Eco Art: The 'Quest' and the 'Question'

Posted Wednesday October 31, 2012 At 01:20AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Embedded in the word “question” is the word “quest”.  Both words indicate a desire for knowledge, but questioners generally ask others to supply this knowledge, while questers generally seek the knowledge themselves.

Until the advent of eco art, the process of defining one’s artistic mission was typically associated with quests, not questions. However, questions have become prominent among eco artists who are intent on contributing solutions to unresolved environmental problems. They ask such questions as:

Author as Curator

Posted Sunday October 28, 2012 At 02:09AM . Eco Issues

Author as Curator

"How did you make these selections?" is a question I have been asked frequently since TO LIFE! was published. It refers to the process I conducted to select the 43 artists featured in my new book. I'm pleased to satisfy this curiosity.

The curatorial model I utilize is established by a healthy ecosystem. I cultivate dynamic interconnections and maximize diversity. This process involves ferreting out examples of art works that go beyond being good. They must also serve as case studies. These in-depth examinations of individual instances or events encompass considerations that are broadly applied by other artists.

Gardening as a Subversive Act

Posted Tuesday October 16, 2012 At 02:47AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Artists Armed with Spades

Gardens have long provided mourishment for the body and soul. They have inspired poetry and reverie. It is only in the contemporary world that gardens have become centers of radical resistance. For that reason, many contemporary artists have diverted their studio practices to the garden.


The cultural dissidence of the gardener far exceeds the production of food. Gardening is a subversive act because it counters multiple norms that define contemporary lifestyles:


- tending resources instead of utilzing and exploiting them;


- cooperating with multiple forms of life, including insects, fungus, and bacteria;


- defying digital abstractions by engaging multiple senses;


- escaping from global dependences through self-sustaining activities;


- receiving immediate rewards for effort instead of monetary payment


- replacing the personal and the local for the anonymous and the global


- utifying aspects of life typically connected only by money.


Gardens are autonomous zones, exempt from municipal ordinances, rules of law, authority of government, and control of corporations. They are also zones of significant contemporary art practices.

See Nicole Fournier


Posted Friday October 12, 2012 At 00:52AM . Blog, Eco Issues

This two-word order is brandished in bold letters that dominate a red field, commanding its space as it commands the viewer's attention. The phrase appears on a poster designed by Critical Art Ensemble, and this poster is one of a series that appears in a new publication  aptly titled "Disturbances". Within its pages the group 'self-assesses' its 25 year history, providing readers with an opportunity to join in assessing a history replete with transgressive actions, civil disobedience, digital resistance, and contestational biology. Posters encapsulate each audacious action. They announce:

Useless Technology: Super Savings!

Book/Web/Blog Launch

Posted Thursday October 11, 2012 At 02:12AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Please join me. Even without champagne and bugles, the launch of this website is a celebration of the creative ingenuity currently percolating at the intersection between ecology and art.

Today marks the culmination of the multi-year preparation to research, write, edit, design and produce TO LIFE! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. The book is the first guide for students and professors wishing to explore the burgeoning eco art movement and the inspiring examples of creative ingenuity it offers.

This day also marks the inauguration of the book's blog that will provide continual infusions of information and commentary. It will ensure the book's content remains timely as planetary conditions evolve, environmental predicaments surface, and new solutions are tested.

Internationally, artists are designing a new world order - complete with behavioral, scientific, technological, economic, ethical, and religous alternatives to the unsustainable status quo. Their diverse efforts share a common mission - to establish a niche for humanity that allows all life forms to co-exist. Their urgent appeal testifies to art's crucial role in contemporary society.

This book/blog/website is devoted to facilitating their efforts in collaboration with instructors and their students on campuses everywhere. Please contribute to this exciting venture.


Posted Monday September 17, 2012 At 21:52PM . Blog, Eco Issues

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, one of the artists featured in TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, identified four ways of envisioning the Earth:

EARTH as WIFE suggests a reliable and supportive partner

EARTH as VIRGIN implies a territory ripe for gratification and pleasure

EARTH as WHORE introduces the possibility of degradation and exploitation

EARTH as MOTHER conjures the assuance of bounty and steadfastness.