Socially engaged artists need not be aligned (and may often be opposed) to the public sector and to institutionalized systems. In many countries, structures of democratic governance and public responsibility are shifting, eroding, and being remade in profound ways—driven by radical economic, political, and global forces. According to what terms and through what means can art engage with these changes?
Greiner’s works involve buying 40 litres of maggots and bringing them to the exhibition space until they turn into flies, composing music based on the luminous skin of a squid, convincing the Director of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to consider a fly as a living artwork, photographing portraits of algae, carefully orchestrating explosions around Berlin
Albedo suits are designed to increase the solar energy reflectivity (albedo value) in the forests; this way cooling the climate and mitigating the climate change. The work plays with the notion of geoengineering and forest management as a geoengineering project
“The Condition” might look like standard (media) art installation but don’t let its playful appearance fool you. The deeper you dig, the more you realize how many thought-provoking ideas and issues the work raises: new forms of ‘natural selection’ where it’s the prettiest -not the fittest- that survives, novel ecology in which salmons and tulips are grown à la carte, and intersection between the design of biological organisms and capitalistic values
Björn Wallsten explores subsurface infrastructure systems and in particular the no longer functioning cables and pipes that are continuously disconnected and left behind. These hibernating quantities form a metal deposit below the cityscape and are evidence of society’s persistently wasteful handling of mineral resources. He calls them urks…
A series of panels at the Science Gallery in Dublin explores impending global catastrophes: cosmic bullets, climate change and machines that might one day decide to make us redundant
INHERITANCE consists of a set of precious jewellery artefacts which are radioactive and therefore rendered practically and symbolically unwearable for deep time, until the radionuclide transmute naturally into a stable and non radioactive isotope of lead
We need to take better care of bees. Either we leave that task to governments and hope they’ll be fast, efficient and impervious to the influence of lobbies and corporations. Or we try and make an impact at grassroot level. Which is exactly the kind of attitude that the Pixelache Festival in Helsinki has been fostering for years
HeHe’s projects use clouds as a visual metaphor to aestheticise toxin coated atmospheric emissions. Smog, radioactive clouds, clouds produced by exhaust fumes, cigarettes or industrial emissions are visualised, highlighted, outlined, coloured or put under the spotlight, to alert us— not without humour—on our arrival in the Anthropocene age
Should bird populations decline drastically in the near future, could fake birds replace them and contribute to keeping the natural balance of a forest intact? The question might sound a bit fanciful but it is inspired by scientific papers about insect-eating plants, the extinction of birds species and the impact their disappearance would have on our forests
Image courtesy of the artist While visiting an ex soldier training area in Maastricht turned into workshops for […]
Ellie Irons is one of those rare artists whose work opens your eyes to what is just under your nose but remains unnoticed. Some artists bring the spotlight on data collecting, others on corruption, corporate malpractice, or land grabbing. Ellie forces us to consider the wild and often reviled urban ecology that sprouts all around us. She uses galleries to provide asylum to wild and invasive plant species, extracts the pigments from local weeds to paint their map-like portraits, photographs the vigorous life growing inside vacant lots, and is actively collecting the seeds of the most humble but robust plants that mirror population growth and flux in globalized cities
The mobile ecosystem has a robotic core wrapped in twelve garden modules. Whenever the lowermost plants require more sunlight, they ‘vote’ to have the sphere gently roll over. If it becomes too hot for the majority of them, they will steer the structure towards the shade
Ploeger is an artist who looks at the broad picture, who realizes that e-waste, sexuality, ecology or violence are all valid points of entries into the study of the many paradoxes, complexities and entanglements of our consumer culture and its impacts on the planet
Machine Wilderness explores what our technologies could look like if they are native to our landscapes, part of material flows, foodchains and layers of communication. In particular it looks at environmental robotics, designing ‘pseudo-organisms’ that relate to specific habitats
The artist gave a brilliant talk about how the fish, the beaches and even ourselves are chocking on plastic, about King Leopold II of Belgium and his brutal exploitation of Congo, and about the Homo Sapiens, a species so presumptuous it gives itself the title of ‘doubly wise.’
Age of Wonderland interrogated the sustainability of our food systems, looked at how they interconnect with the environment and searched for alternatives to feed communities. The festival basically did the job that the Expo Milan was supposed to do but with less fanfare and more sense
Media artist and beekeeper Annemarie Maes has been monitoring and working with urban bee colonies since 2009, not only to develop novel art works but also to better understand the connections between city honeybees and urban ecosystems, to raise awareness among citizens about the plight of the pollinating bees and to call for ecological activism
The piece is made of Exxon, Shell, BP, and Mobil oil cans, but overnight, the local gallery staff had them secretly changed to Petronas labels. Though this violates the contract, I decided to keep the piece in the show because of the strange situation this tampering creates–a nationally owned oil company rushing to put its logo on a piece of art that is highly critical of the oil industry and what it appropriates and extracts
Scientists tell us that the Earth has entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene. We are not facing simply an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. In two centuries, our planet has tipped into a state unknown for millions of years. How did we get to this point?
The quality of groundwater is heavily affected by human industrial activities. Looking for innovative ways to get clean waters to irrigate agricultural fields, artist Rihards Vitols is currently experimenting with a new type of agronomy that relies on “cloud-farming”. In his scenario, people will raise thousands of helium balloons over their land to collect water from the cloud
This symbiotic system re-imagines the management of sewage in order to salvage its potential as a source of energy. it is made up of a set of modular microbial fuel cells for the development or colonies of bacteria whose metabolism produces electricity and improves water quality
Each object is made from the amount of toxic waste created in the production of three items of technology – a smartphone, a featherweight laptop and the cell of a smart car battery. Besides, the vases are sized in relation to the amount of waste created in the production of each item
The artist harvested 24kg of an invasive weed from a highighly polluted area in Spain, extracted the iron ore from the plants and used it to make an iron ring. The innovative experiment brought together the biological, the industrial, the technological and even craft to create a piece of jewellery that weights 2 grams. The project also suggests a way to reverse the contamination process while at the same time mining iron ore from the damaged environment
I’m drowning in really good books this year. Half of them are photography books. And because i’m short on time and these publications deserve a review, i’m going to take the lazy road: a sweeping and speedy overview of 5 of my favourite photo books of the moment. In one post.
The exhibition seeks to investigate the historical and social implications of the plant world in light of the ever-increasing resurgence of “green” as an agent of change in relation to current economic processes. To place a plant within a historical context means to consider not only its biological constitution, but also the social and political factors which see it already positioned at the centre of the earliest forms of economic globalisation
Concerned by the lack of research on radiation-bred edible plants and their possible impact on our health and on the environment, the Center for Genomic Gastronomy created a barbecue sauce that contains some of the most common radiation-bred ingredients: Rio Red Grapefruit, Milns Golden Promise Barley, Todd’s Mitcham Peppermint, Calrose 76 Rice and Soy
Pothier is in the region to shoot videos and make sound recordings but because he a PhD researcher in Arts, Anthropology and Architecture, the artist is also investigating nomadic architecture, drawing lessons from the way nomadic cultures live in symbiosis with the environment and more generally exploring issues of global warming which are felt so acutely in circumpolar regions
Simon Faithfull’s new commission, REEF, began in August 2014 off the Dorset coast, where a boat made a last voyage out to sea and was sunk to become an artificial reef – serving as an underwater sculpture and a lasting legacy for marine conservation and biodiversity
Visual artist Melle Smets and researcher Joost van Onna followed the travel of discarded cars from Europe to Ghana and ended up at Suame Magazine, near the town of Kumasi, in Ghana. In this area, 200,000 artisans are working in 12,000 workshops, stores and factories to repair and give a new life to European disused vehicles.
Smets and van Onna then collaborated with local craftsmen and mechanics to build a African concept car in three months
By bringing together works by artists, designers, scientists, meteorologists and engineers STRANGE WEATHER asks questions such as: Should human culture be reshaped to fit strange weather or should we reshape weather to fit our strange culture? Who is going to take advantage of climate chaos and how will strange weather benefit me? How will you choose to work, celebrate, live and die when weather gets weird?
A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting is a growing collection of items contributed from places that may disappear due to the combined physical, political, and economic impacts of climate change, including glacial melting, sea level rise, coastal erosion and desertification. Through common but differentiated collections, the contributed materials form an archive of the future anterior; what will have been
The show goes from the very absurd (the Halliburton survivaball) to the very dark and dramatic. But the adjective that pervades the show is ‘fun’. While visiting the exhibition, i’ve been drinking cloud, watched a 1959 film that speculates on how weather control departments would use satellites and met with little child mannequins in Hazmat suits in the most unexpected places
The Tornado Diverter is a device built by artists Bigert & Bergström to intercept and stop a tornado. The sculptural machine radiates 100,000 negative volts and has the power to repel the positive charge of the tornado that causes twisters to touch down
Over the past few years, Martin Howse has been investigating the possibility to build a computational device that would not only be constructed solely from the earth but would also be embedded within the earth as a critical monument to human technology
Recent travels have brought Peter Cusack to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine; the Caspian and other potentially dangerous places. Most are sites of major environmental/ecological damage; others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones
The book moves through the various levels of artists’ engagement, from those who act as independent commentators, documenting and reflecting on nature, to those who use the physical environment as the raw material for their art, and those committed activists who set out to make art that transforms both our attitudes and our habits
On the interplay between a snail (a messy biological entity under scientific observation and the subject of experimentation) and an algorithm (dating back to 1887 and the development of tabulating machines) that sorts and orders data sets
The young photographer traveled to Norilsk, one of the biggest cities above the Arctic Circle. In Norilsk, inhabitants live in darkness 45 days a year, temperatures can drop to minus 53 °C in the Winter and the air is one of the most polluted in the world. There is no green space in Norilsk and even leaving the city is a challenge. The easiest way to get away is by air (Moscow is a four hour flight away) and for most residents, plane tickets are barely affordable.
The reason why people would want to live there is that most of them work for the biggest metallurgical and mines complex in the world
Virtually every stage in oil’s production process, from discovery to consumption, is greased by secret connections, corruption, and violence, even if little of that is visible to the public. The energy industry, to cite just one measure, violates the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act more often than any other economic sector, even weapons. This book sets out to tell the story of this largely hidden world