Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Caledonian Everyday Discussion Pt 3 of 3

May 12, 2015

For the third in the series of Caledonian Everyday discussions (2pm Saturday 16 May, Summerhall) we have a panel comprising foresters (managers and researchers).

At the first panel (12 April) we were provided with an historical trajectory of the issues that Forestry Commission managers and researchers have been asked to take on. We started post war with pit props (a short hand for the role of forestry in the economy) through biodiversity (in the 80s) and community (in the 90s). But the shape of our forests, particularly the ancient woodlands such as Blackwood of Rannoch, have been affected by social and economic changes (human conflict) over a much longer timespan. This historical trajectory is from the period of Jacobite Revolts to the present.

Our second panel (9 May) started with the ways and reasons the Squamish First Nations people spent a decade taking back legal control over woodlands (Beth Carruthers). They were supported by the new Roundhouse Arts Centre in Vancouver who’s initial artist in residence project ended up lasting 10 years.

We went on to explore C19th logging on Rothiemurchus Estate (Scott Donaldson) and on to contested languages of forestry and the ways that poetry, for instance, can inflect political discourse (Amy Cutler). We ended with the democratic intellect in Scotland (Murdo Macdonald). Imperial and post-colonial, institutional and critical, understanding and misunderstanding, ran through this conversation.

For the panel on Saturday 16 May (2pm, Summerhall) we’ll take a different trajectory again.

Given an increased understanding that everything is connected, what do we need to be sensitive to in managing both ancient and urban woodlands, commercial plantations and even new sites for forestry such as the NHS Estate? What is the role of the arts and humanities? What is the role of cultural institutions?

To address these questions, we have a great spectrum of people involved in forestry including Bianca Ambrose, David Edwards, Richard Thompson and Rick Worrell.

Recently moved from the mountains of North Wales, Bianca Ambrose is a social forester, researcher and writer known for her work on public engagement and community connections with woodland who is now based in Bristol. A strong thread within her research work is to understand more about the motivations behind people’s engagement with woods and forests, how people feel themselves to be connected to place and with nature, and how this translates into group action and personal satisfaction. The concept of biocultural diversity and the complexities of socio-ecological systems are embedded within her work and thinking. Using environmental sociology and human geography as her epistemological frames of reference, biocultural diversity and socio-ecological systems are manifest as woodland and forest scale cultural landscapes, where agency is directed by culture, place presents the natural resources, and a cultural landscape results. Bianca’s recent work in the UK has involved research collaborations with community woodland groups, and communities involved in urban greenspaces both of which included travel to work in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland. Previously, she worked in an international context exploring the biocultural diversity of tropical forests and semi-arid rangelands across the world in countries including Cameroon, Mali, Ethiopia, Nepal, India, and the Philippines.

David Edwards, Senior Social Scientist at Forest Research – the research agency of the Forestry Commission – started his career as a forester on rural development programmes in West Africa and South Asia. In 1997 he re-trained in African Studies at Edinburgh University, with a doctoral thesis on the environmental history of southern Tanzania. He joined Forest Research in 2004, where he leads a new programme, ‘Integrating science for policy and practice’, which aims to demonstrate how to conduct applied interdisciplinary research in ways that enhance its impact. He has a keen interest in the environmental humanities and has been collaborating with artists Tim Collins and Reiko Goto, and a diverse range of partners, to help realise the cultural meanings associated with the Black Wood of Rannoch, one of the largest remnants of ancient Caledonian pine forests in Scotland. In doing so, he has explored the contrast between the official instrumental discourse of ‘ecosystem services’ and the private narratives of aesthetic and spiritual connection and empathy with nature held by many ecologists and foresters – and the prospect that these less tangible values might be incorporated better into environmental decision-making.

Richard Thompson, Native Woodland Ecologist for Forest Enterprise Scotland – realised his vocation at the age of ten and spent his formative years doing voluntary nature conservation work. He has muddy boot origins having trained as a forester and worked for a few years supervising harvesting and forest management. However, his interest in nature conservation soon led to an appointment as a conservation forester in Mid Wales and subsequently, a project leader in Forest Research’s Northern Research Station, specialising in the ecology and silviculture of upland native woodlands. Richard now provides strategic and site based advice on native woodland management on the national forest estate focusing on the restoration of planted ancient woodland sites, the improvement of condition in ancient semi-natural woodlands and the restoration and expansion of rare woodland types such as montane scrub and Atlantic hazelwoods. The aesthetic complexity of the “natural” environment and palimpsest of cultural use form important facets of Richard’s interest in native woods.

Rick Worrell is a self-employed forestry consultant who specialises in the management of native and broadleaved woodland. He has been involved in woodland survey, planning, management, research and policy development; working for private owners, Forestry Commission, local authorities and environmental charities. He is one of a small group of people who argued for native woodlands to be brought into the forestry in the 1980s; and has made a career out of working with the forestry profession to develop the collective competence to manage them. After 25 years we are only part way through that process.

He owns a small ancient oak woodland together with 4 other families, near Aberfeldy, where woodland management becomes personal and collective, and gets entangled with family life. He also, after many years of trying, persuaded a commercial forest owner to sell him a couple of acres of spruce plantation behind his house, which he is restoring to native woodland.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Caledonian Everyday Discussions Pt 2 of 3

April 24, 2015
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Tim Collins and Reiko Goto, Coille Dubh Rainich (The Black Wood of Rannoch), mixed media, 2015. Photo Tim Collins

Should artists seek to change the world?  That’s where the first discussion ended, having explored the history of pit props; the potential for a poet to contribute to the constraints that a forest manager might have to take account of in planning the management of an area of woodland; the development of ecosystems services assessment and in particular the cultural dimension; Gaelic and the subaltern, and how to protect a bramble patch in Central Scotland.  A more reflective and detailed summary of these discussions will be forthcoming in due course.

In the meantime we are very pleased to announce that the next panel (2pm Saturday 9 May 2015, the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall) will have on it:

Beth Carruthers is a philosopher, theorist, artist, and curator known internationally for her work and research over three decades exploring the ethics and aesthetics of the human-world relationship. Her primary focus is on the transformative capacities of aesthetic experience, and of the arts in human relations to environment and other beings. She has collaboratively across the arts and sciences on the SongBird project (1998-2002), and in 2006 created a research report for the Canadian Commission of UNESCO on art in sustainability focused on sci-arts collaboration. She has recently begun a collaboration with a neuropsychologist on a project studying interspecies aesthetic engagement in part by imaging the patterns of human brain response to birdsong. Over the past decade she has been developing a theory of “deep aesthetics”, arising from the aesthetics and ontology of Merleau-Ponty, and studies in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. It proposes that aesthetic engagement is potentially transformative of reductive ontology, and hence of cultural practices, looking toward more sustainable futures (see Carruthers, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015). Her most recent publication is “A Subtle Activism of the Heart” in Piper and Szabo-Jones, Sustaining the West: Cultural Response to Canadian Environments, from Wilfred Laurier University Press (May 2015). Also note: “Returning the Radiant Gaze: Visual art and embodiment in a world of subjects” in Brady, J., Elemental, from Gaia Project/Cornerhouse (forthcoming). Beth lives in unceded indigenous Coast Salish territory on Canada’s west coast. She is irregular faculty at Emily Carr University of Art + Design at Vancouver Canada, and currently a researcher at the University of British Columbia.

Amy Cutler, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of English, University of Leeds  Amy’s main academic research focuses on modern literature and its engagement with environmental politics and with old and new geographical imaginaries of Britain. Her specialist areas of study are coasts and forests in popular, small press, and avant-garde writing. She writes on problems of language, symbolism, and definition in particular environmental imaginations.  Amy is the lead academic on the new cross-disciplinary White Rose network, Hearts of Oak: Caring for British Woodland, based at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York.

Murdo Macdonald, Professor of History of Scottish Art, University of Dundee. Murdo’s doctoral thesis (University of Edinburgh, 1986) explored the relationships between art and science. He was editor of Edinburgh Review from 1990-1994. He is author of Scottish Art in Thames and Hudson’s World of Art series. His recent research focus has been as principal investigator of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Window to the West/ Uinneag dhan Àird an Iar: Towards a Redefinition of the Visual within Gaelic Scotland (2005-2011). This is a collaboration between the Visual Research Centre of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College in the Isle of Skye. It explores the inter-relationships of contemporary art, Gaelic language and culture, and art history. A further research interest is in the generalist ideas of the cultural activist and ecologist Patrick Geddes.

Scott Donaldson, Creative Scotland.  Scott is responsible for film education and environmental development.  Scott studied literature, film, education and environmental management. He taught photography and media in London colleges and Scottish universities, photographed for Scottish Natural Heritage and programmed cinema and education at macrobert. From 1997 – 2010 at Scottish Screen, Scott promoted film and moving image education in statutory and tertiary education. Since 2010 at Creative Scotland, he managed the Creative Futures talent development programme and continues to promote film education.

The following and final discussion on 16 May will have a panel of forestry managers and forestry researchers.

You can download the pdf of the exhibition publication SylvaCaledoniaCatalogue

For those of you who are observant you’ll notice that we have reduced the number of discussions from four to three – the one this Saturday 25 April has been cancelled.  Look forward to seeing you on 9 May.

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Gerry Loose, Neon, 2013. Photo: Tim Collins

Caledonian Everyday Discussions Pt 1 of 4

April 7, 2015

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As part of Sylva Caledonia, one of Summerhall’s contributions to Edinburgh International Science Festival, we are holding a discussion, Caledonian Everyday in four parts.  The first part will take place on Sunday 12 April at 2pm at Summerhall (Anatomy Lecture Theatre).

We are very pleased that Paul Tabbush, Chair of the Landscape Research Group (Bio), will join the exhibiting artists to discuss key questions imagining the future of forests in Scotland.

The key questions are:

  • Who knows what (and who decides) about the ancient woodlands of Scotland?
    Management of forests is no longer restricted to issues of extraction vs biodiversity. In a field including wild and free forest (no management), community management and extraction, and a science-based biodiversity management system, what are the various implications? Who decides? Who benefits? Who speaks for the forest and other living things?
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  • What can the arts and humanities contribute to well-being of non-human?
    The iconic and of the everyday:“ where is the Caledonian forest embodied in the central belt? Can a deeper ecological community and its aesthetic experience be nurtured within a city?  Is it a bonsai forest or a living ecosystem?
    .
  • How can the arts and cultural institutions of Scotland enrich our relationship?
    Attachment and the challenges of creating connections: do cultural institutions have a role in the public awareness and well-being of ancient forests? Do the institutions of Scotland enrich our relationship with ancient Caledonian forests? What are the examples of practice in making these connections?

Download the SylvaCaledoniaCatalogue

The subsequent panels will be held on:

  • Saturday 25th April, 2pm
  • Satuday 9th May, 2pm
  • Saturday 16th May, 2pm

 

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how much is too little, too much, or just enough

March 20, 2015

The 12×12 project grows out of the powerful story of a North Carolina pediatrician, Dr. Jackie Benton, who ten years ago gave up a luxurious home to live in a 12’ by 12’ off-the-grid house and permaculture farm.  The World Policy Institute used this idea to develop a project with the Queens Botanic Gardens, which has grown to an international network.

A creative team, comprising well-known NYC-based architects and artists including Betsy Damon, David D’Ostilio, Simon Draper and Christy Rupp, decided that the project must include all the key substances of living lightly: water, energy, and food. After careful planning, they decided on the following: two 12’ x 12’ structures will take the form of a book-like house that consists of living walls based on the DNA double-helix weave-like design; a rain-collecting upside-down umbrella rooftop with a waterproof layer and root barrier; a moisture retention product (such as a rainwater collecting solar panel rooftop); a drainage system and filter fabric made of flow forms that channel rain water into a large container, to be used as the main water source; an erosion cloth; and a space inside the houses that will be open to the public during the daytime (to be securely locked during the park’s closed hours). Once erected, the space will encourage interaction through slide-out walls that will prompt participants to read/write/reflect about their individual houses and our planetary house and share their visions via daily web posts and social media. Readings from the book Twelve by Twelve and conversations will be held adjacent to the installation, where artists will facilitate interaction and imagination.

Check out the 12×12 project tumblr – in particular have a look at the ‘impact’ section.

Nil by Mouth at the Scottish Parliament >> CREATIVE FUTURES

March 3, 2015

We’ve just put up an excellent video from artinscotland.tv documenting Crichton Carbon Centre‘s Nil by Mouth event (produced by Wide Open) at The Scottish Parliament last November. You’ll also find background on the project, lots of info on the scientists from The James Hutton Institute, Rowett Research Institute and SRUC as well as links to pdfs and websites associated with the various artists: Harry Giles, Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Hans Clausen as well as Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman.  Read more here.

Opportunity: Urbane

January 14, 2015

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“But cities are not just made of bricks and mortar, they are inhabited by flesh-and-blood humans, and so must rely on the natural world to feed them. Cities, like people, are what they eat.”
Carolyn Steel, from Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives, 2008

With 66% of the world’s population expected to be living in urban areas by 2050, now is the time to ask- how will we sustain these populations within the competing uses of city space? Have city dwellers lost all sense of connection with the rural, and in doing so, alienated themselves from the production of the very sustenance that keeps them alive?

Urbane, a cross-disciplinary exhibition, aims to address these questions and provoke further consideration of these issues. Embracing discourse around the growing energy and attention being drawn towards local growing initiatives and food projects, the exhibition will act as a platform for the exchange of knowledge between artists, architects, scientists, writers, policy-makers and community groups to address the need to more fully embed our food system within our everyday urban lives.

Urbane will run 19-24 February 2015, with talks, workshops and performances activating the gallery space to create a forum to better understand the unique attributes and possibilities existing within Scotland’s urban and social environments for a more sustainable and equitable future.

Submission Guidelines:

Deadline for submissions 23 January 2015

Works of all mediums will be considered for the exhibition, with a preference for interdisciplinary collaborative works. Works will be selected for their cohesion and ability to sit within a group show in the Tent Gallery, a street-front project space located in the Art, Space + Nature studio, a space where direct dialogue between the University and the public can take place. The dimensions of the gallery are roughly 6m x 6.5m x 2.5 m in height, so works must sit well within this scale of space.

Please send a digital copy or photos of your work along with an artist statement and description/interpretation of work to Allison Palenske at thedinnerlab@gmail.com by 23 January 2015 at 5pm. Email attachment sizes must not exceed 5MB, please provide links to a Dropbox file location for larger files. Only works that have already been created will be considered, unfortunately we cannot accept proposals for new work at this time.

Preference will be given to artists proposing a performance, talk or workshop surrounding their work. Applicants will be informed of curators’ decisions by 26 January 2015.

By entering, the artist confirms that if successful, they will deliver finished exhibition quality pieces to Tent Gallery, Evolution House, Edinburgh College of Art no later than 15 February 2015. Artists must be able to pick up their works following the end of the exhibition, or provide return postage, no later than 1 March 2015. Whilst due care and attention will be given throughout, artists should note that the artworks will be sent, exhibited and returned entirely at the owners risk. Artists are liable to make their own insurance cover, if required. Works should be sent suitably packaged and will be returned in the original packaging.  Artists whose work is of a fragile nature should discuss this with the organiser before sending the works. Any further questions can be sent via email to Allison at thedinnerlab@gmail.com.

33 dagar/33 Days

December 14, 2014
Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén, “33 dagar från ett krikonsnår” (“33 Days from a Damson thicket”), 2014

Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén, “33 dagar från ett krikonsnår” (“33 Days from a Damson thicket”), 2014

”33 Days” – an exhibition by Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén
20.11 2014—15.2 2015
KONSTHALL C , Cigarrvägen 14, 123 57 Farsta, Sweden
http://www.konsthallc.se

33 dagar/33 Days is an exhibition by Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén, and an investigation into the life of insects existing in a habitat of Damson trees (Prunus Insititia). The first Scandinavian findings of Damson, the “poor man’s plums”, are from the Viking age. The thicket measures 26 x 13 meters and is situated a few hundred meters from Grimeton Radio Station, on the west coast of Sweden. It’s a large-scale radio station for long wave transmissions and wireless telegraphy with the US from the 1920s. The Grimeton Radio Station of Halland is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The Damson thicket is surrounded by an agricultural landscape with monoculture. It’s a fragment of an old cultural landscape and represents an endangered biological heritage. The insects have been filmed in high resolution (4K), with a camera that “sees” more than the human eye and that reveals a “new” visual reality. Vegetation observed from the inside with the ultrafast reactions of the insects versus standstill and slow-moving time.

A diary of the unexpected behaviour of insects and their encounters (with man and his machines as an alien element) – during a rapidly proceeding summer.

Another work, “DRIFT, what about Callisto?”, questions the usage of pesticides in today’s industrial agriculture.

Works in the exhibition:
Video: “33 dagar från ett krikonsnår” (“33 Days from a Damson thicket”), 115 min, 2014
Video: “DRIFT, what about Callisto?”, 28 min, 2014
Posters: ”Superweeds”

Ingrid Book and Carina Hedén are two artists based in Oslo. In their work – photography, video and installations – they actualize ethical and social questions in the intersections of architecture and urban and regional landscapes. Exhibitions of their work include Midlertidige utopier/Temporary Utopias for the Norwegian Democracy Investigation (Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo 2003), News from the Field about urban agriculture (Bienale de São Paulo 2004), Militære landskap/Military Landscapes (Festspillutstillingen in Bergen, 2008). They participated in the Moderna Show 2010 with the series of photos Bexells Stenar, ett undangömt monument (Bexell’s Stones, a hidden monument).

The exhibition 33 dagar/33 Days also marks the end of our two-year long exhibition/investigation Sustainability – What Do We Actually mean?*, initiated by the Konsthall C work group in January 2013.

In connection with the opening of the exhibition, Thomas Bøhn, researcher/professor in gene ecology at the University of Tromsø, gave a lecture.

About Thomas Bøhn: “My research interests are focused on the effects of modern biotechnology, and in particularly of genetically modified orgamisms (GMO), on experimental model systems and on real food-webs. At my institution GenØk I’m particularly interested in risk assessment and effect studies of modern biotechnological products. One focus has been on the food quality and ecotoxicology of GM-plants (for example Bt-corn or Roundup Ready soy) in a feeding model with water fleas (Daphnia magna), also in combination with chemical stress factors (herbicides and other chemical pollutants). In the field, I work with the consequences of modern biotechnology on biological diversity and food-webs, both in terrestrial and aquatic systems. I also have a great interest in evolution, biodiversity, ecological interactions and invasion biology.”

Land Art Generator Initiative

November 9, 2014

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Hyperallergic recently covered the Copenhagen 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative competition saying,

“There is no shortage of art critiquing humankind’s abuse of the earth today. While these works help illuminate the problem, they don’t actually solve it. But what if artists could use their know-how to engage in a practice that actually brings about real change?

That’s the theoretical question behind the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a group that hopes to crack 21st-century energy challenges by encouraging collaboration between artists and architects, scientists and engineers. On its website, LAGI states one of the simplest problems facing renewable energy today is the fact most residents don’t want an ugly (albeit sustainable) power plant within view of their homes…” (continue reading on Hyperallergic)

Check out Strange Weather

August 23, 2014

The Strange Weather exhibition and project, curated by CoClimate (and a very important looking man from Met Eireann) is on at the Science Gallery in Dublin at the moment.  CoClimate have flipped our obsession with the weather and how it affects us to play with the idea of how we affect the weather…  If you’re interested to see what sort of work is included, and how the audience is reacting, check out this video:

Soil Culture

May 29, 2014

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Daro Montag asked us to highlight this important event taking place in the South West of England:

We are inviting all those who have an interest in soil, art and education to join us at Falmouth University for our Soil Culture Forum.

In addition to films, art events, presentations and some good local food, there will be a series of creative workshops where you will be able to touch the earth and learn about the different ways in which artists use it.

Prepare to experiment, play and get a little bit dirty!

For more information or to register for the Forum visit: Soil Culture | Using the arts to revitalise our relationship with a resource we take for granted..


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