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. 
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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
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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) 
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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 ...