Why Eco Art???? Because the Brain is Like Culture is Like Art
The brain typically pays attention to one thing at a time. While this may appear to be a limitation, being able to focus attention is an extraordinary achievement of brain function. Neither houseflies, nor humans, nor any other organism is equipped to process all the data that their sensory receptors collect. Organisms focus on only those bits of data that are essential to their sustenance; otherwise their brains would be
For this reason, survival depends upon eliminating items from consciousness as much as absorbing them. For example, early humans focused on indicators of firewood over the hill, a bear in the forest, a storm in the clouds. Current humans are adept at noting traffic conditions, cell phone beeps, and ATM locations because these are the elements that sustain modern lives.
Like individuals, cultures are exposed to innumerable possible centers of interest, but only a few represent the era’s key centers of attention. Artists are particularly adept at discerning the precise focus that distinguishes the era they occupy. They serve as society’s sensory receptors and discriminators.
For this reason the works of art they produce encapsulate the uniqueness of a historic time and place. That is why the history of art is a rich repository of cultures as they evolved through history. This ongoing account reveals if humanity’s attention, at a particular time and place, was captivated by the afterlife, or royalty, or the sun, or animals, or peasant life, or a new technology, or social inequity, etc.
Artists vizualize these cultural particulars. They serve as society’s sensory receptors by gathering inputs issuing from their surroundings, and they are its brain, by filtering out extraneous data. In this manner they bring the era’s key concern into consciousness. For this reason the works of art they produce encapsulate the uniqueness of a particular historic time and place.
That is why the history of art offers a rich repository of cultures as they evolved through history. This ongoing account reveals if humanity’ at a particular time and place was captivated by the afterlife, or royalty, or the sun, or peasant life, or a new technology, or social inequity, etc.
Today, it is being dominated by concern regarding the health of the planet and the survivability of its inhabitants. That is why I believe that eco art constitutes the current era's enduring contribution to the evolution of culture.
To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet documents the burgeoning eco art movement from A to Z, presenting a panorama of artistic responses to environmental concerns, from Ant Farm’s anti-consumer antics in the 1970s to Marina Zurkow’s 2007 animation that anticipates the havoc wreaked upon the planet by global warming. This text is the first international survey of twentieth and twenty-first-century artists who are transforming the global challenges facing humanity and the Earth’s diverse living systems. Their pioneering explorations are situated at today’s cultural, scientific, economic, spiritual, and ethical frontiers. The text guides students of art, design, environmental studies, and interdisciplinary studies to integrate environmental awareness, responsibility, and activism into their professional and personal lives.
To Life! website »