The ecoartspace blog will feature artist profiles and reviews of exhibitions, as well as writings on ecological systems. We are interested in presenting work that artists are making in collaboration with scientists, and poetics including spoken word, opera, and performative work. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, and printmaking are all welcome media. Speculative architecture and public art are also encourage. Submissions for posts can be sent to info@ecoartspace.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

You can access the previous ecoartspace blog HERE (2008-2019)

ecoartspace, LLC

Mailing address: PO Box 5211 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
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  • 1 Jul 2020 17:31 | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace July 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • 29 Jun 2020 09:12 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Ghost Nets site as quarrying operation in 1930 courtesy Vinalhaven Historical Society with insert detail of restored wetlands

    Modeling Resilience With Art, an online international workshop about applying trigger point theory to effect ecological healing

    Presented by Aviva Rahmani for CAMP

    July 11-14, 2020

    Our degraded environment is a real world problem for most life on the planet. Most artists concern themselves with real world problems. But artists and artmaking aren’t usually associated with an overtly analytic methodology to solve problems in the real world. However, all formal art training teaches internalizing an analytic approach to perception, analogous to scientific methodologies. Conversely, ecological restoration to heal degradation has been referred to as as much art as science. This workshop will systematically explore how formal rules, equally grounded in art and science, can become the conscious basis for effecting healing ecosystemic triage. We will explore how to apply a set of premises I call trigger point theory (TPT) to environmental healing and implementing the identified strategy. These premises interact on the basis of a set of six rules. Applying these rules will allow participants to make a strategic analysis out of an embodied practice.

    TPT is my original approach to solving environmental devastation grounded in artmaking. It developed from my experience creating Ghost Nets 1990-2000. That ecological art project restored a former coastal town dump to flourishing wetlands and formal gardens. The objective of this workshop is to introduce TPT skills. We will apply 6 rules identified in italics, to observe agents in interaction. This will help identify small points of entry into chaotic and degraded ecosystems.  Each rule will be introduced in a sequence to build understanding of how they work together.

    This workshop has been designed for CAMP to help participants connect theoretical and personal experiences to practical initiatives in their projects. No specialized education is required but an interest in seeing connections between science and art is helpful.

    Each day will follow the same routine:
    Part I (2 hrs): Lecture discussion and instructions with some screen sharing.

    Break (1 hr): Individual experimental explorations of location.

    Part II (2 hrs): Presentations of outcomes, discussion of insights and/or challenges with screen sharing

    July 11
    Part I: Lecture discussion overview of TPT and how it is based in complex adaptive modeling as a form of art to see systems differently. On the first day, emphasis will be on the rule of the paradox of time between urgency and change. Brief presentations from each participant about their current location, practice, interests & current concerns will clarify where each participant will focus for the next four days. Discussion of instructions and Q&A to exercise an exploration of local space about what to look for and record for Part II. Break for exercise.

    Part II: Presentation of outcomes and brief introduction to the next day’s rule of TPT for our exercise: how layering information will test perceptions.

    July 12
    Part I: Lecture discussion on layering information, GIS, and general research, building coalitions.
    Break for exercise.

    Part II: Presentations of results and brief introduction to the next rule of TPT for exercise: metaphors as idea models.

    July 13
    Part I: Lecture and discussion of how metaphors function in human thinking & behaviors with visuals. Introduction to the next rule, how we identify critical disruptions in sensitive initial conditions?
    Break for exercise.

    Part II: Presentations of exercise results and discussion of results; introduction to the final rule: play will teach.

    July 14
    Part I: Lecture discussion about what has been observed from each of the exercises, what has been learned so far in the context of: perceptions of time, urgency, chaos, points of intervention, and the rules of TPT.

    Part II: How did each participant observe small points pf entry into chaotic systems, play with the rules of TPT and the knowledge they brought to the exercise? What might they each take away from the workshop? How might they continue to apply skills they developed to on-going projects?


    Bibliography
    Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: Capricorn Books, 1934.

    
Heartney, Eleanor "How the Ecological Art Practices of Today Were Born in 1970s Feminism.” Art in America May 22, 2020

    Polanyi, Michael “The Tacit Dimension,” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

    Rahmani, Aviva. A Year in the Blued Trees Symphony, 2019*.

    Rahmani, Aviva. Fifty Years of Work, 2019*.

    Aviva Rahmani, "Fish Story Memphis: Memphis is the center of the world," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer; Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 176-179, June, 2014.

    Rahmani, Aviva. Gulf to Gulf webcasts on Vimeo.

    Rahmani, Aviva. “The Music of the Trees: The Blued Trees Symphony and Opera as Environmental Research and Legal Activism,” Leonardo Music Journal, Volume 29 - December 2019, p. 8-13.

    Upaya Zen Center. “A Wiser, Braver World,” YouTube, June 21, 2020.

    *Note: artist’s books available in hard cover, cost with shipping $70.

    Ghost Nets site after restoration detail of riparian zone 2018 Photo: Aviva Rahmani

  • 23 Jun 2020 19:47 | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace exhibition Performative Ecologies officially opened on Saturday, June 13 at CURRENTS 826 Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. You can view the show online here on the ecoartspace website under Exhibits in the Menu Bar, or CLICK HERE.

    A virtual tour given by curator Patricia Watts took place on Friday evening June 12 at the gallery via on Instagram @ecoartspace. A recording of the tour can be viewed on Facebook HERE.

    ecoartspace member Cindy Rinne recently emailed this poem after viewing the online version.


    Climb, Tumble, Dance         

    After “Performative Ecologies”         

    Timeless sulfur smokes    

    drifts over her strong antler    

    as the horn shape repeats    

    in tree branches    

    that reach misty peaks    

    behind this canyon dancer.   

          

    When is the point of rising,    

    her voice recovered    

    from the burning?    

        

    Body as landscape vibrates    

    through muddy river sounds    

    across countries, walls.    

    She reads auras for seven    

    years. Shaken turquoise    

    stones as living books    

    tumble in her hands    

    touch edge.    

        

    An offering, red-eared and    

    sweet as she shares your hum,    

    strum of wings. Who is really    

    in a cage?   

          

    She climbs a birch ladder    

    chants to the breathing sea    

    an ancient song and    

    blends into swollen clouds.    

    Then curves, sways    

    as a blessing in the musty    

    swamp. Ritual energy    

    swirls long after she departs.    

        

    © Cindy Rinne

  • 3 Jun 2020 16:21 | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace June 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • 2 Jun 2020 20:44 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    F. Percy Smith, Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F Percy Smith, 2016, directed by Stuart Staples. Film Still. Copyright unknown

     Vegetal Ontology: Intro (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-vegetal-ontology

    The Botanical Mind: Art Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree

    Reviewed by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    There are many lessons to be learned from the transition to virtual art exhibitions online as well as from the exhibition The Botanical Mind presented by the Camden Art Center in London. For one, there’s a foundational comparison between a plant’s ability to adapt and navigate changing circumstances from a “rooted” place, and the resilence of the human species quarantined inside during an ongoing pandemic. The in-person exhibition has been postponed (not cancelled), so if you happen to be in the UK, here’s my recommendation. As for the rest of us, cooped up inside all over the world, a thorough and ever-growing version of the The Botanical Mind is on view for free. 

    Peu Yawanawá of the Yawanawá community, Nova Esperença Village, Rio Gregório, State of Acre, Brazil. Photo: Delfina Muňoz de Toro (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-indigenous-cosmologies)

    The selected works represent a constructive attempt to invite an international and integrative dialogue. Indigenous practices are presented alongside western intellectuals like Hildegarde von Bingen, Sigmund Freud and the scientific documentation of plant life. Though still holding certain Eurocentric biases in artist choice and a strong emphasis on the shamanistic stereotypes surrounding Amazonian and Pre-Columbian practices—which has been pointed out as less productive in “The Role of Shamanism in Mesoamerican Art: A Reassessment” by Cecelia Klein, Eulogio Guzman et al. in 2002—the good intentions are welcome. 


    Screen shot of “The Cosmic Tree” viewer (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-cosmic-tree)

    The exhibition is expansive in multiple ways: from its viewing possibilities to its range of topics. Adapting to the “new normal” the website provides text, digital images and video in combinations that are well organized and easy to navigate. One can experience the work from an overview page where several images are arranged similarly to the much beloved Instagram format. Or, if you want to dig deeper into each topic you can watch a 20-minute introductory video. Viewers can also look at individual pages for each of the six sections that comprise the exhibition. The video gives a catchy overview, which combines contemporary video, close-ups of plants and manuscripts and historical video to the sounds of enrapturing minimal techno beats. The digital experience attends to multiple senses by being visually and aurally sophisticated. Some pieces represented, such as the Adam Chodzko video of scanned undergrowth paired with Bingen’s choral compositions is meant to generate “a system of channeling… a possible path toward an infinite Eden.” 


    Delfina Muñoz de Toro, Vimi Yuve (Fruit of the Serpent), 2019. Watercolour on paper, 61 x 45.5 cm. Credit: courtesy the artist (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-cosmic-tree)


    Hildegarde von Bingen, Liber Divinorum Operum (The book of divine works), 13th Century. Illuminated Manuscript. By concession of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities - Lucca State Library (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-astrological-botany)

    An infinite Eden could be exactly what many of us are daydreaming about in our endless hours sitting in front of digital screens, while occasionally peering at the bursting plant-life just outside our windows. The Botanical Mind certainly bridges that expanse between digital and natural while covering a wide range of peoples, philosophies, inquiries and time periods. The six topics covered are: Cosmic Tree, Sacred Geometry, Indigenous Cosmologies, Astrological Botany, As Within, So Without and Vegetal Ontology. Each contains high-resolution imagery of incredible paintings, manuscripts or photographs that are lush with vegetal and spiritual goodness, including Delfina Munoz de Toro's depiction of the sacred plant with serpent that is represented in some form throughout the world and history from genesis to Amazonia. The bright and high contrast image is especially well suited to a computer screen whose RGB span broadcasts those pop neon greens expressively. For example, the historical manuscripts of Hildegarde von Bingen, the German healer and spiritualist whose mandala of the divine expresses seasons and elements as well as harbingers who send their visions from above. There’s a strong emphasis on German and Catholic expansions on the topic of the sacred, and the many variations of this vision seem to be mixed into an unclear theory surrounding the new age.


    Giorgio Griffa, Undermilkwood (Dylan Thomas), 2019 - acrylic on 20 canvases, 200 x 650 cm (installation reference dimensions only) - work cycle: Trasparenze, Alter ego (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-sacred-geometry

    Though less spiritual, the contemporary artists presented reflect further on the vegetal cosmos and its complications, many of which leave the sacred or cosmological out of the equation. One example is the world of Giorgio Griffa where it is “rhythm” that is the determining force for his painted works. This “rhythm of Griffa’s extends to sowing, harvesting, the sun, the day and the night” is from an interview in Apollo Magazine by Thomas Marks (2018). His repetitive phrases express “irrationality, madness and elation” that expand past what the sciences can penetrate. These sections on contemporary art are also ever-expanded and are updated on a semi-weekly basis. 


    Former plant beds and greenhouses from the herb gardens and plantation at the Dachau Concentration Camp, 2019–2020, series of photographs, dimensions variable. Photography: Marion Schönenberger. Courtesy Hollybush Gardens, London, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz. © Andrea Büttner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020. (https://www.botanicalmind.online/chapter-cosmic-tree)

    From patterns of thought to patterns on the page, this broad ranging exhibition leads us into new frontiers where wide-lens perspectives can grow uninhibited by the walls of a gallery. Perhaps this “infinite Eden” of research, communion and perpetual growth, like the cycles of plant life, exists now more than ever before, through the expansion onto the digital internet plane. Though, like looking at a tree outside your window rather than smelling its luscious flowers, it cannot be the same visceral experience as sitting in front of the smell, feel, textures and imprints that exist in real-life, personally viewing of an exhibition. And just as Buettner’s work of the Dachau Greenhouse reminds us of the chilling reality of time passing and the resurgence of the natural world when humanity makes way, there is much that we can learn from what we do not control. 


  • 24 May 2020 12:31 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    eco consciousness is the thematic of the inaugural ecoartspace online juried show for our artist and art professional membership levels. The show will be blind juried by Eleanor Heartney, distinguished New York art critic and author.

    Approximately 100 works will be selected for exhibition. Three billboard awards will be given to artists whose work will be presented in the Midwest for three months leading up to the General Election on November 3. The exhibition will be presented as a digital catalogue (PDF), designed to accompany the online show, with an introduction by ecoartspace curators Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton.

    eco consciousness, which is defined as showing concern for the environment, is a broad thematic to offer inclusivity. We, however, are encouraging work that is sensitive to the spiritual and the feminist aspects of our human relationship with nature.

    Artworks selected will be featured online beginning September 1 and will be promoted in our monthly e-Newsletter and our social media channels.

    Entry fee is $35

    APPLY HERE NOW

    READ BARBARA ROSE INTERVIEW WITH HEARTNEY l BROOKLYN RAIL


  • 21 May 2020 15:35 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Ashley Dawson, activist and author of People's Power and Extreme Cities was a guest speaker at the ecoartspace The Great Pause Dialogues on May 20, 2020. Here's his 45 minute talk on the links between Climate and the colonial roots of today's pandemic.

  • 4 May 2020 14:23 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    In a time of pandemic crisis, how do we re-value what care means for all living beings?

    There is a species of moss growing on the outside of my bedroom windowsill that I hadn’t noticed until recently. Two clumps of bryophyllum hiding in the shadow of a ventilation duct that extends to the roof of my apartment building in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Known for their love of cool, moist and dark spaces, moss or byrophyte is a phylum of three kinds of non-vascular plants that use rhizoids instead of roots and reproduce using spores. Although an uncommon site in some parts of New York, my windowsill is apparently a desirable habitat and has offered unlikely solace during an increasingly precarious time.

    As a member of the Environmental Performance Agency, an artist collective founded in response to the dismantling of the US Environmental Protection Agency, I have been thinking a lot about the view from my window as of late. From my bedroom, I can see a rapidly expanding border of knotweed encircling a now desolate restaurant patio, a Siberian elm making use of an underused backlot, and a weedy patch of shepherd's purse, plantain, dandelion and horseweed. These marginal spaces offer a habitat for insects, squirrels, birds and other organisms, and more recently has become my only view of urban “nature” or multispecies life.


    In New York, we’ve been on PAUSE since March 22, 2020, a collection of social distancing policies that have prompted those with the privilege to do so, to work from home while “essential and frontline workers” continue to keep the City in a reduced state of operation. The impacts of Covid-19 have been uneven to say the least, with communities of color and low income residents hit hardest in terms of confirmed cases but also a range of social and economic impacts. Cities like New York are now the “vanguard” on the pandemic front, making visible the complexities of urban density, as well as decades of disinvestment in health care, education and affordable housing among other issues.

    As both a response to our current moment and continuation of the EPA’s past work, we launched a new effort called the Multispecies Care Survey on Earth Day 2020. The project is a public engagement and data gathering initiative that aims to provoke new forms of environmental agency to de-center human supremacy and cultivate the co-generation of embodied, localized plant-human care practices. What do we mean by plant-human care practices? Methods for attuning oneself to a vegetal perspective - moving, breathing, listening, and working with spontaneous urban plants and other organisms as guides, collaborators, and mentors. Invitations for developing new forms of environmentalism and stewardship that decenter the human and honor the agency and possibility of multispecies communities. Spaces to reimagine and embody what care means in a time of global crisis.

    Originally conceived of as a public artwork launching at the Old Stone House that would travel to communities throughout NYC, the project was re-designed as a digital platform integrating a need for social distancing. Although hesitant to move our embodied and physical practice of being together with the city’s weedy and spontaneous urban plant communities, the EPA collective felt a need to reframe our practice to reflect our current context, and to collect data on how communities across the city and US are adapting, coping and developing new strategies for resilience and connection.


    The Survey website currently includes 6 “protocols” or prompts for noticing and engaging with multispecies communities through a window, balcony, backyard, or stoop. “Protocol 01: Temperature Check” for instance invites participants to consider which window you look out of more often since the crisis, to move towards this window and place an area of your body against the window pane to consider how it feels. What temperature does the glass offer? What temperature does the sunlight offer? How do you feel the climate’s temperature? After a brief engagement, the participant is then prompted to submit a photograph and brief audio recording to describe the experience, and what the view they encountered. In Protocol 04: Avian Transmissions, participants are invited to notice birds as they pass by one’s window by first observing and then placing a piece of paper to the window and create marks that follow the bird’s flight/position. A quick documentation creates an archived record of the experience. We use the term “survey” broadly, drawing from a history of public land surveys that have defined our artificial borders and notions of land use, and also survey practices that range from national undertakings like the US Census to regional biodiversity counts to collect large datasets.


    Each protocol is also linked to a specific call to action related to recent changes and rollbacks to environmental policy occurring at the US EPA, or other federal and state agencies. An email notification reminds the participant to learn more about each issue and to further act by signing a petition, calling their congressional leader, or getting involved in a local movement or direct action. In “Protocol 05: Essential Tree Labor”, which prompts participants to notice and care for a street tree, we call attention to the rollback of the Clean Power Plan. This Obama-era policy required utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The rule was replaced in 2019 with the “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule which weakens emissions standards. Through the survey, we ask: “What kind of energy policy would street trees endorse?”

    Over the past 4 years, the U.S. EPA and other federal agencies have rolled back over 95 rules put in place to protect environmental health, supporting the interests of the coal, gas, and oil industries, along with Big Agriculture. The Multispecies Care Survey continues our work to bring awareness to these increasingly alarming rollbacks under the 2016-2020 presidential administration. Even in this time of global crisis, the US EPA continues its assault on environmental policy and health protections for communities across the country. In late March, the US EPA announced new “guidelines” for how companies monitor environmental violations, pollution and hazardous waste waiving a requirement for reporting, and will not issue fines for violations. Former EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, called it “an open license to pollute.” On March 27, 2020, the US EPA announced changes to how gasoline will be mixed in the face of potential shortages, which will likely result in more air pollution nationally. Just last month in April 2020, the US EPA extended public comments on the rollback of regulations for safe methods of coal ash disposal, the byproduct of dirty coal power plants. Power companies and private interests dump this waste into unlined ponds, which contain deadly poisons and radioactive substances, including carcinogens like arsenic, and neurotoxins such as lead and mercury, threatening drinking water nationwide. And on April 16, 2020, the US EPA weakened regulations on the release of mercury and other toxic substances from power plants and other industries, which the New York Times and environmental groups point out would effectively loosen the rules on other toxic pollutants.

    This is all happening at a time when we are dealing with a collective global trauma unlike many have seen in their lifetimes. And alongside an ongoing effort to censor scientists and undermine what little confidence the US had left in scientific research for the public good. (See the so-called “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” which public health advocates and environmentalists have dubbed the “Censored Science Rule”.)


    Since launching the project we’ve received dozens of responses from communities across the US, offering a glimpse into the multispecies worlds on view from one’s window. We are hoping to deepen engagement with the Survey through virtual Care Circles starting on May 9th, bringing together participants to share their experience of engaging with a particular protocol and to think through what new forms of embodied environmental action we can collectively envision. As a long-term and ongoing effort, we intend to maintain the Multispecies Care Survey  through the US Elections in early November. The data collected -- images, audio recordings, videos, embodied experiences -- will ultimately be used to draft a new piece of policy we’re calling “The Multispecies Act.” This Act aims to offer a set of embodied, actionable principles for centering spontaneous urban plant life as one means (among many) of contending with the failure of our environmental regulatory apparatus to deliver policy that protects and values life both human and non-human.

    As I write, this is day 56 of quarantine in my own apartment. Although I only have a few windows overlooking a patchwork of under-used lots and backyards, the emergence of Spring and the Survey’s protocols have brought new discoveries of life along the margins. And perhaps offer a set of novel interactions and embodied practices that help me cope through uncertain times. Now when I look out my window, I see things a bit differently and my powers of attunement sharpened. The simple practice of embodied observation offering some inspiration for how to persist in a time of global crisis and collective reimagining.


    Submitted by Christopher Kennedy, assistant director at the Urban Systems Lab (The New School) and lecturer in the Parsons School of Design. 

  • 1 May 2020 18:35 | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace May 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

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