On Henry Street just uptown from Foley Square in Manhattan, there is a church called Mariners’ Temple. One Sunday we were among hundreds of folks listening while Mother Henrietta Carter preached. She stood up there, white-robed, and gestured out across the assembled faithful. “We need to see some embracing today,” Mother Carter said, and then she explained that two families were blessed just recently with newborn babies, in the same week.
She boomed out: “I want you two families—come down here and embrace each other! We’ll wait! Oh, you come down here! I know you two families been quarreling about something, you don’t speak much anymore. Oh we all know about it. Now—You come down here and you embrace each other. You bring those babies with you!”
The two families slowly came to Mother Carter and embraced. They were in tears. People called out “Praise!”
As you see from the title of my little sermon, I am asking the people from two movements, 350.org and Occupy Wall Street, to do the same. Read on…
Also of interest a review of Nature, the new volume in The Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series.
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.
Cycle Sunday: House of Hot Breath, photo by Erica Earle
Sitting between art and activism, performance and protest, this year’s Two Degrees festival takes over the streets of East London
Two Degrees is the first ever festival to bring together over 30 radical and political artists to respond to and intervene in the public debate on climate change and government cuts.
Transcending the gallery space and traditional definitions of ‘art’ this festival is about audiences actively taking part. From bike rides and haircuts to sharing food and stories, Two Degrees is a unique series of performances, films, installations, walks and interventions by artists and activists that offer a positive, alternative response to the current financial and climate crises.
Our consumption of food is increasingly a high-profile political issue, from food miles to fair trade. For one week only a pop up café created by Clare Patey will draw attention to some of the lesser known problems we face. Crayfish Bob’s stylish eatery invites dinner party conversation whilst highlighting the damage caused to London’s waterways by the invasive American Signal Crayfish. Elsewhere in the festival, Rebecca Beinart investigates herbal medicine and natural poisons in a performance that gathers powerful plants from London’s streets and the Otesha Project lead a food foraging cycle tour.
Finding new ways of sharing ideas and creating dialogue can mobilise change. The Haircut Before the Party is a hair salon with a difference. Customers at this temporary Whitechapel salon will be offered a free haircut in exchange for swapping their opinions, experiences and thoughts with their hairdresser. Future Editions, an alternative human library at Toynbee Studios will allow you to actively engage with leading climate change specialists. Visitors to the library are met by a maverick librarian who selects for them a human book. Your book will then offer you a 10 minute conversation – a rare opportunity to ask questions or exchange views. Glasgow based artist and activist Ellie Harrison looks at our increasingly fragmented and precarious labour market in Work-a-thon; an attempt to break the world record for the most self-employed workers in one space, creating a social environment for workers to combat issues of isolation, lack of solidarity and unregulated hours.
Green transport is also part of the programme and Cycle Sunday (in collaboration with Arcola Theatre) invites audiences to participate in a range of performances, events and workshops, all made for bikes. From a grafitti tour of London to a bingo bike ride and bike powered smoothie maker– artists, campaingers, engineers and designers explore the possibilities of green technology and low carbon lifestyles.
Across the UK, protest and activism have hit the headlines in recent months, but what is the link between the economic crisis and climate change? Two Degrees asks this question, bringing together artists and activists working outside of the mainstream, proposing alternative and inspiring solutions to the problems we face today, bridging the gap between art and activism.
Two Degrees is Artsadmin’s weeklong festival of art and activism, climate and cuts. Following the first festival in 2009, Two Degrees 2011 takes place from 12-18 June in and around Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios home.
Two Degrees takes place as part of the activities of the Imagine 2020 Network of European arts organisations who are working together to encourage arts organisations and artists to engage more with the subject of climate change. The current partners in the network are Artsadmin; Lift, London; Bunker, Ljubljana; Le Quai, Angers; Kaaitheater, Brussels; Domaine d’O, Montpelier; New Theatre of Institute of Latvia, Riga; Transforma, Torres Vedras; Domino, Zagreb, Rotterdamse Schouwbourg, Rotterdam; and Kampnagel, Hamburg. www.imagine2020.eu
Two Degrees is supported by the European Commission Culture Programme and by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Artsadmin is based at Toynbee Studios and is a unique producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media, also offering various support services for artists, including a free advisory service, mentoring and development programmes and a number of bursary schemes. Toynbee Studios is Artsadmin’s unique centre for the development and presentation of new work. The studios comprise a 280-seat theatre, five studio spaces and the Arts Bar & Café, all of which host performances and events throughout the year. www.artsadmin.co.uk