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EXORCISM of a TOXIN: You are Invited

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.[4] 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![5]

Updates on M.Mandiberg and T.Strachan

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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“Solastalgia”: An Environmental Malady of the Spirit

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.

 

How To Become Dirt

The innovation is not being presented as an example of eco art. It is not even associated with art, and its inventor probably never heard of Jae Rhim Lee‘s decompoculture burial suit, yet it carries all the hallmarks of today’s ventures into creative thinking about death as an opportunity for environmental enhancements.

This innovation is a process called promession. It adds yet another alternative to methods that are available to every living human for disposing of itself when he or she becomes a corpse. This one is ideal for the ecologically minded supervillain.

Devised by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, who is trained as a biologist and has a personal passion for gardening. Her innovation is the culmination of a 20 years of R & D. Promession is an elaborate decomposition system that takes a body, freezes it, vibrates it to dust, and dehydrates it. It can then be used as a fertile and sanitary growing medium.

 

Helen and Newton Harrison ARE a “Force Majeure”

Sontemporary art critics and historians scurry to identify living artists’ predecessors and influences. In an article published yesterday in KQED Arts, a reverse tactic was taken. It identifies two artists, currently active, as art “parents”. Helen and Newton Harrison were awarded the distinguished honor of being the progenitors of today’s thriving eco art movement.

It is not merely their early entry into art addressing environmental concerns that is being acknowledged. It is the ambitious breadth of the Harrison’s initiatives that astonish. They explain, “These are million-square-kilometer problems,” says Newton of the issues that he and Helen address with their work. “What we have to be concerned about is what is happening to the entire planet.” Helen adds. “What we are concerned about is the survival of the people and all living things.” 

Currently, the Harrisons are collaborating with a team of UC Berkeley scientists and members of the Washoe Tribe on a 50-year-long project. The Tribe, that has occupied these lands for tens of thousands of years, are contributing ancestral knowledge of the local ecosystem.

The project involves physically moving groups of plant species to higher ground to allow seedlings to acclimate to the warming effects of climate change. This investigation is part of an even bigger project, Force Majeure, which seeks solutions to two global problems – which is why they are conducting these experiments in four different parts of the world: encroaching water levels and rising temperatures.

 

harrison future garden jpegFuture Garden

Monsanto Generosity

After hearing my daughter’s description of the aquaponics system she and her environmental studies students at Ithaca College will be installing in an elementary school, I asked how this ambitious and innovative educational project was being funded. Her answer: “Monsanto!”

Monsanto is an unlikely donor. The company has long been demonized because of the “short term gain/long term loss” equation that their controlling agricultural tactics generate.

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From Artistic Vision to Industrial Production

First test-tube MEATBALL revealed: Startup claims lab grown meat will be on shelves within three years and says raising animals to eat will soon be ‘unthinkable’.

With these words, the victimless meat experiment that Catts and Zurr conducted as an art project is poised to become a common commodity in supermarkets.  The firm confirms the artists’ predictions that this technique can drastically reduce the energy consumed and the wastes produced by conventional cattle growing and butchering.

When art featured self-expression, the popularization of an artist’s innovation would have been condemned as a violation of an artist’s rightful domain. But eco artists rarely lay claim to their creative efforts because they are designed to solve real world problems and serve real world interests. I suspect Catts and Zurr are rejoicing.

Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti declares, “We plan to do to the meat industry what the car did to the horse and buggy.” He then explains, “We love meat. But like most Americans, we don’t love the many negative side effects of conventional meat production: environmental degradation, a slew of health risks, and food products that contain antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants.”

Its first line of products will include hot dogs, sausages, burgers and meatballs, which will all use recipes developed by award-winning chefs.

‘Our concept is simple. Instead of farming animals to obtain their meat, why not farm the meat directly? To that end, we’re combining decades of experience in both the culinary and scientific fields to farm real meat cells—without the animals—in a process that is healthier, safer, and more sustainable than conventional animal agriculture.’ 

A Historic Tragedy Repeats, and Again Repeats: Lead Poisoning

What is Mel Chin thinking today when he reads about the massive occurence of lead poisoning that began a year and half ago, and is just now being disclosed?

While we can all share in the distress that is afflicting the residents of Flint, Michigan where this latest devastating example of lead contamiation targeting childlren is occurring, Chin must also be frustrated, due to his long commitment to solving a form of contamination that afflicts the least defensive members of the population. Lead poisoning irreversibly thwarts children’s life prospects. It is known to cause permanent problems, from aggression to stunted growth to reduced cognitive ability.

Flint’s lead infiltration, that arrived via contaminated drinking waters, is described as “the biggest scandal in America, staggering in its scope and impact.” Flint residents were served this toxic leaded river water even after dozens of people showed up to Flint meetings with brown gunk from their taps.  This false information was delivered by authorities at all levels of government. Evidently, the problem was caused when the government changed the source of the water from lake to river to save money. http://www.abladeofgrass.org/FIELDWORKS

Domestic (Meaning the Entire Planet) Catastrophe: HeHe

Imagine an aquarium containing a rotating plastic globe, a motor to turn the globe and electronic valve which releases a fluoresceine tracing dye onto the sphere. As the sphere turns, the green dye wraps itself around the sphere, enveloping Earth and filling the atmosphere in a lurid green gas. Created by the collaborative group HeHe, the work presents an actual example of a human-induced emission in the context of global disaster, linking what many believe to be a ’cause’ with its ‘effect. The work is entitled “Domestic catastrophe #3 La Planète Laboratoire, 2012.

HeHe-Domestic-Catastrophe-1

A second ‘catastrophe domestique’ was entitled Plane Jam, is a site-specific art project by HeHe in which a miniature airplane flew out of the Theatre Royal in the historical centre of town. The small plane emitted a tremendous amount of white smoke, a disproportion of scale that always evokes alarm.HeHe-Domestic-catastrophe-2

Plane Jam, a site-specific art project by the Paris-based collective HeHe. It involved flying a miniature airplane out of the Theatre Royal building in the historical centre of Norwich. The small plane emitted a disproportionate cloud of white smoke. The project belongs to a series of HeHe works entitled ‘catastrophes domestiques’.

These works encapsulate the two great catastrophes that are looming prospects in the current era: global climate change and global terrorism. HeHe insinuates both of these gigantic threats into the lives of individual citizens by using the word ‘domestique’ in their titles.

 

 

 

Plane Jam, a site-specific art project by the Paris-based collective HeHe. The plan was, as promised by the press release sent out in advance, to fly a miniature airplane out of a theatre building, the Theatre Royal in the historical centre of town. The small plane was to emit unusually big — for a plane that size — clouds of white smoke, thus producing a strange and possibly estranging variation on what must be a pretty routine occurrence in a town like Norwich as in many other places, the passing of a plane. The project was intended as a next chapter in a series of HeHe works provisionally called ‘catastrophes domestiques,’ a title whose meaning wasn’t exactly clear to me, but which invoked a range of things, including a number of publicity campaigns initiated by governments and business in recent years, which sought to bring global crises like climate change down to the level of everyday experience, in the process ‘taming’ or ‘domesticating’ these crises, robbing them of their more disturbing features, as well as, quite possibly, their capacity to disturb. (One recent example is a Renault tv commercial which features various very mundane scenes – a dinner in a restaurant, a trip to the supermarket – except that all appliances featured in them – the portable PIN machine; the cash register – are powered by small combustion engines emitting small clouds of smoke.) But HeHe’s project had caught my attention also for a more specific reason, namely as a possible instantiation of a technique that I call – for the moment – ‘environmental method.’ – See more at: http://www.csisponline.net/2012/03/05/on-hehes-environmental-method/#sthash.T4yTkd3l.dpuf
Plane Jam, a site-specific art project by the Paris-based collective HeHe. The plan was, as promised by the press release sent out in advance, to fly a miniature airplane out of a theatre building, the Theatre Royal in the historical centre of town. The small plane was to emit unusually big — for a plane that size — clouds of white smoke, thus producing a strange and possibly estranging variation on what must be a pretty routine occurrence in a town like Norwich as in many other places, the passing of a plane. The project was intended as a next chapter in a series of HeHe works provisionally called ‘catastrophes domestiques,’ a title whose meaning wasn’t exactly clear to me, but which invoked a range of things, including a number of publicity campaigns initiated by governments and business in recent years, which sought to bring global crises like climate change down to the level of everyday experience, in the process ‘taming’ or ‘domesticating’ these crises, robbing them of their more disturbing features, as well as, quite possibly, their capacity to disturb. (One recent example is a Renault tv commercial which features various very mundane scenes – a dinner in a restaurant, a trip to the supermarket – except that all appliances featured in them – the portable PIN machine; the cash register – are powered by small combustion engines emitting small clouds of smoke.) But HeHe’s project had caught my attention also for a more specific reason, namely as a possible instantiation of a technique that I call – for the moment – ‘environmental method.’ – See more at: http://www.csisponline.net/2012/03/05/on-hehes-environmental-method/#sthash.T4yTkd3l.dpuf

Marjetica Potrc – Take Only What Conditions Provide

‘On demand’ conveniences that our ancestors could never have imagined are becoming the norm. Pervasive demands are regularly applied to quantity, tempo, duration, design, and quality. The principle driving many new technologies asserts the assumption that we humans can and should always get what we want. Two projects are bucking this trend by only providing what the fluctuating conditions of an eco system can supply. This means that when the ecosystem is allowed to dictate the resources available to us, we may not always get what we want. 

Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond ClubContemporary , London (building materials, soil, water, plants, natural filtration, 2015) was designed by Ooze Architectural Firm (Eva Pfannes & Sylvain Hartenberg) in collaboration with Marjetica Potrc. Located on a construction site, this temporary artwork is a micro-ecological environment with a natural swimming pond at its center. Visitors can take a swim in the water that is purified through a natural, closed-loop process using wetland and submerged water plants. But that opportunity is not provided for every visitor who may desire to take the plunge because the daily number of bathers is restricted by the amount of water the plants are able to clean. The project embodies the principle of living in balance with nature!! In this instance, the focus is directed to the delicate balance of conditions that emerge from the relationship between plants and water.