Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Poetic Science: Artistic-Scientific Approximations about El Yunque

From Fred Swanson...

September 8th, 2016 until March 31st, 2017 

POETIC SCIENCE: artistic-scientific approximations about El Yunque, is an interdisciplinary project created by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, in alliance with the USDA Forest Service - International Institute of Tropical Forestry. The project unites art and science for the purpose of celebrating Earth, the resources that Earth provides, and the resources protected under the Wilderness Act, enacted in 1964 in order to establish the National Wilderness Preservation System. The project commenced in March 2013, with an artistic residence in the El Yunque National Forest, organized together with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and the Colorado Art Ranch. Said residence was the first of a series of collaborations that took place in six different ecosystems in the United States throughout 2013.

The residence that took place in Puerto Rico resulted in an innovative project that creatively depicts the value and ecosystem of El Yunque National Forest and the collaboration that took place between the invited artists and scientists from the Forest Service. POETIC SCIENCE presents, for the first time, the artistic and scientific projects born from that collaboration. The exhibition title refers to the oeuvre of the scientist, philosopher and poet Aldo Leopold, considered in the United States to be the father of wildlife conservation. Leopold was the first to articulate, early in the 20th century, the concept of the “land ethic”, and who formulated a new way of thinking and acting towards the land that is still greatly relevant. To this artist/scientist, the true substance of conservation lies, not on physical projects sponsored by the government, but within the mental processes of the people.

For that reason, in addition to revising the relationship between art and science, one of the goals of this project is precisely creating awareness about the natural world and the importance of natural resources in our lives. Art and science are both the product of curiosity and awe; of the experimentation with different perspectives in order to create new forms of seeing and grasping the meaning of what surrounds us. We invite the public to initiate this personal process of exploration through the work of this group of artists and scientists that have proposed a new understanding of our Puerto Rican land.


The Time of the Force Majeure...

The Time of the Force Majeure: After 45 Years, Counterforce is on the Horizon
This book offers a 21st-century manifesto from the pioneers of the eco-art movement. Since the 1970s Helen and Newton Harrison have been creating art inspired by the earth. They established a worldwide network among biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners, politicians, and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues about ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. This definitive survey traces an influential joint career that has lasted nearly half a century. Organized chronologically, it features works from each decade, from their earliest installations to their continent-traversing work of the 1990s; and their most recent works both educating people about global warming and designing large scale responses to the phenomena itself.
Helen and Newton Harrison's work demonstrates the surprising power of art to change society and influence or even create environmental policy. The scope and impact of their work is astonishing and transcends typical art boundaries. For example:
  • 1974- Crab Farm First people in the world to discover how to get a mangrove crab to reproduce and survive in captivity. As a result first artists ever awarded a Sea Grant by Scripps institute. 
  • 1981- Baltimore Promenade Citywide redesign centered on rebuilding the decaying promenade system in downtown Baltimore creating the cultural corridor. $15 million dollar work was incorporated into the city plan. 
  • 1989- Sava River Long-term environmental recovery plan for Sava River, the largest tributary of the Danube. Adopted by Croation Water Department prior to breakup of Yugoslavia. Plan survived the Civil Wars and was expanded to neighboring Drava River system. Awarded Nagoya Biennale prize. 
  • 1994-2001 Greenheart Vision Worked with a team of planners in Holland to save the 800 sq km “Greenheart” of Holland from a $220B destructive development plan. Transformed regional development. Awarded Groenveld prize. 
  • 2005-2007 Greenhouse Britain 3-year collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to increase climate awareness in England. Large-scale community work successful at democratizing the planning process. Awarded CIWEM prize.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ars Biotica

From Ariane Koek:


Ars Biotica is a long term art and science collaboration between the Finnish society of Bioart, and Kilpisjarvi Biological Station which belongs of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki. It has fostered interdisciplinary work since 2008, hosting arts and science activities as well as an artist in residency programme. The focus of the work is on Arctic nature, biology and ecology, with a special interested in the biology of war, snow and ice, environmental and climate change, and the relations between nature and culture perceived
through the lens of art and science.

Since 2010, around 40 artists from Finland and abroad have participated in the Ars-Bioarctica artist residency programme.

They have also hosted a biennial art and science field lab called Field_Notes that took place in 2011 and 2013. These labs were about supporting artistic fieldwork as a catalyst for other environmental

Currently the majority of collaborations between the artists and the scientists have been initiated by the artists.

Blog... http://www.bioartsociety.fi/residency/

Balance-Unbalance, 2016

Balance-Unbalance (BunB) is an International Conference designed to use ART as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

The theme for BunB 2016 was “Data Science + Eco Action”.
How can we extract knowledge from large volumes of environmental and related data? How that can be used in benefit of the human society? What should we change in our thinking and in our behaviour? Individual vs community vs global: What matters? Why big or complex data is so relevant to our daily life? How the capture, analysis, curation, sharing, storage… and control of large data could rapidly change our world? What positive sides does it have? What not so positive, and even risks does it have? What data science has to do with humanitarian organizations? And with electronic art?

We want to inspire explorations of how artists can participate in this major challenge of our ecological crisis. We need to use creative tools and transdisciplinary action to create perceptual, intellectual and pragmatic changes. We want to discuss our proposals for the future from a diversity of cultural perspectives and socio-economic situations with open minds.
If you want to know more about Balance-Unbalance and its associated projects, please download:

Past BunB conferences:
(Thanks to Ariane Koek for the reference)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Recent scholarship on art/science

Here are some interesting recent publications at the art/sci interface:

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities, edited by Ursula K. Heise, Jon Christensen, and Michelle Niemann, is a collection of 45 essays, many of which were first drafted for the UCLA Sawyer Seminar on the Environmental Humanities in 2014-2015. It will be published in late 2016 or early 2017; see the table of contents below for a sneak peak. The volume brings together work by an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars and writers who address the Anthropocene, domestication, posthumanism, multispecies communities, narratives of decline and resilience, environmental history and memory, literature and ecocriticism, and environmental media, technologies, and art. The result is an important reflection on and assessment of the environmental humanities now.

More Info: Forthcoming in late 2016 or early 2017

Combining Art and Science for Conservation Outreach of Ectothermic Vertebrates (Amphibians and Fishes), Brandon Ballengee & Prosanta Chakrabarty


Although artists and biologists tend to stay confined to their professional boundaries, and their discourses largely remain inaccessible to larger audiences, evidence is presented here for a combined approach, which may affectively disseminate knowledge about amphibians and fishes to non-specialists through novel art-science participatory research and exhibitions. In this study evidence is presented that suggests combining art with biology may successfully increase public understanding of the international decline of amphibian and fish populations, as members of the public achieved increased understanding of ectothermic vertebrate conservation issues through direct participation (citizen science) in primary scientific studies. Likewise, art inspired from these research experiences was exhibited internationally with the intention of furthering a conservation message and results from questionnaires suggests visitors gained an increased awareness of the threats many species of amphibians and fishes currently face. Historically many scientists utilized varied creative art forms to disseminate scientific insights to a larger populace of non-specialists, such strategies as visually provocative artworks may still be effective to captivate contemporary audiences. As today's environmental issues are often complex and large-scale, finding effective strategies that encourage public awareness and stewardship maybe paramount for long-term conservation of species and ecosystems.

Constructing reality - The Museum of Jurassic Technology
Mapping the Musesphere - Cultures of Exhibition and Technologies of Display MPhil/PhD, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 2006, Chapter 5 - Displaying Mimesis: Fakes, Facsimiles and Fabrications

While we might be confident in our faith in our fakes, we have a different kind of faith in museums. Through their traditions of integrity and open-door policy, and as inscribed in legislation, museums assure their public of their authority to collect, conserve and exhibit the cultural heritage on behalf of their public... Confounding the very notion of the integrity of the museum to tell the truth, though, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California tells another story. Promoted as an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic, their narratives do not fall into any known museum categories.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Realising Potentials: Arts-based sustainability science

Realising Potentials: Arts-based sustainability science is a two-day workshop conceived as an experiential site for exploration and dialogue around arts-based sustainability science.

Two main motivations guide the workshop:
  1. To open up an experiential space where artists and scientists can share, connect and expand different experiences, projects and discussions in the field of arts-based sustainability research. A space to experience others’ approaches, to play, to be surprised… A space to explore together, pushing our boundaries, acting/thinking out of the box.
  2. To catalyse a network of Arts-based Sustainability Science as a community of learning, practice and mutual support. A network expanding in time the sharing of the workshop and connecting different actors working in the field, so as to allow us to critically approach and expand different practices, collaborate together, and face different challenges as they emerge.
When and where?

The workshop will be held in Barcelona (Spain), in November 3rd-4th, 2016 at the Institute of Catalan Studies (Institut d’Estudis Catalans, IEC).


During the workshop, participants will engage in different experiential laboratories and discussions to share, collectively explore and critically inquire different experiences of arts-science hybridation -both from artists and researchers, methodological boundaries and challenges as sustainability researchers and practitioners, and the potentials of bringing together the arts and the aesthetics and sustainability science.


This workshop is coordinated by a group of sustainability scientists and practitioners who have experimented with a variety of arts-based approaches and it is open to both artists and researchers interested in this intersection.

Participants are invited to share art and research projects directly developed within collaborations among artists and scientists, dealing with one of the thematic areas in question. Understanding the four pillars of sustainability – environmental, social, cultural and economic - proposals should embed the interactions between social and natural sciences and the arts as insightful ways to generate new understandings and relationships, make people aware of the importance of a balanced relationship between human beings and the environment, in its diverse levels, and trying to encourage people to realize potentials as agents of social-ecological transformations.

More details.