Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Monday, March 26, 2007

To See the Change We Are

I just read an interesting interview by Ed Burtynsky an international photographer. Burtynsky is known for photographing landscapes that have been changed by industry. There is a really interesting short video of his work here.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Final Rotation

Here is a really interesting piece of art I found on Eyeteeth. Artist Matthew Moore created Rotation a replica of a development that was being built on property his parents had just sold. The project was made out of black-bearded wheat for roads and sorghum as houses.

What’s interesting is what the artist has said that this is not protest art.

“If I’m against development, then I’m a hypocrite,” he says. “As farmers we created the model for this type of growth. We came here, ripped apart the native desert landscape, and continually tried to increase our yield per acreage. It’s essentially the business model for any suburban development (from Eyeteeth.)

This raises an interesting conception about the role of the artist (which is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.) Moore would seem to be suggesting that all he is not commenting on the development but merely reflecting it. If we posit that the artist is a mirror of zir (gender neutral his/her) society, is it better simply show the world artist sees or should the artist also direct the way the “audience” should feel about a piece? What do you think my glorious readers?

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Monday, March 05, 2007

My Links of Choice; and Why

So I look at all these weblogs and they all have links, but I always want a more specific understanding of what those links are about. So here are my reviews of my links. Enjoy!

Worldchanging: As many of my faithful readers have probably noticed this I love this site. This sight is dedicated to the notion that “a better world is here,” that the time for waiting for things to change is past and that we, as concerned and well intentioned people, have to start saving our world today. And the good news is that it is possible, today. The format is almost exclusively tools, ideas, models, and people which are moving us in the right direction. It strikes a nice balance between positive tools and alternate social models. The site is organized into seven categories; Stuff, Shelter, Cities, Communities, Business, Politics, Planet. Definitely worth a regular read. What I’ve used from Worldchanging: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Eyeteeth: This is Paul Schmelzer’s blog. He is always posting something interesting about the convergence of art and society. I also appreciate his ability to intertwine socially relevant art posts with other with purely political pieces. His posts short and to the point, which I greatly appreciate, if I want to know more I can follow-up with the links on my own. What I’ve poster from Eyeteeth: 1, 2, 3, 4.

We-Make-Money-Not-Art: This site is dedicated to exploring “the intersection between art, design and technology.” There is often really interesting posts about the ways artists are using new technology and reconceptualizing old tools to create really imaginative art that makes important statements about our world. I find many of posts really hard to get through. They throw a lot at you without much filtering, but if you can get through them you can find some real gems. What I’ve used from We-Make-Money-Not-Art: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Inhabitat: This is a great site for useful information of environmental sustainability. “ is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.” This site because it does not deal with art, however, as artists we need to push sustainability not fallow behind and Inhabitat has clear, practical, and efficient posts on a wide range of environmental design and technology issues. They are also great about posting simple articles for people without science or engineering degrees. What I’ve used form Inhabitat: 1, 2.

Coco Fuesco: Coco Fuesco is the shit. She has done really interesting performing for nearly twenty years. You have probably heard of her performance tour Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West with Guillermo Gomez-Peña (who is also pretty cool.) In 1997, during the South African Biennale Celebration Fuesco performed RIGHTS OF PASSAGE, which was a cool performance interrogating the past and present iconography of racial oppression in South Africa. If you want to read something by her you should checkout The Bodies That Were Not Ours (2001)

Community Arts Network: This is a great site with tons of information about cultural organizing and art based community development. I used many essays from this site in my final paper last semester.

feels like i’ve been driving north...: This is my home girls weblog. We have similar areas of interest in terms of helping people take control and recreate our culture and use these skills to strengthen their communities. She tends to approach these issues from a more social documentation media literacy point of view.


The Next Art Discipline

If you haven't heard of bio-art, you should check it out. Here is a pretty good article from the Mcdowell News. I was wondering the other day what would be the next artistic discipline. Well, bio-art is going to be one of them.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

...Of Interest II

Couple of things worth checking out.

Michel Blazy's Post Patman is a really interesting look exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. We-make-money-not-art has a really interesting post on it. The exhibit is a series of sculptures made of organic matter. Through the process of decomposition the sculptures are always changing.

Transitions - Biographies between GDR and Federal Republic of Germany is a really cool photo exhibit at the German Historical Museum. “Just after the fall of the Wall photographers Angelika Kampfer and Ewald Hentze set off to photograph the people in a state they knew would soon no longer exist. They returned to photograph the same people in 1992 then in 2004 and 2005. Nothing remains of the pathos of work that could still be felt in 1989. The spaces captured in 1989 to a large extent recall the early 20th century. The factories, craft centres and schools have all since been modernised. The brief span of sixteen years saw the emergence of the tidy world of employees and sanitary workplaces, the fully rationalised world one has to get along in - some much better than before, others not as well.” (Quoted from Transitions at We-make-money-not-art.)

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Human Powered Technology: Be the Power You Want to Use in the World

In a world where sustainable energy creation is one of the largest problems facing the world, The Human Power Objects Workshop looks like a really important re-focusing of our conception of what is and what is not a source of energy. The workshop was headed by Myriel Milicevic and there is an interesting (efficient, i.e. short) interview with her at We-make-money-not-art. Milicevic wrote in the introduction to the online report that "While technology so far has been developed towards a state of minimum human effort, this workshop now explores the potential of using the human body itself as a renewable power source." There seems to be convergence from many different angles that humans should be actively engaging with technology. From one angle, lots of people are talking about how games like Dance Dance Revolution can be used as a weight loss option, especially for kids. There is also the fact that many places in the world are not connected to a power grid. For the millions who cannot afford generators, human powered technology is a possible solution. MIT D-Lab or Design that Matters - Kinkajou Power Challenge are two examples of great work being done in this area. Finally, human generated electricity is a sustainable alternative, especially if it is connected with normal day activity. For example, charge your Ipod while walking to class or using natural human traffic patterns (like walking through a turnstile at a train station) to create power. The whole interview is really worth a read.

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