PROJECT: Design an alternative to one form of art consumption that improves its environmental footprint.

Industrialization enables the poor and the middle classes to exist without interacting with the biological resources that they depend upon for their survival. Such disengagement was previously confined to the wealthy. For many factory and office workers, for example, interactions with plants depend upon pots on a windowsill; interactions with animals consist of owning pets and visiting zoos; interactions with rural landscapes are confined to vacations or recreation. Artists in industrialized societies also disengaged from functionality until contemporary eco artists began dedicating their creative efforts to devising practical utilitarian missions. Like designers of fashions, interiors, products, and campaigns, the diverse activities of eco-art designers share a particular kind of creative process. “Design” is characterized by systematic effort to fulfill a predetermined purpose. Planning, forethought, and deliberation replace the contrasting triad of creative behaviors: improvisation, spontaneity, and impulse. 

READ TO LIFE! Read any three chapters by the artists mentioned below. 

Eco artists who are designers address water management (Bayer); energy production (Beehive, Franceschini, Superflex); scientific experimentation (Critical Art Ensemble, Gracie, Jeremijenko); architectural infrastructure (Hundertwasser, Potrc, Yeh); enrichment of soil (Lee); water purification (Ngo); utensil design (Reyes); photography (Saraceno); body endurance (Strachan); meat production (Tissue Culture & Art).   

PROJECT: Convey a solution.  

In art, it is ‘production’, not ‘consumption’ that interests artists and art-viewers. Yet ‘consumption’ is an unavoidable component of producing, exhibiting, protecting, and storing art works. In addition, materials are consumed to construct studio space. Energy is consumed to light art studios and power art tools. Design an alternative to one form of art consumption that improves its environmental footprint. For example, instead of disposing of the crates that transport artworks, design furniture that uses this wood. Or design a paint brush with a reusable handle so only the brush part needs to be replaced. Either create a model of your design or present it as a diagram or plan.