Plants And Animals

Green Light: Toward an Art of Evolution

A book to check out soon…

by George Gessert

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.

April 2010

The MIT Press

A Leonardo Book

ISBN: 0-262-01414-9

192 pp., 30 illus.

__The Leonardo Book Series__.

MAMMUT MAGAZINE #4 :: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

MAMMUT MAGAZINE #4 :: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

WORKING TITLE: Solastalgia

What happens when the climate changes around you but you are still in the same location?

The fourth issue of Mammut Magazine will investigate the effects of climate change on the human psyche, focusing on a new definition of sadness called “solastalgia.” Coined by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, it refers to a form of homesickness felt while still at home, particularly as it refers to the perceived change in one’s home environment caused by climate change. A parallel of sorts to nostalgia, solastalgia was created by combining the Latin words solacium, meaning comfort, and algia, meaning pain.

Albrecht created the term in 2003 after interviewing scores of Australians, many of whom noted that they felt a deep sense of loss as the landscape changed around them and familiar plants and animals were gone. “They no longer feel like they know the place they’ve lived for decades,” Albrecht said in a 2007 Wired interview.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Mammut Magazine is looking for essays and artwork that:

>>> deals with, affirms or denies the idea of solastalgia

>>> investigates how we define our sense of belonging through our environment

>>> confronts how we are (or will be) affected individually and collectively by these changes.

We welcome contributions from all fields, while keeping in mind the magazine’s general focus on art and the environment.

The fourth issue of Mammut is being guest edited by Ian Garrett, the executive director of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. https://sustainablepractice.org

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

IMPORTANT DATES

>>> Proposal deadline: January 15, 2010

Please send a short outline of your project and/or images to mammutmag@gmail.com

>>> If chosen, the final submission deadline will be March 1, 2010

>>> Anticipated release date: late April / Early May 2010

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

For more about Mammut Magazine, please visit http://www.mammutmagazine.org