On Friday, June 25th, there are three panels arranged to flow in series, on after another and they are Genre's of Eco-Art, Collaboration and Community and in the afternoon, Issues and Activism
Genres of Eco-Art: Moderator, Deborah Thomas with Susan Leibovitz Steinman and Ruth Wallen as panelists.
Collaboration and Community: Moderator Susan Leibovitz Steinman with Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Jennifer Colby, Deborah Munk and Tierney Thys as panelists.
Issues and Activism: Moderator, Michelle Lipsinki with Andree Singer Thompson, Beverly Naidus, Daniella Russo and Samantha Fields as panelists.
There are also short films being shown in a separate room, during these panels and through the breaks.
You can spend your day in either place, or mingling with the other attendees. At your hosted luncheon the panelists will have tables earmarked for conversation topics, relevant to the work of the panelist.
Entrance fee for the entire conference is $90 in advance and $125 at the door. Conference schedule is at the bottom of this page.
Elements Conference schedule on June 25th, 2010 at the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
The Arctic Perspective Initiative (API) is working towards the construction of free, open, information sharing infrastructures for people living in the Arctic. It is the brainchild of artists Marko Peljhan and Matthew Biederman, and grew out of Peljhan's 10-year Makrolab project. As the first step, the API is working in collaboration with communities in Arctic Canada to design a mobile work and habitation unit to support seasonally nomadic lifestyles. A prototype is currently being built in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. When complete, the unit will be customisable to suit a variety of needs and uses on the land: from basic survival and safety, to global media streaming, communications, and environmental monitoring.
API is an art project, conceived by an artist and presented in arts contexts, which sets out to highlight the cultural, geopolitical and ecological significance of the Arctic and its indigenous cultures. It is also a network of individuals and organisations working collaboratively on a practical project: a utopian quest for an a 'third culture' beyond specialisation and national interests. It it art? It seems to me that more interesting questions are rather: Is this something that art can do? And how do we do it well?
That lifetime has mostly involved the comprehensive study of a particular world that first intrigued him way back when: the world of ants. Much of what we know about social insects and the “superorganism” of the hive and nest has been a result of Wilson’s research and observation. Over six decades and 20 books he has detailed every aspect of ant societies: how they divide labour and spread knowledge, how they mate and fight, live and die. Wilson has used this wisdom – “sociobiology” – to make arguments about genetics and conditioning that have applications thoughout the living world, and which extend to our understanding of human nature and society. Much of that wisdom he has now brought to bear on Anthill, his debut novel, which has at its heart an extraordinary ant's eye view of the world, a social realist book-within-a-book of the rise and fall of a particular ant colony.
In this guest post, Kellie Payne, reports on Bruno Latour's recent talk at the Tate.
The French sociologist Bruno Latour gave the keynote address at this month's Tate Britain’s symposium Beyond the Academy: Research as Exhibition. His address considered the environmental crisis as a particular challenge which would require natural history, art museums and academia to join forces. The challenge, he said, was that “climate change is currently unrepresentable”.
In an effort to address this, Latour has embarked on a number of projects. One is the School of Political Arts at the Sciences Po in Paris. The school, which will be formally launched this year, will bring together young professionals in the social sciences and arts to attempt to represent the political problem of climate change. Latour says the school will “not join science, art and politics together, but rather disassemble them first and, unfamiliar and renewed, take them up again afterwards, but differently.”
Latour is also working on establishing a new type of Biennale in Venice, which will incorporate social scientists into artistic production. By bringing together social scientists and artists, Latour wants to address these issues in new ways. He expressed interest in Avatar, calling it the first ‘Gaia’ film, beginning this task of rethinking the ecological crisis and exploring ways of making it representable.
His engagement with climate change includes his participation in the Nordic Exhibition of the year Rethink: Contemporary Art and Climate Change which was staged in Copenhagen during COP15. He contributed to the Rethink exhibition catalogue with the essay “It's Development, Stupid” Or: How To Modernize Modernization. It is a response to Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Break Through – From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. In this essay, Latour argues that the separation of the subjective from the real into dichotomies such as 'nature' and 'culture' must end. In order to begin to tackle the challenges we are facing, we must acknowledge just how closely human and nature are entwined. He has given a lecture on ‘Politics and Nature’ at the Rethink The Implicit venue at the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art.
Latour spent most of his Tate talk discussing two of his previous exhibition projects which combined the talents of artists and social scientists. Both exhibits were produced with Peter Weibel at ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. The first, Iconoclash (2002), which brought together a team of curators, including Hans Ulrich Obrist from the Serpentine Gallery, examined how iconoclasts are represented in art, religion and science. The second, Making Things Public, partnered artists with social scientists to create individual exhibits. The exhibition was centred on a number of themes: Assembling or Disassembling; Which Cosmos for which Cosmopolitics; The Problem of Composition; From Objects to Things; From Laboratory to Public Proofs; The Great Pan is Dead!; Reshuffling Religious Assemblies; The Parliaments of Nature. The exhibition sought to materialise the concept of a ‘Parliament of Things’.
Latour conceptualised his exhibitions as thought experiments, but found the exhibitions themselves to be failures, saying that most of the individual projects within the exhibition failed as works of art. The books that accompanied the exhibitions, in particular, Making Things Public, a large book created after the exhibition, were more successful.
This was one of the themes that emerged from the day at Tate: whether certain exhibitions work better as books. Latour said that working on exhibitions has been one of the most interesting parts of his academic life. Exhibitions, he said, have a different rhythm and intensity of work and creating the ‘thing in the space’ adds to intellectual life. But creating an exhibition must be different to writing. When exhibitions merely illustrate a point, no gain is made.
Latour’s interests have now moved towards ecology and the role of the arts in representing our environmental challenges and the need for artists and social scientists to collaborate on these issues. He said he himself is writing a play on climate change.
Kellie Payne is a PhD student in the Geography department at the Open University researching culture and climate change.
Today I received word of yet another use of the term “EcoArt” to describe artworks made partially or wholly of recycled materials. Because this is becoming a serious detriment to SFEAP's efforts to educate the South Florida public about what EcoArt is, I wanted to remind SFEAP supporters on FB and elsewhere of how SFEAP does define this work (from our website www.sfeap.org)
” practices… inspired by the precepts of Joseph Beuys’ “social sculpture” and [which] address environmental problems with creative combinations of conceptual art, process art, connective aesthetics, participatory and socially engaged practices, phenomenological and eco-philosophies, direct democracy processes and other social/aesthetic forms and techniques.
SFEAP seeks nothing less than development of a large contingent of ecoartists committed to staying in South Florida and who are, or wish to become, master cross-disciplinary learners and social system choreographers, skilled at drawing into the collaborative creation of ecoart stakeholders from grass roots community organizations, scientific institutions, public policy agencies and pioneering philanthropic entities. SFEAP will dedicate itself to development and promotion of the best ecoart projects: those that engage and mobilize community while employing, enhancing and melding techniques, knowledge and wisdom from landscape architecture, environmental biology and chemistry, planning and engineering and many other disciplines, and collaborating with their practitioners, while drawing from the deep roots of art history and the broadest lexicon of aesthetic methods.”
While art works that include or are made wholly of recycled materials can be interesting objects and demonstrate how art does not have to be made of new materials, SFEAP, Inc. does not include such work in our definition of EcoArt. We see EcoArt as having an active role in environmental amelioration, and which must include direct community engagement and collaboration with scientists and environmental experts. SFEAP is dedicated to bringing many Florida based artists into EcoArt practice. This is the primary mission of the organization. We currently have our pilot community EcoArt education and artist apprenticeship well underway in Martin County. The apprentice EcoArtists there have just installed their first EcoArt work at the Florida Oceanographic Society. A video about the apprentices and this first project can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6a4VQznh8Ua
Please feel free to cut and paste this definition into an email to anyone in South Florida who is using the term EcoArt in relation to art that uses recycled objects or materials.
Humans have bred plants and animals with an eye to aesthetics for centuries: flowers are selected for colorful blossoms or luxuriant foliage; racehorses are bred for the elegance of their frames. Hybridized plants were first exhibited as fine art in 1936, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York showed Edward Steichen's hybrid delphiniums. Since then, bio art has become a genre; artists work with a variety of living things, including plants, animals, bacteria, slime molds, and fungi. Many commentators have addressed the social and political concerns raised by making art out of living material. In Green Light, however, George Gessert examines the role that aesthetic perception has played in bio art and other interventions in evolution.
Gessert looks at a variety of life forms that humans have helped shape, focusing on plants—the most widely domesticated form of life and the one that has been crucial to his own work as an artist. We learn about Onagadori chickens, bred to have tail feathers twenty or more feet long; pleasure gardens of the Aztecs, cultivated for intoxicating fragrance; Darwin's relationship to the arts; the rise and fall of eugenics; the aesthetic standards promoted by national plant societies; a daffodil that looks like a rose; and praise for weeds and wildflowers. Gessert surveys recent bio art and its accompanying philosophical problems, the “slow art” of plant breeding, and how to create new life that takes into account what we know about ecology, aesthetics, and ourselves.
About the Author
George Gessert is an artist whose work focuses on the overlap between art and genetics. His exhibits often involve plants he has hybridized or documentation of breeding projects. His writings have appeared in Leonardo, Art Papers, Design Issues, Massachusetts Review, Hortus, Best American Essays 2007, Pushcart Prize XXX, and other publications.
Landscape artist Mary Miss is keynote speaker at the second annual symposium by iLand (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) in New York City. The March 26-27, 2010, symposium is titled “Connecting to the Urban Environment: Creating embodied and relational approaches to environmental awareness.” Mary Miss developed “City as Living Lab,” a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Miss has collaborated with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on projects like creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, revealing the history of New York's Union Square Subway station and turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. The event also features iLand Founder Jennifer Monson, choreographer, who will present her recent work on aquifers and waterways in relation to urban development.
via APInews: Mary Miss to Keynote 2nd iLand Symposium, N.Y..
In this guest post on the Ashden Directory’s Blog, Wallace Heim, co-editor of the Ashden Directory, spends a day in Liverpool – first with philosophers, then with artists.
Two weeks ago, in sight of the Mersey, and within a 100 yards of one another, you could find two very different ways of looking at human relations with nature. At Liverpool University's Philosophy Department, a dozen professors and lecturers exchanged ideas on alienation and the environment. Across the street, High Tide’s latest exhibition of work by 11 artists opened at the Art & Design Academy.
The philosophers talked in a plain room around a table. We dived into meticulous explorations of how the human relates to the natural, and whether our perceived loss of touch from the natural world is justifiably the grounds for our current situation, or whether there is something in that estrangement which is vital, productive, even necessary.
A grappling with how to describe the experience and feeling of alienation moved alongside the historical and analytical exploration of it, through the Romantics, Marx, environmental ethics and new views on the built environment as ‘natural’.
Seeing the gallery with those ideas still swimming in my mind made me look for a similar prodding of that sore zone between human and nature, wanting to see more than a rush to represent the effects of the estrangement, or to show a better or more ecological connection, as valuable as those are. I wanted to be taken, through art, into that suspension where not everything is known and already given, a place of sideways, even dangerous, questions.
This wasn’t the theme of Mersey Basin, which was an exploration of rising sea levels, flooding and the ebb and flow of that shoreline. Works were composed of driftwood, mud, string, plastic detritus and woven wool. Some were juxtapositions of waste and beauty (Robyn Woolston, Gordon MacLellan), some had provocational intent (Àgata Alcañiz). Many artworks represented past conversations or performances, or long periods of attending to an environment, or of collaborations with scientists (Scott Thurston & Elizabeth Willow, James Brady & Stuart Carter).
Maps represented not only the present, but the ancient fluctuations of changing shorelines melding into projections of an uncertain future (Tim Pugh), and the visual pleasure of proposals forward for the Mersey Basin as a forested refuge for migrating species (David Haley).
The walking, marking and storytelling of the exhibition brought the materiality of the changing edge between sea and land into view. But the littoral could also describe the continually changing gap between the ‘human’ and ‘nature’, and it was the philosophers who excited this most sharply, almost painfully, and pushed against the shortcomings of current knowledge as our environments change.
Pic: 'Trees of Grace: Draughting Change': David Haley shows our blogger a map of the Mersey Basin and Pennines that illustrates how it would look with a changed shoreline and re-forestation. (Yvonne Haley)
The National Center for Creative Aging is expanding its frontier to the garden with “Creativity Matters: Civic Engagement and Gardening Symposium,” April 12-14, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Events begin with “Generating Community: How Does Our Garden Grow? Intergenerational Program Development,” a training by Susan Perlstein, founder of NCCA and Elders Share the Arts, at IONA Senior Services, recently named a “Center for Excellence in Dementia Care” by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Day 2 is a full-day workshop at the United States Botanic Gardens, located at the foot of the U.S. Capitol, with keynotes and breakout sessions with garden experts. Day 3 focuses on civic engagement and community involvement as participants visit and work at the Common Good City Farm and other D.C. gardens. It's all sponsored by the MetLife Foundation.
via APInews: NCCA’s Civic Engagement & Gardening Symposium.
Issue #2 of the Journal of Arts & Communities is out from Intellect in Bristol, England, examining “the arts as a socially relevant practice.” Edited by Hamish Fyfe, of the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Wales, the issue offers (not online) articles on “Along Paseo Boricua: The Art of Josué Pellot Gonzalez” by Sharon Irish, about a project that engages with the public on Paseo Boricua in Chicago's Puerto Rican neighborhood; “Inventing rituals; inhabiting places – ritual and community in public art” by Ruth Jones, who commissioned five temporary art events in public spaces in Cardigan, Wales, part of the project Holy Hiatus; “Riverscross – A Drama-in-Health Project with Young People, run by Spanner in the Works” by Tony Coult, which produced a soap opera with adolescents in a mental-health hospital, and more. Issue #1 is accessible online.
Posted by Linda Frye Burnham
APInews: Out Now: Journal of Arts & Communities #2.