PROJECT: As a class, organize a “Kilowatt Not!” competition” between two living units on your campus.

The artists in this section all activate their audiences, but they utilize contrasting strategies:

  • Instigating physical action is the strategy for Ant Farm (graffiti-ing), HeHe (unplugging), Chin (drawing), Hundertwasser (painting), Kaprow (walking), Sherk (farming), and Yeh (learning).

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PROJECT: Create a work of art celebrating either a neglected situation or an abused object. 

Celebration is a persuasive strategy to draw attention to some component of the environment that is ignored or abused. For example, Dory celebrates a threatened pastoral way of life. Fournier celebrates weeds.

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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.

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GAME RULES: Every player assumes the role of the government of a different city around the globe.

READ: TO LIFE! Read any three of the following chapters. Artists who utilize experiential learning strategies include Ballengee, Beuys, Critical Art Ensemble, HeHe, Jeremijenko, Potrc, and SUPERFLEX.

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PROJECT: Consider the following four forms of intervention: Destroy the weak; Ignore the weak and let them die natural deaths; Repair the weak so they can survive; Restore the weak so that become strong.

The phrase, “Mercy me” is derived from “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” Gaye is pleading for forgiveness on behalf of us all for showing so little mercy to non human species and their habitats.

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Introducing Eco Art Aesthetics

PROJECT: To introduce aesthetic considerations into your eco art practice, select one common ingredient of your life that depends upon a machine.

READ: TO LIFE! pages 33 – 42

Aesthetic elements are the ingredients of an experience that generate sensual/emotional/expressive responses that are NOT dependent upon the function of non-art objects and situations, or the subject matter of works of art).

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Introducing Eco Art Materials

PROJECT: Preparation

READ: TO LIFE! pages 43 – 51

PROJECT: Preparation
Divide class into five groups.
Group one creates sheets of paper approximately 12” x 16” for the entire class.
Group two creates charcoal for the entire class.

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Introducing Eco Art Themes

PROJECT: “Headlines!” is the project that launches your eco-art practice. It directs your attention to the abundance of eco art themes that can be gleaned from each week’s news publications.

READ: TO LIFE! pages 16 – 32

PROJECT: “Headlines!” is the name of the project that launches your eco-art practice.

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PROJECT: To launch the exploration of the numerous strategies available to you as an eco artist, complete the following survey.

INTRODUCTION: Will the Earth be a wonderland or a wasteland in the future? Both outcomes seem possible because humanity’s ability to control the material world and command the matrix of its causes and effects can be both a triumph and a calamity.

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PROJECT: Imagine a bus trip to the Mall of America. Now imagine that a detour is being planned to educate the passengers about the problems associated with extreme consumerism. 

READ: TO LIFE! Read chapters featuring any three of the following artists. Pay particular attention to how they integrate rigorous investigation into their creative eco art practices.

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PROJECT: Create a work of art in which the item you choose serves as a metaphor for an environmental issue.

One of the remarkable attributes of art is that the theme of the work can differ from the subject that is portrayed. This occurs when meanings are revealed through metaphors, i.e.

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PROJECT: Imagine that the human race has one hundred years to prepare for “the second post-apocalyptic greenhouse.”

Life on Earth came close to complete annihilation about 250 million years ago. For millions of years, virtually the only tetra-pod on land was the plant-eating Lythtrosurus that relied on the few surviving herbaceous plants for its sustenance.

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PROJECT: Are Homo sapiens an ‘endangered species’? 

Satire implies ridicule. In art, satire can be expressed through a wide variety of mediums. Found objects (Ant Farm), drawing (Beehive), interactive installations (Gelitin), connecting plants, fish, and electronics (Gracie); online aps (Mandiberg); performing extravagant effort (Starling).


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PROJECT: Imagine that you have been hired by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Federal Food and Drug Administration to promote the use of maggots in healing wounds.

READ, TO LIFE!:Any three of the following chapters:

Visualization techniques range from straightforward use of the human body to technologically sophisticated tools:

  • Appropriated materials: human bodies to visualize a mental state (Gelitin), orchard, dirt, and fish to visualize food production (Harrisons), electronic devices to visualize consumerism (Yun), office and household objects to visualize climate conditions (Steiner & Lenzlinger)
  • Manual drawings to create two-dimensional representations of environmental disturbances (Beehive, Ji)
  • Manual drawings to create a video narrative of environmental disturbance (Zurkow) Fabricated objects to visualize water quality (Eke, Haacke), energy output (Starling), climate change (Strachan), weather conditions (Goldsworthy), biological and geological forms (Krajcberg)
  • Photographs, maps, and videos to visualize growth and decay (Lee, Gelitin, Merz), watershed conditions Harrisons), weather (Saraceno), disappearance (Lin), adaptability (Strachan)
  • High tech tools to visualize unobservable living entities (Haapoja, Kac), air quality (HeHe), energy consumption (Mandiberg), interspecies communication (Gracie)

The common therapeutic treatment for a serious wound is a strong dose of anti-biotic medication.

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