Ecological art

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Ecological art is an art genre and artistic practice that seeks to preserve, remediate and/or vitalize the life forms, resources and ecology of Earth, by applying the principles of ecosystems to living species and their habitats throughout the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, including wilderness, rural, suburban and urban locations.[1][2] It is a distinct genre from Environmental art in that it involves functional ecological systems-restoration, as well as socially engaged, activist, community-based interventions.[3] Ecological art also addresses politics, culture, economics, ethics and aesthetics as they impact the conditions of ecosystems.[4] Ecological art practitioners include artists, scientists, philosophers and activists who often collaborate on restoration, remediation and public awareness projects.[5][6][7][8]

Historical precedents[edit]

Art historical precedents include environmental art, earthworks, land art, sustainable art, landscape painting, and landscape photography. While historical examples may reach back to neolithic times, according to the history published in the book, Ecovention: current art to transform ecologies, a short list of key works include Herbert Bayer's Grass Mound (1955) at the Aspen Art Institute, Aspen, CO; Joseph Beuys 1962 proposed action to clean up the Elbe River in Hamburg, German; Hans Haacke's 1965 manifesto for time-based, "natural", dynamic indeterminate art; Nicolas Uriburu's 1968 performance "Green Power, coloration Grand Canal - Venice" and Agnes Denes's 1968 performance, Haiku Poetry Burial, Rice Planting and Tree Chaining/Exercises in Eco-Logic, in Sullivan County, New York.[9][10][11][12] 1969 was a watershed year for ecological art practices, including Haacke's Grass Grows in Ithaca, NY; Alan Sonfist's activities articulating the significance of native forests in urban areas and his action to monitor air quality in New York city. Betty Beaumont documented the clean-up of what was the worst U.S. ocean oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, while Mierle Laderman Ukeles wrote Manifesto for Maintenance Art (Spaid) In 1969, the John Gibson Gallery in New York city mounted the exhibition, Ecologic Art, that included the work of Will Insley, Claes Oldenburg, Christo, Peter Hutchinson, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Morris, Bob Smithson, Carl Andre, Christo, Jan Dibbets, and Richard Long.[13] In 1969–1970, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison collaborated on mapping endangered species around the world. In 1971, artist Bonnie Sherk performs Public Lunch with the Animals in the Lion House of the San Francisco Zoo. From 1972 to 1979, Helen and Newton Harrison realize seven projects designed for and about lagoons in California.

The 1972 essay, Art and Ecological Consciousness by Gyorgy Kepes in his book, Arts of the Environment.[14] presents the genre as distinct from environmental art. In the 1992 exhibition and book, Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists' Interpretations and Solutions,[15] art historian, Dr. Barbara Matilsky differentiates ecological art from environmental art in that the former has ethical underpinnings.[16] In 1993, a workshop and exhibition, specifically about ecological systems and art, was presented by Don Krug, Renee Miller and Barbara Westfall at the Society for Ecological Restoration in Irvine, California. The term ecovention, was coined in 1999 as a conjunction of the words ecology and intervention, in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name curated by Amy Lipton and Sue Spaid, representing artist's projects that use inventive strategies to physically transform a local ecology. In a 2006 UNESCO research report for the Art in Ecology think tank on arts and sustainability, "Mapping the Terrain of Contemporary EcoArt Practice and Collaboration," the artist Beth Carruthers uses the term Ecoart.[17] A current definition of ecological art drafted collectively by the EcoArt Network of international artists, founded in 1998, is: "Ecological Art is an art practice that embraces an ethic of social justice in both its content and form/materials. EcoArt is created to inspire caring and respect, stimulate dialogue, and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live. It commonly manifests as socially engaged, activist, community-based restorative or interventionist art."[18][19]

Theories[edit]

The 2012 book, Toward Global (Environ)Mental Change - Transformative Art and Cultures of Sustainability,[20] proposes that the global crisis of unsustainability is a disruption of the hardware of civilization, as well as a crisis of the software of the human mind.[21] The 2004 book, Ecological aesthetics: art in environmental design: theory and practice, presents an analysis of a variety of tendencies and approaches to landscape architecture, science and theory that inform research and the transformation of the landscape for over thirty years.[22] Green Arts Web,[23] compiled by Carnegie Mellon University senior librarian, Mo Dawley, is a compendium of core readings on contemporary environmental art, ecological art and theory (20th century to the present) that includes, among other sub-categories, for example,[24] deep ecology practices;[25][26][27] ecofeminism;[28][29][30] ecopsychology;[31] land ethic and bioregionalism;[32] sense of place;[33][34][35] and systems thinking.[36][37]

Principles[edit]

Artists considered to be working within this field subscribe to one or more of the following principles:[38]

  • Focus on the web of interrelationships in our environment—on the physical, biological, cultural, political, and historical aspects of ecological systems.[39][40]
  • Create works that employ natural materials or engage with environmental forces such as wind, water, or sunlight.[41]
  • Reclaim, restore, and remediate damaged environments.[42]
  • Inform the public about ecological dynamics and the environmental problems we face.[43][44]
  • Revise ecological relationships, creatively proposing new possibilities for coexistence, sustainability, and healing.[45]

Approaches[edit]

Ecological art involves numerous diverse approaches, including:

  • Representational artwork: reveals information and conditions through image-making and object-making with the intention of stimulating dialogue.[46]
  • Remediation projects: reclaim or restore polluted and disrupted environments – these artists often work with environmental scientists, landscape architects and urban planners.[47][48]
  • Activist and protest art: engage, inform, energize and activate change of behaviors and/or public policy.[49][50][51]
  • Social sculptures: are socially engaged, time-based artwork that involve communities in monitoring their landscapes, and take a participatory role in sustainable practices and lifestyles.[52]
  • Ecopoetic art: initiate a re-envisioning of the natural world, inspiring co-existence with other species.[53]
  • Direct encounter artworks: utilize natural phenomena such as water, weather, sunlight, plants, etc.[54]
  • Didactic or pedagogical works: share information about environmental injustice and ecological problems such as water and soil pollution and health hazards through education.[55]
  • Lived-and-relational aesthetics: involve sustainable, off-the-grid, permaculture existences.[56]

Orientations[edit]

Contemporary ecological art has been articulated across interdisciplinary and scholarly groups in terms of life-centered issues, community participation, public dialogue, and ecological sustainability. In 1996, the educator and activist, Don Krug identified concepts frequently addressed by ecological artists that can be used by to interpret ecological perspectives and practices.[57] The following four orientations were identified: Environmental Design, Ecological Design, Social Restoration, and Ecological Restoration.

  • Environmental design – Some artists work with nature as a resource for particular aesthetic endeavors. Artists with an orientation to environmental design are interested in achieving particular formal aesthetic effects. In the 1980s and 90s, artists, architects, designers, and civil engineers explored ways to link art, aesthetics, ecology, and culture.[58]
  • Ecological design – Artists who work in the area of ecological design create art that is contingent on direct experiences and interactions with a particular place where the art is created. An ecological view of design considers the artwork within larger contexts of how people, plants, and animals are interconnected with each other, the site, and/or the earth.[59]
  • Social restoration – An ecological ethic where humans live in relationship to larger communities of life to catalyze socially responsible artwork. Socio-ecological artists critically examine everyday life experiences. These artists scrutinize relations of power that produce community tensions about ecological issues.[60]
  • Ecological restoration – Some artists attempt to alert viewers to environmental issues and problems through scientific exploration and educational documentation. They seek to restore fragile places and educate the public to the systemic character of bioregions through the use of communication, ritual, and performance. Some ecological artists engage people directly in activities or actions by confronting environmentally unhealthy practices with social, ethical, and moral ecological concerns.[61]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weintraub, Linda (2012). To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520273627. 
  2. ^ Strelow, (Heike (1999). Natural Reality: Artistic Positions Between Nature and Culture/Kunstlerische Positionen Swischen Natur und Kultur. Stuttgart:: Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst. 
  3. ^ Bower, Sam. "A Profusion of Terms". GreenMuseum. greenmuseum.org. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Carruthers, Beth. "Mapping the Terrain of Contemporary EcoArt Practice and Collaboration". greenmuseum.org. Green Museum. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Kagan, Sacha. "The practice of ecological art". PLASTIK: art & science. PLASTIK. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Moyer, Twylene, ed; Harper, Glenn, ed (2012). The New Earthwork: Art Action Agency. Washington, DC: University of Washington Press. ISBN 9780295991641. 
  7. ^ Weintraub, Linda (2006). Eco-Centric Topics: Pioneering Themes for Eco-Art (PDF). New York: Artnow Publications: Avant Guardians: Textlets in Art and Ecology. ISBN 0977742148. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Spaid, Sue (2002). Ecovention: current art to transform ecologies. Cincinnati, OH: The Contemporary Arts Center; Green Museum; EcoArtSpace. ISBN 0917562747. 
  9. ^ Nemitz, Barbara, ed. (2000). trans/plant: Living vegetation in contemporary art. Hatje Cantz Publishers. p. 63. ISBN 9783893229710. 
  10. ^ Land Use Database. "Earth Mound". clui.org. Center for Land Use Interpretation. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Spaid, Sue. "Ecoventions: qua an Arendtian Account of Freedom, Action and Miracles". Land Views. Online Jornal of Landscape, Art and Design. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Homer, Nicola (October 3, 2014). "Agnes Denes Interview. A Visionary Artist. Work 1967-2013". Studio International: Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. 
  13. ^ Archives of American Art, Research Collections. "Installation view of the Ecologic art exhibition at John Gibson Gallery, 1969". www.aaa.si.edu. Archives of American Art. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  14. ^ Kepes, Gyorgy (1972). Arts of the Environment. New York: George Braziller. ISBN 9780807606209. 
  15. ^ Matilsky, Barbara (1992). Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists' Interpretations and Solutions. NY: Rizzoli International Publications. ISBN 9780847815920. 
  16. ^ Howard, Peter, ed.; Thompson, Ian, ed.; Waterton, Emma, ed. (2013). The Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies. Routledge International. p. 200. ISBN 9780415684606. 
  17. ^ Carruthers, Beth (April 27, 2006). "Mapping the terrain of contemporary ecoart practice and collaboration" (PDF). Art in Ecology - a think tank on arts and sustainability, commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts; the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Vancouver Foundation, and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. London UK and Vancouver, British Columbia. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  18. ^ Naidus, Beverly (2009). Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame. New Village Press. ISBN 978-0981559308. 
  19. ^ "EcoArt Network". ecoartnetwork. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  20. ^ https://www.boell.de/en/content/toward-global-environmental-change
  21. ^ Kagan, Sacha (2012). Toward Global (Environ)Mental Change - Transformative Art and Cultures of Sustainability. Berlin: Heinrich Böll Siftung. ISBN 9783869280769. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  22. ^ Prigann, Herman; Strelow, Heike; David, Vera (2004). Ecologcial aesthetics: art in environmental design: theory and practice. Switzerland: Basel [etc.]: birkhauser. ISBN 3764324244. 
  23. ^ http://greenarts.org/reference.html
  24. ^ Green Arts Web. "Green Arts Web: Reference (Multidisciplinary)". greenarts.org. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Deep Nature (16 article special section)". Studio Potter. 19: 18–75. December 1990. 
  26. ^ Macy, Joanna; Fleming, Pat (1995). The Council of All Beings in Alan Drengson & Yuichi Inoue, The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. 
  27. ^ Naess, Arne (June 1992). "Deep Ecology and the Potters in (sic) Our Planet". Studio Potter. 20: 39–9. 
  28. ^ Diamond, ed., Irene; Orenstein, ed., Gloria Ferman (1990). Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. 
  29. ^ Warren, Karen J. (1987). "Feminism and Ecology: Making Connections". Environmental Ethics. 9 (1): 3–20. doi:10.5840/enviroethics19879113. 
  30. ^ Zimmerman, Michael E. (1987). "Feminism, Deep Ecology, and Environmental Ethics". Environmental Ethics. 9 (1): 21–44. doi:10.5840/enviroethics19879112. 
  31. ^ Shepard, Paul (1998). Nature and Madness. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. 
  32. ^ Leopold, Aldo (1987). A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford University Press. 
  33. ^ Lippard, Lucy (1997). Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: New Press. ISBN 9781565842489. 
  34. ^ Kwon, Miwon (2004). One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge: The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262612029. 
  35. ^ Baum, Kelly; et al. (2010). Nobody's Property: Art, Land, Space, 2000-2010. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Art Museum, Distributed by Yale University Press. 
  36. ^ Capra, Fritjof (1996). The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Doubleday. 
  37. ^ Burnham, Jack (1974). Great Western Salt Works: Essays on the Meaning of Post-Formalist Art. New York: George Braziller. ISBN 9780807607404. 
  38. ^ "EcoArt Network: About Our Work". ecoartnetwork. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  39. ^ Fournier, Anik; Lim, Michelle; Parmer, Amanda; Wuilfe, Robert (2010). Undercurrents: Experimental Ecosystems in Recent Art. New York; New Haven: Whitney Museum of American Art and Yale University Press. 
  40. ^ Lippard, Lucy (2007). Weather Report: Art and Climate Change. Boulder, Colorado: Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts in collaboration with EcoArts. 
  41. ^ Gaynor, Andrea; McLean, Ian (1998). "The Limits of Art History: Towards an Ecological History of Landscape Art". Landscape Review. 11 (1): 4–14. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  42. ^ Walker Art Center Museum. "Collections: Revival Field". walkerart.org. Walker Art Center, Minnesota. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  43. ^ Dederer, Claire (September 23, 2007). "Looking for Inspiration in the Melting Ice". New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  44. ^ Hanor, Stephanie; Sanromán, Lucía; Barnes, Lucinda (2008). Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet. San Diego, and Berkeley, CA: Museum of Contemporary Art; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. 
  45. ^ Blandy, Doug; Gongdon, Kristin G.; Krug, Don H. (1998). "Art, Ecological Restoration, and Art Education". Studies in Art Education. 39 (3): 230–243. doi:10.2307/1320366. JSTOR 1320366. 
  46. ^ Doan, Abigail. "HighWaterLine: Visualizing Climate Change with Artist Eve Moser". The Wild Magazine. 
  47. ^ Lampert, Nicholas (2013). A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements. New York: New Press. pp. 274–278. ISBN 978-1-59558-324-6. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  48. ^ Rahmani, Aviva; Schroeder, Paul C.; Boudreau, Paul R.; Brehme, Chris E.W.; Boyce, Andrew M; Evans, Alison J. (2001). "The Gulf of Maine Environmental Information Exchange:participation, observation, conversation". Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. 28: 285–887. doi:10.1068/b2749t. 
  49. ^ Stringfellow, Kim. "Safe As Mother's Milk: The Hanford Project (2003)". ACM DL. ACM Digital Library. Siggraph '03 Proceedings. 
  50. ^ Moyer, ed., Twylene; Harper, ed., Glenn (2011). The New Earthwork: Art Action Agency. Seattle, WA: ISC Press. ISBN 9780295991641. 
  51. ^ Bonacossa, Ilaria (2008). Greenwashing: Environment, Perils, Promises and Perplexities. Tornino: The Bookmakers, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l'Arte. 
  52. ^ Gevers, Ine (2013). Yes Naturally: How Art Saves the World. The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam: Niet Normaal Foundation in collaboration with the Gerneentemusuem Den Haag. 
  53. ^ Irland, Basia (2005). Water Library (PDF). Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 9780826336750. 
  54. ^ "Particle Falls, Public Art by Andrea Polli (2013)". Science History Institute. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  55. ^ Rogers, ed., Kendal (2011). Edge of Life: Forest Pathology. Art. Nacogdoches, Texas: Stephen F. Austin State University Press. ISBN 978-1936205318. 
  56. ^ Spaid, Sue (2012). Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots. Cincinnati, OH: Contemporary Arts Center, Richard & Lois Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art. ISBN 978-0917562822. 
  57. ^ University of British Columbia, Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy. "Don Krug, Research Interests". UBC Faculty of Education. EDCP. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  58. ^ Neperud, Ronald W.; Hochman, Maria. "Environmental Design". Art & Ecology: Perspectives and Issues. Greenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  59. ^ Krug, Don. "Ecological Design". Art & Ecology: Perspectives and Issues. Greenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  60. ^ Garber, Elizabeth. "Social Restoration". Art & Ecology: Perspectives and Issues. Greenmuseum.org. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  61. ^ Krug, Don. "Ecological Restoration". Art & Ecology: Perspectives and Issues. Greenmuseum. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

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External links[edit]