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.
(Intra)structure is a a collaboration with Renata Mann, artist and jewelry maker. Her fiber-based work is on a personal scale. My vegetative-based work is on an urban scale. We were interested in bridging those two points. We created (Intra)structure, a vascular and modular growing system for epiphytic and climbing plants. The pieces are connected by strong magnets. The can live in your apartment, on your balcony, out in the world and then modular sections can be removed and worn (pics of those pieces coming soon).(Intra)structure connects you with your built and natural environment...
I will be participating with Seeding the City and a new collaborative project with Renata Mann, (Intra)Structure.Textile Arts Center and environmental fiber artist, Abigail Doan, are hosting an evening open house for Earth Day 2011!This will be an opportunity to explore ideas related to fashioning self and our shared environment. Invited artists and local sustainable fashion designers will feature their own fiber, textile, and green design initiatives, as well as offering activities related to slow fashion styling and organic interactions with the environment.Visitors will be able chat first hand with presenters, participate in on-site activities, and celebrate Earth Day 2011 with refreshments and treats from local sponsors and green businesses!Susan Benarcik, Meiling Chen (Fearless Dreamer), Abigail Doan, Daria Dorosh, Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard and Melissa Kirgan of Eko-Lab, Ceca Georgieva,Titania Inglis, Anjelika Krishna (a.d.o. clothing), Renata Mann, Rachel Miller, Eve Mosher, Shannon South (reMade USA), Study NY with Awamaki Lab, Edina Tokodi (Mosstika), Tali Weinberg, and Zoe Sheehan Saldana.
Friday, April 22, 2011 -- 6-9PMrsvp@textileartscenter.com(image courtesy Titania Inglis, SS11)
This project 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.www.SeedingTheCity.org
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...
I had a really interesting conversation with a professor from Pratt's Visual Criticism studies program. We were discussing my participation in this semester's colloquium, which would focus on Landscape*.He felt I would be a good participant because my work so often was focused on making the invisible visible in landscapes (I am paraphrasing greatly). It really got me to thinking about how I define my work. He struck a very true chord with me.
I have always felt uncomfortable with pigeon holing myself into the world of eco or environmental artist. Even though much of my work does explore these themes, it primarily is encouraging audiences to re-think their existing environment or landscape. This is true of historical work and definitely true of current and proposed projects. A number of which don't fit neatly in the environmental pigeon hole. Some of these include:
- The "48 Hours of Sao Paolo" project, which seeks to black out the advertising in Times Square for 48 hours in an effort to see what else is there.
- A project I am hosting with the MoMA teen nights, which will introduce the students to visionary architecture and art projects (including Dickson Despommier's Vertical Farms, The Lilypad Cities, Steve Lambert's "Wish you Were Here, Postcards from Our Awesome Future," and the Ansan City proposals), and ask the students to re-envision their "Dream NYC." This is part of the digital project I would like to do in which I recreate the entire island of Manhattan (or a large portion thereof) as MyNyc, my own dream version of NYC - complete with monorails!
- Paths of Desire, which will trace movements of project participants as they explore historic Lower Manhattan within the confines of contemporary Lower Manhattan. (Proposal images coming soon).
- The project I am doing with the colloquium students. I am asking them to map a non-obvious route and document it in someway (graphics, photos, stories). This idea is on both Paths of Desire and HighWaterLine (which traced a topographic line). I am also planning to do my own set of invisible maps and post them online to share with the students.
So... I just think he really has a point about my work. I certainly hope that the projects will continue to inspire critical and creative thinking around environmental & ecological issues, while at the same time connecting people to their landscapes.I guess a new statement is in the works... Any thoughts?*I like the word landscape because it includes not only visible features but also the weather, climate and human features & the flora and fauna.
Today though I thought I might further discuss the conundrum of desiring a global art practice (and a global experience) while practicing a small footprint on this earth. As you may recall I was invited to participate in a project in the netherlands and ,my answer to that was to create a project that could easily created without my presence. Thus, Insert ____ Here was born. I was seeking to create a project that might offer an audience an opportunity to engage.The current project, Seeding the City is being developed in a way that can be easily adapted to locations around the world.I am really interested in branching out to more communities around the world- for different work experience, to learn more about global perspectives on the issues I deal with and to be able to share with a larger and larger audience. Plus the work is applicable to a global audience and the problems are global problems.So, given that status, how do i - or for that matter, any artist - continue to expand their practice in good conscience?
I have started some efforts, through the open source style projects and sharing learning, experiences and resources through the web.I am also working on a couple of tools to help build community and support for artists around the world through (the magic of) the web. I'm trying out a virtual studio with a couple artists across the country (get us out of solitary practices) by being available to one another on skype. Even trying to bulk up a lot of activities into any trips I do take (speaking of which I will be in san francisco & seattle in december - hint, hint!)Do you have any ideas about expanding your practice while at the sa,e time reducing your footprint?
Under the current transportation paradigm in New York, human life and health is traded for mobility, economics and other factors...More than 250 New Yorkers are killed in automobile related crashes every year, and it's not unusual for City officials to tout these historically low numbers as evidence they are doing their jobs well, as if exchanging 250 lives is a reasonable trade for mobility. Only in transportation is this somehow acceptable.
...You don't have to take responsibility for the results of your deeds; you just have to be bold about whatever risk you feel like taking, generally with the lives and money of others.In keeping with this philosphy, this summer the EPA reduced the official value of the average US lilfe from $7.8 million to $6.9 million. In Bush's first term this had been a goal of White House regulatory czar John Grahm, who tried to discount the lives of senior Americans in particular...Why devalue human lives? Because the less your life is worth, the less the Bush administration has to do to keep you safe. The less your life is worth, the easier it is to come up with a cost-benefit analysis showing that banning a dagerous pesticide or preventing global warming is "uneconomic," particularly as the value of future lives is discounted by 2 to 3 percent a year.
I often wonder how it is possible for people to be reckless in a way that puts others at risk - whether it is driving recklessly down city streets or making decisions based on profit rather than safety. If any single person were confronted with the idea that their action would cost the life of one person (especially if we use someone they know as an example) I would think that they would chose to change their action.
I don't think that people are inherently evil, but it is possible that without the ability to think longterm or big picture, than some of our actions are evil.On the other hand, I really do believe in the good of all people and that finding ways to reach out to one another helps to strengthen our communities and positive actions.As I am writing this, the Bush administration is pushing through oodles of "executive orders" that are raping and pillaging this country and its resources (natrual, human, our privacy, our security). But at the same time, the Obama team is watching closely. And simultaneously the local administration is turning streets into pedestrian plazas.If we each slow down and notice one another, and then as a next step, come together, maybe there is hope and maybe we can all learn to value every human life.