EcoArtSpace

Dana Michele Hemes: Connection/Collaboration 1

An Interview about interspecies experiences with Dana Michele Hemes
by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein 

Dana Michele Hemes collaborates with humans, insects, microbiomes and bees (to name just a few) in her interspecies experiences. Converging the artistic with the scientific, her work is all about accentuating already existing (but often unnoticeable) interactions in the world around us. Often her work involves highly perceptive technologies that create incredible interactions and sensory spaces. Dana speaks about the importance of connectedness with the environment and between people, her collaborative mindset (with all sizes and beings) and the limits of perception in this interview.  

It’s so great to speak with you, Dana! Let’s jump right in. Your work often involves interactive sculptures to encourage interspecies communication. Where did your inspiration for this work come from?

I’m interested in the entanglements or connections in the world around us, so I set up scenarios to explore this connectedness. One way I do this is by creating interactive spaces where humans and nonhumans can share a sensory experience. I’m curious as to what we can learn by being present and aware of our shared, intersecting existences… For me, exploring these interspecies relationships is a way to better understand my place in the world.

I think a lot about the limits of our perception of our environments.

(Homo/Homo 2 Phase 2)


That’s beautiful! You seem to highlight these small, often unseen interactions. How do you decide what to magnify?

When designing interactive spaces, I try to organize them in ways where both species (human and nonhuman) can affect and be affected. In doing so, I think a lot about the limits of our perception of our environments. I start by researching the nonhuman species to learn about how they sense the world; and oftentimes, I build the workaround senses that we share. For example, Ariadna/Homo 1 (which is about corolla spiders) and Pogonomyrmex/Homo 8 (harvester ants) are installations that explore methods of hearing. Humans, corolla spiders, and harvester ants detect and respond to sound in their environments.

Sometimes the sensory stimuli are imperceptible to humans– like sounds that are too small or high-pitched for our ears, or light beyond the visible spectrum. In these cases, I use tools to amplify or adapt the stimuli so we are better able to perceive and engage with one another. I also find magnification and shifting scales useful when working with small or microscopic creatures, as a way to bring the human and nonhuman together.

Exploring these interspecies relationships is a way to better understand my own place in the world.

(Ariadna/Homo 1)

By magnifying aspects of foraging behavior or listening strategies, you seem to be helping insects, microbiomes, spiders etc., express their voices. What are the results of these conversations?

That’s a great question– and one of the drivers behind the work itself. I’m particularly interested in what emerges as these interspecies conversations take place… and it varies. I don’t have a specific message that I want people to take away from the work; instead, I’m aiming to invite people to try a new or different way of seeing or listening or feeling or being.

I don’t have a specific message that I want people to take away from the work; instead, I’m aiming to invite people to try a new or different way of seeing or listening or feeling or being.

(Apis/Homo 1)

For example, Apis/Homo 1 is a simple, wearable device that creates an opportunity for humans and bees to share an intimate space. Bees can enter and exit the headpiece freely, but the partially closed helmet contains and concentrates the buzzing sounds and flower smells, etc. Here I’m not aiming to make a statement about bees; instead, I’m building a scenario that encourages bee/human conversation and focused observation. The result or takeaway of that shared experience is left for the bees and humans to explore if they want.

I hope that people take away a greater sense of connectedness to the world, and/or a willingness or interest in trying to think beyond themselves or the human. Perhaps it’s a new lens to have in your back pocket that invites a broadened perspective, empathy, or flexibility of the self.

It seems like your work process is also part of the exploration. Do you consider your subjects interspecies collaborators or actors in your vision?

I think it’s important to note that the subject of the work is the whole experience– the interaction that takes place between humans, nonhumans, and the constructed space. The ants, bacteria, humans, tech, corn, birds, sunlight, air, etc. are all components that shape the interaction. For example, Homo[+]/Homo 2, Phase 2 is a work that connects humans to their bacterial microbiomes through vegetable fiber candies.  It was first shown at a one-night event in an indoor gallery at Pioneer Works. I used the feedback on candy flavors to tweak recipes and addressed questions by reorganizing the components of the work. Homo[+]/Homo 2, Phase 3 is the updated version, which was then activated at an outdoor festival at the Wassaic Project. 

With this in mind, I consider all of the active participant’s collaborators– living and nonliving. But this collaborative connectedness doesn’t only occur in my built environments; it happens all the time. I’m using art as a method to illuminate these connections and to facilitate broader perspectives beyond the human.

I consider all of the active participant’s collaborators… this collaborative connectedness doesn’t only occur in my built environments; it happens all the time.

(Homo/Homo 2 Phase 2)

It all seems very scientific and you name your works in the Latin or in traditional scientific classifications. What role do the traditions of science play in your work?

My work is interdisciplinary– integrating science, philosophy, and art into the making and thinking. So science is an essential part of my practice. I love that curiosity is baked into its core, and that scientists ask big questions and have specific methods and tools for searching for answers. I’m also fascinated by taxonomy or the systems we use to order and categorize information– particularly the limitations of these systems, like when we discover something that doesn’t quite fit into any of our categories. Scientific classification changes, which highlights the fluid nature of our knowledge about the world. Originally, Linnaeus’ taxonomy only had 2 kingdoms– plants and animals. For a while, there were 8 kingdoms, which were later reduced to 6, and as of 2015 there are 7… and there is still plenty of room for debate around outliers– like viruses.

For something that seems so neat and orderly, it’s actually a messy, malleable, slippery and sometimes contentious process. I think that’s why I’m drawn to using them in my titles… Plus, naming things feels like a very human thing to do.

Collaboration is an important part of my process– whether it’s working with scientists, programmers, the public, or other species– it helps the work grow into something bigger and more interesting.

(Homo/Homo 3 Phase 2)

And you often include human technologies to create your works including specialized engineering and sensorial technology. How do you approach scientific and engineering problems as an artist?

I’d say that I approach engineering problems with naive enthusiasm. There is so much I don’t know about computer science and electrical engineering; so, I blindly assume that if I have a specific question or tech need, there must be an answer in a forum in some corner of the internet.

Also, I ask for help from people who know more than me. Collaboration is an important part of my process– whether it’s working with scientists, programmers, the public, or other species– it helps the work grow into something bigger and more interesting.

My work is about shifting perspectives and revealing a thing that’s already there…

(Pogo/Homo)

There was this lovely description in your artist statement, where you write “Each moment is an event: an active, participatory state where all parts of a system affect and are affected”, how can art accentuate or add to this participation? Do you consider your work a form of performance art?

Art is a medium that can set a framework that intentionally requests an open mind. It’s stuff that’s about other stuff. It sets people up for looking deeply and feeling their way through an unknown. My work is about shifting perspectives and revealing a thing that’s already there– so while people are always active participants in the world, I think it might be easier to engage meaningfully when the environment requests and directs focus.

I consider my work interactive rather than performance, only because I don’t want to risk implying that there’s a distinction between the actor(s) and the audience. I think that the term “interactive” helps to frame the experience as one where you cause change and can be changed… all parts affect and are affected.

And lastly, how have your projects adapted to Covid-19 times given that there is now less possibility for live experiences?

The lack of physical interactions with people has definitely been a challenge. That said, I’ve been able to continue collaborating with artists and scientists through virtual means. I’m currently working on a project that is exploring our connection to the octopus, which is supported by the Ocean Memory Project. The Ocean Memory community is a cross-disciplinary, far-reaching network of people who come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise (and geographic locations). With video-based virtual meeting technologies becoming so commonplace, it has made these long-distance conversations easier. One thing that this pandemic has illustrated is the connectedness of the world; and how these connections shape our lives and behaviors in real and sometimes painful ways.

But things are starting to reopen; and I’m excited to be starting a studio residency at Cornerstone STUDIOS. I optimistically look forward to future gatherings… humans, nonhumans, and all.

danamichelehemes.com

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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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EARTH DAY for Trees

Thursday, April 22, 2021

11am-4pm MDT

1pm-6pm EDT/12pm-5pm CDT/10am-3pm PDT & 6pm-11pm GMT

This year’s Earth Day event will focus on trees and forests, the thematic of the 2021 ecoartspace online juried exhibition + book titled Embodied Forest. There will be three separate programs including our monthly Tree Talk featuring special guest Katherine Ware, curator of the exhibition Breath Taking on view through this summer at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, including ecoartspace members: Sant KhalsaMeridel RubensteinMarietta Patricia Leis, and Linda Alterwitz. There will be an interactive global exchange with Evgenia Emets, founder of Eternal Forest a tree legacy project including artists and researchers from Europe based out of Portugal. And, a Tree Talk book group Q&A with David George Haskell, author of The Songs of TreesStories from Nature’s Great Connectors. The grand finale will be a poetry reading by ecoartspace member Katy Gurin, restoration engineer and poet living amongst redwoods in Eureka, California.

There’s one Zoom link for all three events. Come and go as you like. All events will be recorded. Look forward to spending the day with you talking trees!

This event is FREE, however, please make a donation if you can.

©Meridel Rubenstein (photograph above) at entrance to Breath Taking, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe.

REGISTER

Science Art Net Zero

ecoartspace is pleased to host the Scientist Artist Net Zero (SANZ) policy initiative on our website for ecoartists to participate as full partners in policy decisions regarding the climate crisis. ecoartspace shares the Biden administration’s vision for an existential and pragmatic race to net-zero. We invite you to join us in the effort to amplify outreach and effect systemic changes towards that goal.

Please access further information about the SANZ initiative here and add your signature HERE.

ScienceARtNetZero.pdf

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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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Embodied Forest: Call for Artists

DEADLINE May 15, 2021

Embodied Forest is the title of the fall ecoartspace online exhibition + book that will launch September 1, 2021. Applicants whose work addresses our human relationship with trees and forests are encouraged to apply.

In the context of this exhibition, the term embodied can be understood as the act of giving a body to something intangible; to incarnate; to stand in the same place of; to become part of a collective body; to personify; or to empathize. The subject matter of your work for Embodied Forest will address the worlds of trees and forests including though not limited to companion species, microbes, root systems, mushrooms, birds, fungus, moss, lichen, mist/fog/water, insects, spiders, parasites, bacteria, etc.

The entanglements of a forest are unlimited and we are seeking to represent an in-depth examination of the interconnectedness of trees with all living things including humans. All mediums are accepted and will include performance, sound and video. Abstraction is also encouraged.

Since June 2020 ecoartspace has held a monthly Zoom dialogue with member artists presenting their work about trees. Sant Khalsa, curator of Tree Talk and founder of the Joshua Tree Center For Photographic Arts will be co-hosting this monthly dialogue through the end of 2021. A select group of artists from Embodied Forest will be featured in upcoming events.

You must be a ecoartspace member to apply

(please email info@ecoartspace.org if you’re financially impacted and would like to apply)JURORS

Lilian Fraiji is a curator and producer based in the Amazon, Brazil and is the co-founder of LABVERDE program, a project dedicated to developing multidisciplinary content involving art, science and nature. As an independent researcher Fraiji is interested in how culture is related to nature and how the landscape is shaped in the Anthropocene. She has curated several art exhibitions involving the subject of Nature including in 2019, How to Talk with Trees and Irreversível, and in 2018, Invisible Landscape. Currently, Fraiji is the curator of the online Festival called Tomorrow is Now and is collaborating with Sonic Matter: The Witness (Festival in Swiss) and the SIM São Paulo. She is a specialist in Cultural Management from Barcelona University and has a Master’s degree in Curating Arts from the University of Ramon Llull, Barcelona. In 2020 Fraiji was awarded the Serrapilheira prize for contributing to democratizing science.

Giovanni Aloi is an author, curator and educator specializing in the histories of art and politics of aesthetics in representations of nature in art. He’s the Editor in Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture and US Correspondent for Esse Magazine – Art + Opinion. Aloi is co-editor of the University of Minnesota series Art after Nature, and has authored four books including Why Look at Plants? – The Vegetal World in Contemporary Art (2019) and Lucian Freud – Herbarium (2019). He lectures at museums and universities internationally and has taught at Queen Mary University of London, Goldsmiths, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Aloi received his Ph.D. in natural history and contemporary art from Goldsmiths University of London and has worked as an educator at Whitechapel Art Gallery and Tate Galleries.

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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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I AM WATER: Call for Artists

CALL FOR ARTISTS

I AM WATER

DEADLINE May 10, 2021

I AM WATER is a public art exhibition organized by Our Humanity Matters and ecoartspace in collaboration with SaveArtSpace. The exhibition will consist of a series of billboards sited in New York City that will address our relationship to water and our human understanding that we are water.

Water is the origin of life with the innate purpose to continue creation. In water, we see that everything is connected and interrelated. Everything is liquid before it becomes solid. Humans, who are mostly water, depend on it to protect our DNA and for our basic survival. Water is not a resource but an essential connection to life. The one-sidedness of modern consciousness and our disconnect from nature increasingly subjects water to pollution. If we do not change our behavior, we will run out of water.

We humans cannot be healthy if our waters are not healthy. This exhibition is an opportunity to show water’s mystery and importance and to help reestablish, on a deep cellular level, the intimate relationship with water that we have lost in modern life. 

Exhibition Curator: Patricia Watts, founder of ecoartspace

Production Curator: Tanja Andrejasic Wechsler, founder of Our Humanity Matters

We invite artists over the age of 18 years to submit their artwork between March 15 and May 10, 2021. This is an opportunity to have your work placed on ad space in New York City.

There is a $10 donation per image submission to participate, each donation is tax-deductible and goes to producing the public art. Each artist is encouraged to submit up to 10 images including video stills (digital billboards not guaranteed). The selected artists will be announced after May 24 and will be exhibited on ad spaces in New York City, launching in June for at least one month.

———-

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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Interview with Diane Burko on Artblog

By Susan Isaacs March 12, 2021 on Artblog

Artblog contributor Susan Isaacs connects with climate art activist Diane Burko over their shared admiration for artists like Augustus Vincent Tack, their interest in climate-focused art, and Diane’s upcoming lecture at Towson University (where Susan is a professor and curator).

Diane Burko, known for her activist paintings and programs dealing with environmental issues, spoke with Susan Isaacs recently via Zoom. Burko has an upcoming live Zoom lecture at Towson University that is free and open to the public on March 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. and an upcoming exhibition: Seeing Climate Change: Diane Burko, 2002-2021 at the American University Museum at the Katzen Center, Washington D.C. August 28—December 12, 2021. Register for the Towson lecture.

Susan Isaacs: Hi Diane. So, we found we have a common interest. You discovered the work of Augustus Vincent Tack when you were in graduate school at Penn and were inspired by Tack’s abstraction of the landscape, responding to his lozenge-like shapes in your blue and white paintings. I wrote my dissertation on Tack.

Diane Burko: What an amazing coincidence. I loved visiting all his work at the Phillips.

SI: Let’s discuss your background. You began as a painter?

DB: Yes, I was a painter though I always used the camera, initially to document my work and to record what I was seeing and, for me, seeing was all about the landscape.

It was all about going out and being swept away by these big empty open spaces, probably because I was from the city (originally Brooklyn) and I never saw open spaces. I lived in an apartment building, and I was just captivated right from the start with these large vistas, these dramatic panoramas, and of course I had seen them in Hudson River School paintings in my art history books and classes, and also French painters who I knew quite a bit about so that’s where I began.

SI: So, from the beginning as a professional artist, you felt, you were a landscape painter.

DB: Yes, you know I painted the figure and the still life and all that stuff that you do in school, but I think the reason I latched on to the landscape is because it allowed me to be the most abstract.

It gave me the most control of what I wanted to do. Although I actually started graduate school as an abstract artist. I entered not with the realistic paintings that I left with, but with these very large pastel oil stick abstract images that were reminiscent of a combination of maybe de Kooning and Matta. You know, it was that era. Remember, I was doing work in the late 60s, so a lot of my teachers were second, third generation abstract expressionists, so I was very much of that school when I entered graduate school.

SI: And when you were doing that, did you think about content at all?

DB: All of the terminology and the theory that we now have in post modernism—all of that was totally absent in my education; it was all about the canvas, making the work, being involved in the work, I had no real awareness of where I was in the world, quite frankly. And I loved just making stuff. I fell in love with painting; it became a habit. The content at that point was the landscape.

The tenor of Penn at the time was to paint what you were seeing. I realized that after I got there. Landscape painting was a whole new world. Going to the Grand Canyon was amazing, and I think at the beginning, I was just responding to what I was looking at.

I always made photographs of the landscapes that I would visit, especially since seeing the Grand Canyon, flying with Jim Turrell. Jim and I met socially in the 70s, when we’re both very young and I told him I was going to the Grand Canyon. He said, “You don’t want to drive, you want to fly into the Grand Canyon.” He claimed he could fly so I wrote to him, we connected, and Arizona State University drove me up to meet him in Mesa, which is where he had his plane and it changed my life. It is more abstract to look at these patterns that appear when you look down on the landscape. Yvonne Jaquette was doing the same sort of thing—we had similar paintings at that point in time; I would take these photographs, bring them back to the studio, and paint from the photographs.

SI: So that flight was very important in terms of shifting your viewpoint.

Continue reading HERE

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ecoartspace 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

Powered by WPeMatico

Robert Dash: The Big Picture, Up Close

Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

Robert Dash is a widely recognized and accomplished photographer and a great admirer of the natural world. As a naturalist, artist and educator, Robert uses micro-photography to provide a new dimension of depth to our common understanding of the world around us. Through these incredible photographs, Robert emphasizes the complexity and importance of nature and stands as a reminder that there is so much to discover. Providing an important intersection between scientific inquiry and artistic expression, Robert’s work epitomizes a necessary relationship between study and discovery. In this interview, Robert takes us on a journey through terrains the size of a pinhead and gives incredible insight into reflection and intimacy with the natural world. 

Hummingbird Feather Detail from Micro Climate Change

Robert, your work stands at the intersection of art and science. By looking at objects in your surroundings very closely, you present mesmerizing photographs. What is the greatest wonder that you have found in this micro world? What do artists have to learn from looking at things extremely closely? Many artists were historically also scientists, how do the two disciplines interact?

Science (fact) inspires art (metaphor) which stimulates imagination, curiosity, inquiry (and new facts…)  Remarkable textures and patterns in nature are beautiful in their own right. They can also inspire deep questions, observations, perhaps a lifetime career or Nobel prize.

Look at the underside of this hop leaf and olive leaf. I was stunned when I first saw these. These structures are a fraction of a pinhead wide.

Hop leaf detail
Olive leaf detail (underside, with trichomes) 

I love to hike when I come upon views and perspectives that I’ve never seen before. Most of the time, I’m on a trail that thousands of people have already visited. Macro photography and SEM imaging are like micro-hikes, going to micro landscapes which few (if any) have seen before. Some of what I find is mind-blowing, design-wise, and overwhelms my imagination.  On the other hand, looking closely represents an aesthetic and personal choice to settle down, observe, and patiently contemplate a subject, which is counter to so much of modern frenetic lifestyles. My first book, On an Acre Shy of Eternity, was a three-year quest to look at all the layers of beauty I could find on the three-quarters of an acre where I live. It’s what started my work with a scanning electron microscope. Slowing down for that period inspired contemplation and poetry.

Both science and art deal in awe, wonder, surprise, and creativity, but for the sake of conjecture and over-generalizing: art leans toward the infinite, imagined, nebulous, while science leans toward the finite, provable, precise. Maybe art makes us feel, first, while science makes us think, first.

In your TEDx talk, you discuss the topic of “eco-intercourse” that happens when breathing in air in a forest surrounded by leaves that create oxygen. Can you expand on this shift in perspective and the consciousness that it creates?

I’ll answer with my poem:

Primal Exchange

There’s a whole ocean in the sky:
drops sucked from lakes where we swim,
clouds at dusk that leave us breathless,
salty residues of our grief and toil.
All of it
filters through pinpoint cells on leaves and plants
over and over each year.
They barter pure air for our exhalations
in the primal exchange.
Every stomata
on all plants of the world could match in number
stars in the sky
and like stars, they need songs and sonnets of their own.
Bring a loved one out beneath the trees
send your breaths up to constellations and galaxies of stomata
and receive their breaths in reply.
What could be more intimate than the truth
that our bodies are made of each others’ atoms
And those of the world?
                
Robert Dash, On An Acre Shy Of Eternity, ©2017

Poplar Stomata

Your metaphors are so intimate and reflect this feeling of awe when encountered with wild landscapes. How has this eco-intercourse driven your most recent work, Food For Thought, where you present extreme close up images of climate resistant crops and of compost?

Three years ago, my images were all about climate threats to staple foods such as corn, beans, wheat. Drought, floods, disease, nutrient depletion–there are many grim stories. The more I studied, the more I learned about carbon farming and regenerative agriculture, and I became excited about how these practices could help reverse climate change. Since scanning electron microscope work is so labor intensive, I only took food samples to the lab which had either a connection to these climate perils or promises. I looked at hundreds of samples, and then chose the ones which made my jaw drop when I first saw them.

More than an individual plant that creates climate resilience (and there are many, including agave in deserts, kelp in coastal areas, fava beans and clover cover crops on croplands), by far the most impactful practices are the rebuilding of soil, by storing more organic matter (carbon) there. The film “Kiss the Ground” explores this. My biochar image helped me understand why adding compost and biochar to the soil is so significant. Biochar is sometimes called a “microbial hotel” because of all of the hiding places it provides for microbial organisms and decomposers so important to rich, organic soil. The crystalline structure displayed in this image floored me, especially when you consider that the piece of biochar depicted is roughly the width of a pinhead.

…macro and micro, color and monochrome, fact and metaphor, surreal and hyper-real, serious and whimsical, flat and dimensional. Just like life, which is so layered and complex.

Biochar

Really beautiful and insightful! How do you decide to integrate your microscopic images into artworks? What methods do you use?

Master photo composite artist Jerry Uehlsman uses the term “assets” when describing the separate elements which comprise his work. These assets come together on a “canvas” and present a shape, color, texture, pattern, or metaphor. The trick is to discover what conversation these elements can have to make a unified image. Does the image suggest a story or world? Does it invite deeper study? Does it “work”, without feeling forced or contrived? Some of these images took years to resolve. For example, I was stuck with the potato image for the longest time, until I saw the starch granules, magnification 1000x, as tiny potatoes. By pairing macro potatoes with “granular potatoes”, the image finally clicked. 

Potato Starch

I have noticed that many of your works for Food For Thought take place on a black background, with monochrome microscopic imagery and highly defined and saturated imagery. How did you decide on this aesthetic?

The simple answer is, I love how it looks. A black background creates a dramatic contrast to the macro and micrograph images, and that drama mirrors the impact of awe and wonder I feel in nature. Then there are the pairings of macro and micro, color and monochrome, fact and metaphor, surreal and hyper-real, serious and whimsical, flat and dimensional. Just like life, which is so layered and complex.

I’m not a digital native. My native comfort zone as a child was hanging out with salamanders, frogs, snakes, insects, and tadpoles.

You speak and write compellingly about the importance of investing in nature. What do people need to know about the natural world? How do you think growing dependence on digital technology is helping and hurting this relationship?

Having been born deep inside the last century, I’m not a digital native. My native comfort zone as a child was hanging out with salamanders, frogs, snakes, insects, and tadpoles. This cemented my fascination with tiny life. Humans have an ancient, intimate relationship with nature that is spiritually vital. A huge range of modern anxieties–alienation, depression, isolation, rage–are connected to syndromes like Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), where we’ve lost that contact.

I spend far more time with screens than I ever thought possible. Much of it is an attempt to translate, through art, my lifelong love for nature. Our attention spans have been fractured by the juicing of brain chemicals that come from digital surfing, and this damages our ability to think deeply, and to create. I worry that this is numbing us to the ancient joys of belonging to wild things, and to caring enough about them to protect them. Digital tools can help promote conservation–think drones that disperse seeds over wide deforested areas, or that document poaching in remote lands. Beneath it all is a question: how does this technology serve the cause of balance, restoration, health?

Requiem for the Pollinators

Lastly, what are you working on now?

The Food for Thought work is issue-based, looking at climate change impacts on food. All of my text for this (upcoming) book is about documenting climate/food perils and promises. It’s a very different focus from my first book. Each image reveals layers of stories, but this is a narrative rather than a poetic journey.

(Top photo: Still from Food for Thought Exhibition Video)

———-

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

Powered by WPeMatico

tree talk: artists speak for trees

tree talk: artists speak for trees

Thursday, March 25
10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET

EUROPE: Scotland/Ireland/England: 18:00GMT, Belgium/Germany/Spain: 19:00UTC

Fredrick J. Swanson, David Paul Bayles, Jennifer Hand, Cynthia Hooper, Cindy Rinne

For our March Tree Talk, four outstanding ecoartspace artists and a guest geologist will present diverse ideas, research and artworks about trees and forests. Artist-Photographer David Paul Bayles and research geologist and disturbance ecologist Frederick J. Swanson will discuss their current art-science collaboration focused on the Holiday Farm Fire last Fall in Oregon. Jennifer Hand will share recent projects including performance work that represents her relationship with trees. Interdisciplinary artist Cynthia Hooperwill present an overview of Northwestern California’s forest land and timber industry in relationship to her research-based practice including paintings, videos, and essays. Poet and fiber artist Cindy Rinne speaks to trees and they answer in visions, poems, and artworks, which she will share with us.

Tree Talk is moderated by Sant Khalsa, ecofeminist artist and activist, whose work has focused on critical environmental and societal issues including forests and watersheds for four decades.

Co-sponsored by Joshua Tree Center for Photographic Arts

Did you miss TREE TALK on February 25? Watch it now on VIMEO 

Members and one guest are free. General Public can attend for a $10. Capacity is 100 participants. All participants MUST REGISTER.

REGISTER

the human animal connection

Thursday, March 11

USA: 10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET

EUROPE: Scotland/Ireland/England: 18:00GMT, Belgium/Germany/Spain: 19:00UTC

Jan Harrison, Rachel Frank, Lenore Malen, Christopher Reiger, Ron Broglio

In this Zoom Dialogue we consider the human animal connection through presentations by ecoartspace members Jan Harrison who will discuss her ongoing series titled Animals in the Anthropocene including paintings and sculptures, Rachel Frank who will present her Rewilding performances in site-specific landscapes and in videos, Lenore Malen who will present her Post Humanist works including Eve in Sheepland, and Christopher Reiger who will discuss the concept of supernatural animal spirits or guides in relation to his paintings of nonhuman creatures.

Each presenter will have 10-15 minutes. Following Q&A will be led by member respondent Ron Broglio, known for his research and writing on nonhuman phenomenology and animal revolution.

Members and one guest are free. General Public can attend for a $10. Capacity is 100 participants. All participants MUST REGISTER.

REGISTER

Meet Kimberlee Koym-Murteira: SHOUTOUTLA

Interview with SHOUTOUTLA, February 15, 2021

Hi Kimberlee, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.

Walking through a forest, by the sea side, up a grassy hill, the physical act of moving brings me joy not just for the beauty of the surroundings, but for the alteration and enlivening of my thoughts as I become active. Bubbling liquids, moving light, studies of water, trees, and people, help me ask: How are we embodied? I wonder how do we activate our lives and how can we be more present in our physical world in order to be more connected with ourselves and others? Studies show physical activity positively affects brain cognition, but it still seems an issue for so many. Some of my favorite activities are drawing, walking, and cooking. I create videos to capture the process and the power of movement and connection. I bottle it up for study. I house my Video Sculptures in mason jars containing water. I use water as a lens like a kid with a magnifying glass, pulling things – in this case transparent layers of video imagery- apart to observe. I choose to work with liquids – for their transparency and because they’re too slippery for me to fully control. The glass mason jars preserve precious memories, life’s seminal moments, and challenges to be used when someone needs to call on them -my grandmother cooking, inspirations from Maya Angelou, remnants from the wildfires. I play with veils of transparency to speak to the act of perception and sight(vision), the ability to see in, to discover. The physical and virtual intersections, matter and media, hold somatic resonance. Virtual refers to media but also thought, imagination, perception, psyche, and spirit. In our ever more virtual and disconnected existences, my video sculptures, projection machines, installations and prints on metal comment on the complexity of what is to be in a body, and to be pulled into virtual realms. “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves.” — Carl Jung. I love art & art making: In my art practice, as in my home, I love to mix high and low tech, I achieve this meeting of virtual and physical with something like a video playing behind a mason jar filled with water. The placement of the image behind water acts as a lens, creating a hologram effect. As you walk around the sculpture the three dimensionality of the bottle, water, and image lends an additional sense of movement and wonder to the video sculpture. I am now exploring disorienting imagery by using a 360 camera to simultaneously give a sense of enclosure and expansion. This filming technique also creates a disembodied sense of floating. During the pandemic the wildness of nature has been a vital connection.

Continue reading HERE

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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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