PROJECT: Eco artists are among those who suspect that the taste for newness may be sending the human race on a collision course with the consequences of its own behaviors.
To dramatize is to make something theatrical. That means it becomes startling or it is amplified in order to produce a strong emotional response. The artists in this section offer many strategies that dramatize environmental concerns: Ant Farm violates a code of behavior by inviting the public to scribble on an object of status; Beuys conducts public discourse challenging the status quo; Chin applies symbols of high value to neglected objects and conditions; CAE builds suspense by designing controlled experiments without known outcomes; Gracie creates a parody by designing a task and then interfering with its successful fulfillment; Haacke shames by placing incriminating evidence on display in a museum; Hundertwasser shocks by stripping naked; HeHe creates a spectacle; Red Earth constructs an otherworldly event in a powerful historic setting; Saraceno perplexes by interrupting expectations of video watching; Schneemann astonishes by reveling where disgust is expected; Starling exaggerates emerge inefficiencies; Strachan overstates by placing ice on life support to convey global warming; TC& A creates an intriguing situation by conducting a fantastic experiment in public.
READ: TO LIFE! Any three chapters by the artists mentioned above.
PROJECT: Eco artists are among those who suspect that the taste for newness may be sending the human race on a collision course with the consequences of its own behaviors. These artists are evaluating addictions to quick turnover, built-in obsolescence, fashions, fads, trends, updates, blockbusters, and overnight sensations. One artistic strategy for questioning consumer culture’s unquestioned craving for something ‘new’ is to dramatize it as a form of addiction. As a class, choose one frivolous commodity (such as a cordless rechargeable bug wand that replaces the humble fly swatter). Each student dramatizes two components of it using a strategy associated with one of the artists in this book. One component exaggerates how acquiring this new item makes its owner happier, or healthier, or calmer, or sexier, or more secure; or more popular. The other component exaggerates its affects upon the animals and plants where it was grown, mined, and/or manufactured; the environmental costs of this item’s packaging or its use; the environmental problems associated with the disposal of this item.