· March 2012

March 2012

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Grower, 2004 by Sabrina Raaf (image via loop.ph)

As we are in the midst of the open call to artists for the 2012 LAGI design competition for Freshkills Park, NYC, we thought that it would be a great time to write a small post here about the broader environmental art movement. Eco-art has a long and beautiful history, and we hope that those who are participating in the LAGI competition will appreciate the profound impact that has been made by its pioneering practitioners over the past decades. Eco-art continues to educate and inform by making people think about environmental issues in interesting and conceptual ways, and thereby arousing the slumbering environmental activist within us all.

ECO-ART is a contemporary art movement that addresses local and global environmental issues. In their work, eco-artists explore a variety of ideas and intentions, which may include environmental ethics, information about ecological systems and the use of natural forms and materials in art. Some eco-art is functional, striving to reclaim, restore or remediate damaged environments. Eco-art can re-envision ecological relationships and even propose new models for sustainability.

Below are just four (out of a long list) of our favorite eco-artists. We hope that you’ll be interested to take a look at the reference links at the end of this post to find your way to hundreds of other amazing environmental artists.

Ann Rosenthal, Steffi Domike, and Suzy Meyer – Carbon Cafe 2009
(image via Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren)

Ann T. Rosenthal While some artists focus on digging holes and hands-on reclamation, Ann T. Rosenthal is a passionate advocate for an “interprative” approach to environmental art which combines thorough research, documentation and electronic media installations. Her work is often collaborative as in her Infinity City project with artist Stephen Moore which explores nuclear waste and the environmental devastation caused by the atomic bomb. (text via greenmuseum.org)

Betsy Damon and Margie Ruddick – Living Water Garden in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China (image via threatenedwaters.com)

Betsy Damon Environmental art pioneer, Betsy Damon, creates large-scale art parks featuring sculptural flow forms and public art events to help clean urban waterways and raise water awareness around the globe. Her nonprofit organization, Keepers of the Waters, provides information and technical support for others working with similar design principles and processes. (text via greenmuseum.org)

Eve Mosher – Seeding the City (image via 2modern and courtesy of Eve Mosher)

Eve Mosher is a contemporary American artist who creates large-scale projects that directly engage the audience regarding ecological issues, such as in her highly-acclaimed HighWaterLine project. In her project Seeding the City, Mosher used social networking and community-based workshops to encourage New York City residents to start small green roofs. By installing green roof modules and displaying green flags, participants demonstrated the potential for community action and green space. In another recent project Paths of Desire, Mosher encouraged New Yorkers to connect with historic waterways and consider their relationship to the water surrounding Manhattan.

Andrea Polli and Chuck Varga – Particle Falls 2011 (Image courtesy Everett Taasevigen)

Andrea Polli works at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Her artworks aim to make visible environmental issues and hazards that often go unnoticed in everyday life. She often works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate systems through video footage and sound. In Particle Falls, Polli and collaborator Chuck Varga use sound and video to create realtime visualization of particle pollution in Santa Clara, California. In another recent work Heart and Heartbeat in the City, Polli developed a series of sonifications in which the audience experiences oncoming climate change through sound.

More References!

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click on the image above to explore make sure you zoom in deep to see the detail

The piece is meant to provide a context for the age of fossil fuels and question our ability to adapt to a post-fossil fuel age that is rapidly approaching. It’s the second in a deep zoom series exploring the time context of our access to carbon energy. The previous version is a longer view and can be seen here.

A similar PDF version is available as a PDF download in the sidebar of this blog.

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Elizabeth Monoian (co-founder, LAGI) will be speaking at the 2012 Women as Global Leaders Conference. She’ll be presenting the Land Art Generator Initiative on Wednesday, March 14, at 3:45PM.

The conference is being hosted by Zayed University and will be taking place at the Abu Dhabi campus from March 13-15.

From the website:

His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan will open the conference on Tuesday 13th March 2012, where he will meet with internationally and locally renowned women leaders; share ideas; and engage in debates around the conference theme:- “Creating a Sustainable Future for the World“.

Women as Global Leaders 2012 celebrates the courage, creativity strength of conviction and humanity of socially responsible leaders and their capacity to leave a lasting legacy impacting the sustainable future development of communities and organizations across the world.

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We’re very pleased to announce the addition of three very important professionals to the official 2012 LAGI design competition jury.

Mitchell Joachim & Maria Aiolova are the Co-Presidents of Terreform ONE and Partners at Planetary ONE. From their site:

Terreform ONE is a unique laboratory for scientists, artists, architects, students, and individuals of all backgrounds to explore and advance the larger framework of green design. The group develops innovative solutions and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water. These solutions are derived from the interface of design, science, engineering, and synthetic biology.

Suzaan Boettger is a scholar of environmental and environmentalist art in New York City, and Associate Professor at Bergen Community College, NJ. Her 2003 book, Earthworks: Art and the Landscape of the Sixties, is described by the University of California Press as “the first comprehensive history of the Earthworks movement in the United States.”

The complete jury list:

Bjarke Ingels
BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Dr. Henry Kelly
Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy

Jean Gardner
Associate Professor of Social Ecological History, Parsons New School, School of Constructed Environments

Alice Aycock
Public Design Commission of the City of New York, and Independent Artist

Eric Shiner
Director, The Andy Warhol Museum

Patricia Watts & Amy Lipton

Melanie Cohn
Executive Director, Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island

Steven Grillo
Staten Island Economic Development Corporation

Peter Yeadon
Partner, Decker Yeadon

Eloise Hirsh
Freshkills Park Administrator, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Phil Gleason
Assistant Commissioner for Waste Management Engineering, NYC Department of Sanitation

Anne Guiney
Executive Director, Institute for Urban Design

James Corner
james corner field operations

Suzaan Boettger
Scholar of environmental and environmentalist art, NYC ; Associate Professor, Bergen Community College, NJ

Mitchell Joachim & Maria Aiolova
Terreform ONE and Planetary ONE

We’re very happy to welcome Nacho Zamora to Dubai. Nacho is a public art researcher and founder of Solar Artworks. He specializes in the study and documentation of interdisciplinary and renewable energy artwork, particularly in the public realm. He’ll be working in the UAE for a couple of months, getting in touch with as many people and institutions as he can in order to learn about the latest projects regarding the urban landscape, and surveying the potential that exists in the UAE for sustainable approaches to public art.

We have written about the Solar Artworks Project before and have been following Nacho’s work for some time. We were able to meet for the first time at the 2011 International Symposium of Electronic Art in Istanbul, where he graciously agreed to participate in the panel, Public Art of the Sustainable City.

As a part of our first meeting yesterday, Nacho took us through the complete catalogue of solar artworks that he has documented in his extensive research on the subject. Some of the works we have also published previously on this site, but there are many others that we have not yet had the chance to post.

Below, we will give you a brief overview of some of them, and we recommend that you take a closer look by visiting the Solar Artworks website. The descriptions below each piece are quoted from the posts at www.solarartworks.com

Greeting to the Sun by Nikola Bašić

This solar artwork is a huge circle of 22 meters of diameter which has integrated hundreds of small solar cells within a structure of glass plates, and people can walk on it. The photovoltaic cells provide clean energy to the lighting system of over 10.000 tiny light bulbs, converting them into an impressive full-color display controlled by a computer. The work “reacts” to the presence of the public by different light patterns, causing amazing sensations to people who are walking over the installation.

Greeting to the Sun by Nikola Bašić

Night Garden by O*GE Architects

The installation was composed by a group of sculptures, shaped like flowers, which had light and movement that they produced by themselves thanks to the solar power collected during the day. This characteristic was the reason why the best time to see the installation was at night. As we can see in the video, the artwork created a really attractive ambient for visitors, inviting them to stay watching the changes of lights and the movement of the different elements. To intensify this “magic” ambient, the work was completed with several music creations by two famous local artists.

The Verdant Walk by North Design Office

The Verdant Walk was created by the Toronto based studio, North Design Office, as a proposal for the prestigious event Cleveland Public Art.
This temporary project (2008/2010) offered another point of view on a urban place, reminding people of the industrial origins of the city of Cleveland, and the strong promotion of renewable energies by the local government. In addition to the sculptures, The Verdant Walk renovated a large space, called Mall B, bringing native grass from different parts of local landscapes.

Sonumbra by Loop.pH

Sonumbra is an interactive proposal by the collective Loop.pH, from the United Kingdom. They have created a complex form of textile which has integrated solar cells. The work goes beyond the relationship between people and the sculpture, using an advanced movement detection technology that can “feel” the presence of people and respond to them with a spectacle of light and sound.

Solar Forest by Neville Mars

SunFlowers by Harries & Héder Public Art Team

Silicon Forest by Brian Borrello

PV Stained Glass by Sarah Hall

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From the artist’s website

For over 50 years, the work of Susumu Shingu has been inspired by the energy of nature. The graceful way that his pieces respond to variations in the wind is incredibly inspiring.

Some move elegantly in the stillness as if they were some kind of perpetual motion machine.

His works are at the same time delicate and durable.

From Breathing Earth, a film by Thomas Riedelsheimerby:

“Nature knows no rigid resistance”. Susumu Shingu works with wind and water. For many years now he has been creating sculptures that reveal the hidden energies of these elements – works of art that move the observer in an idiosyncratic manner, perhaps because they embody, in consummate beauty, a principle of life. They are moved by the same wind that we feel. They allow themselves to be carried by it, absorb it, change again and again, and then let it move on. Susumu lives according to this principle with great joy. He looks on in wonder, enjoys and, even at 71, he has retained the imagination and curiosity that led him to build flying machines and racing cars as a child.

Major architects, like his friend Renzo Piano, like to have their monumental constructions brought to life with his sculptures. Choreographers appreciate his sets and children love his imaginative illustrated books. He is a Renaissance man, fully committed to variety, the wonder of life and concern for people and his environment. This concern, along with his desire for people to discover other life principles again, have taken him on a journey to a new destination: Breathing Earth.

Never Ending Dialogue, by Susumu Shingu, in the Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa, Japan (image source)


Inspired by the geometry of the Lotus Flower, Monarch has created a prototype of a small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) system, for applications such as shown above

The company is aiming to bring the product to market for about $1.50/watt. Each 4m diameter unit will have a peak capacity of 3KW PV electrical output and simultaneous 3KW thermal water output, and cost $9,000 (installed).

Functioning solely as a freshwater supply, the unit could produce 10,000 liters of purified (desalinated) water per day.

via gizmag


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