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
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 8:41 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The domestic and the global: Emma Nicolson on how the arts will be at the heart of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

    interview by Chris Fremantle

    Originally posted on the eco/art/scot/land website August 8, 2020.

    Emma Nicolson, Head of Creative Programmes, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (photo courtesy of RGBE)

    Emma Nicolson, Head of Creative Programmes, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), kindly agreed to be interviewed for ecoartscotland. The interview happened by email during July 2020 and is focused by the reinvention of Inverleith House as ‘Climate House’, moving beyond the 20th century idea of the gallery as ‘white cube’ and reconnecting with the context of the Botanic Gardens. This new approach is happening alongside a collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries in London, developed as a result of match-making by Outset Partners.

    Chris Fremantle (CF): Can you tell us a bit about what Inverleith House will be like once it is ‘Climate House’?

    Emma Nicolson (EN): We are confronting a pivotal moment in the role of the arts within Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). Climate House reimagines Inverleith House as a gallery for the 21st century, igniting a new arts strategy across the Garden, and establishing RBGE as a visionary institution within Climate Crisis.

    This marks the beginning of a three-year vision for Climate House which will act as a pilot project to be reviewed after that time. It’s underpinned by ‘By Leaves We Survive’, a new arts strategy for Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. We are focusing on the ‘21st century explorer’, inspiring discoveries between artists, scientists, horticulturists, scholars, activists, entrepreneurs, policymakers and visitors and local communities.

    Ellie Harrison, Early Warning Signs, 2011, installed outside Inverleith House 2020

    The Climate Crisis (and the pandemic) isn’t the first crisis for RBGE. RBGE was established in 1670 during an era of famine, plague and witch trials, by two physicians Robert Sibbald and Andrew Balfour. Their vision was to create a garden that would supply the apothecaries and physicians of Edinburgh with medicinal plants to help improve the wellbeing of the people of Edinburgh.

    Now, four centuries later, our vision is to transform Inverleith House into Climate House  – an institute for ecology at the edge, reconnecting our gallery both to its roots as a centre for medical innovation and its future as a hub that will  promote the synergy between art and science as we face one of the most significant challenges of the 21 century.

    Climate House will be an intimate place for contemporary art that is embedded within the natural world. The physical manifestation of Climate House is not set in stone, conceptually it will be a place to explore the future of our planet through art. 

    CF: What will we experience?

    EN: My vision for Climate House is that it will be a place you want to dwell in, as soon as you step into the building you get a sense of a warm welcome, a sense of home for art.


    Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

    For those not familiar with Inverleith House, it has a rich history of displaying modern and contemporary art. Originally built as a house for Sir James Rocheid, a prominent agriculturalist of the 19th Century.  The house and a portion of his land was sold to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1877. The house then became the home to the Regis Keeper of the gardens. In 1960, the house was turned into the inaugural home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and in 1986 it became the official art gallery of the Botanic Garden developing a renowned exhibition programme of contemporary and botanical art.

    Despite Inverleith House’s deep historic relationship to the gardens it has become untethered from the organisation’s wider activities in recent years. Isolated in part by the 20th Century approach to displaying contemporary art. We want to move on from the ‘white cube’ of yesteryear, taking a different tack that reconnects the house to its surroundings, but also to transform the house into a gallery fit for the pressures and urgent challenges of the 21st century. The most pressing of which is the Climate Crisis. Inverleith House’s proximity to the world of plants; the richness of scholarship, inquiry and praxis associated with RGBE means we have resources at our disposal to begin to think about the role of a gallery in the age of Climate Crisis. Art and culture have a valuable and important part to play in linking objects, images, processes, people, locations, histories and discourse in a physical space to open up dialogues and imaginaries that we see as critical to connecting audiences to this crisis.

    Our plan is to work with artists like Christine Borland, Cooking Sections, and Keg de Souza to transform Inverleith House into a Climate House and create a new vision. Inverleith House is a house in a botanic garden; a garden made for explorers of the past. We want to transform Inverleith House into a home. A home for the 21st century explorer. This explorer listens to the voices less heard, refuses to conform to the boundary between culture and nature, and is willing to imagine ways of living for the future.

    Continue reading HERE

    Submitted by ecoartspace member Chris Fremantle, Scotland.

  • Tuesday, August 11, 2020 10:27 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    (Still from “Countryside, The Future at the Guggenheim” introductory video)

    Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein 

    Countryside, The Future at the Guggenheim Museum (dates to be announced) could not be more relevant to a suddenly localized population experiencing new ways of interacting and work-life environments without being bound to urbanity. In this age of a digital shift toward more remote interactions, people are moving from cities to the countryside seeking refuge, isolation and expansiveness. According to a recent Washington Post article titled “The Pandemic is Making People Reconsider City Living…” by Heather Kelly, some real estate agents have experienced an increase of 300% in inquiries related to suburban and countryside areas. According to this exhibition, only 2% of the world is made of occupied cities and the countryside is defined as a space of cultivation. With increased dependence on the countryside for agriculture and resource support, perhaps the prospect of country cultivation is exactly where societies need to focus. Though perhaps this is simply part of the ideology of the countryside as holistic and regenerative that the exhibition explores in its semiotics stalls.

    Rem Koolhaas is described by Sarah Whiting as a maker who chooses a topic that is right in front of you that you do not realize and shows how important it is.  (Still from “Countryside, The Future at the Guggenheim” introductory video)

    And, it's exactly this paradox that puts Rem Koolhaas alongside the AMO and Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) at the forefront of a pertinent topic in The Countryside. With the intention of having an information-based, almost documentary variety of a show, Koolhaas proudly states “This is not an art exhibition.” And, how true to life that is; Countryside, The Future does not create a reflection of reality or an unanticipated visual critique for the purposes of activation, instead it takes an almost journalistic approach in describing an already existing place and dependency paradigm that's been given very little attention by artists and planners alike. Furthermore, the “Future” is now, where, as a result of the current circumstances the world shares, the countryside is proving particularly important.

    Though I was unable to visit the exhibition in person, and the Guggenheim has been closed to visitors since the beginning of the pandemic in March, just one month after its opening, I spent considerable time with the website coverage behind closed doors. Exhibition design in the digital age allows for a limited, but vibrant exchange of information. Countryside, The Future includes a combination of video shorts, audio guide podcasts, and Photoshop overviews to represent in-person content on their website.


    (Installation View, Countryside, The Future, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 20- August 14, 2020. Photo: David Heald)
     
    Experiencing an exhibition conveniently from home, has its advantages and disadvantages. Seeing an exhibition live allows for total immersion, to explore a space in depth, and to experience three dimensional presentation of images and information. Instead, when presented with an audio guide podcast as a replacement—for someone who prefers a multi-sensory experience, especially at a museum with such an awe striking exhibition space—much is left to the imagination. That said, the online experience is at least better than a book.
       
    (Installation View, Countryside, The Future, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 20- August 14, 2020. Photo: David Heald)

    Perhaps some "visitors" can look at pixelated images on a computer screen and be transported in their minds eye to a street full of noise and raucous smells, in a city that leads to such a unique building as the Guggenheim. One can imagine even further that at the entryway they are met with the transporting aura of tranquility, the open spiraled hall and clerestory lighting. As they do with many of their exhibitions, the Guggenheim chose to place text, in this case a poem by Rem Koolhaas, on the unusually low architectural railing where one might look to counter the intensity of scientific insights encircling them. A curious online viewer might speculate how such an informational, content driven art exhibition with insights on rural living, could be engaged in three dimensions. As one listens to the audio track full of incredible interviews from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, AMO and colleagues from the GSD, one can sit at their computer and fill the gaps with memories of prior museum visits.
       

    (Installation View, Countryside, The Future, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 20- August 14, 2020. Photo: David Heald)

    Though undeniably revolutionary as an exhibition itself, this show stays behind closed doors without much empathy for the viewer who would like to truly experience it. There are several videos to rent through the website, including one free one by The Institute of Queer Ecology. Metamorphosis is full of magic and prospective theories related to a queer future dictated by nature and renewable energy, and is available to the public one part at a time, without the possibility of watching it in its entirety.

    Still from “Metamorphosis” by The Office of Queer Ecology (https://dis.art/)

    Similar to the statements made in Metamorphosis, regarding the need for new methodologies, it's important that institutions like the Guggenheim innovate and adapt to the growing digital era. From the perspective of a current-day, quarantined viewer, the open-source movement is having a heyday and rightfully so. Now, that the internet is an exclusive portal into the cultural and international world, the viewer is dependent on resources with open access to all information. Unfortunately, the Guggenheim seems to be taking the opposite approach, choosing exclusivity, to the point of being occult and unavailable to the public that supports it.

    Still, the topic itself and the intention of Koolhaas is to elaborate on a very important and much overlooked strategy. Perhaps the Guggenheim, though withholding so much of its exhibition, can inspire the interested to discover the countryside themselves. The natural world is calling us towards its incredible ecosystems and its perseverance in the face of the pandemic. The countryside, as a cultivated landscape, reminds us more than ever of the beautiful symbiotic relationship humans share with other animals and plants. Perhaps Countryside, The Future is a summons for us to show respect and to become more aware of that cohesion; to remind us to look forward, beyond the city limits, into the vast and varied spaces within our reach.

    Still from “Metamorphosis” by The Office of Queer Ecology.

  • Saturday, August 01, 2020 7:49 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    The ecoartspace August 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2020 4:33 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    “Walking is often viewed as an act of resistance, at least in terms of the individual feeling empowered to shed societal expectations, identify tendencies to subjugate nature, and assess the status quo.”

    – Abigail Doan, Environmental artist and researcher

    Walking Libraries

    An interview with environmental artist and researcher Abigail Doan sheds light upon slowing down, walking and observing nature as a form of artistic practice that helps us discover new ways of relating to our surroundings. She proposes such act as means to unearth potential solutions for resiliency and connectedness — both on an individual and collective level — in this critical time of climate change. READ INTERVIEW HERE....

    PHOTOGRAPHY by ABIGAIL DOAN
    INTERVIEW by MONA KIM
    EDITED by MOOWON

  • Wednesday, July 01, 2020 5:31 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace July 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Monday, June 29, 2020 9:12 AM | 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

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 7:47 PM | 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

  • Wednesday, June 03, 2020 4:21 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    The ecoartspace June 2020 e-Newsletter is HERE

  • Tuesday, June 02, 2020 8:44 PM | 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. 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software