There is little doubt that there is a problem regarding the overcrowding, lack of sanitation, and disease-prone environment that prevails in the sprawling shanty slums throughout Lagos, Nigeria, Rio De Janiero, and elsewhere.
The standard solution involves evicting the inhabitants and demolishing the ad hoc dwellings that are cobbled together out of scraps and debris. Marjetica Potrc proposed a revolutionary alternative by retaining the positive social aspects of these ramshackle neighborhoods, while altering the infrastructure, thereby providing on-site improvements without disrupting the social fabric.
Another radical approach was documented in 2015 at the Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism as part of the Maker Maker exhibit. It was presented by Olalalekan Jeyifous who explains, “I am proposing a series of digital images of ad-hoc assemblages as urban “super-structures”. These “super-structures”, whether towering or sprawling, combine attributes of improvised settlements with the scale of imposing hi-end commercial developments in an attempt to amplify some of the inherently sustainable aspects of many “impoverished” communities existing throughout the world. The images focus on the organic expansion of these highly self-organized spaces into privileged real estate, while considering how these ramshackle infrastructures might reconcile environmental and socio-economic issues.”
So in this instance the dispossessed are given prominence and visibility albeit through a somewhat Dystopian vision that speaks to the fact that these communities often suffer from a lack of appropriate sanitation, electricity, medical services, and modern communications.
Reverend Billy’s tweet today announces a great example of his socially inciteful antics. I’d like to share it with you. He states, “There is no Scenic Area with the Sweeping Grandeur of a Monsanto-free Local Park!”
The Reverend fiddles with the spelling of the chemical responsible for Roundup’s lethal power that is guaranteed to decimate unwelcome plants. He transforms GLYPHOSATE to GLYPHO-SATAN! As Satan, the chemical is eligible for exorcism to thwart its power over the ecosystem.
The history of glyphosate is brief. Farmers quickly adopted it because Monsanto made it possible to kill weeds in a sweeping, undirected application because they also developed Roundup Ready crops that resisted the herbicide. Suddenly, farmers were granted the ability to kill the weeds without killing the crops.
In 2007, glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States’ agricultural sector and the second-most used in home and garden, government and industry, and commerce. A 100 fold increase between 2007 and 2016 is largely explained by an irony Monsanto could not have anticipated – the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds!
Michael Mandiberg is celebrating his receipt of a substantial Art + Technology Lab at LACMA to develop new work, with the support of the museum, private industry, and academia. The museum provides opportunities for the public to observe works in progress as they unfold.
Michael Mandiberg‘s project is called Mechanical Tramp because he will recreate the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times.
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Here is a wonderful Norwegian book entitled by Jan-Erik Sørenstuen e provides compelling insights into discovering nature through art, and art through nature. The PDF of the English translation, entitled ‘Dancing Flowers, can be downloaded here: http://home.uia.no/janes/Dancing-ny.pdf Here is my review of this inspiring book:
‘Dancing Flowers: To Discover Nature Through Art and Art Through Nature’ by Jan-Erik Sorenstuen is a lavishly illustrated text, elaborately documented text that addresses the current, crucial, and urgent challenge of the contemporary era. Its fundamental thesis confirms the claim by the renowned eco-philosopher, Arne Næss, that through spiritual and psychological development humans can recoup the intimate identification with other humans, animals, plants and ecosystems that our ancestors once enjoyed. Sorenstuen goes further. He introduces a methodology to activate this process.
In the hypothetical manual that details the principles of ecosystem dynamics, equal space is allocated to increases in organization and increases in disorganization. Ecosystems depend equally on progressive and regressive dynamics to sustain the cycles and trajectories of energy transfers. Thus ecosystems build and dismantle structures. They concentrate and disperse energies, They organize and dishevel forms. Building, concentrating, and organizing are functions of life. Dismantling, dispersing, and disheveling are processes related to death.
Matter and energy undergo an inexorable process of unraveling. All organized structures, living and dead, biotic and abiotic, eventually dissipate until they succumb to disorder. Evidence of entropy is apparent in aging bodies, corrupted computer files, rotting tree trunks, and rusting cars. Even organisms that enjoy optimal conditions carry death sentences. But time is not entropy’s only warden. Disease, as well as too much or too little of the very ingredients that spurred growth can cause degeneration. Extreme moisture, warmth, and nutrients kill.
If exotic journeys excite your imagination, the project I am conducting at CHRCH Project Space may be intended for you.
Since it is likely that you have already mastered electronic data-gathering and manipulation, the workshops I am conducting might lead you as far from familiarity as Rembrandt sitting in front of a computer console.
The workshops venture into the domain of personal, sensual interactions with moss, seeds, twigs, bark, mushrooms, pollen, feathers, and innumerable other ingredients that account for the wondrous uniqueness of the planet you call home. Each of these materials unleashes dramatic narratives of relationship that can transform the bland landscape you observe out a kitchen window into a thrilling pageant, and reduce dazzling digital graphics into passing entertainments.
Such direct interactions strip the filters, buffers, and amplifiers that intervene when you rely on text and graphics. Direct multi-sensory engagement offers the surest route to membership in the emerging environmental era because it transforms abstract data and virtualized experiences into personal realities as they ensue in real time.
Environmentalists, including eco artists, work on behalf
of the their ecological ‘home’ – planet Earth.
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The word ‘solastalgia’ has not yet appeared in any dictionary, but that omission is likely to be rectified when the next editions are produced. The word was invented by Glenn Albrecht, a Professor of Sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth. Specializing in the intersection of ecosystem and human health, he had no word to describe the unhappiness of people whose landscapes were being transformed by the damage wrought by contemporary technologies and human behaviors. Thus, he invented one. “Solstalgia” describes this new version of homesickness.
Robert Macfarlane, in an article in today’s Guardian, provides a compelling explanation of the word’s timeliness. He states, “Where the pain of nostalgia arises from moving away, the pain of solastalgia arises from staying put. Where the pain of nostalgia can be mitigated by return, the pain of solastalgia tends to be irreversible…..Solastalgia speaks of a modern uncanny, in which a familiar place is rendered unrecognisable by climate change or corporate action: the home become suddenly unhomely around its inhabitants.” In other words, the new wor connectis ecosystem distress and human distress.
What’s Next? Is the title of the book I am currently writing. The project has steeped me in a quest for the elements of ‘now’ that are likely to be projected as conditions of ‘later’. I use the words ‘pioneer’, ‘venture’, ‘avant-garde’, and ‘new’ so often, I fear I may tumble into the future unknown. Thus, I am hoping to regain my balance by pursuing a comparable exploration backwards in time.
Please join m in imagining the wondrous time, long ago, when the impulse to create an image first arose in the minds and spirits of early humans. The French artist, Hubert Duprat, believes this breakthrough predates cave art, despite the fact that painted depictions of animals on the walls of caves comprise the introductory chapter of most art history surveys. Duprat surmises that prior to rendering with pigment, early humans created images by arranging their hands near a blazing fire to produce animal-shaped shadows on the opposite wall. This manner of artistic depiction required no tools, no mediums, and no technical knowledge. Yet the willful construction of a two-dimensional image to represent an entity that occupied three dimensions marks humanity’s auspicious entry into the world of art. Duprat revived this tradition by sculpting animal-shaped shadows in flint that he chipped in the manner of early humans.