11.29.2011

ISEA 2011 Istanbul, Turkey


This post is long over due by a couple months! To summarize, ecoartspace was invited to speak at the International Society of Electronic Arts or ISEA 2011 symposium in Istanbul in September on a panel called Public Art in the Sustainable City by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry from Dubai who also recently invited us to be jurors on the upcoming Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills landfill) in Staten Island. Other panelists included Glen Lowry who presented a project he is working on with a large team of architects and artists linking Dubai and Vancouver; and Nacho Zamora from Spain gave a talk about Solar Artworks. ecoartspace presented examples of sustainable public art projects in North America including references for developing public art master plans that focus on ecological systems, much of what was posted HERE on the ecoartspace blog back in May 2011. It was a very productive trip and was made possible through supporters who donated money for artworks via IndieGoGo (Take Me To Constantinople). Patricia Watts kept a personal blog of her journey which you can read HERE.

We also had the opportunity to meet two Turkish artists suggested to us that are doing video work addressing environmental issues, Ethem Özgüven and Genco G├╝lan. Özgüven has directed short films, videoart and documentaries since 1986 and currently teaches students at Istanbul's Bilgi University how to harness media for environmental education.

Below is Genco's "Shopping Water" video, a conceptual post-apocalyptic under-water world.


Synopsis: Shopping Water is a fairy tale prophesizing capitalisms deliterious effects on global warming. Woman (Katherine Müller) finds herself in an ancient sunken city (Myndos) while shopping for bottled water. The installation points out that, if we continue along our current path of comsumption, we might all need to learn to live underwater.


11.23.2011

TURF: Ecological activism and Art

Through December 1st at Diablo Valley College Art Gallery in Pleasant Hill, California (Bay Area) is a terrific little show organized by artist and educator Hopi Breton. Included are twelve artists, mostly from the Bay Area, with Vaughn Bell from Seattle, Michele Brody from New York, and Northern California's Cynthia Hooper who is currently working with ecoartspace on a water show in Stockton titled Delta Waters

Many of you who know Cynthia's work as a video artist may not be familiar with her landscape paintings (2000-2008). These small exquisitely painted works, eleven total for TURF, are from an ongoing series that evokes a "Sunday painter" vernacular cataloging human impacts on the land. Instead of ignoring the industrial detritus for these beautiful crafted landscapes, she includes it all just as she sees it, just like the wildlife and elements that also have to work with human impediments on the land.


Another artist from Oakland, Alex Jackson, who created "Our National Scenic Resources" while in graduate school in 1992, recently revived this work for TURF. The original installation included a replica of a National Parks wooden Information station with volunteer style designed pamphlets that incorporate collage of images and text that the artist has assembled through the years about how we relate to and interact with nature. Titles include: Interpreting Scenic Beauty Estimates, Nature As Logo, Ornamental Palms in California, and Understanding Bears, Alcohol and Human Nature. Jackson includes content taken from government and trade publications, advertising and academic articles pointing out the structures we impose on nature in our efforts to manage and conserve it. He included three new pamphlets for this recent iteration and has continued to place them in racks at park visitor centers and other tourist information sites unauthorized through the years as his creative expression.
Also included, a photographer from San Francisco Christina Seely, who has captured stunning imagery, almost painterly, of major cities at night. Three works included that are from her series "Lux," capture the oddly alluring artificial glow produced by urban lights. The three largest illuminated areas that are seen from NASA's satellite maps of the world at night are the United States, Japan, and Western Europe. Her work is inspired by the beauty the lights present, although at the same time begs the viewer to question our dependence on energy that has a huge impact on our planet.

Vaughn Bell's portable landscapes, or "Pack of Forests" with accompanying water bottles and a portable "surrogate" mountain, each with attached walking leash, added a layer of interactivity making for a playful atmosphere. And, Stephen Galloway's unique photographic scans of rhizomes were blown up and floating in space, nature observed, examined in parts. 

Get out to see the show if you are in the area before it closes on December 1st. You won't regret it. And, thanks to Hopi Breton who shared with ecoartspace that she was inspired by our work to curate this exhibition. She also noted that her art students were interested in environmental issues which also led her to TURF. It is rare that an artist curates a show for others and does not include their own work. Kudos Hopi!

11.22.2011

Elizabeth Demaray's "lichaffiti"


Last month, in early October in New York City during Art In Odd Places, a visual and performing arts festival sited in the public sphere along 14th Street from river to river, you just might have been lucky enough to take a walking tour with artist Elizabeth Demaray to visit her Lichen for Skyscrapers Project. For this project, Demaray sought to ameliorate the lack of native vegetation found in global cities by culturing lichen on the sides of skyscrapers and other manmade structures. The artist states "Lichen, a wonderfully adaptable plant, can grow vertically on many porous surfaces. Once propagated, it forms a protective barrier, insulating its supporting surface from harmful elements while serving to lower the cumulative temperature in metropolitan centers." Lichen, which barely needs any water to survive, is an ideal plant for a public work project, and also is intended by the artist to remedy the urban heat island effect. It is known to lower temperatures by absorbing sunlight and reflects heat due to its color, while also making oxygen, and it doesn't have any roots!



Demaray concocted a lichen slurry consisting of lichen with natural protean substrate that was spread on various surfaces of buildings after gaining permission from the owners. It takes about three months for the lichen to propagate. If it doesn't take, it simply dries up and blows away to find another place with more favorable conditions. A video of the plantings and walking tour are currently being produced featuring time-laps footage.

Demaray teaches at Rutgers-Camden. She is a recipient of the National Studio Award at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and is a New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellow in sculpture. 

All photographs taken by Elizabeth Cheviot