While I have positioned myself within the littoral zones of the NW coast of Scotland over the past 3 years, to undertake this project, I am increasingly conscious of the need to stand up and to take a look outside of the zone. Projecting my notes helps me keep in mind the vast network of global environmental that each piece of litter connects us too. The enormity of this bigger picture makes me keen to make links with other artists focusing on environmental issues .
Reassuringly there is a growing number of artists focusing on ‘Nature and Culture’ and in Scotland many of which can be found through through Eco-Arts Scotland word press site. Many of these artist’s like me embrace working in a cross disciplinary way. Kate Foster is one such artist who is presently working with a biogeochemist Susan Waldron and environmental writer Dr David Borthwick on a project entitled Flux Chamber. All three collaborators will be sharing their knowledge and findings next weekend at the Enivronmental Arts Festival (details below) They will demonstrating how the Flux Chamber measures carbon locked in water by taking festival participants on a guided walk and exploration of a watercourse around Morton Castle. Together they will be instigating discussions, mapping and an exploration of our carbon landscape.
Artists seem naturally to cross disciplinary lines but it is refreshing when scientists and thinkers do this too. I recently posted a link to a great website called Worldly which highlighted an article by Audra Mitchell a refreshing thinker into global environmental ethics, she boldly states that she is not bound by any medium, and she puts forward that multiple registers of meaning and visual images can help to crystalise the enormities of environmental phenomena. I totally agree imagery can make ideas about difficult subjects more thinkable or imaginable.
As I explore ways to develop my imagery to tell the complex stories of the litter objects that I pick up, I am encouraged to discover and read about the work of other artists who are creating successful and arresting visual work that is tackling urgent environmental issues. Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin have recently edited a wonderful book ‘Art in the Anthropocene’ published by Humanities Press. It is a publication which creatively and critically looks into the ‘politics of nature and culture’ and is full of the inspiring writings of artists and images of their work addressing a vast array of issues associated with how we are affecting our environment, each other, disputed territories, war, pollution, excessive consumption, migration, the legacy of past generations. Global issues touching us all.
Aerosolar is one of the most outstanding projects of collective visual action I have learned about and now wish to witness, by a collective of artists based in Italy lead by Thomas Saraceno. Museo Aero Solar is a flying museum, a solar sculpture made up of reused plastic bags, with new sections being added each tie it travels the world, changing techniques and shapes and growing in size every time.
So far it has been shown in Italy, Mecico, Canada, United Emirates and France. It is an inventive liberating sculpture which offers a different conception of space and energy by utilizing our waste and free solar (thermodynamic) energy. The Museo Aero Solar will touch down again next Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 21er Haus in Vienna. In the sculpture garden. Free with a valid exhibition ticket. I certainly wish I could be there!
As I am preoccupied with the litter pollution we find on many remote Scottish islands, I was drawn to the work of Map Office and artists Laurent Gutierrez & Valerie Portefaix who are based in Singapore, they often play with island metaphors in their staged hyper realistic photographs and installations. The simplicity and strength of their work is clear in a piece entitled ‘Disputed’ 2014 which borrows (& therefore highlights) elements of ongoing geopolitical disputes around the world about sovereignty, resources . It is a dart game designed to conquer those disputed territories according to the countries that claim them.
Below are a few links to the references made here focusing on nature and culture:
Environmental Arts Festival http://environmentalartfestivalscotland.com/whats-happening-this-year/ is a free festival which uses art installations to inspire discussion about our environment and our role in protecting it. This year’s chosen space – Morton Castle in Upper Nithsdale, Dumfries and Galloway – is a dramatic festival backdrop that will provoke thought and trigger sensory experiences.
EAFS 2015 takes place over the weekend of 29th/30th August.
Eco art scotland http://ecoartscotland.net/ is a platform for research and practice. A resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers.
Art in the Anthropocene http://openhumanitiespress.org/art-in-the-anthropocene.html
Creative Carbon Scotland http://www.creativecarbonscotland.com
Map Office http://map-office.com/exhibitions/
Museo Aero Solar Thomas Saraceno https://museoaerosolar.wordpress.com/