Friday 8 March 2013

New on our news page

Dome for sale at CCANW
Crowd-sourcing is building two online databases: Actipedia for activist art, and TippingPoint's database of climate art.

The Museum of Water and the pop-up Water Bar assemble in Soho, London next week.

Send a bottle of sea water to the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh for an exhibition in 2014.

The last of the Wasteland Conversations in Nottingham is on the Common Imagination.

The Center for Contemporary Art and the Natural World is selling its all-weather Dome, and moving to the University of Exeter.
more ...

Monday 4 March 2013

Reports from Fukushima

'Ghost Town', photo by and copyright Su Grierson
Wallace Heim writes:

Artist Su Grierson has been sending updates to ecoartscotland on her 10-week residency in Kitakata, Fukushima Province, Japan. Su emphasises that she is there as an artist, not a journalist, and she is only able to report what she is told, often through translation, and what she sees herself without external verification.

Su’s reports evoke the everyday life of those living with the continuing effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in stories of rescue, luck and tragedy.

Two excerpts:

19 February
Su visits the Scottish artist Aenaes Wilder and they drive to the coast north from Kitikata, an area decimated by the earthquake and tsunami

‘Aenaes was keen to revisit the area which still holds horror images and a memory of the smell that he was still needing to come to terms with ... He told me the story of how only one small town survived undamaged. Many years ago the Mayor of this town had insisted on building the sea defence wall many meters higher than anywhere else had even considered. He was laughed at and his wall was the subject of jokes throughout his lifetime. After 11 March his town was the only one in the area where not a single person died. The very next day the local people began laying flowers on his grave.’ more

11 February
The Director of Minamisouma City Museum guides Su and other artists through the area nearest to the nuclear disaster site.

'We carried radiation monitors in the car (you can buy them in the Home Centre)…
Miles of empty houses including whole villages with cars, lorries and tractors left abandoned because they are too contaminated to be moved. The ghost towns with their traffic lights still working are an eerie and disturbing sight especially in near blizzard conditions. Houses of all sizes are left abandoned with police patrol cars driving round as protection. These black-and-white cars with their silent red rotating beacons add an almost holocaust atmosphere as they glide around the empty roads...

The scale of all this is so huge it is only by seeing it that any idea of scale can really be imagined. I was told that in this Province there are 100,000 refuges and 200,000 in the next Province and there are more in many other areas.'  more

The residency, involving four artists, is working towards an exhibition with the Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art on the theme Spirit of the North. 
more ...

Thursday 21 February 2013

New on our news page

for Burning Ice #6, copyright Sarah Vanagt
Environmental Arts Festival Scotland is calling for projects connected to land, energy, the coast, rural living, Dark Skies, climate change, and more.

Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge is calling for ideas on the theme of Tracing the Tacit, for retreats exploring the underlying ideas, influences and concepts informing artists’ practices.

The work of art in critical times works out on energy, economy and environment at a symposium in Falmouth.

Wasteland Conversations in Nottingham take on utopia, community and ecology.

Also in Nottingham, and in London, the vacuum cleaner talks: 'I Went Mental and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt' .

And in Brussels, Kaaitheater looks at animals looking back for their Burning Ice #6 Festival.
more ...

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Jennifer Monson live, indoors, at The Kitchen

Wallace Heim writes:

Tomorrow, at The Kitchen in New York City, the movement artist Jennifer Monson starts Live Dancing Archive, a week of live performances, video installation and a digital archive.

One of the first stories on the Ashden Directory in 2000 featured Jennifer's project BIRD BRAIN Dance, a dance touring project following the migratory pathways of birds and grey whales in the northern and southern hemispheres. Jennifer's work in the UK continued with Water Log, an outdoor movement project across the sands of Morecambe Bay. She returned to America and now is director of iLAND (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance), developing collaborative art and environmental projects.

The New Yorker previews her show:

'For more than a decade, this esteemed improviser has done most of her dancing outdoors, following the migrations of animals and exploring the connections between dance and scientific research. In Live Dancing Archive, she reconstructs some of those outdoor experiences, attempting to reveal the traces a place might leave on a body. But the work is equally, if even more obliquely, about Monson’s history as a dancer, a queer performer, and an ever-questioning mind'.

more ...

Monday 11 February 2013

The form is the story with telematic climate opera

Wallace Heim writes:

Superstorm Sandy postponed the simultaneous performances of the climate change opera Auksalaq in two of its seven world-wide venues. Winter storm Nemo may make travel challenging, but tonight, performances in Washington, Virginia and New York are scheduled to go ahead.

The form of the opera is the story. Composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal, created a system of telecommunications and informatics, a 'telematic', they say reflect the geographies of distance and interconnection. Performers play live in different venues. By video and audio these performances are mixed in one location and sent out via the Internet to the other locations. Audiences contribute via their laptops or cell phones using NOMAD technology.

Audience members in any one space will see and hear the live performance happening immediately before them and see the content created in another city. In no single location will the audience perceive the full work. Like an ecosystem, these musical elements create interacting layers that transform into new intricate structures.

‘Auksalaq’ is the Inupiat word for ‘melting snow/ice’. The narrative content is held together with a dramatic account of a boy’s journey, and incorporates testimonials from people in the region, social and political perspectives and scientific information along with characters personifying wind, sun, shifting ice, and clouds. These are layered with visual art, dance and music. Burtner’s score incorporates sung and spoken voices, instrumental soloists and ensembles, computer-generated sound, video and sonifications, including that of data on ice melt.

‘The composition foregrounds ‘remoteness’ creating a spectacle that is both complete and incomplete in each location. In this way Auksalaq captures a feeling experienced by people living in the far north, a centred feeling of deep attachment to the land but also an uncomfortable sense of isolation.'

The technology requires Internet2 and cannot be streamed live. There are sequences from earlier performances here and here.

Explanations of how the opera works are here and here.
more ...

Thursday 7 February 2013

New on our news page

It's about money. 

Opening at the Bush Theatre in London£10,000 in coins come onstage for Money, The Game Show.

Coming up at the Royal Court are Anders Lustgarden's If you don't let us dream, we won't let you sleep, about austerity,

and Bruce Norris' The Low Road, a fable on the 'natural' cruelty of free market capitalism (image above).

Continuing at Nottingham Contemporary, John Newling's exhibition looks at the ecologies of value in the natural world and economic systems.

more ...

Sunday 3 February 2013

Chasing Ice Chases Oscar

Kellie Gutman writes:

Chasing Ice, a film about National Geographic photographer James Blalog's quest to document the melting glaciers, has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.  The film, directed by Jeff Orlowski, chronicles Blalog's three-year project setting up time-lapse cameras to chronicle the effects of climate change on the great glaciers of the world.  Although the film is in limited release, the Oscar nomination should bring more attention to it.  Screenings in the UK, Canada and the US are listed here.

Chasing Ice has won twenty-three awards at film festivals, including the Environmental Media Association's Best Documentary Award.  The nominated song, "Before My Time," was written by J. Ralph. It is performed by Scarlett Johansson and violinist Joshua Bell.
more ...

Thursday 31 January 2013

14 ways to look at Scotland

from The Bothy Project
Wallace Heim writes:

The Year of Natural Scotland, an initiative led by the Scottish government, connects the country’s natural diversity and its artistic life. Their economic incentive is to develop tourism and the events industries. The means to do this include 14 arts projects across every region of Scotland.

The projects, supported by Creative Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, will share £500,000 to create events, poetry, walks, films and installations that combine the country’s natural and cultural life.

An outline of the projects shows their geographic and artistic diversity. The longer list of organisations, groups and communities that are collaborating on each project shows the social reach of this economic programme.

The projects:

NVA presents Island Drift, a lighting and photographic project on the islands of Loch Lomond.

Scotland's Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Argyll, the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway will develop writing and walking residencies.

Sense Scotland, working with children and adults with complex sensory impairments, will take groups into remote areas near Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow to work with artists to create sensory artworks based on their experiences of the landscape. 

Wide Open and Crichton Carbon Centre, Spring Fling and the Stove will present an International Environmental Arts Festival based on themes of land and energy.

Walking a Line by Dunbar North Light Arts is a year-long site-specific project of walking, marking and recording in the environment.

Sound Out@Seven Lochs will compose music and soundscapes for a new planned wetland park near Glasgow.

Smallpetitklein Dance Company will present an outdoor event with professional and non-professional dancers around the Tentsmuir Nature Reserve.

Tabula Rasa Dance Company will bring together artists, environmentalists and people working on the River Tweed.

Tiny Geographies, by composer and television director ChrisDooks, will gather local stories and music for festivals in Aberdeenshire and Deeside.

For Natural Bennachie, three artists will work with scientists to celebrate the heritage of this north-eastern landmark.

My Place in the Natural World will involve young people in Aberdeen and creative digital media.

The Highland Print Studio and Cape Farewell will deliver the exhibition Sexy Peat celebrating the Lewis blanket bog.

Composers Inge Thomson and Lise Sinclair will create Da Fishing Hands, a project featuring song about Fair Isle’s fishing grounds and their changing and sustainable use.

Sweeny's Bothy / Bothan Shuibhne is an off-grid retreat for artists, writers and the public, involving events, walks, residencies reflecting on wild nature and contemporary culture.

In addition to these projects, in the Autumn, the Year of Natural Scotland will host a major conference, 'Reading the Landscape' exploring the representation, mis-representation, imagining and re-imagining of nature in Scotland. 
more ...

Thursday 24 January 2013

Sanitation is culture

Mierle Laderman Ukeles (righttalking with
Brooklyn Museum employee Peggy Johnson
Wallace Heim writes:

In New York last week, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, artist in residence since 1977 for the New York City Department of Sanitation, conducted a series of live interviews with Brooklyn Museum's daily maintenance staff, window washers, floor sweepers, security guards, and told them what they do is "the first kind of culture".

In her performance, which also included architects and city planners, she asked each person a series of questions: How do you personally survive? What do you need to do to keep going? What happens to your dreams and your freedom when you do the things you have to do to keep surviving? What keeps New York City alive? What does the city need to do to survive after Sandy?.

Ukeles told the workers, "Here's the museum with all this stuff, and then there's what you do. You are culture, and your work is culture. And the endless hours that will never be done, that's what enable us to be in an institution like this. Mopping up the garbage from yesterday. It's safe. And the things in here are taken care of. That's culture."

Full interview with Ukeles on Gallerist NY.
photo: Carole DeBeer, courtesy Brooklyn Museum.

h/t to
more ...

Friday 18 January 2013

New on our news page

It's the award season, nominations are open, as is a new chance for Fringe funding.

IdeasTap and Underbelly will help new shows get to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Dark Mountain 4 and the Nick Darke Award are welcoming submissions.

Nominations for the AWEInspiring Arts and Environment Award are open until 28 January.

COAL Prize nominations for works on the theme of 'adaptation' are open until 28 February.

And a new exhibition Frozen Relics: Arctic Works opened this week at the Architectural Association in London. (image above) 
more ...

Thursday 10 January 2013

from six seasons to two

Bronze-winged jacana.  Photo: India nature watch
Kellie Gutman writes:

The state of Orissa, located in east-central India, was once known for having six seasons.  Not only were there six, Grishmar (summer), Barsha (rainy), Sarata (autumn), Hemanta (dew), Sisira (winter), and Basanta (spring), each two months long, but the people in the area could forecast the onset of each one by the behaviour of certain birds.  For instance, the bronze-winged jacana would lay its eggs during the monsoons, so its mating calls signaled the arrival of the rains.

But climate change has brought excessive heat to Orissa, and now people say there are only two seasons: rains and summer. Winter is just a short transition between them.

The Glass Half Full Theatre in Austin, Texas, which crafts "Environmental Puppetry" is putting on Once There Were Six Seasons, opening February 13, 2013.  Environmental Puppetry uses very small puppets on large landscapes with visible puppeteers.  The puppetry focuses on the changing landscapes more than on the actual puppets.  Their earlier work, Bob's Hardware, about a small family-owned hardware store being pushed out by a big-box store can be seen here.

Once There Were Six Seasons is based on the story of Orissa's seasons, as told to the artistic director, Caroline Reck, on her visit to India.

See: What happened to the seasons
more ...

Tuesday 8 January 2013

New on our news page

Fevered Sleep: Above Me The Wide Blue Sky 
The year is starting with talks of passages, meanders and visions, and new productions exploring revelations, home and change.

The urgency of rivers meets the roles of contemporary art in discussions and an exhibition on the River Tamar.

Also in Plymouth, Baz Kershaw talks on meadow meanders and everyday performances of repair.

In London, at the TEDx Whitechapel day, theatre and storytelling mingle with economics, law and science.

Coming up are dreamthinkspeak's In the Beginning Was The End, in London, and Fevered Sleep's Above Me The Wide Blue Sky, touring Lancaster, Coventry and the Young Vic, London.

more ...