Rising Tide Conference REPORT

I was only able to attend one day of the three day conference last weekend in the Bay Area. Entitled Rising Tide, organized by Kim Anno, and jointly hosted by California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and Stanford University, there was a diverse mix of planning, art history, contemporary art, and design/technology.

A few highlights from the early morning session entitled Remaking/Reconceiving
: I learned about Form Based Zoning Codes where the public participates in a greater way to decide what goes where in communities/cities. And, I was reminded by Amy Franceschini of the great work by former Super Mayor of Bogata, Enrique Penalosa, who encouraged performance based transformations in sustainability (like using mimes to direct traffic). Here is a short video on his vision for NYC presented last summer:

In the next session,
Bonnie Sherk (creator of T
he Farm), moderated a panel called Material Culture Sustainability. Panel description: What are new materials that artists/designer/architects are experimenting with? What materials have impacts on which industries? Where are the holes in research? What is sustainable business? How is culture sustainable? Stephanie Syjuco presented her Counterfeit Crochet handbags; Lynda Grose presented the work of young designers doing Slow Fashion in her program at Sustainable Fashion Design program at CAA. And, Banny Bannerjee, Director of the Stanford Design program, talked about how human's are always trying to defy nature, stretch its limits, mimic nature, refer to nature, flirt with nature, evoke nature. He had a great saying: Doing Things Right, Doing the Right Things.

After lunch we got a dose of "Green Capitalism" with Amy Berk presenting her work TWCDC (Together We Can Defeat Capitalism). She showed several projects where they used signage to express anti-capitalist views like a road sign that said "Stock Market Crash Ahead" from 2000; "Capitalism Stops at Nothi
ng" at a BART Station; and STOP BUS(H) in the bus lane in Oakland. She also presented her work bed-in-for-peace project, which she conceived in 2001 in Australia (based on Yoko Ono and John Lennon's performance). Basically her position was that true revolution is guided by true feelings of LOVE . . . . . and she proves this by driving around San Francisco in a "FRYBRID" car that runs on moonshine and represents the ethos of Marx (Capitalist production only develops the social process of production by simultaneously underminding the original process of all wealth, the soil and the worker). Next on this panel was Simon Sadler who made some great links with Steward Brand/Whole Earth Catalogue, Buckminster Fuller (design is a scientific study not an aesthetic one), and "soft tech" (the limits to growth, and small is beautiful).

In the following session entitled Futures, Amy Balkin gave a beautiful presentation on her Air Park project. She outlined how she researched carbon credits and set up her work,
presenting basically signage about her conceptual dealings around who owns the air. A description of the project: Public Smog is a public park in the atmosphere that fluctuates in location and scale. Built through financial, legal, or political activities, Public Smog is subject to prevailing winds and the long-range transport of aerosols and gases. When built through the economic mechanism of emissions trading, the park opens above the region where offsets are purchased and withheld from use. Public Smog first opened briefly to the public during 2004 above California's South Coast Air Quality Management District, and was open over the European Union through 2008. Balkin is now working on opening the park again in West Africa.

In the final panel of the day Shelia Kennedy showed her portable light project, which is going to receive a big award in May (she couldn't tell us which), maybe the Fuller Challenge? and David Buuck shared about his project on Treasure Island in San Francisco, a tour called "Barge" looking at the paranoid landscapes of post industrial real estate.

There was a great gathering of people and it was a pleasure to finally meet Ian Garrett and see Miranda Wright again, both from Los Angeles with the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts who drove up for the conference.

For those of you who attended Friday and Sunday's presentations
, please comment and fill us in.


Blogger Beach Plastic said...

After Sheila Kennedy’s inspiring keynote, conference attendees proceeded to the Cummings Art Building for an opening reception for “Disposable Truths”, an art exhibition by Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang, a collaborative team, who combine their love of nature with their interest in science to produce an on-going series of art works about the oceans and the environment. Since 1999 they have been collecting beach plastic from Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore then shaping it into artworks and installations. From that one beach they have collected almost 2 tons of plastic, which has washed ashore from as far away as Asia and as close to home as the San Francisco Bay.

For the Rising Tide Conference, to demonstrate the ubiquity of plastic waste in our oceans, they configured their collection of plastic detritus into a series of prints that represent the aesthetic strategy of counting and categories.

There was also a “living room” arrangement with a chair, table, and lamp covered with beach plastic. On the floor was a square of white beach plastic with a hula-hoop rug with multi-colored plastic.

National Geographic’s new blog featured their Rising Tide exhibition as their lead Earth Day story. http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/04/these-sculptures-are-all-washed-up.html#more

April 26, 2009 7:51 PM

Email from Aline Mare: Sunday April 19th, 2009

Sunday's presentations were quite inspiring. Alberto Moreno from the
Seri Tribe of Mexico directs a sustainable indigenous aquaculture
project in partnership with the Comcaac Nation and was an incredibly
articulate advocate for his tribe's inspired attempt to bridge their
relation to the sea that surrounds their environment, working with
mussels, oysters and active attempts to protect the endangered turtles
sea turtles of Mexico.

Robert Dawson, a well known local, whose wonderful photographs take a
hard look at the West's relationship to water was deep and poignant in
his presentation which included world wide visions of humankind's
changing connections to an ecology, shot while traveling through Viet
Nam and India.

Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang presented together and they
described their collaborative process as an alchemical one of making
dross into gold. Making art of trash they have found and categorized
over ten years from Kehoe Beach in Pt Reyes has become a shared
passion, which they shared with a witty humor mixed with political
environmental wisdom

Kim Anno's closing speech rounded up the many disparate elements and
voices of the past several days to a shared voice of passion and

All in all it was a deep and meaningful morning- albeit in a dark room
on an unbelievable beautiful day!