Shorelines

Egg Anyone?

This post comes to you from Chantal Bilodeau’s Artists and Climate Change Blog

The Exbury Egg

The Exbury Egg

UK artist Stephen Turner, whose work “often involves spending long periods in odd abandoned places, noting the changes in the relationship between people and the natural environment,” will soon take up residence in a solar-powered floating egg in the estuary of the River Beaulieu in Hampshire, UK. An energy efficient, self-sustaining work space and a laboratory for studying the life of a tidal creek, the Exbury Egg in “an intervention in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats.” Three years in the making, the egg emerged from a collaboration between partners from architecture, art, engineering and design backgrounds. The project includes education and engagement programs that will start during the construction phase and continue throughout Turner’s period of occupation until April 2014.

Like the slow food movement, which is promoted as an alternative to fast food, I feel we should start a “slow art movement” as an antidote to artistic endeavors driven by commercial pressures. The fact that Turner will immerse himself in a specific environment, and give himself ample time to respond to what he sees and hears and experiences there, will no doubt lead to a deep understanding of the place and its occupants, and to a sophisticated response to it. In my world of making theatre, taking time is a luxury most of us can’t afford. Plays are rehearsed over the course of three or four weeks then put up for another few weeks and then it’s over. The exploration time is short, the product consumed quickly, and although great works emerge from that model, something definitely gets lost. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating for everything to be done at a snail’s pace. But it would be useful to have the opportunity to slow down sometimes. I have a feeling that what gets lost in “fast art,” and fast life in general, is exactly what we need to reinvest in if we hope to meet the challenges of climate change with a modest amount of dignity.

Filed under: Visual Arts

Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

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Approaches to Arts-based Environmental Education by Jan van Boeckel

Image from Nature Art Education site

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The Shorelines Symposium which took place at Rozelle Maclaurin included presentations by two keynotes Ian McGilchrist (author of The Master and his Emissary), Chris Drury (artist) as well as a number of others.

The Symposium was organised in conjunction with Alison Bell and Cathy Treadaway‘s exhibition Shorelines currently at in the Maclaurin Galleries.  It was great that a Symposium of this quality took place in Ayr.  We need more of this quality of thinking and discussion.

Jan van Boeckel of the Nature – Art – Education research group at Aalto University, School of Art and Design, Helsinki, gave a short paper entitled Angels talking back and new organs of perception: Art making and intentionality in nature experience.  He has provided the abstract and link to the full paper.

ABSTRACT

This article is about the role of artistic process in connecting to the natural environment. In my research I have explored what participants experienced and learned when they engage in different types of arts-based environmental education (AEE) practices that I have facilitated. The premise of AEE is that efforts to learn about our (natural) environment can effectively take their starting point in an artistic activity, usually conducted in groups.

I found that, on the whole, two major orientations can be distinguished. One starts from the point of aesthetic sensibility: the tuning in with the senses, or with “a new organ of perception” (Goethe), in order to perceive “the more than human” with fresh new eyes. This tradition can be traced back to (but is by no means limited) to the Romantic Movement. Art in this context may help to amplify the receptivity of the senses and strengthen a sense of connectedness to the natural world.

The other major orientation in seeking bridges between nature and art builds on a view of artistic process as leading to unexpected outcomes and “emergent properties.” The fundamentally singular experience of making a work of art may evoke an aesthetic object that becomes a “self-sufficient, spiritually breathing subject” (Kadinsky). The art work can be spontaneously generative and multi-layered with meanings, some of which even ambiguous and paradoxical. But perhaps more importantly: it can catch the participant of an AEE activity by surprise; overwhelm him or her as “coming from behind one’s back.” The element of improvisation, of taking in the new and unanticipated and accommodating for it, is the core quality here.

These two orientations, when practiced as part of AEE, have implications to how we relate to nature through art. In the closing of this article I address the question whether it is possible to bridge the dualism between the two orientations.

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.
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