Generosity

New book from William McDonough: The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance

UpcycleCover_webThe Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, which William McDonough wrote with Michael Braungart, will be published next month. Four years in the making, the book re-joins the conversation sparked by Cradle to Cradle in 2002.

Cradle to Cradle is a foundation, a fulcrum against which we can lean levers of desirable change. The Upcycle is a collection of stories about amplifying, scaling up and accelerating change, about discovering those leverage points where innovation tips the world not just toward sustainability but beyond. They believe upcycling the quality of our design—seeking purposeful, continuous improvement instead of simply recycling yesterday’s sub-optimal or obsolete ideas—is the force that will raise up a more just, prosperous, fruitful world.

President Bill Clinton haswrote a foreword to the book. Here’s an excerpt—

“The Upcycle is a book about creativity, about thinking big even if we have to act small, and about approaching problems with a bias for action…Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart invite you to think about the future we share; to imagine what could be and how to make it so. We are all in this together, and we’ll need a global commitment to sustainability if we want our children to inherit a world of shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity. Let’s get to work.”

We are living in a moment of reckoning and extraordinary opportunity, a calamitous time when many businesses are seeking new ways to apply their considerable energy and resources to meeting the world’s needs. Agile, responsive businesses, those able to upcycle everything they do, will create more value for more people. They will prosper, and so will the places and people sharing their beneficial presence. Generosity, abundance and the good health of our world will define success.

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

So you want to make radical work about radiation waste, for example, and whilst you write grant applications, you also want to build interest around the work, and avoid reliance on ‘committees’ effectively giving you permission to make the work by waiting for a grant to be approved.  You are an artist first and fund-raising is a task, not an occupation.

Yucca Mountain Glow, Eve Andrée Laramée, Digital Print Archival Ink/Paper

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andrée Laramée – United States Artists – Great art forms here.

This is the second really interesting project which a US-based artist has brought to my attention through the crowd-source fund-raising mechanism of UnitedStatesArtists (the other one was Suzanne Lacy’s The Performing Archive).  These are projects where the support is in the form of publicity, and sometimes match-funding.  (UnitedStatesArtists also offer Fellowships to selected artists.)  I suspect that to benefit from this site you still have to apply and in this case the money comes from your own list of contacts.

The UnitedStatesArtists web site says a few of interesting things,

All donations simultaneously support artists’ projects and the nonprofit mission of USA. The site is built on a joint fundraising model: 81% of every dollar pledged goes directly to the artist’s project, and 19% supports USA’s programs for artists and the site’s administration.

But it also says,

United States Artists has created a structure to identify America’s finest artists and to grant money to them in an efficient manner. Thanks to the generosity of its founders, USA’s operating expenses are fully funded for the next five years. This means 100% of donor contributions are directed to the artists we support.

It also says,

Our horizon line is not three, five, or 25 years, but rather 100 years and beyond. We are building a program that is privately funded, prestigious, and permanently endowed.

And it says,

Historically, public support for the arts and artists is unstable and unreliable; therefore USA will accept only private contributions.

And it doesn’t say,

by ‘private’ they mean individuals and corporations (so it is clear that Ford is a major contributor, but the other corporations are not clear.  Corporations should be explicit and some ethical limitations should be set).

Eve’s project is excellent and you really ought to support it: even $25 makes a difference.

No fund-raising is without hard work.  This is another approach to the problem.  It does make it more personal rather than remote and bureaucratic.  I do want this project to happen, and I did want Suzanne Lacy’s to happen, so I did contribute.  Art may belong to a ‘gift’ culture, but where does the gift come from?

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

New Life Copenhagen: hospitality as art

I am soon to be assigned to a guest house in Copenhagen by the remarkable New Life Copenhagen art project. For five days people I don’t know, who don’t know me, will put me up durng my stay in Copenhagen.

Everything I hear from them, while I wait, makes me more and more admiring of this enterprise.

The Danes feel they have a reputation for being an unhospitable place. New Life Copenhagen has decided to turn this reputation on its head with a phenomenal act of generosity, opening the doors of their homes to 3,000 activists, NGO workers and delegates who are arriving in Denmark over the coming weeks to attend the pivotal COP15 conference.  It’s a spirit of openness you can only hoped will be matched by the governmental delegates.

In this act alone,  Woloo.org’s  Sixten Kai Nielsen and Martin Rosengaard, who created New Life Copenhagen may have already created the most significant artwork to align itself with the COP15 process:

The explain themselves: Instead of inviting artists to contribute art for a traditional museum exhibition, we have chosen to utilize hospitality and the human encounter as an exhibition platform. The purpose of the festival is to create a breeding ground for alternative ways of living together. Individual solutions are not enough. In order to stop climate changes, we have to rethink our way of life collectively.

The artists SuperflexSigna and Marisa Olson are also creating work as part of New Life Copenhagen. Olson will host a live event at Copenhagen’s City Square, Signa are going to produce a guest book in which we can all evaluate each others’ lifestyles, and Superflex are going to ask all of us to commit to a climate-friendly burial in the case that we die during our visit to Copenhagen.

Which is one of those committments I kind of hope I’m not going to have to live up to.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology