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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Just a quick note to feature this beautiful beadwork illustrating global warming in North America.


By Peggy Dembicer on flickr.

What a beautiful piece of artwork to bring attention to this threat to our global ecosystem.

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Here is a group I want to find out a lot more about: The Center for Land Use Interpretation. I discovered them from a little sidebar in the New York Times on the Hudson River which mentioned their new book, Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy. According to their website, the CLUI:

is a research organization involved in exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to pursue its mission – engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition.

But that seems to be putting it mildly. They seem to have a fascination for all the many ways that man and landscape intersect for good or for bad. And their medium is based in the visual. They have many other books, online features, newsletters (going back to 1995!), and exhibitions on everything from trash to parking spaces. I’m going to have to spend a lot more time checking them out.

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Somehow, I managed to miss all pre-press about The Bottle Project in Atlanta, an installation in a park walking distance to my house. Last night, I was walking over there, and happened upon part of it that remains – it was supposed to be installed through September, but it looks like the Department of Watershed Management destroyed it as part of a runoff control project. Here is the part that I saw (photos are from my cameraphone, sorry for the poor quality):

The Bottle Project - Web

The Bottle Project - Entryway Post

The igloo or dome was gone. I hope they’ve simply moved it during the watershed project and will return it when that is complete.

I was curious about the artists and any other info about The Bottle Project, so I looked it up when I got home and found the above linked Blogspot page, along with the following coverage from the local Public Broadcasting station: Sunken Garden Park – The Bottle Project, including a recorded interview with one of the artists, Pam Longobardi.

Here is info on the project from the Blogspot site:

The Bottle Project is a temporary public art project created for Atlanta’s Sunken Garden Park by artists Craig Dongoski, Pam Longobardi and Joe Peragine. The project explores the invisible network of connectedness that runs through everything, whether human or non-human, built or naturally occurring. This network can be made visible by examining the flow of water, both local and global. Atlanta is experiencing the longest drought in our collective memory, and yet very little conversation about conservation has occurred. The reaction of habit and convenience is to buy bottled water. The natural network of water flow has become artificial and commodified. Plastic that never disappears off the earth is being produced and used by the billions every day to contain and transport this naturally mobile substance. We are attempting to make visible a problematic cycle that needs to be re-thought.

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Take a few minutes to watch this video: Chris Jordan Pictures Excess – TED Talk 2008

Artist Chris Jordan talks about his work at the TED Conference earlier this spring – in his own words here from his website:

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

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This article in yesterday’s New York Times about concert pianist Soyeon Lee’s efforts to raise awareness about recycling and reusing was really neat. She wears gowns made from recycled juice pouches and plays pieces that have been “recycled”. After watching the Story of Stuff together, my daughter and I decided not to use juice boxes anymore. I now give her milk every day in a little Rubbermaid Litterless Juice Box instead of the Soy Dream juice boxes I had been using.

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I’ve been following the work of Margaret and Christine Wertheim, founders of the Institute for Figuring, for a few years now. I tried my own hand at hyperbolic crochet, and was invited by Margaret to contribute to her coral reef project. At one point, I had intended to make something of the collection of blue New York Times bags I’ve been collecting, but I have not had enough time to put into crafting in quite a while.

In any case, the hyperbolic crochet coral reef and toxic reef projects have continued without my participation and is now a wonderful exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. Exhibition dates: October 13 -Dec 16, 2007. See more photos here (Chicago Exhibition) and here (toxic reef).

Finally, read more about the project on the Institute for Figuring‘s website. Excerpt:

…this collective celebration is motivated also by an ecological urgency, for coral is being devastated by global warming, agricultural run-off, urban effluent and marine pollutants. 3000 square kilometers of living reef are lost every year, nearly five times the rate of rainforest elimination. Ironically, as reefs disappear a sinister substitute is growing beneath the waves: In the north Pacific ocean the world’s plastic garbage is accumulating, fifty years of plastic trash building into a vortex twice the size of Texas and 30 meters deep. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it is known, is a ghastly analog to the Great Barrier Reef, an aquatic “wonder” of appalling dimensions that continues to accrete. To highlight this monstrosity and our own role in its making, the latest spawn of the IFF is a toxic reef called Bikini Atoll – a hybrid assemblage made from yarn and plastic garbage. Our challenge for the future – and the reason we have chosen to exhibit this work– is to help raise awareness of this plastic problem, an ecological cancer whose stain will mar our planet’s face for geological time.

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Winner of Friends of the Earth’s Best One-minute green film award. This simple film documents the horrors of plastic overpackaging of a child’s toy.  After wrestling with all the packaging, the child is too tired even to play with her new toys.

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