The behind-the-scenes story of Maya Lin‘s renowned Vietnam Memorial on the great Mall in Washington DC may surprise those who consider this work a moving testimonial to those who died in this pursuit. The response, at the time in 1982, was mixed. Those who celebrated the honor bestowed upon this young Asian artist were pitted against those who maligned the choice and its outcome. Maya Lin was caught in the fray, discredited because of her race, gender, and age.
Now, the dust has settled in favor of her supporters. This week she received The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the ultimate honor bestowed upon artists in this country.
Terike Haapoja wins the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art
Terike won the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art on 29th October. The Prize underlines the importance of live art and her significant contributions to this vanguard arena of contemporary artistic expression.
The chair of jury, Eva Neklyaeva, described Haapoja’s work: “At its heart her work is fascinated with how we perceive and apprehend and – perhaps more importantly – how we are perceived; how does the non-human feel our human presence – the animal, the mineral, the light and the life of the world, what is the real nature and impact of our footprint, our mark, our own signs of life. We know this one of the fundamental questions, one of the fundamental problems, of our age.”
Terike Haapoja dares to challenge an entrenched social construction by stripping privileged humans of the power to parcel out the protections they demand for themselves. This lop-sided concentration of power has produced a civilization that supports brutal slaughter houses for animals, and mistreatment and genocide for un-empowered humans. Terika Haapoja is their self-declared spokewoman. Her latest art projets counter the anthropological institutions and attitudes that function like machines of targeted and willful abuse by declaring these’voiceless’ beings to attain the status of political entities. Besides cattle, she has reached out to humans who are categorized as “others”: convicts, asylum seekers, children, foreigners or the mentally challenged.
Her drive for structural changes to common decision-making procedures and institutions aspires to incorporates these mute members of the planet’s living populations a role in social decision-making processes.
To counter the violent logic of such political divisions, Haapoja created Party of Others in 2011. The “Statement of Principles” articulates the party’s platform. Significantly, it was formulated from a collection of interviews: “The Party of Others speaks for all those who don’t have a voice in social decision-making but who are nevertheless affected by the decisions: production animals, pets, wild animals, natural diversity as well as ecosystems such as rivers, swamps, mountains or forests.”
Haapoja launched the Party during Helsinki’s 2011 parliamentary elections, demanding inclusive representation and the values of social equality, diversity, and inter-species understanding. While the initiative raised much interest and garnered appreciable media coverage, it didn’t receive enough support to register the party officially, which required 5000 signatures. Perhaps she will try again in the future.
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“Lament of the Newt” transferred FErnando Garcia Dory’s campaign for agrarian preservation from Spain to Korea. His contribution to the Gwangju Biennale from August to September 2016 consisted of collective performances staged on the last surviving rice field in Gwangju. Once a common site, rice fields are being steadily usurped to create space for towering apartment blocks.
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transforms the ‘Rights of Nature’ movement from a utopian desire to a functioning prototype. The artist, Natalie Jeremijenko
, created this ‘co-working’ space in which the ‘co’ refers to two kinds of co-workers: human and trees. She equipped the space with all the requirements of a contemporary office (high speed internet) as well as the requirements of environmental conservations (locally generated renewable energy). The work elicits a parallel consideration regarding the tree. What inputs do trees need to function? How will these needs be converted into rights that are protected by law?
There are legal precedents for her action. In recent years, rights granted to nonhuman entities have taken two forms. Corporations recently became the beneficiaries of a Supreme Court ruling that provides organizations the identical privileges as humans, and these rights are guaranteed by law. ‘Nature’ is gradually emerging as the other recipient of inherent ‘rights’. New Zealand, for example, granted an 821 square mile forest the legal rights and status of a person. Other legal precedents include the Bolivian Rights of Mother Earth document. and the larger contemporary Rights of Nature Movement.
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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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.