Insert ____ Here 2011 was a re-imagining of the project I created in 2008. This time I collaborated with 350.org to make it huge! And global. We wanted to put the power of creative thinking in the hands of community organizations and give people a chance to think positively in the face of climate change. View all the sites at insert-here.org. And we partnered with artist Paul Notzold for an interactive projection project.
If there was a way to connect with other artists working on environmental issues in a non-traditional way, would that be useful to you?I had a great meeting with Theresa von Wuthenau, founder of Imagine2020, an arts organization which is an umbrella for 11 presenters around Europe who are presenting work on climate change issues. It made me think about the value of shared resources, experience and networks and how that might increase visibility and ability for artists around the world.So if there was a way to connect, what would it look like and what would the goals be? Is it a simple FaceBook group or a forum? Is it something deeper which allows knowledge and resource sharing through tagging and data mining. How deep is it? How shallow? How much time would one have to put into it to get something out of it? How much time do any of us have to give to it?Could the group start to make things happen in the way of venues, funding and other oppurtunities? Is it curated, inclusionary? How does the group define or self define?One of the other projects that Imagine2020 is working on is a summer school for artists and scientists to get together to collaborate. They are seeking to have the artists and scientists truly collaborating, not just the artist collecting information and creating a project independently. I would love to find some ways to recreate these opportunities
Okay, so you probably know that I have been working on the Seeding the City project for over two years now. And this past September the project launched! YAY! It was a long time in the planning stages.
So the point of the project was to find a handful of people who were interested in installing small green roof modules (little trays of green roof that were less than 2'x4'). These people were then to reach out to their friends/neighbors to interest them in putting modules on their roofs too. The goals were to create a network of people in a region who were all interested in urban environmental issues and spark a wave of green roof building - more on all that here.So it started slowly with a few people interested - I kind of thought there would be loads of people who wanted a free green roof! Then I started to get interest from institutions, and although this wasn't the intended audience, it seemed like a good idea anyway. So when we went to install the first modules the comments were along the lines of "that's it?" "that's so easy!" -- and I realized (after my great experience with the planting program with Covenant House) that there was some other potential here. So I brought up the idea of doing a planting program with the residents of this particular institution. If they cover the costs (at just over $1,000) we could do run a half day workshop and by the end of that they would have a larger green roof - about 2,000 square feet worth!
I have since planted at a pre-school, an environmental organization and another school, all of whom are interested in doing planting workshops in the spring! So that is 4 more green roofs than NYC had before I started the project.So, while I may not (yet) be getting the broad reach that I had hoped for, I am getting to install some larger scale green roofs with some great people. And the green roof education reaches a broad base of people who will one day build their own networks...
It may be a hoax, but the New York Times paper and website being distributed and posted today has some shockingly simple and beautiful ideas.With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the paper has this to say, on George Bush's indictment for treason:
“The death and economic collapse that resulted has been completely devastating to our nation and, most of all, to me,” read Mr. Bush’s indictment. “I want to make amends, and it is for this reason that I am requesting that I be indicted for high treason. I thank the court for allowing me to right my grave wrongs. Bring it on!”
“The private oil interests have been involved in theft for decades,” responded Deputy Under Secretary of the E.P.A. Gavin Newsom. “They’ve stolen our air, our oceans, our health, and our land. They’ve proven they can’t run their business without massive theft.”“If we’re going to give corporations the same rights as people,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “then we need to hold them accountable like people. When parents abuse their children, the government takes over. When oil companies abuse the planet, the government needs to take over too.”
And on NYC's greatly expanded bike lanes:
Over the next two years, every other avenue will also receive a full bike lane, blocked off from traffic, while every fifth crosstown street will be opened exclusively to bicyclists and pedestrians beginning next month.Mark Blair, a transit worker from Queens, was busy re-timing traffic lights for bicycle speed. “Riding your bike up or down the avenue, the traffic lights are going to change in sync,” explained Blair. “You ride 10-15 miles per hour, and you’ll be hitting all greens.”“Now that our country is taking its rightful place among the world’s developed nations,” said Mayor Bloomberg, “it is time for our greatest city to take its place among the world’s great cities.”
You should go read it all yourself. The ads are pretty funny too.And while it is all done in good humour, there is not just a small amount of poignancy and hope. The paper is written from the point of view of our country (the people, institutions, government and corporations) actually having a conscious.It's about approaching the world from a people first (not convenience or money - which is what rules it now) and long term thinking. Actually leaving the world a *better* place for the next generation.In the print version there is an HSBC add (you know the ones where they use three images with three different points of view written over them) of Barack Obama pictured three times with the words: "epoch-making" "pivotal" "squandered."So bring on the massive transportation infrastructure rebuild, the closing of guantanamo, and the maximum wage law.It would be refreshing.
There are a lot of words that we use to talk about some bad environmental & ecological situations that seem to sugar coat the issues. I am compiling a list. Here's the first:
Climate Change - That's kind of like calling Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, "alterations in the weather pattern." What we are facing, is in reality, climate catastrophy. We are talking about massive, drastic, significant and irreversible weather patterns that will alter ecosystems on both the micro and macro scale. It is an alteration of life as we know it - happening on a meteoric time scale.
That's daily post #1.
crossposted from seedingthecity.orgI like to approach projects from an "outside the box" (boy, thats an overused term) point of view. When I mentioned the "Seeding the City" to a friend who works with green roofs, he questioned the value of planting such a small plot of greenery - how is that going to have any real affect on the Urban Heat Island Effect?May answer, "Each individual module may have a negligible affect, but what would hundreds of modules spread across the city do to both our environment, our awareness and our social fabric?"When you consider the potential of the project, creating potentially enough greenery on rooftops to recreate a Central Park in the sky? Now it gets interesting.I have also been considering how to raise money for the project outside of the "normal" channels (i.e. grants). A couple of things have come up recently which I am investigating:
- ThePoint.com is a tipping point model for fundraising and social action. Get enough people to commit to something, and then it can happen. I posted the project on there with enough funds to launch the project, its a pretty high price, so we will see how close I get, but it does allow many people to be involved at a small level - it is a further exploration of microfinancing.
- Another idea is to exchange money for experience or special commodities from the project, this is based on the model of artistshare.com. The funding is given up front and then the funders are invited to participate in interesting ways throughout the project.
- Finally, my own thought of allowing people to "sponsor" grm's throughout the city. Pay $50 and you would sponsor a grm in your choice of one of the neighborhoods. This wouldn't be on your own roof, but would include your sponsorship information on the signage and website.
So, does anyone have any thoughts on any of this? Are there ways you would want to participate financially? Would you give a small amount for nothing in return or prefer a larger amount and a unique experience or commodity (if so what would that experience or commodity be?) or would you prefer to know that your funds are directed at a specific piece of action?
Another blog I read just turned me on to RAF-Reduce Art Flights, a project launched at the Venice Biennial. The project aimed to highlight and promote the reduction of travel in the art world. With all the art fairs there's been an increase in not just in travel, but an exponential increase in shipping of artwork.This project hits close to home, especially given a couple of recent experiences. As I would hope, as my career grows, I have more opportunities to travel with/because of my work. On the other hand, I don't want to create a negative environmental impact with the work. And airline flights (if you didn't already know) have HUGE carbon emissions. So how to keep the career growing, spread the work and minimize the impact?Recently I was invited to the Wexner Center to present my work as part of the Art & Environment program. It was a one afternoon engagement. I explained the quandary to the director, and asked if there was a way to broaden my (positive) impact while there, could she work with the school or other organizations to fill up a week? She was happy to oblige. I spent a week working with a local group of extraordinary high school students (more on that later), spent the afternoon at the Wexner, and met with local artists. Believe me the week was packed full.(I was also reminded - again - of our desperate need for better rail. The only train was a 12 hour trip arriving at 3.30am in a city two hours away, the bus left at 4am. I was totally up for taking on the long trip and early arrival, but as anyone who has ridden any distance knows, the freight trains are given priority and passenger trains are notoriously late. If I missed the 4am bus I would have been awkwardly stranded).So in the case of Wexner it opened up lots more opportunities for me to meet with and work with people.The other instance was that I was invited to participate in the EcoAesthetics exhibition at < > TAG platform in The Hague. They were interested in bringing in an artists who would get out into the public space and create interventions or activate public participation. Well, thats me for sure! Unfortunately I *really* couldn't justify a flight to The Hague for a weekend project*. So instead I suggested that I create a project that could occur in the public realm, but which they could produce, organize and promote all themselves. I would provide the creative idea, the structure and the electronic files, everything else was (mostly) up to them. From that was born the "Insert ____ Here" project which will launch in The Hague this weekend, Brooklyn next weekend and then Miami and the Bronx soon after. I would love to see it happen in neighborhoods around the world, so certainly contact me, or watch the project site (totally in progress- just a theme place holder for the moment) for more information.In light of this, I have been talking with Michael Mandiberg and Tiffany Holmes (of ecoviz.org) about creating a group of artists who are interested in participating in and promoting an electronic panel. We could be in our homes, in front of a web cam participating in a panel anywhere in the world. If Andy Revkin can do it, so can we. *It's not that I don't want to go to these places - I definitely do, I love travel and I love meeting people around the world, but I am trying to be conscientious about my travel footprint - reducing the flights and if I do fly, packing the time full of opportunities.Images (from top to bottom): Michael Mandiberg's Real Cost plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Eve S. Mosher's "Insert ____ Here" project
(cross-posted from my new project site, seedingthecity.org):
So I have written a couple of different summary statements. Which do you like better?“Seeding the City” is a public art project that seeks to plant “seeds” of thought in the urban environment on challenges of climate change and potential for remediation. Social networking will determine the location for installation of individual green roof sample sites. Included with the installation will be educational and community building tools, and methods to trace the growth of the network. Online resources will include mapping of the project, tools for tracking local urban heat island effect and resources to recreate the project worldwide. “Seeding the City” is an art project that utilizes social networking to site urban interventions in the form of green roof modules. It capitalizes on community building to introduce urban environmental issues and remediation tools. The modules and their accompanying flags and street level signage will track the growth of the network throughout the neighborhood. Online resources will include mapping of the project, tools for tracking local urban heat island effect and resources to recreate the project worldwide. Let me know in the comments!