Leviathan, a documentary film about fishing ships in the Northern Atlantic, by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, won the international critics’ prize at the Locarno Film Festival. I could see it, thanks to Mark Peranson and Bettina Steinbrügge, and indeed, I pass you on the recommendation to go and see this work, which achieves “an immersive cinematic experience […] with small, waterproof digital cameras that were variously tethered to the fishermen, tossed in with their dead or dying catch and plunged into the roiling ocean” as described in a New York Times article (click here to read).
Castaing-Taylor’s approach to filming, which is inspired by life’s unpredictability, is also at the core of the “Sensory Ethnography Lab” at Harvard University, which “supports innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography that deploy original media practices to explore the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human and animal existence, and the aesthetics and ontology of the natural world. Harnessing perspectives drawn from the arts, the human sciences, and the humanities, works produced in the SEL encourage attention to the many dimensions of life and the world that m
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
Image left: Bidon arme (Loaded Drum), 2004 Romuald Hazoume Right: Treebike – image from the International freecard alliance for World Environment day, 5 June 2009
An exhibition that I stumbled upon accidentally a few months ago has stayed with me. On a visit to the Irish Museum of Modern in April 2011 I came across African artist Romuald Hazoume’s very thought provoking and surprisingly enjoyable installations of ‘masks’, sculptures, documentary film and photography work.
"Mon Général", 1992 by Hazoume
Romuald Hazoumè, one of Africa’s most important visual artists, creates playful sculptures and masks made from discarded plastic canisters commonly found in his native Benin (a small country neighbouring Nigeria) for transporting black-market petrol (known as kpayo) from Nigeria. As can be seen in his image (above left) these jerry cans are expanded over flames to increase their fuel-carry capacity, sometimes to excess resulting in fatal explosions. Hazoume’s work richly references mask making culture from his African heritage to commenting on his country’s predicament of being caught up in the day-to-day and often unacknowledged misery of the global fossil fuel industry. His work is engaging on very many levels and to a wide audience; from children who love the use of his found objects to adults that can see the political concerns in his work, to others who see a continuation of identity expressed in local materials made into masks. ‘Hazoumé has used the cans as a potent metaphor for all forms of slavery, past and present, drawing parallels with the vessels’ role as crucial but faceless units within commercial systems, dangerously worked to breaking point before being discarded (Tate Modern, 2007)
From across this side of the planet my own work attempts to touch some of these concerns too. My long term project the hollywood diaries to transform our conifer plantation to a permanent forest has real long term energy returns as we are very shortly to discontinue use of oil for our home heating (a common and increasingly expensive form of domestic heating in Ireland) and use our never-ending supply of forest thinnings. In fact, I was startled to learn recently from my forestry contacts, that our ongoing selective harvesting to keep the forest vibrant and encourage the native tree seedlings to flourish, will mean that we’ll have 70 tonnes of wood every three to four years from our small two acres!! Crikey!
The image on the above right, Treebike, is a pointer to this month’s global day of cycling, Moving Planet lead by Bill McKibben and his global 350.org organisation to invite us all to get on our bikes this Sept 24th, 2011. I’ve always been amazed at the huge response to these events and how often the arts help mobilise such activities.
‘Circle September 24 on your calendar–that’s the day for what we’re calling Moving Planet: a day to move beyond fossil fuels…
On 24 September we’ll be figuring out the most meaningful ways to make the climate message move, literally. We’ll show that we can use our hands, our feet, and our hearts to spur real change. In many places, people will ride bicycles, one of the few tools used by both affluent and poor people around the world. Other places people will be marching, dancing, running, or kayaking, or skateboarding. Imagine the spectacle: thousands of people encircling national capitals, state houses, city halls.
But we won’t just be cycling or marching–we’ll also be delivering a strong set of demands that can have real political impact.”
Note: some of you might be aware that I have returned to art college to undertake in-depth research on experimental film and ecology in the last year – if you want to follow along, my research site is www.ecoartfilm.com
I’ve recently created a small film sketch on how our small conifer plantation is being transformed, comments welcome!!
An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns. Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook
Theatre Without Borders, presented by La MaMa ETCand in affiliation with Brandeis University, announces ACTING TOGETHER ON THE WORLD STAGE: A CONFERENCE ON THEATRE AND PEACE BUILDING IN CONFLICT ZONES, September 23-26, 2010 in New York City. This conference brings together theatre and performance practitioners from around the world to share their experiences with artists, activists, educators, policy makers, and the general public.
ACTING TOGETHER ON THE WORLD STAGE grows out of a five-year initiative of Theatre Without Borders and Brandeis University. During this time, Theatre Without Borders members have attended gatherings and explored, with the guidance of peace-building scholar/practitioners, a range of questions about the relationship between the arts and conflict transformation. ACTING TOGETHER ON THE WORLD STAGE will begin a year of programming to disseminate the documentation of artists working in conflict-zones worldwide in contexts of direct and structural violence and in the aftermath of mass violations of human rights. At the conference, TWB and Brandeis will launch a documentary film and a website and plans for an upcoming anthology.
TWB is a grassroots, volunteer, virtual community of individual theatre artists around the world who are committed to international exchange. This conference has no formal funding and guests are being sponsored by hosting organizations, including universities, Cultural Affairs divisions of embassies, foundations, and theatres. All are welcome!
Thursday, September 23 – Sunday, September 26, 2010
Ellen Stewart Theatre, La MaMa ETC, 66 East Fourth Street, NYC 10003 http://www.lamama.org
Conference official hotel is Club Quarters, Wall Street. Please call 212-575-0006 and use code NYU001 when making reservations. Other hotel options available.
A suggested donation of $25 may be made in advance at www.lamama.org (click “Support Us” tab and enter put TWB in the “On Behalf Of” section) or at the door. Volunteer workers graciously accepted.
*PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT an international performance festival and we are not seeking submissions for performances. We are curating an event entirely focused on artists working specifically on “THEATRE AND PEACE BUILDING IN CONFLICT ZONES.”