The free conference fosters both local, national and international dialogue and partnerships around socially engaged art making. This year’s Open Engagement sets out to discuss various perspectives on art and social practice.
Five themes will be in focus of conversations, interviews, open reflection on experiences, and related projects created for or presented at the conference: Peoples and Publics (Democracy, Participation, Activism), Social Economies (Education, Networking, Technology), In Between Places (Transdisciplinarity, Field Work), Tracking and Tracing (Histories, Documentation) and Sentiment and Strategies (Feelings, Advice, Slowness). The conference themes are directly related to the current research and inquiry of the students in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State University. Included in this year’s conference will be a summit on art and education.
For the conference schedule, featured presenters, locations and further information visit: openengagement.info
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
Freespace is an exploration of the relationships built between people and place, may they be urban, suburban or rural. It looks to inhabit the everyday space, the space that once was, and space that is constantly in between. The objective is to develop a network of sites, through partnerships with individuals and communities, to elucidate experiences of ownership, privacy, sustainability, and identity.
This process begins by asking about spaces that have meaning to you – may it be a vibrant moment from your past, a rethinking of a space that is familiar to all, or a curiosity along a walk. The project seeks out these spaces, using the public’s own intimate experiences. You are then able to donate to the site to Freespace through text and images, eventually being posted to a website that situates the location within a larger global network. By creating an archive of the meanings that connect people to place, relationships are built that reveals memory and challenges identity. Once the collection is defined, each site will become a node in a program to reconnect people with in space. Tours, site visits, and narratives will provide ways for engagement and expanded connections.
The concept for Freespace came while sitting at the summer home of the Vanderbilt Family in Hyde Park, NY, now a part of the National Park System. The space defines a relationship with place that most will never see or experience. The question of how this space represents the United States comes to mind? Even more specifically how does it represent my own experience? Where is the National Park site of the every day person? The ranch home or the suburban neighborhood comes to mind. What about spaces of decay? Empty lots are spattered across post-industrial cities. Going further, might we think of something more intimate, more private? Could a park reside in a memory, consist of a favorite chair, or the space between ones fingers?
Freespace asks the public to seek these spaces, defining them from their own perspective. They may be conceptual, textual, or physical; and range in size from micro to macro. The project looks to engage the range of associations that people have with space, building a collection of unique environments that take on further meaning by the fact that they are described, located and catalogued. In the end what will be defined is a breadth of perspective that shows the vitality of peoples relationship with what is around them.
To get involved go HERE and select the link “Getting Involved.”
June 18 Bloomberg — BP Plc, which has shed 45 percent of its market value after causing the U.S.’s worst-ever oil spill, said it will keep sponsoring the British Museum, the Royal Opera House, Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
“These are longstanding partnerships that we have with major cultural institutions in the U.K.,” BP spokesman David Nicholas said in a telephone interview yesterday. “They’re completely unchanged, as far as I’m concerned.”
Things only happen here to make what happens next.
Is LinkedIn a viable artistic community in your opinion? How would you improve it?
I don’t think so, and I don’t think i wish it to be. I don’t know if LinkedIn represents a community really as much as an infrastructure. I think it exists separate from something like Facebook without competition because one is about social networks and one is about businesses networks. I also don’t see how it accommodates the needs of an artistic community.
I don’t think there is a social network that does effectively represent an artistic community out there. How specific do you allow it to sort itself? the arts are too expansive with too many points of access to be represented effectively through a network with a defined set of sortable criteria. For self-sorting facebook is more effective because it is focused on individuals not labels. For curated sorting a wiki is better since everything is of equal weight.
That’s the issue with getting past post-modernism isn’t it? Modernism was about the universal, post-modernism was about the categorized, and post-post-modernism is about the unique.
What new symbols, songs, secrets, myths are you driving in the green movement?
I can tell you that I’m trying to drive it away from the color green and images of leaves. The image that bugs me the most is actually grass, since in most places it’s impractical and wasteful regardless of it’s green-ness. I think an era’s aesthetics speak to values and I think we’re pushing the value of the first nature and something more raw, less processed. It’s happening in design, supply chains and our food. I’m also trying to break the myth of technological solutions.
I’m irked by the layering of systems over existing systems to solve problems with the existing system. I’d rather break it down to it’s elemental parts. I’m a big promoter of archaic technology, like using steamed banana leaves or not vitrified drink ware in Indian. Things that were discarded as incorrect in a modern manufactured world that persists into the contemporary era.
Are you an alchemist?
No, there is plenty of magic in real science.
Tell us about your favorite modern painter and how you feel when you gaze at the work.
Are we saying modern or contemporary. I’m a traditionalist when I define the Modern era as something that happened in the beginning of the 20th century out of industrialization. If we’re talking painters though I can name a few. Magritte for being clever and questioning the mudane, Haring for balancing accessibility, message, and challenging art world constructs. I do however find myself most drawing to the infrastructural and phenomenological though and insofar as that is concerned am more trilled by visual are that engages those parts of my brain. That’s not always present in painting, so I have to mention Olafur Eliasson, who fascinates me.
How do you manage the bureaucracy that you’ve created at The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts? How do you personally support your members?
There isn’t much Bureaucracy. We’re extremely small and nimble. We’re the least incorporated we can be and have foregone 501c3 status to stay lean. I suppose we deal with the bureaucracy of partnership with more cumbersome organizations and then it’s oftentimes working within their structure.
We can make our decisions and change methodology rapidly to best accommodate our members and partners since all of the power rests between two equal executives. We’ve yet to expand our power-sharing, outside of partnerships, and those are all project based. It’s not the most profitable, but it’s in line with our core mission, which is really about information and infrastructure. We’re like the opposite of the CIA, we don’t see value in protecting our information, and support ourselves through others valuing sharing information as a desired act.
For the second part of the question though, it’s hard to say. I mean, we don’t have funds to directly support their activities. But, we try and talk directly to all of them. They have our address, phone numbers, email addresses, and ultimately all of our lines of communication like our website, social networks, twitter and so on is all us personally. If you get in touch with the CSPA, you’re getting in touch with us directly. We don’t filter that, and don’t understand ecologically mind organizations that put up blocks, since we gain absolutely zero (aside from profit I guess) from not talking and being transparent if we plan to not destroy the planet and the billions of lives that will impact.
And, ultimately, it helps that I’m the web guy too. It’s part of what I do, so there is nothing standing in the way of our web presence, we do.
What were the 3 – 5 best innovations from last year’s CSPA Convergence?
The Convergence itself. I go to a lot of conferences and I deal with but don’t like the hierarchy and artifice that often surrounds them. I prefer the camp model which, like wikis, aims to gather people around a topic and allow all of them to offer something. So I think it’s in expanding the convergence model to get between these models of conference and camp and add on more doing, not just talking.
Marbles in a Jar – This is Avery simple re-use model we’ve been working on. It looks at volume of material used as a marble in a jar. You fill the jar until you’re done and then add a second jar for the next and so on to next iterations. For each unit of reused material you move a marble from the first jar to the one for the current project, if you use new material you add new marbles. It doesn’t have to be marbles and jars, but it’s a very simple way to engage your use of raw material
Energy Budgets – We’re trying to get theaters to incorporate the expenditures of energy into budgets for making. It incentivizes energy innovation by the user. If no one uses energy efficient devices, it doesn’t matter.
Eliminating recycling programs – this idea started at this convergence in response to the 6 receptacles the University of Oregon had for waste. It’s too much. The idea waste receptacle is only one for compost-ables. It’s not entirely feasible though. When speaking at APAP last month I brought this into a more realist goal. Not recycling because you don’t have anything to recycle. At the CSPA we print proofs of the Quarterly for editing that we share and otherwise we don’t generate material waste by our business. That sort of blows people’s minds.
I think Jack Capitalism and Eli Sustainability are headed for a blow-out, down and dirty fist fight in the months ahead? Ready?
I’m ready, but I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be particularly violent. I think that the necessity of sustainability will be the biggest check on a capitalist future. I think about the labor movements of the post-industrial world and the evolution of that “conflict”. I also think about the 4 roles in the actor-centric model of political change and the political pendulum. Sustainability is different still, it’s an opportunity if we want it to be, but as with all of these models of shift, the future is hybrid, not contrary.
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Ian Garrett Bio –
Executive Director of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), a non-non-profit arts infrastructure organization where he collaborates with others like the LA Stage Alliance, University of Oregon, York University, The Arcola Theater, EcoArtSpace, the Royal Society of the Arts, Diverseworks ArtSpace and others to work towards sustainability in the arts, ecological and otherwise.
Programs at the CSPA include a rich online resource guide, curricular development, a quarterly journal, annual convergence, and the development of collaborative local materials re-use programs and a certification program for arts making being initiated through an international partnership between US, Canadian and British producers. The center was founded by funds received through the 2007 Richard E. Sherwood award for emerging theater artists from the Center Theater Group (CTG) awarded to be used forming a working relationship consulting with CTG on the integration of ecologically sustainable practice into their production.
Ian teaches Sustainable Theater and Management Technology courses at the California Institute of the Arts and has been featured in American Theater, DramaBiz, and The Design Magazine and has spoken at The Central School for Speech and Drama, St. Louis University, and the Indy Convergence along with most arts conferences in the United States.
He originally studied architecture and art history at Rice University in Houston, Texas, but has since come to build an awarding winning practice in live performance and installation art, having also attended California Institute of the Arts to complete MFAs in Lighting Design and Producing.
Profile Summary: William “Willi” George Paul Green Business Certified Sustainability Consultant and strategic vision planner, writer and program designer for environmental planning, civil engineering and non-profits for over 15 years. Executive producer at PlanetShifter.com generating 125+ thought leader interviews and 1200 posts to-date since EarthDay ’09. Produced two innovative online community building projects as a PhD Student in Environmental Planning and Design at Virginia Tech. Designed the electronic charrette while earning MA in Urban Planning. Developed marketing and online community building strategies for over thirty Internet start-ups.
Willi Paul, Art and Sustainability Consultant
415-407-4688 | willipaul1 at gmail dot com Current Portfolio | Linkedin Profile | Digital Archive
Moe Beitiks of Inhabitat (amongst other things) conducted an email interview with CSPA Executive Director, Ian Garrett (Me). You can see the whole things here:
INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts | Inhabitat.
INHABITAT: What were your cultural expectations for Copenhagen?
GARRETT: At this point, I don’t know what my expectations are. I’m a big fan of the idea that if you get a lot of people together in one spot, talking about a thing, things can happen. The feeling I have from the news out of here and being in the streets is that there is going to be more civilian change out of this than there will be government change. My hope is that, with this many people of divergent origins, with the efforts being made from a cultural end, that it will reify something at the grassroots level. I can only hope that it makes it upwards, because that doesn’t seem like the case at the Bella Center.
INHABITAT: What have been some standout experiences thus far? What artworks have struck a chord, and why?
GARRETT: It’s hard to tell right now, there is so much more to see in this next week, but if I chose now my vote is in for wooloo.org’s efforts and partnerships. They’ve got Superflex’s sustainable burial contracts, the Yes Men’s Coca-Cola Pledge and New Life Copenhagen. Everything they are doing is very much in the spirit of unity and many people doing small things towards a bigger goal. I think that’s a message in and of itself. And since all three of the projects I mentioned rely on documentation and masses of people as the documenters I think that it’s got the potential to show the most real human aspects of the issues being discussed and the opportunities to work together.
There is the common thread these days of “Changing light bulbs won’t save the world.” Which is true, but you know, ultimately if everyone change all light bulbs, sure it would do something about energy use. The point being that lots of people making small efforts aren’t to be scoffed at. It’s those sort of efforts, that when combined, lead to tipping points. We just aren’t there yet, and light bulbs have no future as a tipping point for the climate.
The Elephant in the room for many arts organisations. For the record we are not against touring, any more than we are against having babies.
Arcola does not do much touring nationally or internationally, however we do have a sister theatre in Istanbul and we have plans to increase our own touring and our staging of international shows soon, so we are starting to think hard about this matter.
Why are we touring:
1. Is a tour genuinely beneficial e.g. for artistic, cultural, financial reasons
2. Can similar outcomes be achieved in a lower carbon manner e.g. by a different artistic approach, alternative cultural intervention or different business model
3. Are we going to the otherside of the world simply because we met a producer from there – can we not meet someone closer?
How we are touring:
1. Can the miles involved in the tour be reduced e.g. through focus on a single or more proximate region (Europe rather than Australsia), or by programming a local rather than international company
2. Can the size of the touring party be reduced e.g. through local partnerships, revised set/technical, multi-tasking company members
3. Can the negative impact of the tour be reduced e.g. through use of trains rather than planes and by planning the intinerary to minimise distance between consecutive stops
4. Can the positive impact of the tour be increased e.g. by staying longer or adding engagement activities
Others looking at this:
British Council Arts Admin