Author Archive

We need to talk about tipping points

December 22, 2019

This from ‘The Learning Planet’ a blog associated with the Climate Museum project. The article discusses the implications of ‘tipping points’ in relation to the language of ‘change’, ‘crisis’, ’emergency’ and ‘catastrophe’, all associated with climate and ecosystems.

The Learning Planet

A tipping point is a threshold that, when exceeded, can lead to large changes in the state of the system. In the case of global climate disruption, these changes could mean a cascade of feedback effects that could destroy conditions for thriving biodiverse life and human civilisation.

Screenshot 2019-12-22 07.40.43 From a thread by Andrew Dessler

The terms for climate have very quickly moved from ‘climate change’ to ‘climate crisis’ to ‘climate emergency’. (Side note, this should always be read as ‘climate and ecological emergency’, with intersecting causes and impacts of ecocide, fossil fuel emissions and ecosystems collapse.)

Arguably, there has been a climate emergency since it was known that fossil fuels were altering the global carbon cycle and raising temperatures (1940s – 1960s). On the other hand, there are valid criticisms of the use of the term ’emergency’ because it calls to mind authoritarian governments cracking down on freedoms to implement extreme…

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Review: After ‘Into the Mountain’

October 11, 2019

Allen Ginsberg instructed us,

“Notice what you notice”
“Catch yourself thinking”
“Observe what’s vivid”

Earlier this year Simone Kenyon’s new work Into The Mountain, commissioned by the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, was performed in the Cairngorms. ‘After Into The Mountain’ is a reflection from John Hall, Wendy Kirkup and Simon Murray who went to Into The Mountain together.

We offer John, Wendy and Simon’s reflection, not as a review (pacem the blog title), but as a consideration of the experience. In order to maintain the three voices this piece is a pdf which you can access here: After into the mountain – final version with images

After Into The Mountain

Biographical notes:

John Hall is a poet, essayist and retired teacher, who lives below Dartmoor and was closely involved in the conception and development of Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts.

Wendy Kirkup is an artist living in Glasgow. She is also an Associate Lecturer in Fine Art for the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), working at the Moray School of Art campus.

Simon Murray teaches contemporary theatre and performance at the University of Glasgow. He has been a professional performer and theatre maker and was Director of Theatre at Dartington College of Arts before moving to Glasgow.

Links to an incomplete collection of reviews:

Studio International Review

The Scotsman Review

Art North Magazine

The Stage Review

The Guardian Review

‘We Have More Agency Than We Realize’: Curator Lucia Pietroiusti on How the Art World Can Tackle Climate Change

July 24, 2019

Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator of General Ecology at The Serpentine in London, says,

“The more I spend time with the practice of ecological thinking, the more I realize that one solution or a one-toned approach is just not the answer. I am driven by the fact that it is becoming quite clear now that we are a little bit past the point of any sort of realistic reversal of the effects of climate disaster. Because of that, I am attached to the idea that you need pluralistic voices.”

She goes on to say,

“My great hope would be for every art institution to have an ecology department. It does not necessarily have to be someone like me who talks about plants, but it should be someone who looks at institutional strategy and environment at the same time, at how this institution relates to others, and how it sits within its urban landscape.”

and,

“There is a necessity to open up the disciplines so that we can face giant considerations like climate change. If departments do not collaborate, then everyone is just seeing things through a small keyhole. What would it mean to operate an institution as a permaculture, and less like a monoculture? I am really obsessed with the fact that metaphors are real and that you can move between the metaphoric and the literal in your program. When you do that, that’s when you start to see things differently.”

There are organisations exploring what this means in their own contexts including several significant ones in Scotland, including The Stove in Dumfries, North Light Arts in Dunbar, Creative Carbon Scotland, and there is a bit of a cluster in Aberdeenshire with SSW, Deveron Projects, and The Barn.

The Barn, in working with the pioneering ecological artists, Helen Mayer Harrison (1927-2018) and Newton Harrison (b.1932) to develop a vision for Scotland, On the Deep Wealth of this Nation, Scotland, have raised the stakes for the cultural sector’s involvement with these issues.

Read the whole interview on ArtNet

UNFIX Pt. 2: How to report?

May 7, 2019
For this 7th iteration of  UNFIX festival, embedded artist Christiana Bissett performed a series of measurements  throughout the weekend. Reflecting on the meta and micro measurements found throughout the festival, she reports on her findings. Haraway, Donna J. 2016. Staying With the Trouble. Duke University Press. Latour, Bruno. 2018. Down to Earth, Politics in the New Climatic Regime. Polity. Yusoff, Kathryn. 2018. A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None. U of Minnesota Press.

Reblogged from The Hollywood Forest Story: Earth Day 2019: We need to finish the work of Earth-law warrior Polly Higgins

April 22, 2019

Sometimes a voice is sent to calm our deepest fears Sometimes a hearty laugh will banish all our tears Sometimes words will wing our dreaming ever higher And sometimes a mind will set our imaginations afire. John Quinn, Walking on the Pastures of Wonder, 2015 Today, is a very poignant Earth Day. Last night, on […]

via Earth Day 2019: We need to finish the work of Earth-law warrior Polly Higgins — The Hollywood Forest Story : An Eco-Social Art Practice | Co. Carlow Ireland

UNFIX Pt 1: Surveyance

March 29, 2019

The first of a series of videos from Christiana Bissett, embedded artist with the UNFIX Festival (29-31 March 2019)


Christiana Bissett is a Glaswegian artist, with a research practice in aesthetics and ecology. Using performance methodology her work explores how we perceive environment and how this perception impacts our imagined futures. Christiana recently completed her MA – Ecology and Contemporary Performance at the Theatre Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki. She is a founding member of The Doing Group.


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