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May 28, 2006

"Ectopia": The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

via NEWSgrist, May 24, 2006:

Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

via Artnet News, May 23, 2006

"ECOTOPIA" FOR ICP TRIENNIAL
The International Center of Photography in New York has set the lineup for its big fall show, "Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video," Sept. 14-Nov. 26, 2006. Organized by ICP curatorial staffers Brian Wallis, Christopher Phillips, Edward Earle and Carol Squiers, with assistant curator Joanna Lehan, "Ecotopia" features works by 39 artists that reflect a growing concern about natural disasters and global environmental change. "We found very few artists relating to the theme in an overtly political way," said Wallis. "Rather, the sense was of something ominous looming on the horizon."

Artists in the show -- many of them contributing new works or installations -- include Robert Adams, Doug Aitken, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Wout Berger, Patrick Brown, Catherine Chalmers, Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg, Stéphane Couturier, Lou Dematteis and Kayana Szymczak, Yannick Demmerle, Goran Devic, Mark Dion, Sam Easterson, Mitch Epstein, Joan Fontcuberta, Noriko Furunishi, Marine Hugonnier, Francesco Jodice, Harri Kallio, Vincent Laforet, Christopher LaMarca, An-My Lê, David Maisel, Mary Mattingly, Gilles Mingasson, Simon Norfolk, Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar, Kadwo Eshun, Richard Couzins), Sophie Ristelhueber, Clifford Ross, Thomas Ruff, Carlos and Jason Sanchez, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Diana Thater and Qingsong Wang.

The ICP’s first photo triennial, mounted in 2003, took up the theme "Strangers," and focused on people -- often with the same sense of anxiety. "Ecotopia" is sponsored by United Technologies Corporation.

from the ICP site:

September 8–November 26, 2006

Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

Mary MattinglyFact Sheet [PDF]

List of Artists [PDF]

In a time of rampant natural disasters and urgent concerns about global environmental change, this exhibition demonstrates the ways in which the most interesting and engaging contemporary artists view the natural world. Shattering the stereotypes of landscape and nature photography, the thirty-nine international artists included in this survey boldly examine new concepts of the natural sphere occasioned by twenty-first-century technologies; images of destructive ecological engagement; and visions of our future interactions with the environment. Considering nature in the broadest sense, this exhibition reflects new perspectives on the planet that sustains, enchants, and—increasingly—frightens us.

Ecotopia is being organized by ICP curators Brian Wallis, Christopher Phillips, Edward Earle, and Carol Squiers, and assistant curator Joanna Lehan, and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Above: Mary Mattingly, The New Mobility of Home, 2005, © Mary Mattingly, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

 

On 'An Inconvenient Truth'

 

An Inconvenient Truth [view the trailer]
Official site
Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim; produced by Laurie David, Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns; released by Paramount Classics and Participant Productions. Running time: 96 minutes.

via NYTimes:
MOVIE REVIEW
MORE ON 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Warning of Calamities and Hoping for a Change in 'An Inconvenient Truth'
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: May 24, 2006

CANNES, France, May 23 — "An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim's new documentary about the dangers of climate change, is a film that should never have been made. It is, after all, the job of political leaders and policymakers to protect against possible future calamities, to respond to the findings of science and to persuade the public that action must be taken to protect the common interest.

But when this does not happen — and it is hardly a partisan statement to observe that, in the case of global warming, it hasn't — others must take up the responsibility: filmmakers, activists, scientists, even retired politicians. That "An Inconvenient Truth" should not have to exist is a reason to be grateful that it does.

Appearances to the contrary, Mr. Guggenheim's movie is not really about Al Gore. It consists mainly of a multimedia presentation on climate change that Mr. Gore has given many times over the last few years, interspersed with interviews and Mr. Gore's voice-over reflections on his life in and out of politics. His presence is, in some ways, a distraction, since it guarantees that "An Inconvenient Truth" will become fodder for the cynical, ideologically facile sniping that often passes for political discourse these days. But really, the idea that worrying about the effect of carbon-dioxide emissions on the world's climate makes you some kind of liberal kook is as tired as the image of Mr. Gore as a stiff, humorless speaker, someone to make fun of rather than take seriously.

In any case, Mr. Gore has long since proven to be a deft self-satirist. (He recently told a moderator at a Cannes Film Festival news conference to address him as "your Adequacy.") He makes a few jokes to leaven the grim gist of "An Inconvenient Truth," and some of them are funny, in the style of a college lecturer's attempts to keep the attention of his captive audience. Indeed, his onstage manner — pacing back and forth, fiddling with gadgets, gesturing for emphasis — is more a professor's than a politician's. If he were not the man who, in his own formulation "used to be the next president of the United States of America," he might have settled down to tenure and a Volvo (or maybe a Prius) in some leafy academic grove. [read on...]

 

more via NYTimes:
'An Inconvenient Truth': Al Gore's Fight Against Global Warming
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: May 22, 2006

The frustrations of a man whose long-sought goal remains out of reach are vividly on display in the first few minutes of "An Inconvenient Truth," a new documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's quest to spur action against global warming.

And the scene has nothing to do with the Supreme Court vote that denied Mr. Gore a chance to win the 2000 presidential election.

He is tapping on his laptop, adding yet another tweak to the illustrated climate lecture he has given more than 1,000 times since 1989 in ever more sophisticated ways: first with flip charts, then slides, then a mix of digital imagery, animation and high-tech stagecraft, and now through this film itself, which was screened at Cannes and opens on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles.

He laments being unable so far to awaken the public to what he calls a "planetary emergency" despite evidence that heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases are warming the earth, and even after Hurricane Katrina and Europe's deadly 2003 heat wave, which he calls a foretaste of much worse to come.

"I've been trying to tell this story for a long time, and I feel as if I've failed to get the message across," Mr. Gore muses.

The question now is whether the documentary, with the potential to reach millions of people instead of a roomful of listeners at a time, can do the job.

For the moment, opinions on its prospects range from hopeful to scornful, not so much a reflection on the film's quality as the vast distance between combatants in the fight over what to do, or not do, about human-caused warming.

In a recent interview in Manhattan, Mr. Gore said he was convinced that Americans would move on the issue, not just because of his documentary (and companion book), but also because of the vivid nature of recent climate-related disasters.

"The political system, like the environment, is nonlinear," he said. "In 1941 it was impossible for us to build 1,000 airplanes. In 1942 it was easy. As this pattern becomes ever more clear, there will be a rising public demand for action."

"An Inconvenient Truth" came about after Laurie David, a prominent Hollywood environmentalist, saw Mr. Gore give a short version of his presentation two years ago at an event held just before the premiere of the climate disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow."

Ms. David said she was stunned by the power of Mr. Gore's talk and helped organize presentations in New York and Los Angeles for people involved in the news media, environmental groups, business and entertainment. By the time she had done the Los Angeles event, "I realized we had to make a movie out of it," she said. "What's the guy going to do? There are not physically enough hours in the day to travel to every town and city to show this thing."

She helped recruit a team of filmmakers and investors and, after pressing Mr. Gore, persuaded him to be followed by a film crew. [read on...]


Books of The Times | 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Al Gore Revisits Global Warming, With Passionate Warnings and Pictures
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
Published: May 23, 2006

[...]

Fourteen years ago, during the 1992 campaign, the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, dismissed Mr. Gore as "Ozone Man" — if the Clinton-Gore ticket were elected, he suggested, "we'll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American" — but with the emerging consensus on global warming today, Mr. Gore's passionate warnings about climate change seem increasingly prescient. He has revived the slide presentation about global warming that he first began giving in 1990 and taken that slide show on the road, and he has now turned that presentation into a book and a documentary film, both called "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie (which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday) shows a focused and accessible Gore — "a funnier, more relaxed and sympathetic character" than he was as a candidate, said The Observer, the British newspaper — and has revived talk in some circles of another possible Gore run for the White House.

As for the book, its roots as a slide show are very much in evidence. It does not pretend to grapple with climate change with the sort of minute detail and analysis displayed by three books on the subject that came out earlier this spring ("The Winds of Change" by Eugene Linden, "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery and "Field Notes From a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert), and yet as a user-friendly introduction to global warming and a succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in those other volumes, "An Inconvenient Truth" is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.

Like Mr. Gore's 1992 book "Earth in the Balance," this volume displays an earnest, teacherly tone, but it's largely free of the New Age psychobabble and A-student grandiosity that rumbled through that earlier book. The author's wonky fascination with policy minutiae has been tamed in these pages, and his love of charts and graphs has been put to good use. Whereas the charts in "Earth in the Balance" tended to make the reader's eyes glaze over, the ones here clearly illustrate the human-caused rise in carbon dioxide levels in recent years, the simultaneous rise in Northern Hemisphere temperatures and the correlation between the two. Mr. Gore points out that 20 of the 21 hottest years measured "have occurred within the last 25 years," adding that the hottest year yet was 2005 — a year in which "more than 200 cities and towns" in the Western United States set all-time heat records. [read on...]

 

May 17, 2006

Reclaiming the Land @ the Vera List Center

 

Panel Discussion
Reclaiming the Land: Conversations on Collaboration

Wednesday, May 24, 2006, 6:30 PM
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, New York City

Admission: $10; free for New School students and alumni with ID 

Acknowledging the conditions arising from harmful past land uses and evolving methods to address them, landscape architects, artists, scientists, educators, engineers, lawyers and civic leaders have embarked on efforts to reclaim and reuse polluted lands. This conversation will address such topics as toxic pollution, waste disposal, reclamation design, public lands and urban renewal, looking at the potential for innovative collaborations that engage in contemporary land patterns and processes.
    
Participants
Alan Berger, Associate Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design; author of "Reclaiming the American West"

Chris Reed, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Percent for Art-Artist of Fresh Kills, New York City, and Artist-in-Residence, NYC Department of Sanitation

Moderated by Niall Kirkwood, Professor and Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture, Director, Center for Technology and Environment, Harvard Graduate School of Design

This event is part of the Vera List Center's year-long theme "Considering Forgiveness."

TICKETS:  Reservations can be made by email to: boxoffice@newschool.edu.  Tickets can be ordered by phone with a credit card (212) 229-5488; in person at The New School Box Office, 66 West 12th Street, main floor, Monday-Thursday 1-8 p.m., Friday 1-7 p.m.

INFORMATION: 212.229.5353, specialprograms@newschool.edu www.generalstudies.newschool.edu/specialprogram

 

May 16, 2006

Battle for the North Pole


 via The Week, 5/12/2006:

The Battle for the North Pole
The melting Arctic ice cap may be bad news for polar bears, but it is prompting a frantic scramble for territory and resources. What's at stake?

How fast is the ice cap melting?
The size of the summer polar ice cap has shrunk 20 percent since 1979, reaching its smallest size last year. With average temperatures in the Arctic rising twice as fast as elsewhere in the world, climate scientists predict the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by the summer of 2050. In place of the white wilderness that killed explorers and defeated navigators for centuries, the world would have a blue North Pole and a seasonally open sea nearly five times the size of the Mediterranean. Last August, a Russian vessel, the Akademik Fyodorov, became the first ship to reach the North Pole without having to use an icebreaker.

Who stands to lose from all this?
The melting of the ice could shut down the Gulf Stream and wreak havoc with the world’s coasts and climate. It would spell potential disaster for traditional Arctic communities, for ecosystems, and for plant and animal species—polar bears would drown or starve, and the species could become extinct. But fish would prosper. Warming Arctic waters are already creating new fishing grounds as fish migrate and adapt to new conditions. Pink salmon have been seen spawning in rivers far to the north of their traditional territory.

Who stands to gain?
The melting ice cap represents a colossal commercial opportunity. Russian icebreakers are already preparing to take tourists to the Pole for $30,000 each this summer, and the thaw could open up some highly lucrative shipping routes. A northeast sea route, north of Siberia, would allow shipping to sail from Europe to northeast Asia, cutting the journey by a third; and the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago could be open to shipping in a few decades, cutting the journey from Europe to East Asia (now routed through the Panama Canal) by 4,000 miles. The greatest profits, however, are likely to be found under the ice.

What is being discovered there?
Oil and natural gas. A quarter of the world's untapped fossil fuels (including 375 billion barrels of oil) are thought to lie under the Arctic, and will become accessible as the ice melts. Industry experts now talk of a "black gold rush," as companies such as BP Amoco, Statoil of Norway, and the Russian giant Gasprom all race to tap already discovered reservoirs in the region. The Arctic, says Moscow-based energy analyst Christopher Weafer, "is the next energy frontier." [read on...]

Busan Sculpture Project: 'Homage to the Earth'


via e-flux

Busan Sculpture Project in Busan Biennale 2006
(Special Exhibition)

Theme: 'Homage to the Earth'
Period: 05. 27. 06~08. 31.06 (97 days)

*Opening Ceremony: 05/ 27/ 06 16:00, Open Air Stage in Naru Park

Venue: APEC Naru Park
Artistic director: Tae-ho Lee, Professor, Kyung-Hee University
Artworks: 20 works from 12 countries
Host: Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Biennale Organizing Committee

Contact: tel. 82-51-888-6691~9 / FAX: 82-51-888-6693
http://www.busanbiennale.org / bbiennale@paran.com

Humanity’s brutal destruction of the environment has put our planet’s ecosystem in jeopardy not only for human beings but also for all living creatures. As a result, the discussion of environmental issues can no longer be restricted to a select group of environmental specialists, but must become the responsibility of all human beings. Caring for, and protecting our ecosystem is a challenge for each and every one of us.

For this reason, the Busan Sculpture Project - a special exhibition of the Busan Biennale 2006 – has made “Homage to the Earth” its theme. Among other things, the exhibit’s goal is to raise awareness of our natural environment, the broader eco-system and our role within it, as well as to encourage all human beings to take the appropriate measures to appreciate and care for the world around us.

“Homage to the Earth” will showcase 20 artists from 12 countries. Through their art, each artist will focus on the importance of the natural environment, highlighting the message of becoming responsible guardians of the Planet Earth. To facilitate this theme, and stress our relationship with the natural world, the exhibition will be composed of site-specific earth artworks located throughout the APEC Naru Park along the Suyoung River.

Moreover, to maximize viewer interest, the artworks will be dynamically displayed and visual overlapping will be minimized. Some of the exhibits will be set underground, or arranged in a line to represent the interconnectedness of all human beings with the earth. This approach promises to generate a novel experience for viewers – one that will result in lots of fun, while serving as a continuous reminder of our natural connection with the earth around us. 

[read more]

HALLIBURTON SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING


via The Yes Men:

May 9, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

   Contact: mailto:EPDU@halliburtoncontracts.com
   Photos:  http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/EPDU/

HALLIBURTON SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING
SurvivaBalls save managers from abrupt climate change


An advanced new technology will keep corporate managers safe even when climate change makes life as we know it impossible.

"The SurvivaBall is designed to protect the corporate manager no matter what Mother Nature throws his or her way," said Fred Wolf, a Halliburton representative who spoke today at the Catastrophic Loss conference held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, Florida. "This technology is the only rational response to abrupt climate change," he said to an attentive and appreciative audience.

Most scientists believe global warming is certain to cause an accelerating onslaught of hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, etc. and that a world-destroying disaster is increasingly possible. For example, Arctic melt has slowed the Gulf Stream by 30% in just the last decade; if the Gulf Stream stops, Europe will suddenly become just as cold as Alaska. Global heat and flooding events are also increasingly possible.

In order to head off such catastrophic scenarios, scientists agree we must reduce our carbon emissions by 70% within the next few years. Doing that would seriously undermine corporate profits, however, and so a more forward-thinking solution is needed.

At today's conference, Wolf and a colleague demonstrated three SurvivaBall mockups, and described how the units will sustainably protect managers from natural or cultural disturbances of any intensity or duration. The devices - looking like huge inflatable orbs - will include sophisticated communications systems, nutrient gathering capacities, onboard medical facilities, and a daunting defense infrastructure to ensure that the corporate mission will not go unfulfilled even when most human life is rendered impossible by catastrophes or the consequent epidemics and armed conflicts.

"It's essentially a gated community for one," said Wolf.

Dr. Northrop Goody, the head of Halliburton's Emergency Products Development Unit, showed diagrams and videos describing the SurvivaBall's many features. "Much as amoebas link up into slime molds when threatened, SurvivaBalls also fulfill a community function. After all, people need people," noted Goody as he showed an artist's rendition of numerous SurvivaBalls linking up to form a managerial aggregate with functional differentiation, metaphorically dancing through the streets of Houston, Texas.

The conference attendees peppered the duo with questions. One asked how the device would fare against terrorism, another whether the array of embedded technologies might make the unit too cumbersome; a third brought up the issue of the unit's cost feasibility. Wolf and Goody assured the audience that these problems and others were being addressed.

"The SurvivaBall builds on Halliburton's reputation as a disaster and conflict industry innovator," said Wolf. "Just as the Black Plague led to the Renaissance and the Great Deluge gave Noah a monopoly of the animals, so tomorrow's catastrophes could well lead to good - and industry must be ready to seize that good."

Goody also noted that Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society was set to employ the SurvivaBall as part of its Corporate Sustenance (R) program. Another of Cousteau's CSR programs involves accepting a generous sponsorship from the Dow Chemical Corporation, whose general shareholder meeting is May 11.

Please visit http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/EPDU/ for photos, video, and text of today's presentation.

A Series of Practical Performances In The Wilderness


"A Series of Practical Performances In The Wilderness Summer 2005 "
Cary Peppermint & Christine Nadir
Performance on DVD
Summer 2005

via Ecology | Art | Technology:

A Series of Practical Performances In The Wilderness, Summer 2005 is a video performance work made in the woods and on rural back-lots. Performative chapters on the DVD include, Move This Rock, Waiting On Bob, DoAble, Home Economics, Sticks Like Snakes, Digging for Chicory, and Springwater Finale. This video is the first in a series of forthcoming performance-art videos by Peppermint & Nadir which engage issues, ideas, and mythologies of the American concepts of wilderness, space, the frontier, and humans’ relation to animals, forestlands, and nature.

This project is part of Cary Peppermint and Christine Nadir’s series of performance-art videos begun in 2002. Peppermint is an artist who works with new media technologies to create networked environments incorporating the internet, physical installations, experimental music and sound, and live performance. Until recently, Cary directed the Digital Art and Design program of Hartwick College, and in Fall 2006 he will assume the digital media position at Colgate University's Department of Art and Art History. Christine Nadir teaches literature at State University of New York College at Oneonta and is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University where she is completing her dissertation. Its working title is “The Future of the World: Sacrifice, Economy, and Ethics in Environmental Literature and Ecocriticism.”

Christine feels that these videos capture some of the energy, activities, and thoughts that she and Cary have experienced as New Yorkers living in the wilderness for four months every year: trying to establish a functional home without running water, electricity, or maintained roads; developing relationships with locals; un-learning the romanticization of nature while re-learning humanity’s dependence on the environment for survival; and researching the details of the history of the land and the surrounding area (its previous deforestation, its logging, its near use for an auto salvage yard, its use as farmland and grazing ground one hundred years ago, its inhabitation by Native Americans for millennia before that).

Cary says: The North American concepts of wilderness are informed by nationalist ideologies and concepts of freedom as a wild, un-checked frontier of possibility. I don’t believe there is any such thing as wilderness as we Americans are inclined to see it. How could one know or understand that which is truly wild much less employ it toward nation-building? Also, I find a certain intellectual humor in the offering of performances that purport to be both practical and wild.

Look for our quicktime videos on DVBlog.org
If you have seen these quicktime videos on DVBlog.org or through any other venue, we would welcome hearing your response.

May 13, 2006

Thousands Flee From Active Volcano in Indonesia

 

via NYTimes: 

Thousands Flee From Active Volcano in Indonesia
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 13, 2006
Filed at 7:43 a.m. ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesia on Saturday ordered the immediate evacuation of thousands of people who for weeks have refused to heed the ominous rumblings of Mount Merapi and the burning lava oozing from its mouth.

Hundreds of people began fleeing the 9,700-foot peak after authorities put the region on highest alert, having observed two days of steady lava flow. Bambang Dwiyanto, head of the region's volcanology center, said an eruption may be imminent.

''Because there has been constant lava flows that cause hot gases, we have raised the status to the highest level,'' Dwiyanto said.

The crater had been relatively quiet for years until it began rumbling and spewing clouds of black ash a few weeks ago. On Saturday, experts recorded 27 volcanic tremors, said Ratdomo Purbo, who heads an observation post on Merapi.

He said the mountain belched hot ash at least 14 times over the course of the day and that lava flows reached nearly a mile down the slopes.

Officials were using buses and trucks to relocate women, children and elderly to shelter in schools and government buildings elsewhere in the densely populated province of Central Java. Merapi, about 250 miles southeast of the capital Jakarta, is about 20 miles from Yogyakarta, a city of 1 million.

Many people had been evacuated from homes closest to the crater prior to Saturday, but thousands who live further down the fertile slopes refused to leave. Officials have said as many as 7,000 people still needed to go.

Even after the latest warning, some farmers insisted on staying, reluctant to leave previous livestock and crops. ''We will not leave soon,'' vowed one cattle farmer who declined to give his name.

Merapi is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific ''Ring of Fire'' -- a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Many people who live in the mountain's shadow believe that spirits watch over the peak and will warn them of an eruption.

Although most Indonesians are Muslim, many also follow animist beliefs and worship ancient spirits. Often at full moons, people trek to crater rims and throw in rice, jewelry and live animals to appease the volcanoes.

Merapi last erupted in 1994, sending out a searing cloud of gas that burned 60 people to death. About 1,300 people were killed when it erupted in 1930.

 

May 07, 2006

Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

 reBlogged via >> mind the __ GAP* ?

mapping the planet in peril

Posted: Wednesday 12 April 2006

Le Monde Diplomatic just published the introduction for the new atlas Planet in Peril: Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

Written by an international team of specialists, these pages from the Atlas illustrate through text and maps, graphics and diagrams the interplay between population and the world’s ecosystems and natural resources both in the short and long terms. It brings together a wealth of information from the most up-to-date sources on such key issues as climate change, access to water, exploitation of ocean resources, nuclear energy and waste, renewable
energy, weapons of mass destruction, causes of industrial accidents, waste, export, hunger, genetically modified organisms, urban development, access to health care and ecological change in China.

That is a good opportunity to point also to its listing of political maps and for those who have access to the article of P.Rekacewicz Confessions of a map-maker:

Earlier this year, Le Monde diplomatique published the second edition of its atlas, and the United Nations Environmental Programme, in partnership with the paper, published a translation of the part of it that focuses on environmental issues. It’s a difficult business being a mapmaker. Maps, as mere visual representations of the idea of the world, are just as subject to diplomacy, border disputes and international struggles as real geopolitical territory.
… (continue on Le Monde Diplomatic - sorrily a password is needed)

May 02, 2006

Climate Change Casino?

Martucket2

 reBlogged via NEWSgrist:
via The Boston Globe
:
Artist, deadpan, floats a proposal
Cape turbines' critic offers a Vegas spin

By Jenna Russell, Globe Staff  |  May 2, 2006

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has flexed his considerable political muscle to try to block a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Governor Mitt Romney strongly opposes the project.

But how would they handle this? A floating theme park, described by its designer, Provincetown artist Jay Critchley, as ''a Las Vegas version of the Cape and islands," to be built on an enormous triangular platform in the midst of the wind turbines.

Some dismiss it as an extravagant -- and expensive -- joke. But Critchley isn't laughing, at least not in public. He says that by proposing the theme park he is trying to bring attention to what he believes is the lack of oversight that the proposed wind farm has received and that he is challenging regulators to give his project similar treatment.

Dreamed up by Critchley, the plans for the Martucket Eyeland Resort & Casino read like classic political satire. Attractions would include the Climate Change Casino & Sweat Lodge, the Captain Ahab Fitness Center, and an amusement park ride called Jaws, Jaws, Jaws, which Critchley describes as ''a simulated eating by a shark -- for the kids."

To be taken even remotely seriously, the 59-year-old Cape Cod artist and provocateur has to insist he has every intention of actually building the theme park. And he does insist. He even filed an application in March with the US Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a permit to move forward with construction.

According to the application, the platform would be anchored between three of the 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound that would comprise Cape Wind.

But in this game of showmanship, federal officials, who admit they were initially amused by Critchley's submission, now caution that the artist is risking serious consequences by forging ahead with his permit request. Applicants found to have knowingly made ''false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations" may be fined $10,000 or imprisoned for up to five years, said Tim Dugan, a spokesman for the Corps' New England district.

''We're working at taxpayers' expense, and we don't want to waste their money," Dugan said with all deliberate earnestness.

Critchley said he is not worried about being prosecuted, though some of his friends are concerned. ''I have other things to worry about, like raising a billion and a half dollars to build the park," he said with equal earnestness.

Corps officials have conducted an initial review of Critchley's application and have asked him for more information. If he does not reply, a spokesman said, his file will be closed. If he moves the process forward, the Department of Justice could be called in to decide if he applied in good faith.

The fate of the Cape Wind farm, while farther along in the planning stage, is still uncertain.

Kennedy supported an effort by Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, to block the development by inserting a provision in a sure-to-pass bill funding the Coast Guard that would give the governor of Massachusetts the ability to veto the project. But the provision -- inserted without public debate, after being considered by only the handful of House members and senators negotiating the Coast Guard bill -- has rankled members of both parties.

A group of House members persuaded House leaders to delay a vote on the bill. In the Senate, the chairman and the ranking Democrat on the Energy Committee say they will try to block the Cape Wind provision when the bill comes to the floor.