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
  • Saturday, July 31, 2021 1:28 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)
    Artist Luciana Abait Image: Courtesy of Vecc photography

    Luciana Abait’s exhibition ‘A Letter to the Future’ is a call to save the planet earth

    Hyperreal iceberg series by the Los Angeles-based artist, Luciana Abait, part of the exhibition A Letter to the Future, talks about the fragile state of environment.

    by Dilpreet Bhullar

    Published on : Jul 29, 2021 on stir world

    The sky betrays its blue colour to appear pink and green in the hyperreal photo-digital collages by the Los Angeles-based photographer, Luciana Abait. The shift in the hues of the sky indicates climate change, the theme which has remained consistent in the works of Abait, who migrated from the place of her birth in Argentina to the US in the 1990s. The latest installation of the iceberg series at the exhibition A Letter to the Future by Abiat, in the Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 7, talks about the alienation and dispersal, a corollary of human-led disturbance in the environment.

    Wheel by Luciana Abait Image: Luciana Abait

    The plaque with the label A Letter to the Future, written by Iceland’s acclaimed writer, Andri Snaer Magnason, when the majestic glacier Okjokull in Iceland melted in 2014, inspires the title of the exhibition. This episode coincided with the time when Abait was preparing for the iceberg series, displayed at the current exhibition. Furthermore, her tryst with the environment and nature could be traced to the times when she was living in Miami. The pristine blue of both sky and water triggered her interest to develop works that would epitomise nature in its purest forms. Later, when she settled in Los Angeles, its rich diversity of landscape and vegetation prompted her to critique the human interventions that have turned the environment into a state of fragility. 


    Installation view of Day Image: Luciana Abait

    In an interview with STIR, Abait mentions, “I am strongly committed to creating art that celebrates nature while raising awareness of environmental and social issues. California’s strong commitment to the environment has impacted me significantly since I moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago and started developing a series of works to address climate change in a very direct manner. My artworks have always been inspired by the natural world that surrounds me. My work imagines alternate (or perhaps future) realities marked by adaptation, assimilation and hope. Through manipulated photographic landscapes, installations and photo-sculptures, natural landscapes and human-made objects are impossibly adapted to new roles where they coexist in a magical reality.”

    Continue reading here

  • Thursday, July 29, 2021 5:21 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    (Naxilandia, Sarah Lewison, 2008)

    The Complex Interrelationships of Tending the Land: An Interview with Sarah Augusta Lewison

    Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein


    Sarah Augusta Lewison is an activist and creator who documents, researches, and builds platforms for the often-underrepresented farming communities worldwide. Her work speaks to both the social and environmental consequences of monocultural industrialized agriculture, emphasizing heightened indigenous and affected community representation. Her work has brought her throughout the United States to Yunnan, China, Mexico, and Argentina and her Center for Subsistence Research acts as a connecting space for artists, crafters, farmers, and researchers alike. In our interview, Sarah speaks about her work and experiences and her conclusions surrounding the state of agriculture today.

    I am consumed with documenting and working within a real world, so I look for ways to draw attention to possibility, love, and connection.


    (Melt with Us: An Essay About the Seed Bomb, Sarah Lewison, pub. Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, 2015)


    Hi Sarah, thank you so much for speaking with EcoArtSpace today! Let’s jump right in: you describe your work as a semi non-fiction medium that integrates storytelling and narrative into real-world documentation. How did you decide to use semi non-fiction mediums?

    I started out doing documentary videos but felt dissatisfied with the endings; I wanted something more hopeful and interesting than simple narrative closure. But I am consumed with documenting and working within the real world, so I look for ways to draw attention to possibility, love, and connection. For example, in the Monsanto Hearings, we overturn conventions of legal procedure to allow non-human animals to testify and collectivize claims of harm in a way that would never ordinarily take place.

    Layering the speculative onto the document is also informed by the research and practice of my collaborator and son, Duskin Drum. Duskin drew my attention to crudely photoshopped scenes under climate change, such as Studio Lindfor’s Aqualta (2009) of rice growing on 42nd St in NYC, and his domed subsistence village in Yunnan, China, which protected people from the state and development more than weather. Imagination is so important – for all of us. We can productively consider Jameson’s famous conjecture that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. 

    (Chicken Tenders, Sarah Lewison, Feb-March 2021)

    There seems to be a strong connection between the environment and people living within these environments in your work. It reminds me of your most recent project, “The Brownfield Between Us,” where you are documenting a clean energy initiative on a piece of land with an industrial and racially discriminatory past. Many people criticize green initiatives of social-historical denialism because they do not offer social support. What have you noticed on the ground where you are?

    Your question describes precisely the situation in Carbondale. Our documentary attempts to lay out the multiple different frameworks of knowledge and experience that inform peoples’ reactions to the city’s flirtation with a solar development on a contaminated site adjacent to a black neighborhood. The debate reveals how perceptions of safety or risk are tied to privilege in a situation where there is uncertainty.  Some neighborhood residents fiercely and repeatedly raise this uncertainty to the point that the city government and some lighter-skinned residents living at a distance treat it as irrational. The activists’ questions are not seen as valid by all, but isn’t it worthwhile to consider whether citizens should trust the EPA after what has happened in Flint? Should we have faith in the EPA’s system for evaluating contamination based on “acceptable levels” of chemical traces and on the presumption that toxins decay into innocent elements within the matrix of the soil?

    Not everyone, but some people say, exhilaratingly, “Just leave the land alone!”

    A tragedy continues to haunt the neighborhood: many people succumbed to death from the same kind of cancer. There is also a living memory of dust and foul odors from the creosote plant. For years the residents demanded more comprehensive soil testing and were refused by the city, the EPA, and the landowners. In this project, I wonder if there can ever be enough testing to satisfy a hunger for information that may never be retrieved. The metaphoric – or real ghosts – who perished from their labor or familial associations with the tie rod plant are hungry.

    Another argument against the greenfield lurks as an anti-capitalist, decolonial subtext for some, the opportunistic profiteering of the “greenfield” solar company to the erstwhile extraction of value from humans in the form of enslaved labor, denigration, and diminishment under Jim Crow. The overall expectation of the landowners is that they will be able to continue extracting value from the land itself. Not everyone, but some people say, exhilaratingly, “Just leave the land alone!” 


    (Still from Naxilandia, Sarah Lewison, 2008)

    They bring out the complexity of subsistence life and the vast kinds of knowledge held by the farmers that allows them to make so many small decisions; about the weather, when to plant and harvest, what to cultivate for market etc.

    It seems these topics are globally present: not just in the USA, your work in China speaks to social disparity as well. I have noticed that the flow of your films, such as “Naxilandia,” offers impressions of the “agricultural modernization to the nation’s indigenous highland homes” in Yunnan Province of China, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions. What strategies do you use to create this work?

    Although I was inspired by how artists such as Burtynsky have used scale, especially in China, to telegraphically reveal the destructive impact of human activities on the landscape, I only had a small camera and a variable lens, and myself. I aimed instead for intimacy and the temporality of the everyday.  Sometimes I videotaped for the entire period it took to seed or harvest a field, wash wheat, or wait out a rainstorm before returning to the field. I ended up with a lot of footage to sift through and used many of these long sequences in the installation, consisting of 3 or 4 videos playing synchronously. They bring out the complexity of subsistence life and the vast kinds of knowledge held by the farmers that allows them to make so many small decisions; about the weather, when to plant and harvest, what to cultivate for market etc. There is also an element of meditation to the tasks.

    I contrasted this hand / physical work to paid labor and the appearance in the landscape of more and bigger machines for moving earth and controlling water, and managing people. These become more predominant over the duration of the film, finally appearing on all screens. There is also a video channel with text that narrates the historical and technical context.

    They are forming cultural collectives that are re-energizing the use of indigenous language and cultural practices. They also are learning, through practice and research, a combination of agroecological, permacultural and traditional approaches to cultivating, foraging, and preserving.


    (Still from Naxilandia, Sarah Lewison, 2008)


    You mention the “complexity of subsistence life” revealed to you while creating “Naxilandia.” Can you speak more to the farmer’s experiences with which you were working? How much restorative agriculture is already practiced in the Yunnan Province, and is there information to uphold the environmental balance through agriculture in the face of “reforming and opening up”?

    The farming communes under the Maoist period were encouraged to use “modern” farming techniques, so there is not necessarily a consistent change in farming approaches due to the reforms. Some subsistence farmers we met in Yunnan use organic cultivation for home consumption, reserving the use of manufactured fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides for their market crops. The coolest holdover we observed from the commune period is that people still communize their labor, especially the women, who will help each other with large jobs such as getting an entire field picked and loaded on a truck.    

    In 2008, I visited a marvelous organic farm and eco-resort in Yunnan, experimenting with agroecological techniques. I had heard about a few others near Beijing, but they were struggling with a lack of market demand for organic food. To make a more significant environmental impact, they will need to out-pace the state policy drives to industrialize and off-shore farming. It’s depressing.  

    In 2019, we met indigenous youth returning with their children to NW Yunnan villages. They are forming cultural collectives that are re-energizing the use of indigenous language and cultural practices. Through practice and research, they also learn a combination of agroecological, permacultural, and traditional approaches to cultivating, foraging and preserving. In the limited engagement I’ve had with farmers in China at this level, I’ve learned that they take their job of growing food for their families and communities very seriously. The imperative is to get bigger or consolidate as being pressed by the state is difficult to resist.

    In rural areas in the United States, municipalities and counties now spray the roadsides with Roundup. Organic growers need to put up “no-spray” signs. Wherever the spray is applied, usually from an airplane, people are exposed to drift. It is a considerable problem in Argentina and Paraguay, a geographic area that artist Eduard Molinari calls “the Republic of Soy,” where children in nearby towns are directly hit and sickened from the exposure. It’s a terrible crisis on top of all the other crises; I’m not aware it has changed, although there have been a couple of successful lawsuits against the technology. And in the United States, these technologies and the big commodity farmers continue to win the greatest share of federal money, leaving the small farmers who grow real food to struggle along. 



  • Monday, July 19, 2021 9:49 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    published on Media + Environment

    Mediating Art and Science

    July 15, 2021 PDT

    The Blued Trees Symphony as Transdisciplinary Mediation for Environmental Policy

    Aviva Rahmani

    Abstract

    As the devastating impacts of anthropocentric behaviors have emerged in the Anthropocene, the specter of globalized “ecocide” has also emerged, requiring creative policy solutions. The Blued Trees project was an experiment in modeling how art might forestall ecocide by legally redefining public (economic) good to reconcile with common (benefit to a community) good. This continental-scale work of interdisciplinary art was copyrighted in 2015, requiring courts to recognize an emergent overlap between copyright ownership, eminent domain law, and new forms of art. My intention was to create a transdisciplinary, art-based model for sustainable relationships with other species and across demographics, which could be scaled in the court system for policy implications. My premises were that transdisciplinary thinking—work that dissolves disciplinary boundaries—can best preserve habitat integrity in these complex, uncertain times, and that laws are the building blocks of policy. The Blued Trees Symphony was conceived as sonified biogeographic sculpture in five movements based on the eighteenth-century sonata form, with the musical structure narrating a contest between Earth rights and accountability for ecocide. The legal theory was litigated in a mock trial produced with the fellowship program A Blade of Grass in 2018. The work, which brings together art, music, and performance with law, ecological science, and dynamic systems theory, continues as a work in progress in that some of its elements, such as trees and ecosystems, the score, and the vital need to stop ecocide, remain alive and very much in play today.


    Introduction

    Climate change resulting from unchecked fossil fuel use, exacerbated by habitat fragmentation, overpopulation, and sprawl, prompted me to develop The Blued Trees Symphony (2015–present). This project is a transdisciplinary large-scale eco-artwork intended to effect social and ecological change. In 2015, at the invitation of private landowners, I began installing a series of one-third-mile-long musical measures in forested corridors where natural gas pipelines or pipeline expansion projects were proposed. GPS-located individual trees in each measure were mapped as “tree-notes,” in an aerial score. Tree-notes were identified in advance using aerial satellite mapping and ground-truthing. The measures were transposed and performable by live musicians. Each measure included at least ten tree-notes conceptualized in G major, a key that musicians in the Baroque period, such as Scarlatti and Bach, considered pleasing and stable. Since the intention of the project was to envision continental habitat contiguity, this seemed the obvious choice. The time signature in the score submitted for copyright is unperformable in any conventional sense: thirty-two beats to a measure, and the quarter note gets one beat because it is too rapid. This time signature was intended to indicate that we need to imagine another world if we aspire to protect the one we have. But the melodic refrain can still be sung, performed, and developed.

    The legal intention was to “harmonize American with European intellectual property laws protecting droit moral, the moral rights of art and extending the law to protect features of ecological significance.”[1] The tree-notes were each marked with a vertical sine wave design. A sine wave indicates the movement of sound in time. The mark, like the impossible time signature, was intended to symbolize an acoustic experience that is multidimensional. The marks were painted—from canopy to roots, including rock formations at the base of the trunk—with a permanent casein of nontoxic ultramarine blue and buttermilk that could grow moss. The sigil referenced the dimensionality of sound in the project. Cumulatively, the measures contribute to a synesthetic,[2] continental-scale score in progress for the Overture and First Movement. The Overture was installed on the summer solstice of 2015 in Peekskill, New York, and the elements were immediately submitted for copyright registration. Rather than copyrighting the forests endangered by natural gas pipelines in The Blued Trees Symphony, we copyrighted relationships between the human teams, the art, and the trees in their habitat. (In writings and interviews, I have been careful to describe the work as being with the trees rather than on them.) We received confirmation of our registration that fall (figure 1).


    GO TO FULL ARTICLE HERE

  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 9:23 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace July 2021 e-Newsletter is Here

  • Thursday, July 01, 2021 11:58 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    I AM WATER billboard exhibition JULY 2021

    Google Map


    LOCATIONS - East Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn/ Queens

    Note: red and purple pins are billboards

    1. Across from Forrest Point restaurant at the corner of Forrest Street and Flushing Avenue in Bushwick is Joan Perlman (Top) and Helen Glazer (Bottom). L TRAIN (Morgan Ave)

    2. At the corner of Flushing Avenue and Evergreen Avenue is Lisette Morales, an image of Betty Osceola during a prayer walk blessing the waters in a Cypress Dome in the Everglades (2021). L TRAIN (Morgan Ave)

    3. On Grand Street near Catherine Street in East Willamsburg is Basia Irland (Top) Narmada River Walk, India and Catherine Whiteman (bottom) Symbiosis. On the reverse is Hillary Johnson (bottom) The Waters We Swim In. L TRAIN (Grand Street)

    4. At the convergence of Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Street in East Williamsburg is Holly Fay, water drawing. L TRAIN (Grand Street)

    5. On Metropolitan Avenue where it converges with Grand Street are Margaret LeJeune in collaboration Hanien Conradie, a film still titled Dart (facing west); and the opposite side is Ellen Kozak (facing east) a film still titled riverthatflowsbothways. L TRAIN (Grand Street)

    6. Off Metropolitan Avenue on Woodward Ave, Queens is Ellen Jantzen, Amplitude. BUS Q54 Walkability: Board locations 1 and 2 are closeby each other; locations 3, 4 and 5 are closeby each other; and location 6 is on its own.

    Bonus Board: Danielle Siegelbaum, Morgan Ave and Harrison Place, East Williamsburg, sponsored by Our Humanity Matters. Walkable from location 1. L TRAIN (Morgan Ave)

    Download directions PDF

    Curated and Produced by: SaveArtSpace, ecoartspace, Our Humanity Matters


    Up through July 18, 2021

    For more information on the artists and their work go HERE

  • Thursday, June 17, 2021 1:21 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The Ground that Mends, Stop-motion with textiles in the old growth forests of Eden Grove, June 2021

    The Mending Ground at Eden Grove

    An interview with Connie Michele Morey

    Please tell us about yourself, where did you grow up, what is your background?

    From an early age, I roamed the woods of the Frontenac County of Ontario, Canada on what was once a vast territory of the Anishinaabe peoples. Our family lived rurally off the land, building, gardening, canning, hunting, fishing, tapping trees and cutting wood. My adopted father was a mason and my mother taught me a deep appreciation of all living things and a wealth of textile experience. My first aesthetic experiences were in the woods, wandering by myself, paying attention and being awestruck by the forest that was my elder and teacher. I was drawn to both the forest and textiles at an early age, but it was not until I was an adult that I realized that my lived white privilege and Scottish and Swedish ancestry included the erasure of early Anishinaabe ancestors (paternally Algonquin, and maternally Ojibwe). On my mother’s side Ojibwe ancestors were hatters, moccasin, and coat makers, with abundant textile experience and knowledge of the land. This is the foundation of my Identity and later education and research in textiles, sculpture, performance, eco-ontology, and decolonial studies.

    And, where do you live now?

    I currently live on the unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Vancouver Island is home to some of the oldest trees on the planet. Travel two and a half hours north-west of Victoria and you will find the contiguous forests of the Fairy Creek and Gordon River Watersheds on unceded Pacheedaht territory and the Caycuse Valley on unceded Dididaht territory.  These are the sites of several blockades established by the Rainforest Flying Squad under the guidance of Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones and Hereditary Chief Victor Peter protesting the threatened logging of the less than 3% of the ancient forests left on Vancouver Island.  In these watersheds are the small, protected area of Avatar Grove and the legendary Big Lonely Doug. A short hike past Big Lonely Doug in the Gordon River Watershed is one of the most beautiful ancient places on earth - Eden Grove. Eden Grove is the site of Eden Grove Artist in Residence Program – a grassroots artist residency set up by curator and forest activist Jessie Demers, in alliance with the blockades. It is here that I have carried out my most recent studio project “The Mending Ground” in the ancient forests of Eden Grove as one of the artists participating in the program.


    Installation view of The Mending Ground Community Project, Art-socks by Amy Marcus & fifty other makers and menders from across Turtle Island, Eden Grove, June 2021

    Tell us about your arts practice.

    My studio practice explores the experience of home as ecological interdependence. It asks questions about ecological relationships - the relationships between economics, labour, displacement and belonging to the earth as home. Through site-specific performance and participatory sculptures documented through photography and video, my work explores how colonial approaches to industry and labour are informed by a displaced relationship to the earth and how Industry’s engagement perpetuates further acts of displacement.

    I understand you’re currently an artist in residence at Eden Grove on Vancouver Island. Please tell us more about your work there and the place.

    Prior to my current residency at Eden Grove, I spent two years traveling to over forty displaced industry and village sites on the east and west coasts of Canada. This studio research led to projects like: Project Homesick (Roof Over My Head), The Breathing Wall, Hearing Voices, Division of Labour, Writing for the Soil, and my current work for The Mending Ground. Visiting these sites increased my awareness of the relationships between the primary resource industry’s focus on “economic growth” and ongoing acts of displacement towards marginalized groups and species that have come to be a pattern for colonial culture in North America.


    The Mending Ground Community Project, Art-socks by Christina Morey & fifty other makers and menders from across Turtle Island, Eden Grove, June 2021

    What is Mending Ground?

    The Mending Ground is a three-part studio project that includes: (1) The Mending Ground Community Project, (2) Harvest and Gather (performances with the trees) and (3) The Ground that Mends (a textile-based stop motion animation exploring the relationship between the body and the earth). The Mending Ground Community Project invited artists, makers, and menders to creatively darn, embroider, stitch &/or bead an 'art- sock' as an offering of gratitude and healing to the earth. The project asked participants to stand with the last remaining Ancient Forests while they continue to provide for us, clean our air, nourish our ecosystems, teach us how to live, breathe, be present and heal. Fifty participants of all ages from across North America responded to the call and their work was exhibited together in the ancient forest at Eden Grove with a one-day pop-up installation on June 1st, just prior to police enforcement on the blockades at the entrance to logging road leading to Eden Grove.
 The acts of stitching traditionally reference 'matrilineal' acts of care and healing in mending our relations with materials, each other, other species, and the earth. Darning, stitching, beading, and embroidery are creative skills sets often passed down from mother to daughter that offer a way to honour materials by mending to extend the life of the item, beautify, care and avoid planned obsolescence and material waste. Each art-sock made by hand is a tender act of standing with old growth for many menders and makers who could not travel to the blockades.

    Harvest, Performance with hand embroidered ‘companion species,’ Eden Grove, June 2021

    The performances Harvest and Gather engage ritual responses (rather than spectator focused events) of presence and reflection with the trees. Both performances are indebted to Anishinaabe biologist and matriarch Robin Wall Kimmerer's advocacy for The Honourable Harvest, and question what it means to harvest, gather, labour and engage with economics, while looking to the forest as a model for revisioning systemic colonial ideologies of economic growth. 

    The textile-based stop-motion The Ground that Mends subverts the title The Mending Ground, which focused on human-centered modes of caring for the earth. It acknowledges the role of the sentient ecosystems of the ancient forests as biomes that provide, sustain, and heal in succession. If ecology is about relations, then perhaps human species would benefit from looking to the ontological relations of the ancient forests as a path forward – a way to heal our impoverished approaches to relations with each other, other species, global economics, labour and what we understand as home.

    I can imagine it has been a great experience for you making work amongst old growth trees. What are your thoughts about the role artists and the arts can play in protecting trees and forest? Do you feel artists also need to be activists? How can artists make a real difference?

    As I stand in the forest performing and documenting work, I am brought back to a childhood experience of gratitude and awe of the forest’s mending ground. In the old growth of Eden Grove, thousand-year-old trees hold space for other species to flourish. Even in their falling, during storms and other natural occurrences, old growth ecosystems provide successive restoration for everything, including those humans that rely on them for their survival, while often denying their right to be. 


    Artists have such an important role in giving voice to important social issues. Yet the activism that artists offer is uniquely symbiotic. Art transmits experience.  Rather than telling the viewer what to think, art can bring the viewer embodied experience, memories of the body of being connected to the earth. This form of embodied experience mediated through art connects on a different level than fact-based evidence. It is knowledge that not just cerebral as art engages the senses, with the body, emotions, and mind, as one. Many contemporary art practices explore important environmental and ecological issues in a way that allows for the complexities of the world to co-exist, while moving the viewer from the inside-out towards the need for action, accountability, and voice. I love when art invites questioning, because I think that through embodied experience and open questioning, personal engagement becomes possible. In this space of connection, we open ourselves to what really matters, memories of the body that remind us of the fundamental need for attachment, to belong and feel connected with the earth as home.  

    I do not believe that any significant socio-ecological change can occur unless there is an ontological shift in the way we see our relationships with the earth, other species and each other, as one that it intimately interdependent. Once we experience everything as kin, we are less likely to use others as “resources” available for exploitation. Art is sensorial and experiential, and it is through embodied experience that we authenticate these connections.

    Old growth forests are pioneer aesthetic environments. They wake up our senses, connect us to the earth in the present, and make us feel alive. Ancient forests not only give us life, but also resuscitate us, connect us to our creative selves, and model a way forward to heal our displaced relationships to with the earth, each other, and ourselves.  It is not by accident that so many artists have come together to defend the right for these ancient biomes to exist. Old growth forests are matriarchs of creativity.  They embody imaginative abundance, allowing for unique species to connect and growth symbiotically while remaining distinct. My experience of creating in the presence of these sacred trees is akin to the embodied experience of morning sunlight or fresh wet air; it is a coming home to myself-in-the-world.




    The Mending Ground studio project is situated at the intersection of art and activism as an act of standing with the last remaining old growth forests of Vancouver Island. The project includes: The Mending Ground Community Project with fifty participants across Turtle Island, as well as performances and a stop-motion video by Connie Michele Morey, in partnership with Eden Grove Artist in Residence Program on unceded Pacheedaht territory.


  • Sunday, June 13, 2021 10:08 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Submitted by ecoartspace member Chris Costan

    Mission Statement from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation: Our vision is to create and sustain thriving parks and public spaces for New Yorkers. Our mission is to plan resilient and sustainable parks, public spaces, and recreational amenities, build a park system for present and future generations, and care for parks and public spaces.

    Madison Square Park is a jewel of nature surrounded by beauties of historic architecture such as the Flatiron Building. This happy combination makes for a spectacular location, especially for me, as I live one block away. It is a refuge from the endless cement of my beloved city. The surrounding neighborhood has become highly desirable, and the park is well-funded as an open-air cultural destination. According to the Parks Department, Madison Square” inspires dialogue and reflection." Since 2004, Madison Park Conservancy has featured rotating outdoor public artworks.

    The latest, Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, a grouping of forty-nine Atlantic white cedar trees, elegantly and urgently delivers a climate crisis message. It is the first public art project in Madison Square Park that I embrace with gratitude. A ghost forest is the remains of a dead woodland that was once alive. Endangered Forests worldwide include white cedar populations of the East Coast. The extreme weather events of climate change produce devastation along with lumbering practices that plundered these trees. The cedars in Ghost Forest were cleared to renew the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. An auditory component of Ghost Forest involves the sounds of animal and bird species which were once common to this island, known as Mannahatta by the Lenni Lenape tribe. Ultimately, Lin’s project is a lamentation on the trees and species that are now all but gone.

    Representing nature today is not easy for the artist, who sees nature being recreated everyday by the likes of geneticists, computer programmers, and real estate developers.--Jeffrey Deitch, Artificial Nature (1990)

    Despite this frightening message of destruction, Lin's installation holds a serene beauty and provides a natural harmony to the oval lawn.  Birds and squirrels are already nesting in Lin’s “forest” because the installation seamlessly blends with the park. Ghost Forest is the first of the rotating art pieces that address the cataclysmic effect that humanity has rendered on the environment. In essence, Lin says, "Let's talk about this problem." I say, “Madison Square Park Conservancy, “let us continue to be inspired to dialogue and reflect on Ghost Forest for as long as possible. The environmental problems are too important to be held to arbitrary and disturbing schedule of artistic rotation.”

    Rotating giant public artworks are inherently disruptive to the residential nature of the park. The dramatic disruption of small park life when countless times, teams of workers and sizeable intrusive machinery deinstall one piece of art and install another cannot be overstated. Walkways are cordoned off for weeks to remove the old artwork and replace it with a new generally giant metal public art. Holes dug, grass destroyed, habitat dug up and reworked endlessly, traumatizing flora and fauna, most noticeably our birds and squirrels.

    Madison Square Park’s public art installations have not been congruent to Maya Lin's message. Lin's installation coexists with the nature of the park and is both subtle and shattering. She has created a relevant and high-quality piece of public art while remaining respectful to the environment—and it’s a reminder of what we will lose if we continue along this path of the destruction of our environment. I don’t want more corten steel unless it remains in the park and allows the park's fauna to make use of it. Useless corten steel projects are counterintuitive. In an era of worldwide awareness of climate change, pollution, and the effect on the earth, our only home.

    We in New York could provide a model for other cities, increasing recognition of impending ecological catastrophe. Why not carefully select a unique and artful public art project that harmonizes with the park's natural ecosystem? The destruction and displacement of plant and animal life are typical of what is happening across the world. Large steel installations placed in controlled nature for  “reflection and discourse” are part of the problem. Why should we continue to do this in Madison Square Park in the name of art? Let us choose a fitting art piece that can remain to speak to us of what is most important. Future generations can choose another to match their most pressing needs.

    I suggest that we place a permanent installation that blends harmoniously with the environment in the park. Let the destruction end now with a piece that speaks directly to it: Lin’s Ghost Forest could be that choice. 


  • Tuesday, June 08, 2021 6:22 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Current 4 (2021) by Holly Fay, 152.4 x 274 cm, graphite, ink on paper (above)

    CREATORS – Holly Fay

    In ALL, CREATORS by McKenzie Prillaman

    posted June 8, 2021 for Art the Science blog


    Which came first in your life, the science or the art?

    My curiosity about the natural physical world and my desire to make and create have been unified since childhood. As a youngster, I spent much time exploring the outdoors and collecting natural materials. For example, I would gather up all the varieties of leaves I could find, then arranged my collections into notebooks. Trips to the library were treasured; I would carry an armful of natural science books home to pore over the pictures and diagrams. By good fortune, the public library also housed an art gallery. Consequently, each library expedition included a visit to the art gallery. The pull towards visual art grew stronger as my understanding of art broadened, which led me to study art at university and build a professional art practice.

    Full circle—in 2015, I exhibited my work in a solo exhibition with that same gallery housed in the public library I visited as a child.


    Floating Worlds series (2011) by Holly Fay, 38 x 56 cm, graphite on paper

    Continue reading HERE

  • Monday, June 07, 2021 8:27 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Nicole Kutz: When the conditions all fall in place

    by Etty Yaniv for Art Spiel, posted June 7, 2021

    Nicole Kutz in the studio, 2020, Photo courtesy of Nicole Kutz

    The Nashville based artist and curator, Nicole Kutz, meditates in her paintings on life’s transience through handmade pigments and dyes. She frequently draws on the Japanese Wabi-sabi aesthetics, as well as the artforms of shibori and kintsugi, to create ethereal abstracted worlds, where you can find beauty in imperfections.

    Tell me a bit about yourself and what brought you to art.

    I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA in 1991. As a child, I was wildly creative and terribly nearsighted. My strong astigmatism caused me to look at things closely and my imagination used that to its advantage to recreate the world around me. My vision issues, coupled with my introversion, did not translate well to sports, but I found my community in afterschool arts programs. Art classes provided a whole new outlet for me, where I could hide behind my drawings and let the paper speak for me.

    The arts were also in my blood: my Oma was an artist and owned a gallery in Atlanta in the 1980s. I grew up visiting my Oma and Opa’s time capsule of a home, their basement filled with pieces that never sold, and I looked up to my Oma’s beautiful stories and love of art. She passed when I was 11 from a stroke and shortly after, she visited me during my first experience with sleep paralysis. She made it clear that I was meant to be in the arts and that my spirit was guided with painting. I held on to her words and still call upon that memory any time I question what brought me to making art in the first place.

    That memory fueled me through a BFA from the University of Georgia and a MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I moved to Los Angeles after graduating in 2017 and felt that the change was a necessary shift in order for me to grow personally. I worked in several fields within the arts in hopes that working in tangent with my passion would satisfy my need to paint, but no matter how hard I tried to veer away from painting, it would always call me back.

    The pursuit did however open my eyes to the business aspects of art. I worked as the Chief Curator to help build an online art streaming company, as a curatorial assistant for a fine art advisor and as a gallery manager for several galleries. These experiences shaped my approach to painting and emphasized time management as a key factor in my art, which I believe informed the majority of my material choices and love of process-based work. As cliché as it sounds, art has always been my therapy. Painting is how I process memory, past traumas, fears, and dreams. Every series has its own story but it all centers around my internal struggles and the ongoing goal of staying present.

    Eastern philosophies seem to play a central role in your thinking about art. How is that expressed in making your paintings?

    I have always resonated with Buddhist thought and wabi-sabi aesthetics are deeply ingrained into my process. Wabi-sabi is the truth that both life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal, but because they are imperfect and fleeting. I find this liberating not only in life, but also in how I approach making art. I have learned to embrace the flaws within a work, as well as materials that are unpredictable.

    I also draw inspiration from meditation, Reiki therapy, moon cycles and how all of this plays into understanding my environment. Japanese culture views the moon as a symbol of the passage of time and as the guardian of mountains. The moon frequently finds its way into my work – be it subconsciously or planned.

    For several years, I have attended Reiki therapy as an outlet to process trauma. Reiki is a form of alternative medicine that originated in Japan in the 1800s in which the healer administers treatment by accessing a universal energy through their palms. During multiple hours in this meditative state, I envisioned landscapes that resemble caves, glaciers, waterfalls or otherworldly structures. I channel these landscapes through painting as I attempt to recreate my subconscious spaces. With our thoughts, we create our reality, and through my art, I realized I could make this intangible energy, tangible.

    Fera Space XXXVII, 2020, 21.5” x 22.5”, Indigo on paper with book binding thread, Photo courtesy of Nicole Kutz 

    Read the rest of the article on Art Spiel HERE


  • Sunday, June 06, 2021 10:30 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    
Above. Risba as part of Be-Coming Tree 2020. Slovenia.

    Be-coming Tree
    Interview by Sally Annett

    April 30, 2020 in the forest of Panovec, Nova Gorica, Slovenia, an unrobed body lies face down, on the fallen trunk of an ancient tree. Arms stretched out in front, hair falling across wood and flesh. Jatun Risba (ki/kin) is performing the first act of Be-coming Tree. Instantly reminiscent of the work by Ana Mendieta’s ‘Corazón de Roca con Sangre’ (Rock Heart with Blood) from the 1975 Silhouette series, it is a piece which also involves a ritual, shamanistic, animist style of art practice which embeds and enmeshes the human body with natural landscape in a beautiful, contemplative yet slightly distanced or abstracted way.

    This was a  solitary live-streaming: a meditative, immersive hour where viewers were transported to this remote natural setting, with Risba. I interviewed Risba and the co-facilitators of the expanding Be-coming Tree events, Danielle Imara and O. Pen Be, exactly one year later, just after the fourth collective ‘Be-coming Tree’, now a quarterly annual event. This most recent Be-coming Tree took place on 24/04/2021 and simultaneously broadcast 36 ecoart performances across 6 continents and 22 countries and was a glorious celebratory ritual of humanity’s potential to co-create and connect with itself and Nature. Be-coming Tree makes this connection through a series of live, digitally transmitted, collective  performances which occur seasonally. It is a real-time, simultaneously performed, cinematic/ moving image work; each cycle of the performances matching the seasons of the year; spring, summer, autumn and winter. It unites artists globally to experience a close entanglement with trees  and be witnessed by a globally disseminated audience. It was led and created in 2020 by Risba, Imara and O. Pen Be, co-created with in excess of 71 artists in 32 countries over 6 continents at the point of writing.


    Above. Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 1. Hive screen shot.

    As Elizabeth McTernan writes in her recent review of ‘Future Assembly’ for the Venice Biennale Architecture, “ future imaginaries must include the more-than-human – that which both includes and exceeds humanity. The more-than-human is the many entanglements of human existence with living and nonliving entities, all of which have a stake in the planet’s future”. Risba’s work ‘Be-coming Cow,’ a dialogical moving image piece, expresses this intention loudly, along with the sense of be-ing and be-coming a single, unifying fragment of an elemental background field.


    Above. Jane Corbett as part of Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 2. UK.

    Risba (age 34) describes kin practice as being that of a “ transmedia artist, sower of kinship and parrhesiast exploring beyond human paradigms … Risba re-pairs Nature and Culture.” There is a freedom in kin work which expresses this ethos very boldly. Imara (age 58) and O. Pen Be (age 73) both have backgrounds in combined arts practice with a focus on body work, dance and performing arts which pulls in strands of social, therapeutic, transgressive and devotional praxis. This body-centric practice has profound philosophical roots, which have evolved through study, personal crisis and extraordinary life experience. Imara, like Risba, has what Ghislaine Boddington calls a “Long-term focus on the blending of our virtual and physical bodies”.  Both are engaged in fluid temporalities and future digital and socio-psychological issues, including telematic and neuro-technical interfaces, and through which all our somatic forms and languages function, as part of an ‘entanglement’ full future. Connecting ourselves into a network, (Boddington again) a “ ‘multi-self,’ an ‘Internet of Bodies’ enabled by hyper-enhancement of the senses and tele-intuition.” Be-coming Tree expands this idea to include relation with all ‘kin’, human, animal, vegetable, mineral and spiritual, operating on a multitude of levels of ‘be-ing’ or supposed consciousness, but crucially interconnected. O. Pen Be works with the idea of the moving body as connector and witness and that these actions contain the possibilities for both sacred/ receptive and active/performative and roles and the sense of self, and that belief and identity can be scrutinized and developed for restorative purposes. All three facilitators are highly disciplined, exploratory and reflective in their approaches, using their corporeal structures as the most effective, vital and liberating medium in public and private space. Previous works like Risba’s trance dance interventions in urban spaces ‘Interesse’ (2015), Imara’s ‘Nina Silvert’s Tube’ (2011) and O. Pen Be’s startling response to COVID, ‘Touch Outlaws’ (2021) as part of  IJAD’s Open OnlineTheatre hybrid performance festival (2021) all challenge nominan behavior in broad urban and domestic environs. Be-coming Tree invites participants and audience alike to work directly with the natural world, selecting a specific object/subject; in this case ‘Tree’ as co-performer.

    These three ‘kin’; Risba, Imara and O. Pen Be, together have produced what they describe as a “Grass roots community, sharing and documenting close entanglement with trees and barefoot technology through collective, global, live-streamed events,” which, describes exactly the practical and logistical aspects of Be-coming Tree. What it does not capture is the intimacy and magic of the piece, the melding of differing forms of corporeality and technology to create a hybrid chimeric being, a ‘hive’ or collective, single act. It is a digital ritual, evolving hypnotically before your eyes and ears, yet just beyond your touch. Discussing the evolution of Be-coming Tree, in the current cultural zeitgeist(s), which is in some sense being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire to be in communion with others and with the natural world is clear, and also that the public manifestation of this desire is being met, currently, through the Internet. It seems that enclaves and generations across the globe who have been steady but slow in their engagement with the digital world, perhaps only through a Skybox or Facebook, have realized that their domestic technologies can far exceed their utilitarian functions; that they are not passive screens, but connective, interactive portals to the whole of reality; physical, psychological, spiritual and divine.


    Above. Kajoli llojak as part of Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 1. UK

    Within the various silos of the art world this slow burn catch up is levelling out while people explore the new materials at hand and then focus back on another contemporary, arguably the most pressing, the environment. Particularly in the world of body-centred performance art and dance there has been a 180 degree rotation away from solely live, somatically present performance to generating sustainable, interactive, on-line ‘theatres’. Whilst there is still a sadness at the loss of close bodily proximity to an audience, the potential and reach of the web is vitalizing and developing existing genres of work for those of us privileged enough to have regular and high quality access to the internet. Never have human communications been so vast and encompassing.

    There is an association with generational difference in the embracing of this new media, with the young’s usage of new digital knowledge (for those able globally to afford it) seemingly effortless, along with the realization that this new knowledge is process led and ever changing. For those that struggle with the TV remote control this can seem a hopeless wilderness, for which there is no time to learn the new. COVID-19 has changed this, there has been both the time and the necessity to upskill, and the Be-coming Tree facilitators, live artists and audiences are a model of intergenerational practice spanning 3 generational intervals. Our previous ease of geographical movement and physical contact  has been removed and replaced by digital freedom and mainframe intercourse. Those who had not engaged in the hundreds of thousands of on-line communities out there in the webs, have begun to do so with a great deal of excitement and energy. Artists and collectives have been working ‘on-line’ for five decades, the first (arguably) telematic work ‘The Satellite Arts Project’ was developed , delivered and documented in 1977 by artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz although the phrase Telematics was initially used by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in The Computerization of Society. (1)

    In 2020 Annie Abrahams and Susan Fucks produced, as a digital meme, an archive, which documents the history of online performance and the hard and software which supported it from the early 1980’s. It includes  their work and that of artists like Boddington and Anne Bean, with scientifically, magically, socially and environmentally fused lived works, such as Bean’s ‘Come Hell or High Water,’ 2020, which also looks at a ‘calendar’ of collective events which comprise an annual whole and who have been pushing the boundaries of human techno and eco interactive performance since the 1908’s. The canon of female performance artists that includes Laurie Anderson, Adrian Piper and Marina Abramovic challenge stereotype and oppression through the use of archetypal form and (the) word. In the 1980’s and 90’s Starr Goode archived and recorded a series called, ‘The Goddess in Art’, which chronicled work by environmental, philosophical, theosophical and performance artists/activists such as StarHawk, Vicki Noble, Cheri Gaulke, Mayumi Oda and Barbara T.Smith (1960’s/70’s) as part of the early 1990’s revival of academic interest in their works.


    Above. Hive shot of Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 2.

    These artists ride on the wave of permission to take up public space negotiated by women like Marjory Cameron and Ursula Le Guin in the post WW2 years, who hark back to female figures in history who feature only largely in literature and comparative religion from the perspective of empire and enlightenment. This is not to dismiss the work of the Land Art Movements; the symbiotic pieces and dialogical works of artists like Nancy HoltAndy Goldsworthy or Richard Long, or politically affiliated organisations such as Greenpeace and X-tinction Rebellion, nor to continue to focus on gender and sex-based divides in contemporary practice. The work of Be-coming a Tree is part of a continuum which includes ecofeminists/ecoartists such as Marta Soriano and radical social artists like SpiderAlex, and which is ever broadening, ever ‘entangling’. However, a certain public/media unease or suspicion is evident when a female artist like Abramovic is  pilloried in social media (2020) as a witch and/or Satanist (whatever that may be) for deeply spiritual, ecological, science and technology based work; the fear of the antinomian feminine remains clear.

    These ‘silos’ of body and nature-related art works have historically been entirely bound up with the usage, barriers and luxuries of public and private space. COVID-19’s limitation of access to shared space and intimacy with others has been a fascinating experiment in social engineering where – by necessity – gathering in public places has been largely forbidden, movement of peoples constrained, loved ones lost and buried in separation. The intrusion into our private spaces is also unprecedented, and our ways of being, our personal and collective protocols and thinking radically altered. We have been largely compliant but only, possibly, because we have been supported by an ethernet of connectivity.


    Above. Still of Colectivo EnHebra from Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 3. Chile

    In Be-coming Tree we are witnessing a quiet new collaboration which is a commixture of land-art, performance art, dance and digital art which acknowledges the posthuman and transhuman and addresses our critical environmental tragedy head on, with each small step it takes towards creating a ritual for unity; it is eco-magical, socio-scientific and deeply sincere.

    Risba, locked down in rural Slovenia, unable to return to London, was aware of those millions of people in flats, tower blocks and cities around the world who were in effect imprisoned and who had had their vital, if minimal connections with Nature severed. That the physical and psychological impacts on health and spirit are enormous, especially for young children is clear, and all three artists work with a schema of healing and therapeutic benefit through performance, movement and the physical senses. The Be-coming Tree team acknowledge having worked through health and spiritual crises and hold a depth of knowledge of meditative and philosophical traditions. This regenerative practice is developed further by the project to embrace the natural world; all ticket sales from the Be-coming Tree events go to the Tree Sisters organisation, each ticket equating to a tree planted in the Amazon Tropical forests.  This internet collaboration is a  form of environmental and health activism. It again shares the zeitgeist with the growing number of companies and collectives, like ‘Effective Altruism’, ’80,000 Hours’  and ‘Othernetworks.org’, who are working in very different manners but with the shared  ambition to enhance global connectivity and community, and improve the efficacy of collaboration through the internet.

    I was connected to the project by artist curator Rob La Frenais, (who also introduced Imara and Risba) as a performer in the second collective Be-coming Tree, and (with La Frenais) acted as the live blog respondent to the most recent, fourth ‘hive’ performance. The experience of viewer, performer and respondent is each completely different and immersive; as a performer you are almost introspective, engrossed in your own activity. As an audience member you can drift through and sit with pinned or multi-screens selecting what you view, knowing you will miss certain elements and allowing yourself to be led by individuals through the maze of panels, or hypnotized by the faceted screen. As respondent, engaging; trying to comprehend and describe the event and each actor within the whole was overwhelming.

    The work is so rich in content, meaning and hope, additionally it would be almost impossible to watch the over 120 hours of performance footage in an analogue sitting. It is a fantastical myriad of international players, each interacting with and ‘Be-coming Tree’ bringing a particular body, a vital energy and weaving a particularly soulful imagining towards the futurtopia we must build.


    Above. Gina Ben David as part of Be-Coming Tree 4 performance 2. Israel.

    To see the performances and discover more about Be-coming Tree go to : https://becomingtree.live/

    The entire live response to Be-coming Tree 4 part 1 can be read here :
    www.atelierdemelusine.com/new-blog/2021/5/16/be-coming-tree-4-240421

    Endnotes

    1) Simon Nora and Alain Minc, The Computerization of Society (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980): 4-5.

    Ascott, Roy. (2003). Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness. (Ed.) Edward A. Shanken. Berkeley, CA:University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-21803-1

    Carl Eugene Loeffler and Roy Ascott, Chronology and Working Survey of Select Communications Activity in Leonardo (Journal of Leonardo/ISAST, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology), vol. 24, N° 2 , 1991, p. 236.


    Glossary
    Parrhesiast : a person who speaks freely and boldly.

    Sally Annett
    Association ATELIER MELUSINE 4 Rue de Trupet France 86290
    www.atelierdemelusine.com


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