air con in the heat; greater heat caused by the air con units, more air con units then needed. We control the weather in our own environment in cities and we do so in the country too. I went to Dubai once and when inside, was completely unable to tell what it was like outside. To go anywhere meant taking the lift down to the underground carpark, then driving to another underground carpark, then up in the lift of another weather-defying apartment or hotel or mall. Walking wasn’t possible, there was no contact at all with nature: even the beach was accessed through miles of concrete shopping centre. Is that the future? I hope not, but it was certainly inspiration for Sol’s glass-dome rehab.

Ghosts exist in the shadowlands; mythical creatures dwell on the borders, in the thin places – part of our collective psyche but increasingly lost to us. I’ve not read any Daniel Quinn yet, but have just bought Ishmael and feel it might change my life.

Can you explain your thoughts about inundating the story with ghosts, myths, and animal spirits? I enjoyed these, from krakens to whales to shapeshifting foxes. I think they lent a lot to the story, a layer that is critical, as I think we need more stories inclusive of our natural surroundings, including our narratives and myths about nature.

In Japan, and particularly in Okinawa, the spirit world is thought to be present in every-day reality. It is part of life – and Japanese fiction reflects this. In my opinion, nothing conveys a place better than the strange folkloric creatures that emerge from it, but in Dreamtime they are not simply atmospheric but actors in the story. They mirror the disturbance and chaos of the real world – the tricksters of the West invade the East; the beasts of Japan do not belong in the Ryukyu Islands. Rape, plunder, and deceit has battered this part of the world into its current state, and the mythological melting pot enacts its disturbance.

The thawing permafrost of the Siberian tundra had been playing a lot on my mind – the emergence of ancient life – unknown viruses, bacteria and god knows what else. I’d been preoccupied with the idea of humans going where they shouldn’t – mining the deep sea, mining the moon – and stirring shit up. I wondered what other ancient mysteries they might unearth in these places, as if the very creatures of our collective unconscious could be disturbed and made visible. I also wanted to explore the idea that climate change is taking us into a new era, more akin to the sweltering jungle world the dinosaurs knew. Some can survive here. Some can adapt to thrive on the heat and perhaps the poison too. Not us, obviously, and not the myriad animals already fighting extinction. Stranger, more alien beasts.

Related to the above, I was particularly moved by the old Umitu’s stories. She says, “Our island is built on sadness, terror and loss. Like so many islands in the Pacific: peaceful people living in harmony with the land of their ancestors, the spirits of animals, the sea … replaced by barbed wire, pollution and violence. Life swapped for death.” I found these descriptions naturally placed, a part of the story, perhaps a lyrical polemic but not didactic. Because ecologically aware fiction, which includes the recognition of climate change, is growing, how important is that aspect to you – and how do you think new authors dealing with this can write stories that are stories, not sermons?

I want people to be aware of the horrors that happened and continue to happen in Okinawa, and to imagine this future for the world if business continues as normal: an earth so poisoned, its immune response is to reject humans and all their creation. But I’m glad you don’t think it’s didactic. It is crucial that stories are allowed to be stories, not vessels for preaching or propaganda. We have Twitter for that. I think having a diversity of characters in a story is key to navigating an issue, and rejecting the idea of ‘the single story’ as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie brilliantly puts it: “When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.” So too, there is no single story for a character; no one is exclusively this thing or that, good or bad. Novels are powerful; they can effect change. But I don’t think that should be the focus of writing one. The power of a story is in its story-ness.

Are you working on anything else yet?

Yes, I’m filling notebooks, circling an idea – zoning in, yet imagining my characters further and further away, literally as far as they can reasonably go given current technology. I feel this must be a symptom of London’s never-ending lockdown. Perhaps when it lifts, I’ll be able to bring them closer to home again. Back to Okinawa would be good – I’d love to let my mind live there for another novel.

Thanks so very much for this in-depth interview, and I am looking forward to whatever is next!

This article is part of our Wild Authors series. It was originally published on Dragonfly.eco.

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Mary Woodbury, a graduate of Purdue University, runs Dragonfly.eco, a site that explores ecology in literature, including works about climate change. She writes fiction under pen name Clara Hume. Her novel Back to the Garden has been discussed in Dissent Magazine, Ethnobiology for the Future: Linking Cultural and Ecological Diversity (University of Arizona Press), and Uncertainty and the Philosophy of Climate Change (Routledge). Mary lives in Nova Scotia and enjoys hiking, writing, and reading.

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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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Elena Soterakis: Not a Drop to Drink

By Etty Yaniv

Elena Soterakis is an artist and curator who has been exploring the intersection between art and science throughout her entire artistic practice. Today, she shares some background on BioBAT Art Space, her upcoming curatorial project with Jeannine Bardo, as well as some insight on her own artwork.

You are both a prolific artist and a curator. Let’s start with your latest curatorial project. Tell me about the genesis and vision for BioBat Art Space, which launched on January 4, 2019.

I’m fascinated by the connection between art and science. Thankfully, when Kathleen Otto and Eva Kramer of BioBAT, a not-for-profit lab space located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York City, set out to create a new Sci/Art space in their ground floor lobby, they were community-oriented and wanted to bring in South Brooklyn artists like myself and Jeannine Bardo. Because Jeannine has successfully brought dynamic, high-quality programming to the underserved arts community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, through the Stand4 Gallery, BioBAT approached her for the project. Jeannine was enthusiastic about this opportunity but felt conflicted about taking on another project when she already runs a gallery space and has a thriving studio practice. She didn’t think there were enough hours in the day, and that is when Jeannine reached out to me to get involved. Jeannine and I are curatorially aligned because we believe the intersection of science and art can solve the problems of tomorrow.

The idea of launching a new art space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal seemed like it had a tremendous amount of potential, and I wanted to be involved. I was already excited about the project, but when Jeannine took me to see the space, I was blown away. The space is beautiful. It’s enormous with high ceilings and views of the water, and it’s only a few hundred feet from the ferry. Eva and Kathleen even had two prominent architects design the gallery during BioBAT’s initial construction.

Tarah Rhoda, Ourglass, 10″ x 10″ x 73″, spinach, ethanol, IV bag, volumetric flask, syringe, ultraviolet light, 2017. Photo by Scott McCullough.

Tell me a bit about the artists in this show.

In “Spontaneous Emergence of Order,” we featured four interdisciplinary artists who approach their studio practices like scientists; their works connect us all to the natural world and our place in it: Tarah Rhoda, Tanya Chaly, Magdalena Dukiewicz, and Richelle Gribble.

Tarah Rhoda’s work explores the body as a reflection of the natural world, echoing the landscapes, weather patterns, and biological processes that result in various minerals. She often uses laboratory practices to approach her own body as an archaeological site, “mining” her own tears or freckles to create profound pieces that cause us to reflect on our relationship with nature. Tarah also manages the SVA Bio Art Lab.

Tanya Chaly explores how natural history, wilderness, and the natural world are presented and recorded. Tanya makes research trips and gathers materials from the natural environment, as well as conducting field research face-to-face with scientists. Her work renders the invisible forces that shape our world, making it possible to re-imagine what we perceive of the natural order.

Magdalena Dukiewicz’s practice deconstructs and decontextualizes hydrolyzed animal collagen and blood, turning these substances into refined pieces of art. As the piece itself disintegrates and transforms, it evokes the natural life cycle. The ephemeral nature of her work illuminates the underlying themes: time, transformation, memory, identity, and death.

Richelle Gribble explores the interdependence of life at all levels of living systems – organisms, social systems, and ecosystems. Her work reveals the striking similarities between the structural patterns that occur in our social, biological, and technological networks, blurring our world into one integrated system. Richelle poses an important question: how does connectivity, for better or for worse, influence our lives and our future?

Tanya Chaly, Cascade-Index, 80″ x 120″ overall, graphite and pigment, punctured drawing on parchment under convex glass and plexi glass domes, linen book binding thread, dissection pins, 2017. Photo by Nicholas Knight Studio.

Your own work and curatorial projects show a strong interest in science and the environment. Can you talk a bit about how that informs your art, both making and curating?

Both scientists and artists try to make sense of the world we live in. With my art, I attempt to get to the bottom of human irrationality and what drives us to destroy the planet we live on. My work explores themes of disposability and impending ecological disaster. My curatorial practice attempts to answer the same questions through other works that are very much aligned with the same themes.

Magdalena Dukiewicz, Flesh and Blood, 45″ x 17″ x 8″, blood and hydrolyzed collagen with air bubbles, 2018. Photo by Jung Hee Mun.

Tell me about “Urban Geometry.”

“Urban Geometry” was a series I completed before introducing collage into my work, and began addressing environmental issues. These paintings are a hybrid of plein air studies and photo references. I enjoyed painting cityscapes of Brooklyn and Queens because I was drawn to the math and geometry of the scenes. This series specifically was a turning point in my practice; during that period, I felt I wasn’t participating in a dialogue about the 21st Century Landscape or contemporary issues. Whenever I hit a wall in my studio practice, I introduce a new material, so I started experimenting with collage. This immediately brought to mind waste, and landed itself to more ecologically-minded scenes.

Richelle Gribble, Community Web, 120″ x 120″, found and donated rope, fabric, string, yarn, cords, and plastic, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery.

For the “Re-Animator” exhibition, curated by John Avelluto, you created three pieces that converse with the aesthetics of the Hudson River School. What was your idea behind this project and what was your take away?

The theme of the “Re-Animator” exhibition was to take an existing work of art and re-fashion it into something new. I created a triptych, called “Lake George Revisited”, in which I quote a painting from the Hudson River painter, Martin Johnson Heade. The original Lake George painting was completed in the 1860s, and I turned it into three different 21st century scenes of degradation. It’s a startling juxtaposition to see such beautiful nature next to human waste. I’m drawn to romantic landscape artists of the 19th century, but I’ve found there’s a dissonance in painting romantic landscapes during the 21st century, when we are facing ecological ruin.

Elena Soterakis, Martin Johnson Heade’s Lake George Revisited 1862 (triptych), 10″ x 20“, digital print with oil and collage, 2016.

You seem to be drawn to landscape painting. How do you see your work in this context?

I’ve always been a landscape painter, and while the content of my work has changed, I still consider myself as such. Even at the New York Academy of Art, which had a strong emphasis on the human figure, I was primarily painting landscapes. Two main influences in my work are Edward Hopper and Anslem Keifer.

In your more recent body of work, Ecocide, you allude to environmental concerns. What are your thoughts on the balancing act between art and an underlying social/political “message”?

For my work, I think it’s important that the art be able to stand alone on its own aesthetic merit, despite any underlying political/social message. First and foremost, I seek to create compelling, emotive imagery that engages the viewer, while at the same time opening a dialogue about the issues of our time.

What can you share about your current work at the studio?

Currently, I’m working on a collaborative project with artist Eric DicksonThe Museum of Supposedly Valueless Things, a fictional museum that is curated from the perspective of someone in the future who cannot comprehend our own society’s wasteful ways. We look forward to sharing our work with a larger audience and have plans to exhibit the show in spring of 2019.

Elena Soterakis at NARS / J&M open studio, fall 2018. Photo by Salim Hasbini.

(Top image: Elena Soterakis, Not a Drop to Drink, 18′ x 24′, oil, molding paste, and collage on panel, 2017. Photo by Scott Rosenberg.)

This interview is part of a content collaboration between Art Spiel and Artists & Climate Change. It was originally published on Art Spiel on January 2, 2019 as part of an ongoing interview series with contemporary artists.

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Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She has exhibited her immersive installations in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally. Yaniv founded the platform Art Spiel to highlight the work of contemporary artists through art reviews, studio visits, and interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. Yaniv holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from SUNY Purchase.

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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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Member Spotlight: Julia Oldham

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

AUGUST 9, 2021

This week we recognize the work of artist Julia Oldham.

Using a range of media, from animation to graphic storytelling, Oldham gives voice to the animals, ecosystems and scientific phenomena all around us. Her narrative works explore the complex relationships between nature and technology, humans and animals, and science and creativity.

Fallout Dogs (2019) is a cinematic portrait of Chernobyl guided by the movements and activities of the stray dogs that live in the exclusion zone and the people who take care of them.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster began on April 26, 1986, with an explosion in Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant. Over 100,000 residents were evacuated on buses and told to leave everything behind. During the ensuing clean up effort, many of the abandoned pets were shot to prevent contamination. Some survived by making their way to the power plant, where workers and self settlers have been caring for them and their descendants ever since.

“BRIDGET is a deep learning machine (AI) that I programmed to offer soothing advice from a large selection of self help books. Though she uses nearly 1000 books to learn from, half of which contain “self help” or “mindfulness” in the title, her advice is quirky and fantastical, utilizing math and probability to build meaning out of the text in the books that she has stored in her corpus. I have performed her advice, taking on the persona of BRIDGET, to create this video, which is presented in the style of YouTube self-hypnosis and self-help videos. The title of my project, “Loneliness Creeps Down the Spine,” was also text generated by BRIDGET.”

The Loneliest Place is a 14-page graphic novella about a scientist and her robotic canine scientific partner. Together they embark on a mission to find a black hole, approach it, and escape from its grip. This work was commissioned by Art Journal and printed in the Spring, 2016 publication. In the Art Journal printing, the novella is peer reviewed by astrophysicist Roban Kramer of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Julia Oldham is an artist living and working in Eugene, OR and New York City. Her work has been screened/exhibited at galleries including Art in General in New York, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; the San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA; and The Drawing Center in New York, NY. Her work has been reviewed in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street Journal, and the Village Voice, and has been featured on the NPR shows “State of Wonder” on OPB and “Inquiry” on WICN. juliaoldham.com

Featured Images: ©Julia Oldham, Fallout Dogs; Loneliness Creeps Down the Spine; The Loneliest Place

Above: Julia Oldham/Photo: Still from Terra, a three-channel video projection created and performed by Oldham for “The Observatory,” a multimedia installation by Really Large Numbers.

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ecoartapace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

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Katrina Bello: Non-Human Expressivity

By Etty Yaniv

New Jersey- and Manilla-based artist Katrina Bello draws on memories of her childhood in the Philippines for her work. Ranging from small to large scales, her drawings depict geological layers as vast fields of textures and colors, alluring us to sense the awe in vastness while also inviting us to get close and sense the fragility and tenderness in each detail.

You were born in Davao City in the Philippines and you are currently working in New Jersey and Metro Manila in the Philippines. Tell me about your background and what brought you to drawing. Why drawing?

The memories and experiences of the natural environments of my childhood home in Davao City in the Philippines are what propelled me to start making the kind and size of drawings that I have been making recently. Davao City is located in the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. It is a coastal city that also has dormant volcano Mt. Apo, and so the beaches on the coast near the foot of the volcano have fine black sand. The black sand made the sea appear opaque, dense, and unfathomable.

We lived near that beach; it was a place my family visited almost every weekend. Mine was a childhood spent with an incredible amount of freedom to explore the seashore’s natural features. We also had farms where we kept farm animals and grew vegetables – places that were considered our playgrounds. But it was in this black sand seashore environment that my siblings and I felt the greatest sense of freedom, fright, daring, exploration, and curiosity. Perhaps there was something in the darkness of the sand and sea that fueled our imaginations. We were aware of the life that lived in those opaque depths, but in the absence of seawater transparency, we had to imagine what it looked like. My brothers and I would make vivid drawings with crayons of that unseen underwater life. Interestingly, I cannot recall us using any blacks, grays, or tones resembling the color of the dark sand and opaque water. Our drawings were colorful.

In the studio in Newark, New Jersey, 2018.

I keep a vial of this black sand with me. The sand is dry and has a cool gray color. Only when wet does it turn black. This black sand – the memories it evokes, the landscape it is from, its ties to a homeland that I cherish – is perhaps the reason why drawing has become my current medium. With the use of charcoal, graphite, and gray-toned pastels, every drawing that I make feels like a recreation of this landscape. And as for choosing drawing as my primary medium, there is something in the drawing medium’s directness of contact, the weight of my hand against the paper, with the lightness or darkness of the line dependent on the pressure that altogether afforded me a means to communicate – perhaps even insist on – how important the subject is to me.

You focus on landscape drawing (including drawing installations), especially of remote places like deserts, seas, mountain ranges, and forests. You say that you see them as “the other” to our human world. Can you elaborate on that idea and reflect on what fascinates you about these places?

The idea of the natural world as “other” is something I learned from a 2007 lecture by philosopher Manuel de Landa, delivered at the European Graduate School. It was a lecture on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. The part that impressed me the most was Deleuze’s notion of expressivity in “A Thousand Plateaus,” which, according to de Landa, is not exclusive to humans, so he called it non-human expressivity. Using as examples the colors possessed by plants and animals, and the slow geologic shifts and movements of landforms such as mountains, de Landa elaborated on the idea that nature possesses ways of expressing itself through color, marks, shape, and movement just as humans utilize our voices, marks, and movements for expressions. This idea that the natural world is our “other,” that we share similar abilities with it, collapses any hierarchies between what is human and what is not. I find that it is an argument for all things belonging to nature – from the most common animal life, plant, rocks, and other inanimate things – and being as equally important as human life.

Populus, 60″ x 110″, charcoal and pastel on paper, 2018Photo courtesy of West Gallery.

How do you think your experience of migrating from coastal environments that have undergone dramatic change impact your work?

When I left Davao City as a teenager of fifteen, it meant also leaving the tropical surroundings that formed my values and ideas when it came to notions of home, play, place, and especially freedom. It wasn’t until another fifteen years later that I saw Davao City again. In those years when I was away from my native city, I lived in dense urbanized cities: first, in Metro Manila, then to metropolitan New York City, and then Jersey City and Montclair in New Jersey.

I attended college in the Philippines and the United States. Through the distance and my education, I gained new perspectives on my native city that developed during the long absence. That time away was an opportunity to learn about the precious ecological diversity of my native island home and how much of it is under threat because of increasing urbanization and deforestation. Unfortunately, being away kept me from witnessing the dramatic changes that Davao was undergoing. When I finally visited it again, I saw that the beach we spent our childhood on was now heavily urbanized, with many parts of the black sand built over with concrete to accommodate restaurants and other establishments. I am still grappling with the rate of change and continued urban developments taking place there and in the rest of the Philippines. I’m thankful some organizations are aware of this and make it their mission to preserve what is left of the precious natural resources there. It is my hope to work with one of them someday.

You are using paper with dimensions of either 5 x 8 feet or 5 x 8 inches. What does scale mean to you and why these specific dimensions?

These extremes in size and scale is a drawing method that I started using only recently. Making work about landscape, my personal memories of it, the fleeting nature of memory, ecological concerns about the vanishing wildernesses, and environmental health, I find there is something vast, boundless, and expansive about these subjects. But at the same time, there’s a great sense of fragility, impermanence, and vulnerability tied to them. I’ve been working with these subjects for over a decade now, and earlier in my art practice, my medium had been both drawing and painting in sizes what I would call medium-sized: from 8 × 10 inches up to 24 x 30 inches.

But after graduate school, and the more I was engaged with my subjects through specific research, travel, and even artists residencies, the more I was feeling a sense of awe, care, and urgency. I was getting interested in wilderness conservation. I felt my work needed another way to communicate the weight of what I felt about those subjects. I found that making very large drawings allowed me to convey them. Through the large 5 × 8-foot drawings, I want to communicate the qualities of vastness, wonder, awe, and uncertainty; through the small 5 × 8-inch drawings, I want to communicate fragility, tenderness, and emotional attachment. As for the specific size choices, it’s pretty much a random choice: they are standard drawing paper sizes that are easily available in art stores.

Terra Macnoliceae, 60″ x 102″, charcoal and pastel on paper, 2020.
Hawak/Hold (Davao Gulf), 6.5″ x 9.5″, graphite on paper, 2019.

Let’s take a close look at your large seascape drawing in the group show “Personal Landscape” at the Montclair Art Museum. How did you start it and what was your process?

This drawing is part of a larger project that comprises this large drawing, small palm-sized drawings, and videos based on the drawings. The project is about the Pacific Ocean: its health as a precious ecosystem, but especially how the ocean is this vast space that lies between my two daughters who each live in countries on the opposite ends of the Pacific. The project started with a large drawing (see below). I wanted the size and scale of it to convey to the viewer the sense of depth and vastness of the subject: the vastness of the ocean, as well as what I felt about the physical distance between my children. To make this large drawing, I counted on photos I took of the ocean in Santa Barbara, California where my younger daughter lives, and the seas in Davao City. I created a composite image based on these multiple photos, and I made the drawing from this composite.

Hawak/Hold (8.7832-124.5085), 60″ x 102“, charcoal and pastel on paper, 2019. Currently installed at the Montclair Art Museum as part of the “Personal Landscapes” group exhibition.

You are having an upcoming solo show at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey. What can you tell me about the body of work you are preparing for that show?

For that show, I’m working on drawings that are about visual analogies between patterns in bark, water, and landforms. I’m still deciding whether the show will consist solely of large drawings or if it will be a mix of those along with small drawings, photographs, video, and even sculpture. I’m envisioning all the works in the project will be unified by an overall grisaille color that will make the drawings appear hazy, in relief, and looking like craggy landscapes.

On a more personal level, I am deciding on this grey tone because it most resembles the black sand of the beaches in Davao City. With the pandemic still having no certain end in sight, it is uncertain when I’ll be able to visit my native city again. Making the large drawings for this project is my way of being there, with each grey mark or stroke of charcoal or pastel becoming a form walking on that dark landscape of black sand and dark sea, as if I am there again and closing the distance between this remembered place and myself.

(Top image: Salix, 60″ x 92″, charcoal and pastel on paper, 2017. Photo courtesy of West Gallery. All photos courtesy of the artist unless otherwise indicated.)

This interview is part of a content collaboration between Art Spiel and Artists & Climate Change. It was originally published on Art Spiel on November 2, 2020 as part of an ongoing interview series with contemporary artists.

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Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She has exhibited her immersive installations in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally. Yaniv founded the platform Art Spiel to highlight the work of contemporary artists through art reviews, studio visits, and interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. Yaniv holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from SUNY Purchase.

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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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Opportunity: Creative Climate Action Project – open call

Embedded Artist to creatively engage with participating farmers to identify climate action solutions.

Artists working in any discipline are invited to apply to become an Embedded Artist with Corca Dhuibhne Inbhuanaithe – A Creative Imagining. Funded by the Creative Climate Action fund, this project will see (an) artist(s) creatively engage with the farming community and the Corca Dhuibhne Creativity & Innovation Hub to support participating farmers to identify climate action solutions that will work for them and wider society.

The Embedded Artist will bring their unique perspective to the project, helping to generate new ways of thinking, fresh perspectives and alternative approaches to the challenges of addressing climate change. Applications are welcome from individual artists as well as groups or collectives. The selected artist(s) will be supported throughout by the Corca Dhuibhne Inbhuanaithe steering group and the Project Manager / Curator.

Corca Dhuibhne Inbhuanaithe – A Creative Imagining is a Creative Climate Action project managed by Corca Dhuibhne Creativity & Innovation Hub, in collaboration with the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland (GAII) and MaREI (The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine).

For full details of the project and how to apply, please download the Artist’s Brief at the following link: https://dinglepeninsula2030.com/projects/creativeclimateactionproject/

(Top photo: An aerial shot of the Dingle Peninsula (Ireland) showing fields and coastline with a view of Corca Dhuibhne.)

The post Opportunity: Creative Climate Action Project – open call 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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Statement from Culture Declares Emergency on COP26

We are reproducing the Statement issued 7th October 2021 by Culture Declares in full. ecoartscotland fully supports this statement. We call on arts institutions, particularly the Boards and senior managements, to fully engage with the Culture Declares ‘call to action’. 


October 7, 2021

Statement from Culture Declares Emergency on COP26  

KEY MESSAGES

  • We are a growing movement of individuals and organisations in the Culture sector who have declared a climate and ecological emergency. 
  • COP26 is based on the Paris Agreement, which offers an inadequate trajectory to stabilise the climate. Most nations, including our host nation, are not even on course to keep to the Paris Agreement path. 
  • The worsening Earth crisis, both ecological damage and climate impacts, is shocking scientists and causing suffering, particularly for Most Affected Peoples and Areas.
  • In light of these failures in the face of the worsening Earth crisis, we make two urgent calls to politicians and policy-makers, and to the Culture sector.
  • We draw attention to the role of Culture: we invite politicians/policy-makers to collaborate with the Cultural sector to stimulate imagination, to generate ideas for innovation and to engage with communities. 
  • We invite Culture sector workers to join us in declaring emergency, and to make work and action plans that reach beyond COP26 to stir radical imagination and systemic change. 

OUR STATEMENT

We are a movement of arts and culture sector workers and organisations, mostly based in the UK, who have come together to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency. This is a statement about COP26 from those active in the working groups of Culture Declares. 

We are in a time when six of nine planetary boundaries have been breached, and most of the control variables for the boundaries are moving away from the safe operating space. We have declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency, so we are taking and calling for action across all interconnected environmental issues, including biosphere degradation. Our attention this Autumn is on two international initiatives: COP15 on Biodiversity and COP26.

While the Biodiversity summit is vital, Climate Change is the most serious boundary because of its impacts across the whole Earth system and humanity. The intensity and scale of the extreme heat in America and floods in Europe have shocked climate scientists, who did not expect records to be broken this much, over such a wide area or this soon. Tipping points are being reached. For example, the Amazon rainforest now emits more CO2 than it absorbs. 

COP26, hosted by the UK in November 2021, aims to continue holding nations to account to their Paris Agreement promises, but most nations’ plans are inadequate to stabilise the temperature increase between 1.5C and 2C. The target of 2C has been wrongly seen by some as an upper safe limit and it now appears that 1.5C is not safe either, based on the intersecting impacts unfolding now at 1.2C. 

The Paris Agreement was based on the IPCC 5th Assessment which had been watered down due to pressure from high emitting nations. The actions from the Agreement are in no way adequate to mitigate or adapt to the emerging climate catastrophe in ways that will bring justice for Most Affected People and Areas. The latest evidence suggests that the Paris targets will be insufficient to prevent a Hothouse Earth pathway as impacts are ‘baked in’ from historic emissions and the most likely trajectories of mitigation. The leaked IPCC 6th Assessment report from Working Group II due in early 2022 predicts a ferocious century of climate impacts, particularly in poor countries. 

COP26 aims to hold nations to the ‘ratchet mechanism’, increasing their contributions to reduce emissions. However, ambitions to increase action will be harmed by the example of the host, the UK Government, which is not even meeting its existing promises. Also, the UK Government has cut foreign aid by £4 billion, leaving people to starve who are most affected by climate impacts and conflict in places such as Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Congo. 

In light of these failures in the face of the worsening Earth crisis, we make the following urgent calls: 

To politicians and policy-makers:

  • We call for sustained and ramped up action to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergency across nations, regions and sectors. This action must be greater than any plans set for COP26 and pledges based on the Paris Agreement. 
  • The Emergency, which includes the risk of pandemics like COVID-19, should be at the heart of all your thinking, at every level. This requires injections of imagination about how harmful systems and embedded inequalities can change for the better. 
  • We invite you to collaborate with the Cultural sector to stimulate this imagination, to generate ideas for innovation and to engage with communities. 

To people working in the Cultural sector*: 

  • We invite you to join us in declaring emergency if you haven’t already, and to pursue pathways that tell the truth, take action in your practice and communities, and seek global justice and decolonisation. 
  • We invite you to go beyond creating events or art to be seen and heard due to the spotlight of COP26, instead forging your own spotlights that illuminate the systemic issues that matter to you and your communities, and to make plans to keep these issues shining into the future as challenges unfold. 
  • Consider your role beyond COP26 to help people cope with grief after its inevitable failure. 

*We interpret the Cultural sector extremely broadly, to include arts, design, heritage, and personal & community creativity. 

NOTES

About Culture Declares Emergency 

We are a growing movement of individuals and organisations involved in art and culture. We declare this is a Climate and Ecological Emergency and we pledge to tell truths, take action and seek justice. Launched in April 2019, we were the first sector to form a declarer’s movement, inspired by local governments’ emergency declarations. Based in the UK, but collaborating internationally, we offer community and resources to ensure that sustained action follows a declaration. 

Please contact us on culturedeclares@gmail.com to discuss this statement, or other aspects of our work. 

Find out how to declare and get involved in the community https://www.culturedeclares.org/ 

Some creative initiatives by declarers and friends of our movement that you can get involved with include:

  • Paint the Land: In the months leading up to COP26, Writers Rebel’s Paint the Land project is teaming a handful of high-profile writers with well-loved visual artists to create landscape graffitos with a powerful ecological message. This will take the form of striking words “painted” on natural outdoor canvases. https://www.ackroydandharvey.com/ackroyd-harvey-and-ben-okri/  
  • Letters to the Earth: In collaboration with The Climate Coalition and Listening to the Land (a 500 mile pilgrimage to Glasgow), Letters to the Earth is hosting creative workshops as part of a series of nationwide community interventions to collect people’s fears and hopes for the future, in the run up to COP26. https://www.letterstotheearth.com/ 
  • Culture Takes Action: We are amplifying the actions that declarers are taking, using #CultureTakesAction and, in the run of to COP26, also #CultureCOP26. If you’d like your action or project to be shared on social media, or perhaps at one of our online events, please complete this form: https://forms.gle/CNJZ4DUgqBrPNZLQ6 


See more actions & artworks for COP26 by declarers here.

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.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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Opportunity: Visions of Climate Heritage competition

Members of the public asked to help tell Scotland’s climate story.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are asking the the public to submit photographs or artwork showcasing the impact of climate change on Scotland as part of its new Visions of Climate Heritage competition.

Visions of Climate Heritage has been developed by HES in partnership with the Heritage Trust Network and the Scottish Council on Archives in response to the climate emergency and has been launched ahead of the COP26 summit which Scotland is hosting in November.

As part of the competition, HES will crowdsource images and artwork to tell Scotland’s climate story – past, present and future – through an online exhibition which will harness the power of Scotland’s historic environment and cultural heritage to inspire climate action.

The entries must align with one of the three themes:

  • ‘The Past was a Different Place’
  • ‘This is an Emergency’
  • ‘A Greener Future’

Images can include a historic photo that illustrates a less informed time before we first learned about climate change and began to see its impact; a moment of extreme weather, which is becoming more common in Scotland, and the impact it brings to our homes, streets and natural heritage; or a creative artwork such as a painting or sculpture which showcases a green, low carbon Scotland.

There will be £750 in prizes available across the categories which include Best PhotographBest Mobile PhotographBest Artwork, and Young Creative Awards for those aged between 12-17. Images will be judged on their ability to tell a story, as well as their visual interest, impact and relevance to the historic environment and climate change in Scotland.

The competition will close on Tuesday 30th November, with the shortlisted and winning entries forming part of an online exhibition.

The judging panel will include:

  • Katharine Hayhoe, the internationally renowned climate scientist and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People
  • Phil Astley, the City Archivist for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives
  • Beverley Gormley, Programme Manager for the Heritage Trust Network
  • Dr David Mitchell, Director of Conservation for HES
  • A representative from the HistoricScot Youth Forum

To find out more and to enter the competition, visit the HES website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/archives-and-research/online-exhibitions/visions-of-climate-heritage/enter-the-competition/

The post Opportunity: Visions of Climate Heritage competition 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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Climate Change Theatre Action 2021

By Peterson Toscano

Chantal Bilodeau tells us about Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) 2021. Founded in 2015, CCTA is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conferences.

CCTA was originally founded by Elaine Ávila, Chantal Bilodeau, Roberta Levitow, and Caridad Svich following a model pioneered by NoPassport Theatre Alliance. It has since evolved into a U.S.-Canada collaboration between The Arctic Cycle and the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.

Chantal is a playwright and translator originally from Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, but now based in New York City, the traditional land of the Lenape People. In her capacity as artistic director of The Arctic Cycle, she has been instrumental in getting the theatre and academic communities, as well as audiences in the U.S. and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live events, talks, publications, workshops, national and international convenings, and a worldwide distributed theatre festival.

To tell us about one of the plays is Dr. Zoë Svendsen, Lecturer in Drama and Performance in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. Dr. Svendsen’s play comes out of a larger project called “Love Letter to a Livable Planet.” Through collaboration with members of METIS Arts, Zoe created a short play called Love Out of Ruins, where we get to decide many of the details.

Think of it as a much more sophisticated version of Mad-Libs with the aim to create a vision of the future worth pursuing. The play begins in the present time and moves forward. You get to decide the details that shape the character’s world.

You can read Love Out of Ruins at one of your CCL events. In fact, having a group of friends, students, or climate advocates sit and each fill in the lines can be a mind and heart expanding activity. Then you can share the results at a Climate Change Theatre Action event you host and read some of the plays by the 49 other playwrights from around the world.

For additional material, see:

To learn more about how you can get your hands on these plays and host your own event, visit http://www.climatechangetheatreaction.com/join-us/.

Next month: Learn about Claude Schryer’s The conscient podcast / balado conscient. As a sound designer, Claude is able to reach deep into a listener’s mind and even our body.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher Radio, Spotify, SoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

(Top image: Dispatch to the Future: A Theatrical Journey Through Central Park, CCTA’s kick-off event in New York City in September 2021. Photo by Yadin Goldman.)

This article is part of The Art House series.

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As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org

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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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