In the bookshops, David Rothenberg’s Survival of the Beautiful investigates why nature is beautiful and how it has influenced science, Brendon Larson explores how metaphors entangle scientific facts with social values and Mojisola Adebayo’s Plays One includes ‘Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey’.
On the international scene, Conversation between Trees uses sensors and mobile phones in the forest canopies in Brazil and the UK to communicate the light and colour of the trees and the changing climate around them.
“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)
ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.
Arcola is hosting the London Global Teacher Network event on Tuesday 8th February from 5-7pm.
The London Global Teacher Network (LGTN) is an opportunity for London teachers to share experience, opinions and resources around global learning – online and through meetings and events hosted at various London venues. Membership and events are free.
At the event, as well as exploring the role of sustainability within education, participants will find out more about Arcola’s vision to become the world’s first carbon neutral theatre, the research work of ‘Arcola Energy’, and get a tour of the theatre. Participants will also hear about Arcola’s ‘Sustainability for Schools programme’, through which it offers workshops to schools around renewable energy. To sign up to come to the event go to: www.lgtn.org.uk
Just yesterday was Arcola’s biggest Green Sunday yet and what a wonderful day it was to host it! The event was in celebration of the 10:10 campaign A Global Day of Doing and we had plenty of food, free workshops, performances, and people. Throughout the day we had approximately 400 people attend and participate. The workshops varied from planting seeds in newspaper pots, creating crafty draught excluders, learning how to be sustainable at home, a free bike maintenance check, and swapping plenty of items like furniture, books, and electronic goods. These workshops served as a great example as people were able to see the big picture of reduce, reuse, and recycle in its practicality. We got our message across well with an enthused crowd after our film screening of “No Impact Man” and other performances by various artists throughout the evening at ColourWorks. Thank you to all of those who attended and we hope you were inspired by the whole event and continue to show your future support and live sustainably.
Check out a blog post made on the 10:10 website about our event! Click here.
This year’s Story of London Festival will be arriving before we know it during the first week in October from the 1st through the 10th. As part of the festival, Arcola will be hosting Future Arcola Open Day, a FREE event at our future home on October 2nd. We want you to explore the building in its current state and tell you about our future plans so you can participate if you are interested. This will be an afternoon filled with innovative discussion, learning about the Dalston community, and plenty of entertainment. Make sure you check this event out as Arcola opens up its new location to the community and public for the first time!
We’ve had a great response from many talented people. More than we expected actually and it has become necessary to go through a short selection process (see message below). The project commences Saturday, April 17 at 2pm at Arcola Theatre. It is for performers, writers, theatre practitioners and generally interested people over 18. The aim is to use theatre to explore a variety of sustainability themes and create a high-quality short performance piece. If you are still interested in being involved here is some more information.
The group will meet over seven weeks, exploring sustainability issues through a variety of theatrical workshops, with the intention of devising a short performance piece. The location and dates of the performances are still to be confirmed. It will mostly likely be an outdoor or site specific performance. It is going to be very much a collaborative process and we welcome input from as many view points as possible. This is the first outing of The Green Theatre Project so there will be a lot of room to play.
Here is an outline of the sessions:
Session 1 – April 17, Arcola (2 -4pm)
Short devising session around a theme
Session 2 – April 24, Spitalfields City Farm (2 -4pm)
Physical theatre workshop led by Irene Athanassiou
Devise short movement sequence
Decide on theme of final performance
Session 3 – May 1, Arcola (2 -4pm)
Forum theatre workshop led by Rosie Leach
Structure and form of final performance decided
Session 4 – May 8, Arcola (2 -4pm)
LeCoq workshop led by Skip Theatre (tbc)
Workshop potential material for final performance
Session 5 – May 15, Arcola (2 -4pm)
Interpreting text workshop (based on an Irish play) led by Cathal Clearly
Workshop and rehearse writer’s material for final performance piece
Session 6 – May 22, Arcola (2 -4pm)
Workshop and rehearse performance piece
Session 7 – May 29, location to be announced (2 -4pm)
Dress rehearsal/possible preview performance
Potential themes: energy usage, resource consumption and distribution, human/nature relationship, interconnectedness, the individual’s behaviour, fair trade, conservation, sustainable agriculture, social sustainability, etc. (These are just possibilities, the group will decide together on what issues they want to explore)
IMPORTANT: If you are interested in being involved, please send us a short paragraph describing what you hope to get out of the project and what you could bring to it. As well as what role(s) you would be interested in for the performance piece (i.e. writer, performer, stage manager, producer, etc) and a contact phone number. In order to be considered for the project we need to receive your email by the end of Tuesday, April 13. We will then let you know who has a place in the group. Please also let us know if you can not make any of the dates. We will be giving priority to people who can make six or more of the seven sessions.
Please note: That although the group is suitable for non-performers, the workshops will require some performance elements within the group.
Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you!
It is now the morning of the final day of COP15. Obama is in town. We are, of course, meeting for coffee.
No we aren’t, I’m technically closer to Obama right now than I ever am in the States, but I’m sure he’s busy anyway. That was the most common question I had before coming, “Are you going to be there when Obama is in town?”
Regardless of our Head of State, it’s been a very busy and exciting few days since the last marathon check-in. Hopefully you’ve been following as we highlight the arts happening around Copenhagen as they respond to COP15. I also hope you’ve been following the progress of the demonstrations around Copenhagen and the extreme tension that has built up between those inside the Bella Center and those forceful kept out.
As we left it in our last re-cap, Christiania had been raided and evacuated by Danish police. Miranda and I left the following morning for London and had to watch from afar for 24 hours. Miranda continued on home to Los Angeles, but I was in London to take care of some business.
My first goal was to get a copy of the the catalogue from the Central School of Speech and Drama’s Theatre Material/Material Theatre conference. This was the first time we had appeared anywhere using the name of the Center to talk about what we were working on. It’s a beautiful little volume with great material.
That evening was really what I had come for though, the launch event for Arcola’s new space in Dalston. The event was held in London’s Living room on the 9th floor of the London City Hall. Ben Todd appeared, introducing all of he partners in bringing together support behind the project. We’ve got the city of London, ARUP, Hackney, BOC and so on. We celebrated with a couple of drinks and a fantastic view of the tower bridge.
The next day was truly the highlight though, I’m only a bit sad that it’s not the right time to got into great detail about what happened. What I can say is that myslef, Ben Todd, and both Peter McKinnon and Liz Asselstine from York University got together in the morning to discuss an ambitious international coalition for sustainability in the performing arts. We followed this meeting by crashing Ben’s next at his invitation. We met with Alison Tickell and Catherine Bottrill of Julie’s Bicycle to discuss both their efforts to green the music industry and how we can all work together. Before heading back to Copenhagen I met, for the first time in person, William Shaw of the RSA for coffee in their London offices.
I returned to Copenhagen to a city near lock down. Police are now milling about everwhere. As I’m sure you are likely to know, the demonstrations advancing on the Bella Center on wednesday turned ugly. I hesitate to say violent, but it’s hard not to since police were using force to literally beat back demonstrations. The metro station at the Bella Center is shut down, as are the next in either direction. NGOs have been shut out from the talks, credentials removed and there are a whole lot of angry people as the temperature and snow began to fall.
Moving about Thursday brought with it a sense of tension. We’re in the home stretch and at that time we hadn’t had many world leaders appear yet. There is so much work to be done for the climate talks, and so little time, and it’s very cold. Today was my first trip to the Klima Forum, the concurrent meeting for mainly NGOs. Here I was able to interview Aviva Rahmini about her workshop, which I was sad to miss while in London. We were also there for the candle light vigil that evening and a few performances at Øsknehallen.
Sara, my host here, and myself met back up and went to the RE:Think – Kakotopia exhibition at the Nikolia Copenhagen Center for Contemporary Art. It’s a good exhibit, one of three locations with a variety of interesting work. You may have seen more about it here before. The work ranges from the witty Safety Gear for Small Animals, to the generative Most Blue Skies, to the strangely fascinating Link.
It was in watching Link that we found ourselves sitting next to police that seemed to be taking shifts in from the cold. They were checking their email on iphones and chatting. Wandering around the galleries and looking at the installations. It is very cold outside and we’re right next to the central shopping district and a few steps from the center of the government. But, it’s one thing to walk by police as they patrol, even in heightened numbers. It’s another thing to sit with them in full uniform in a gallery watching this short Finnish film.
We walked home, having dinner along the way. We passed a digital sign post recording the number of bicycles had past that day and since June 15th. There were fireworks, but we don’t know from where. It was hard to tell if it was a dud from the fireworks or something intentional, but we crossed the street at some point after a small explosion went off in front of us. With the about of anger in the air, my mind went to it being something nefarious, but I doubt there is much to that.
Today, Friday, the final day, I’m going to meet up with the Wooloo.org guys at their office. I’m going to try and see the final day, and likely the largest and more active of the demonstrations. There is a Yes Men event this evening at the Tck Tck Tck Fresh Air center which I hope to get into.
Addressing the launch of Future Arcola at City Hall London from Copenhagen, Matt Black, one half of acclaimed DJ duo Coldcut and co-counder of record label Ninja Tune, speaks of his hopes for a productive outcome from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference…
On Friday we both head to Copenhagen for the New Life Copenhagen Festival, the arts festival surrounding COP15, which began on Monday. During our stay in Europe, we’ll also be checking in on Future Arcola and a project for the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. December will be a very exciting, if not a bit chilly, month. We also have open calls for the next edition of the Quarterly and Mammut, which will be guest edited by the CSPA. As we approach the New Year, we hope that your winter is cozy (for the right reasons) and that we’ll be seeing you often in 2010!
It goes without saying that the travel associated with our artist endeavors is not the most sustainable. I’ve been to so many conferences this last year, mostly traveling by plane. Next week I’m off to Europe where I’ll be staying in Copenhagen for COP15 and Wooloo.org‘s New Life Festival, but I’m also headed to London for the Future Arcola Launch and, it’s looking like Prague as well, to check in with a project for the next PQ in June of 2011.
I personally love traveling. I feel guilty, yes, but I love going places. I also feel there is no substitute for in-person discussions. The spontaneity and intimacy of direct contact is important and this is easiest to accommodate face-to-face and in the flesh. And, even when it’s not about having a one-on-one, there is also that just showing up most of the time is a big deal. I maintain that our “success” with the CSPA is due to persistence and “showing up”.
With the ubiquity of broadband connections, more and more people seem to be relying on video conference/chat technology to get other busy, high profile, greener guests to be able to be in two spaces at the same time. And, as it tends to shake out, the resident technophile/ show technologist, I get the pleasure of making a lot of them work.
Last night, at California Institute of the Arts I set up a video chat audition for guest artists that will be in residency at REDCAT, CalArt’s downtown LA space. The Artists of Invasion from the Chicken Planet, are based in New York and, though of no sustainable intention, weren’t going to fly out to audition some of our actors to use in their residency for two hours.
The day before, we had tested the connection. We used the same computer with the same software on the same network (hardwired into the wall) that we’d use the next day. We tried Skype, which was too choppy, garbled and had a couple seconds delay that made it less than ideal. We then switched to iChat with AOL Instant Messenger accounts and after realizing another computer being connected was preventing a decent video link, it proved the smoothest and most immediate.
So last night, when we moved the computer into the room that we would be conducting the auditions in, we configured the machine the same way, but were not able to make a connection on iChat. Skype had the same issues. At the prompting of a student director who was assisting, we tried Gtalk Video chat. It ended up working immediately and with excellent quality.
Earlier in the year, at Earth Matters on Stage (EMOS), when Moe Beitiks had tried to link up Brent Bucknum to present his bio-remidative work via video chat, we tried ooVoo, which we gave up on in favor of iChat again. We had almost just given up, but I only thought to use iChar from the decent chats I had experienced with my brother-in-law who was living in Edinburgh at the time. Also at EMOS we had a video conference in the University of Oregon library with a panel in London arranged by the Ashden Directory, which used their dedicated video conferencing package.
In both situations the video wasn’t great, but we could sort of communicate. The Ashden Session involved each end of the discussion/video conference going into another room to watch a video and then coming back to discuss together. But there was lag and the video wasn’t particularly clear. The Brent Bucknam session was not bad, but very one-way. For Green Day at LDI, the audio was great, but in one session, with Seema Sueeko from Mo’olelo Performing Arts, the video was minutes behind the audio connection.
Having now had extensive experience with video conferencing in less than ideal situations, I do long for the day when we’ll be able to turn on whatever client we’re using to video chat and it works smoothly and immediately, let alone with high resolution. But, that day isn’t particularly close. There are a lot of variables in the way of making that happen. Network connections, equipment, client servers, client and local network traffic, sunspots, radio waves and the phases of the moon. Even when we tried to eliminate as many of those variables in Eugene as possible, it still didn’t work ideally. Or, what was ideally was not enough to convince.
Will our broadband video connections be able to save us the footprint of air travel for conferences and internationally collaborative meetings of the mind? Not yet. There might be some expensive corporate system out there, but we lowly green artists aren’t going to hold our breath waiting for that. Oprah’s skype seems to work fine, but I’ve never had such luck, so I leave that package just to replace my need for international phone calls.
I’d still rather sit and talk to you, especially when we aren’t both staring at our monitors in our Pajamas.
Also yesterday, Enci Box of Rebel Without a Car Productions came to speak to my and Leslie Tamaribuchi’s class, Sustainability Seminar. She can to talk about producing a short film as sustainably as possible. This included not using cars and transporting everything by bike with the help of the LA Greensters (green teamsters). She made the trip from East Hollywood, in the center of Los Angeles, to the edge of the county, where CalArts resides in Valencia, without a car. She came up on a Metrolink commuter train, biking from the station to campus. She and I had worked out the options for getting there and she had the time to dedicate to coming up. Also, she was lucky to had met a guy who regularly made that journey to visit his girlfriend at CalArts and could relay the benefit of his experience. She then went back home, via bike. all roughly 30 miles of the trip. Coming up to CalArts, it took 2 hours. Returning was supposedly going to be one and a half hours. All for a 45 minute presentation.
I suppose we could have had her “skype” in (even if we don’t typically end up on skype), but having her there in-person was a much greater thrill and much more in the moment for the students and for her. Instead it took dedication to not leaving a footprint, and finding alternatives to get to the class. I’m very much indebted to Enci for making the journey, which some might say was epic, to present for a fraction of that travel time. But, I think it far surpassed our alternatives.
“London Leaders brings together London’s leading lights in sustainability, to deliver real change, and inspire others to do the same“.
The London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) launched London Leaders in October 2007 to inspire and catalyse positive change, demonstrate sustainability in action, and increase London’s capacity for sustainable development leadership.
By bringing together sustainability leaders from all walks of life across London, SDC’s intention is to demonstrate the power of crosssector partnership and innovation for tackling London’s sustainability challenges and delivering improvements in quality of life. The goal is to motivate and empower individuals, organisations and communities to take responsibility and make the changes necessary to realise the vision of making London a global benchmark for sustainable development.
To find out more have a look at: