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September 11, 2007

Green Medium

 

via Rhizome.org:

While scientists calculate the long-term prognostics for the health of the planet, artists continue to take the natural world–and its fate–as both a medium and a subject in their work. The Natural World Museum and the United Nations Environment Programme have gathered a group of 79 such examples in the volume Art in Action: Nature, Creativity, and Our Collective Future. Representative projects range from the crowd-pleasing site-specific work of Christo and Jeanne Claude to Olafur Eliasson’s immersive provocations–just in time for a recently-opened mid-career survey of his work at SFMOMA–and the book is separated into sections that track artists rendering nature as everything from a fantasy Eden to a fallen wasteland of unchecked human development. The title makes the book’s overall purpose clear. As much as it documents individual projects that engage with and manipulate ecology, the intent is a cumulative attempt to draw awareness to the ever-more fragile state of the planet.

[Link]

April 05, 2007

Agnes Denes: Uprooted & Deified - The Golden Tree

 

Agnes Denes

Uprooted & Deified - The Golden Tree
February 16— March 17, 2007
 
BravinLee programs

526 West 26th Street, Suite 211
New York, New York 10001
phone 212 462 4404
fax 212 462 4406
inquiry@bravinlee.com

MANIFESTO

working with a paradox

defining the elusive

visualizing the invisible

communicating the incommunicable

not accepting the limitations society has accepted

seeing in new ways

living for a fraction of a second and penetrating light years

using intellect and instinct to achieve intuition

achieving total self-consciousness and self-awareness

being creatively obsessive

questioning, reasoning, analyzing, dissecting and re-examining

understanding the finitude of human existence and still striving to create beauty and provocative reasoning

finding new concepts, recognizing new patterns

desiring to know the importance or insignificance of existence

seeing reality and still being able to dream

persisting in the eternal search


© l970 Agnes Denes

 

Tree Mountain - A Living Time Capsule:
11,000 Trees, 11,000 people, 400 years
1992-1996

 

 

December 26, 2006

Geography of Nowhere

 


Bruce Sterling writes:

    I never realized that James Howard Kunstler, prophet
    of suburban oil-peak doom, is a painter.  The guy is
    a pretty darn good painter, actually.

Here's a snippet from the interview and some info on his '93 book, Geography of Nowhere:

An Interview with James Howard Kunstler
Bring It On Home

by Mark Givens

James Howard Kunstler has written four books on Urban Design and Suburbia including the ground-breaking "Geography of Nowhere" in 1993. He has also written nine novels, the newest of which is entitled "Maggie Darling" and it's a doozy. He is a passionate author, a painter, an insightful social critic, and a sharp-witted observer. His latest book is called "The Long Emergency" and it talks about life after "peak oil" - or, as he describes it in this interview, "the cheap oil fiesta of the late 20th century". His "Clusterfuck Nation" is loaded with his commentary on our social condition and his "Eyesore of the Month" serves to remind us, with wit and sincerity, of the horrible things we're doing to our surroundings. But most of all, James Howard Kunstler gives voice to the uneasy feelings that bubble up within us, from the discomfort and confusion regarding our current urban environment to the uncertainty regarding our future post-cheap oil.

MungBeing: Your background is not in urban planning or architecture. Where does your passion for urban design come from?

James Howard Kunstler: Well, I've had to live in the shitty environments of daily life here in America for half a century, and I have strong feelings about it. The books I wrote represented to a large extent a personal struggle to understand why we could do such damage to our civilization.

MB: What attracted you to New Urbanism?

JHK: When I was writing "The Geography of Nowhere," I went up a lot of blind alleys. I talked to a lot of people who were, in fact, part of the problem -- for example, "star" architects like Bob Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, who thought all the suburban crap was wonderful, playful, marvelous. When I finally encountered Andres Duany, I realized I had finally come to the right source. That very year, 1993, Andres along with his wife Lizz Plater-Zyberk, Doug Kelbaugh of the U of Washington, Peter Calthorpe, Stefanos Polyzoides, and a bunch of other dissatisfied architect / urbanists were organizing the official group that came to be called the Congress for the New Urbanism  -- the name was supplied by it's founding director, Peter Katz. These guys knew the score. I had found my way home.

[read on...]

The Geography of Nowhere:
The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape (Hardcover)
by James Howard Kunstler
303 pages
Simon & Schuster (June 1993)
ISBN-10: 0671707744
ISBN-13: 978-0671707743

From Library Journal
In this spirited, irreverent critique, Kunstler spares none of the culprits that have conspired in the name of the American Dream to turn the U.S. landscape from a haven of the civic ideal into a nightmare of crass commercial production and consumption.

Kunstler strips the bark off the utopian social engineering promoted by the machine-worshiping Modern movement of Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright and skewers the intellectual camps (e.g., Venturi) that have thrived on making academic glory of the consumer wasteland.

With the fervor of an investigative reporter and in the vernacular of a tabloid journalist, Kunstler exposes the insidious "car lobby" and gives case studies of landscapes as diverse as Detroit, Atlantic City, and Seaside, Florida, to illustrate both the woes and hopeful notes.

The ideas in this book are not new (Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte Jr. were bemoaning the loss of civic life a quarter-century ago), but Kunstler gives their case an urgent, popular voice. An eminently relevant and important book; highly recommended.

- Thomas P.R. Nugent, New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Worldchanging: User's Guide

reblogged via NEWSgrist, 10/26/06:

User's Guide for the 21st Century

Worldxing_1
New Book:
Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century
by Alex Steffen, Al Gore (Foreword), Bruce Sterling (Introduction)
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (November 1, 2006) [Link]
ISBN: 0810930951

via Bruce Sterling's Viridian Notes 00477 email:

If you are into cybergreen issues you can't call yourself informed without WORLDCHANGING.  Furthermore, the people involved in this effort are the absolute salt of the earth. They're bright, fluent, capable and they genuinely get it.  They don't merely "get it," they are inventing that which it is necessary to get. These are people you need to know a lot more about.

via Amazon : [links courtesy of ng]

Worldchanging is poised to be the Whole Earth Catalog for this millennium. Written by leading new thinkers who believe that the means for building a better future lie all around us, Worldchanging is packed with the information, resources, reviews, and ideas that give readers the tools they need to make a difference. Brought together by Alex Steffen, co-founder of the popular and award-winning web site Worldchanging.com, this team of top-notch writers includes Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, Geekcorps founder Ethan Zuckerman, sustainable food expert Anna Lappé, and many others. Renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister brings his extraordinary talents to Worldchanging, resulting in a book that will challenge readers to personally redefine the conversation about the future.

November 10, 2006

Arts & Ecology: conference and book launch

 

eft image: ”No Way Back?” poster. Design by César Sesio.
Right image: “Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook” book cover. Design by SMITH. 

via e-flux:

Arts & Ecology announces forthcoming conference and book launch

For more information on these events and the Arts & Ecology programme visit
http://www.rsaartsandecology.org.uk

No Way Back?
A two day international conference at the LSE, London
11 & 12 December 2006
Tickets available here
Book before 10 Nov for a discounted ticket.

Speakers include Maria Thereza Alves, Lara Almárcegui, Jeremy Deller, Andrew Freear, Tue Greenfort, Peter Head, Peter Hewitt, Patrick Holden, Professor Zou Ji, John Jordan, David Lammy MP, Heather & Ivan Morison, Ruth Padel, Marjetica Potrc, Claudio Prado, Ralph Rugoff, Tomás Saraceno, Professor John Schellnhuber, Bronislaw Szerszynski, Matthew Taylor, Klaus Weber, Dr Ken Yeang

No Way Back? is a two day international enquiry organised by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London, in partnership with Arts Council England and the London School of Economics and Political Science. As part of the Arts & Ecology programme, the conference aims to provide different perspectives on ecological issues from major thinkers of our time. Bringing together artists, geographers, ecologists, economists, sociologists, architects, philosophers, anthropologists and others, it will focus on real places and issues. The exploration will include keynote presentations, workshops, panel discussions, walks, readings, screenings, artists’ interventions and will encourage dialogue with and among the delegates.

LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook
Edited by Max Andrews


Published by the RSA in partnership with Arts Council England.
Designed by SMITH. Distributed worldwide by Cornerhouse Publications and available from http://www.cornerhouse.org/publications
ISBN 0 901469 57 2 / 280pp / Full colour throughout

Publication date: 12 December 2006

Contributions by Lara Almárcegui, Francis Alÿs, Amy Balkin, James Boyle, Fernando Bryce, Susan Canney, Chu Yun, Donna Conlon, Jimmie Durham & Maria Thereza Alves, Feng Yuan, Futurefarmers & Free Soil, Tue Greenfort, Henrik Håkansson, Thomas Hirschhorn, Katie Holten, Marine Hugonnier, Alfredo Jaar, Jiang Jun, Brian Jungen, Jeffrey Kastner, Winona LaDuke, Learning Group, Lucy R. Lippard, Wangari Maathai, Jonathan Meuser, Jason Middlebrook, Aleksandra Mir, Nils Norman, David Naguib Pellow & Lisa Sun-Hee Park, PLATFORM, Richard Prince, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Tomás Saraceno, Paul Schmelzer, Peter Schmelzer, Michael Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus, Cameron Sinclair, Stephanie Smith, Simon Starling, Bruce Sterling, Kirstine Roepstorff, Rirkrit Tiravanija, David Toop, Vitamin Creative Space, Insa Winkler, the Worldwatch Institute and Zheng Guogu.

The RSA and Arts Council England are pleased to announce the publication of LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook. Edited by writer and curator Max Andrews, the book presents a compendium of essays, dialogues and commissioned projects by artists, ecologists, cultural theorists, activists and curators exploring art’s varied modes of response to notions of territory, cultural production and the emergencies of the 21st century. Original contributions from international practitioners as well as reproductions of existing artworks will accompany artists’ on-the-page ‘studio visits’.

In part a genealogy of ‘land’ and what has been understood by ‘the environment’ since the 1960s—with the activities of ‘Land artists’ and the emergence of a popular ‘eco’-consciousness—LAND, ART… proposes and tests if and how our conceptions of art and artists are relevant to a global debate about the future of the planet, and where, how and why art might operate—at the grass roots, at a tangent, as propaganda, activism or as resistance, for example.

About RSA Arts & Ecology
Arts & Ecology was launched by the RSA and Arts Council England in April 2005 to support the work the work of the arts in examining and addressing social and environmental concerns in an interdisciplinary and international arena.

Arts & Ecology consists of a series of initiatives including conferences, networking, ongoing discourse, international research trips, education pilots, artists’ projects and commissions, a website and a publication. Information can be found at http://www.rsaartsandecology.org.uk

The Precipice Alliance: promoting awareness about global warming through the visual arts

Artwork_site_image

via Artnet News, 11/03/06 :

GLOBAL WARMING ART IN JERSEY
The Precipice Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness about global warming through the visual arts, has commissioned its first work, which opened in Jersey City, Nov. 1, 2006. The piece, by New York-based conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll, consists of a 900-foot-long window display in the buildings of the former American Can factory, comprised of eight-foot-tall neon letters proclaiming, "IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK." The head-scratching phrase is meant as an exercise in "indestructible language," focusing on the fluid, open-ended nature of words (strange, for a project with a clear social message!), and is sure to cause some confusion along the Pulaski Skyway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and in planes flying into or out of Newark airport.

Though using illuminated letters to get the word out, the organization hastens to note that the art piece is "carbon neutral," employing low-wattage transformers and lead-free glass tubing, as well as using solar panels to offset the energy consumed.

An event will take place at the site Nov. 13, 2006, to celebrate the debut of the work, featuring songstress Joan Osborne and a lecture by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew C. Revkin. For info, check out http://precipice-alliance.org.

The Precipice Alliance was co-founded by Joel Sternfeld and Donna Wingate; Robert Hammond is on the Board of Directors.

From their Mission Statement:

The mission of the Precipice Alliance is to increase awareness of the global effects of climate change. To do so, the Alliance will fund high-profile, innovative public artworks that address this urgent matter, while simultaneously functioning as an educational and informational forum.

Visibility is key to positive action on this issue. Artists can give form to the intangible and deliver a powerful message about the need to meet the critical challenges of global warming.

Commissioning projects that specifically address climate change will direct public attention to the urgency of the issue. To this end, large-scale contemporary art will be executed in public venues, with each artwork aligned with a specific environmental initiative and related public response. These educational and action-oriented initiatives will serve to inform, to provoke thought, and to instigate profound change.

October 26, 2006

Tavares Strachan's Arctic Ice Project

 

TAVARES STRACHAN
The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project), 2004-06

Preview Date: Dec. 5th, 5–8pm
Dec. 6–10, 2006
(11am–8pm, except Sun, 11am–4pm)
2010 North Miami Ave (between 20th / 21st St)

http://www.distancebetween.org
http://www.pierogi2000.com
http://www.feldmangallery.com
 

via art-agenda:

Pierogi Gallery and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts are pleased to present the exhibition of Tavares Strachan's The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (Arctic Ice Project) in the Wynnwood section of Miami, FL, opening December 5th, 2006 (5-8pm).

In March 2005 Strachan traveled to the Alaskan Arctic in search of a frozen river. Within several days he located one under the Arctic Circle. With the help of a skilled team, he cut into the frozen water to extract a 4.5 ton portion. This block of ice was shipped to Nassau, Bahamas for exhibition in July 2006, an extremely hot summer month in the Bahamas. While on exhibition, the ice sits in a glass freezer, which derives its power from a solar energy system. In effect, the power of the sun keeps this remnant of the Arctic intact, stable, and on view. After the exhibition in Miami the work will travel for further exhibitions.

Strachan's work in general, and the Arctic Ice Project in particular, touches on many different issues: environmental, geographical, social, cultural, and historical. Perhaps the most obvious reference is environmental, relating to global warming and the recent recognition (or denial) of current and potential climactic changes—the reality and the politics of global warming. Geographically and culturally, the work references multiple levels of displacement that draw on human experience. Socially, Strachan has been working to involve communities of school children in the Bahamas through lectures, the tradition of oral story telling, and performances. The act of retracing this expedition is a way of imbedding this arctic experience into the imagination of the community. Using phenomena as a vehicle, this project involves systems of myth, and the products of these experiences are the basis for Strachan’s new works that will be incorporated into later exhibitions.

Continue reading "Tavares Strachan's Arctic Ice Project" »

October 24, 2006

Melting Before Their Eyes

 

An 1870 postcard view of the Rhone glacier in Gletsch, Switzerland, contrasted dramatically with the shrinking 21st-century version of it.

via NYTimes:

Frozen in Memories, but Melting Before Their Eyes

By JOHN TAGLIABUE
Published: October 24, 2006

GLETSCH, Switzerland — To hear the locals tell it, you would think they were referring to a loved family member declining in old age.

The New York Times

Experts say the Rhone glacier may melt completely in this century.

"It hurts, it hurts," Philipp Carlen said of his feeling toward the vast Rhone glacier, which once came to the edge of his hotel, but now has receded several hundred yards. The glacier, whose soft contours and dirty gray surface make it resemble some huge sea creature, a whale perhaps, is rapidly shrinking, in the mild autumn weather, by 12 to 15 feet a day.

Eight thousand years ago, Mr. Carlen said, the glacier was the largest in Europe, with arms that reached all the way to Lyon, in France. Indeed, it remains the source of the Rhone River, which flows westward into France and from there into the Mediterranean. Now, however, it is only the fifth largest glacier in Switzerland, and experts foresee the day, probably in this century, when the glacier, all six miles of it, will melt away to nothing.

The shrinkage has consequences for the little village that owes its name — Gletsch means glacier in Swiss German — and its very existence to the icy behemoth.


Continue reading "Melting Before Their Eyes" »

July 27, 2006

Global Warming: Scientist Sets Record Straight

 

Image: Michael Kupperman

via NYTimes:
Op-Ed Contributor
Cold, Hard Facts
By PETER DORAN
Published: July 27, 2006

Chicago
IN the debate on global warming, the data on the climate of Antarctica has been distorted, at different times, by both sides. As a polar researcher caught in the middle, I’d like to set the record straight.

In January 2002, a research paper about Antarctic temperatures, of which I was the lead author, appeared in the journal Nature. At the time, the Antarctic Peninsula was warming, and many people assumed that meant the climate on the entire continent was heating up, as the Arctic was. But the Antarctic Peninsula represents only about 15 percent of the continent’s land mass, so it could not tell the whole story of Antarctic climate. Our paper made the continental picture more clear.

My research colleagues and I found that from 1996 to 2000, one small, ice-free area of the Antarctic mainland had actually cooled. Our report also analyzed temperatures for the mainland in such a way as to remove the influence of the peninsula warming and found that, from 1966 to 2000, more of the continent had cooled than had warmed. Our summary statement pointed out how the cooling trend posed challenges to models of Antarctic climate and ecosystem change.

Newspaper and television reports focused on this part of the paper. And many news and opinion writers linked our study with another bit of polar research published that month, in Science, showing that part of Antarctica’s ice sheet had been thickening — and erroneously concluded that the earth was not warming at all. “Scientific findings run counter to theory of global warming,” said a headline on an editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune. One conservative commentator wrote, “It’s ironic that two studies suggesting that a new Ice Age may be under way may end the global warming debate.”

In a rebuttal in The Providence Journal, in Rhode Island, the lead author of the Science paper and I explained that our studies offered no evidence that the earth was cooling. But the misinterpretation had already become legend, and in the four and half years since, it has only grown.

Our results have been misused as “evidence” against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel “State of Fear” and by Ann Coulter in her latest book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Search my name on the Web, and you will find pages of links to everything from climate discussion groups to Senate policy committee documents — all citing my 2002 study as reason to doubt that the earth is warming. One recent Web column even put words in my mouth. I have never said that “the unexpected colder climate in Antarctica may possibly be signaling a lessening of the current global warming cycle.” I have never thought such a thing either.

Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?

Also missing from the skeptics’ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge differences of scientific opinion.

The disappointing thing is that we are even debating the direction of climate change on this globally important continent. And it may not end until we have more weather stations on Antarctica and longer-term data that demonstrate a clear trend.

In the meantime, I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well.

Peter Doran is an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

July 23, 2006

C5 Landscape Database API 2.0


 

C5 Landscape Database API 2.0
An Open Source GIS API for Digital Elevation Model processing and performance
http://www.c5corp.com/research/demtool/index.shtml

C5, in association with Futuresonic 2006, is proud to release the C5
Landscape Database 2.0 API to the public, in celebration of ten years of
Futuresonic!
http://www.futuresonic.com/

*New Release*
C5 Landscape Database API 2.0

New Features in version 2.0:

   * Virtual Hikers
   * Support for GPS data such as track logs and waypoints
   * Ability to image GPS data onto dem data
   * Java3d support
   * Ability to read land use data (CTG files)
   * New analytic capabilities for landscape searching

 Version 1.0.3 features:

   * DEM input packages
   * RDBMS packages for DEM data
   * Support for processing DEM data dynamically
   * Analytic table support for landscape searching
   * Simple GUI (demtool) for viewing DEMs
   * Support for data export and management

(c) C5 corporation 2002-2006, under the GNU Lesser Public License (pre-2.0
libraries) and C5/UCSD AESTHETIC USE LICENCE (2.0 libraries: see source
code for details)

+

 

July 18, 2006

Prevailing Climate @ Sara Meltzer

Redheat
Joy Garnett: Red Heat (Strange Weather #20) 2006

"Prevailing Climate"
@ Sara Meltzer Gallery
curated by Rachel Gugelberger and Jeffrey Walkowiak

opening reception Wednesday, July 12, 6 – 8pm
July 13 - August 18, 2006

artists:
Eric Anglès
Andrea Bowers
Margarita Cabrera
Anthony Discenza
Christoph Draeger
Joy Garnett
Boukje Janssen
John Jurayj
Catarina Leitao
Joan Linder
Anna von Mertens
Jason Middlebrook
Yumi Janeiro Roth
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky
Type A

Sara Meltzer Gallery
525-531 West 26th Street
NYC [USA]
http://sarameltzergallery.com/

more info about screenings and events (including eteam, Andrea Bower, Carlos Motta, + others): screenings and public programs; press release [PDF] 

CloudSara Meltzer Gallery is pleased to present Prevailing Climate, a group exhibition curated by Rachel Gugelberger and Jeffrey Walkowiak. The exhibition will be on view July 13 through August 18, with an opening reception on Wednesday, July 12, 6 – 8pm. Gallery summer hours are Monday through Friday, 11am – 6pm.

Prevailing Climate examines two meanings of climate: the average course of a location’s weather conditions and the feeling or atmosphere that characterizes a period in time. Using severe weather and natural disasters as points of departure, Prevailing Climate comments on the various consequences of man's actions on nature and society, and in doing so, examines the tragedy, fear and distrust that connects our history, politics, consumerism and mass media.

Based on documentary photographs culled from the Internet, Joy Garnett's apocalyptic paintings evoke romantic landscapes that explore the conflict of culture, technology and politics through a decontextualized media lens. Using disaster photos from newspapers as the basis for somber, gray-scale paintings that feature anonymous human figures, Boukje Janssen awakens the deep psychology of the original images' subjects that may be lost in the overload of images in the mass media. John Jurayj combines imagery of war-torn Lebanon taken from journalistic images and personal travel and employs a variety of painterly tropes to investigate territory, genealogy and displacement, creating a disequilibrium interlaced with exuberance, melancholia and political disturbance. Jason Middlebrooks landscapes are in-depth examinations of land as sites loaded with symbolism and history, reflecting in particular, on the devastating effects of land development on indigenous plant, animal life and human life.

Questions of empowerment and participation are at the core of Andrea Bowers' artistic practice. Imbued with social, political and feminist critique, her video projects, drawings, photography and sculpture are reminders of the continued struggle for rights in anticipation of the political landscape of the future. Crafting simulated consumer goods out of soft vinyl sewn together with long, uncut lengths of thread, Margarita Cabrera explores the economic gap between those who manufacture consumer goods and those who purchase them. Yumi Janeiro Roth transforms everyday objects into forms that contemplate our relationship with material culture and the language of design vis-à-vis function. Domestic objects such as kitchen towels, for example, have been altered so as to serve as distributors of information and propaganda in our fear-driven and safety-prepared society. Catarina Leitao offers a refuge from the urban environment in her Artificial Retreat Devices (A.R.D.), portable tents designed to satisfy the desire for escape. Color and audio simulate a natural experience in order to provide a superficial retreat.

Anna von Mertens' hand-stitched works depict the rotation of the stars during violent moments in history, functioning as a memorial, landscape and as a study of astrological forces. More importantly, von Mertens reminds us of the deep psychological impact that history has on our lives and yet, the cycle of nature is oblivious and imapssive to its violence. Christoph Draeger, Anthony Discenza and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky reconstruct images from the mass media to investigate the ways in which information is dispersed. Draeger collects images and translates them into a variety of media including video, photography and painting. His "disaster jigsaw puzzles" suggest that the media conveys disasters to the public in the form of entertainment. Skvirsky appropriates and transforms media coverage of victims of war and natural disasters into cinematic compositions that critically investigate media's intentions and cultivation of our interpretation of events and their implications. Discenza culls visual material from commercial film and telvision, reorganizing, compressing and collapsing original information into a moment of simultaneous destruction and reification.

Questioning the nature of authority, Type A's photograph "Ours/Theirs" exposes and imitates the subjective meaning of the Prime Meridian. By creating their own "line" and documentation of evidence, they expose the arbitrary nature of Greenwich Mean Time and the "civilized" world’s measure of time and space. Joan Linder's pen and ink drawings explore and claim the sub-technological process of observation and mark making. Her series of images of bound bodies, void of human presence, are suggestive of power play as a tool in both sexual and political practices. Eric Anglès' quarterly publication is a blank broadsheet newspaper that is circulated via placement in arbitrary sites and on a free subscription basis. Lacking content of images of any kind, the publication instead bears only the marks of the printing process itself, a nod to the potential fpor information to stand in for knowledge.

July 06, 2006

Talking About the Weather

 

via YASMIN:

Dear friends and fellow breathers,
We'd like to invite you to contribute to our breath collection at 'Talking About the Weather' Blog. Is is very easy, just describe your breath in one word or many... More info about the project is below. Or you could visit the Blog and see for yourself...

If you'd like to contribute to our breath collection email us (maria@out-of-sync.com) for the login details.

Thanx
maria + norie
http://www.out-of-sync.com

About the Project:
"The air you just exhaled has already spread far and wide. The CO2 from a breath last week may now be feeding a plant on a distant continent, or plankton in a frozen sea. In a matter of months all of the CO2 you just exhaled will have dispersed around the planet."   -- Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers

Talking About the Weather is an ongoing cross media project exploring our own response to the terrifying spectre of global climate change. Sheer terror at the possibilities that are being talked about led us to 'talking about the weather'. The weather, once a safe way for strangers to connect, is now fraught with an edge of danger as ominous signs of global warming multiply. In this project weathertalk is no longer a banal exchange of local weather forecasts, but instead we ask people to donate their breath - the breath which they would normally use to talk about the weather and the same breath that is spread far and wide as described by Tim Flannery.

Working with breath emphasises the dynamic nature of the atmosphere and our part in its creation and destruction. As Tim Flannery says, every breath you take makes you part of a dynamic system called the atmosphere, or the aerial ocean.

Talking about the Weather involves performative encounters, where we perform two Australian visitors to a foreign place asking for donations to our breath collection (to be the largest in the world) with which we will blow back global warming. These performative encounters continue our work with the "pataphysical mode of an imaginary solution for an actual problem" in this case, global warming.

We have been "documenting" the encounters on video and there is a link to excerpts on the blog.

During our (July 3-17) new media residency in New Zealand (SCANZ), we will be collecting more breath on the streets of New Plymouth. We will be exhibiting the breath collections, including your contributions, at Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Zealand in mid July, so please contribute soon.

http://www.scanz.net.nz/weathertalk/

Out-of-Sync is a collaboration between Australian media artists Maria Miranda and Norie Neumark. For more info see our website:http://www.out-of-sync.com

Tsunami miniseries

 
Wandee Sae-hong pays homage June 16, 2006, at a spirit house in front of her home in Baan Nam Kem to victims of the 2004 tsunami that hit her village in southern Thailand. Wandee objected to the making of a BBC/HBO miniseries about the tsunami in her village, which lost about half its 5,000 residents in the disaster. The two-part miniseries is slated to air later this year on BBC2 and HBO. (AP Photo /Sakchai Lalit)

Tsunami miniseries sets off debate (AP)
By MICHAEL CASEY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 29, 4:50 PM ET

KHAO LAK, Thailand - Initially, Boonlue Mongkhol objected to his village being used for a TV miniseries about the 2004 tsunami. He lost his loved ones in the disaster and didn't want to relive the tragedy.

But when the British Broadcasting Corp. advertised for extras, the 38-year-old businessman put aside his personal feelings and spent five days portraying a corpse and a body collector — earning $13 a day.

"My father, niece and nephew died there," said Boonlue, who also lost his house, seafood restaurant and mini market when the massive waves hit Khao Lak on Dec. 26, 2004. "I didn't want to do it but there is no other way to earn money."

The filming of "Aftermath" — a two-part miniseries produced by the BBC and HBO, shot along Thailand's tsunami-battered coast — has set off a debate over the merits of bringing the tragedy to the screen so soon after the disaster.

Supporters say it's an important story, touching on universal themes of hope and loss, while many survivors say reviving the tsunami has hit them with more heartache.

Similar debates among survivors have played out in the United States with "United 93," the first big-screen treatment of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and in Australia when there was talk of making a movie about the 2002 Bali bombings, the victims of which were mainly Australians.

"You are exacerbating the healing process," said Anie Kalayjian, whose non-governmental Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention has provided counseling to survivors of the tsunami and last year's Pakistan earthquake.

"On some level, they need to distance themselves from the devastating impact of the event to heal," she said. "Post-trauma means the trauma has to end and you need a certain distance before you can process your feelings and make meaning and sense out of the unimaginable."

Billed as a compelling story of survival and courage, the two-part series to be shown on HBO and BBC Two later this year follows eight characters in the aftermath of the tsunami including a young couple searching for their child, an Englishwoman whose husband and son are missing, and a Thai man who lost his family and village.

 

Continue reading "Tsunami miniseries" »

July 05, 2006

Perception of Climate Change: online discussion @ YASMIN

 

 

Point your browsers towards YASMIN where there is a new e-discussion about the "Perception of Climate Change in Contemporary Art". Below you will find the list of the 15 invited respondents. The duiscussion is intended to further our understanding of the nature and quality of our perception of Climate Change...

 via YASMIN:

YASMIN is a network of artists, scientists, engineers, theoreticians and institutions promoting communication and collaboration in art, science and technology around the Mediterranean Rim.

YASMIN welcomes information on events, artists' works, organizations' programmes, projects, initiatives as well as discussions and critical analysis in the field of art, science and technology around the Mediterranean Rim.

YASMIN aims to identify the players and to facilitate cooperation within the Mediterranean Rim.

The list is currently moderated by the following team : Pau Alsina, Neora Berger, Dimitris Charitos, Nina Czegledy, Ahmed Hassounna and Julien Knebusch. They form the "Yasmin Group" together with Roger Malina, Jaco Du Toit, Annick Bureaud and Andreas Giannakoulopoulos.

Regional correspondents of YASMIN are Samirah Al-Khassim in Jordan, Ricardo Mbarak in Lebanon, Oguzhan Ozcan in Turkey, Erika Katalina Pasztor in Hungary and Rui Trindade in Portugal. You may find contact information for both moderators and correspondents in Contact page.

The Yasmin mailing list was made possible thanks to ISOC (Internet Society), The Rockefeller Foundation, Leonardo/Olats, The University of Athens, Artnodes- UOC Barcelona and all the coordinators from the "Yasmin Group". It is co-sponsored by the DigiArts Programme of UNESCO. 

Continue reading "Perception of Climate Change: online discussion @ YASMIN" »

June 26, 2006

Arts & Ecology Programme, London

 

via Arts & Ecology (new to the Blogroll) - http://www.artsandecology.org:

Arts & Ecology is a programme supporting the work of the arts in examining and addressing environmental concerns in an international arena.

Arts & Ecology explores the current practice of artists, writers, architects and film-makers through a series of conferences, publications and projects that looks at local and global projects that attempt to communicate, challenge and sometimes propose solutions to pollution, waste and loss of natural habitats. The issues at stake – from the broad one of climate change to thespecific problems of desertification, waste and dwindling biodiversities- are being examined through artists’ practices, and through interdisciplinary dialogue with scientists, industrialists, government and environmental groups.

A key notion informing the entire project is that of ecology as a study of an individual’s relationship with their cultural, social and economic, as well as natural, environment. As such this is a broad reaching programme and aims to locate the arts as a central player in providing creative, and sometimes radical, insights and solutions to the challenges facing contemporary society. The information hub of this website provides a growing bibliography and directory of the inspirational work of many artists, writers and agencies that is currently taking place across arts forms.

June 23, 2006

Beached

 

via NYTimes:
Next Victim of Warming: The Beaches
By CORNELIA DEAN
Published: June 20, 2006

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — When scientists consider the possible effects of global warming, there is a lot they don't know. But they can say one thing for sure: sea levels will rise.

This rising water will be felt along the artificially maintained beaches of New Jersey, in the vanishing marshes of Louisiana, even on the ocean bluffs of California. According to a 2000 report by the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, at least a quarter of the houses within 500 feet of the United States coast may be lost to rising seas by 2060. There were 350,000 of these houses when the report was written, but today there are far more.

"If it is as bad as people are saying, at some point it will be a crisis," said Thomas Tomasello of Tallahassee, Fla., a lawyer who represents many owners of coastal property. But he does not dwell on it. "I cannot deal with sea level rise," he said. "That's such a huge issue."

Though most of the country's ocean beaches are eroding, few coastal jurisdictions consider sea level rise in their coastal planning, and still fewer incorporate the fact that the rise is accelerating. Instead, they are sticking with policies that geologists say may help them in the short term but will be untenable or even destructive in the future.

Florida is a good example. To prepare for hurricane season, which began June 1 and has already brought Tropical Storm Alberto, Floridians were still repairing storm damage from 2005 and even 2004, building or repairing walls to shield beachfront buildings.

Until May 1, when turtle nesting season forced them to stop, they were also pumping hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand onto eroded beaches. Florida has relied on this approach for decades, but after the past few storm seasons, there has been an increase in applications for sea wall permits, many from Mr. Tomasello's clients. "If you have a house or a condo that's threatened, it's really the only alternative," he said.

Maintaining eroding beaches with artificial infusions of sand is difficult and costly, and as sea levels rise, it may become economically impractical or even impossible. "The combination of sea walls and rising sea level will accelerate the rate of land loss in front of those sea walls," said Peter Howd, an oceanographer who conducts shoreline research for the United States Geological Survey in St. Petersburg. "So people with a sea wall and a beach in front of it will end up with just a sea wall."

Many people "want to disagree" that global warming is a threat to the coast, said Daniel Trescott, a planner on the staff of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, one of 11 such boards in the state. "But the first place you see these impacts is on the beach."

The council is participating in a federal program to map areas that are vulnerable to rising sea levels, identify crucial infrastructure there and assess how much will probably end up protected by armor. Mr. Trescott said he hoped that the effort would put sea levels "on the radar, to start addressing how we are going to respond to this rise."

Elsewhere, scientists are studying data from ancient sediment formations to predict how the barrier islands that form most of the East and Gulf Coasts will respond to rising seas. "As scientists, and especially as federal agency scientists, it's our responsibility to think long term," said S. Jeffress Williams, a coastal geologist at the United States Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Mass., who is organizing a session on sea level rise at a meeting of coastal scientists next year. "What are the cumulative impacts we can expect over the next 50 to 100 years?"

Dr. Williams pointed to a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers for beach maintenance on the South Shore of Long Island, from Fire Island to Montauk Point. The project relies on historical rates of sea level rise, measured by an array of instruments in many locations, rather than on predictions of future acceleration, said Cliff Jones, a project manager for the corps. That is typical of the corps, he said, "to take advantage of what history has shown, as opposed to what might be predicted."

It is an understandable approach, Dr. Williams said, but "it is going to build up false expectations."

As with climate change and other environmental problems that develop imperceptibly, it is hard for people to see rising sea levels as a threat.

"It's a slow process," Dr. Howd said. "It's not something that is visible right now or next week or a year from now."

And the remedies are not attractive, to say the least. Few coastal residents want to see their towns walled off and surrounded by water. And few want to elevate their houses by 20 feet or more, as flooding experts are beginning to recommend in some coastal areas. The approach favored by many scientists, a gradual retreat from the coast, is a perennial nonstarter among real estate interests and their political allies.

"Socioeconomically, politically, it's an ugly mess," Dr. Howd said. [read on...]

June 12, 2006

inigo manglano-ovalle: blinking out of existence

 


inigo manglano-ovalle: blinking out of existence

june 23 , 2006 - september 3, 2006

The Rochester Art Center is pleased to be the first Minnesota institution to present a large-scale solo exhibition of new and recent work by Chicago-based artist and recent MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Working in a variety of media including video, sound, photography, and sculpture, this exhibition represents the largest and most ambitious installation at the Rochester Art Center to date, utilizing all major galleries and devoting over 6,500 square feet to the artist’s unique vision. As such, this exhibition will expose the scope and breadth of the artist’s oeuvre to Minnesota audiences for the first time. For his exhibition at the Rochester Art Center, Manglano-Ovalle will present a wide-variety of works focusing on diverse subjects—climate, immigration and emigration, power and powerlessness, the effects of technology, international politics, identity, and the possibility of violence. Frequently collaborating with scientists, engineers, architects, writers, geneticists, and others, Manglano-Ovalle creates objects that are both technically complex and formally captivating. Two such objects become the foundation of the exhibition—Iceberg(r11i01) and Cloud Prototype #1.

Iceberg(r11i01) is based on concrete scientific data of an existing iceberg drifting in the Labrador Sea. This iceberg was scanned with the assistance of the Canadian Hydraulic Center utilizing both radar and sonar. Using data provided by the Center, the artist worked closely with Chicago architect Colin Franzen to create a 25-foot sculpture comprised of thousands of aluminum tubes and rapid-prototyped joints.

(above)
Cloud Prototype No. 2, 2003
fiberglass and titanium alloy foil 11 x 16 feet
Scale model of 30km-long cumulonimbus thundercloud based on actual storm database provided by the Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Illinois and the National Computing Center, Beckman Institute, Urbana-Champaign. Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York.

Cloud Prototype #1 is a large-scale sculpture of a cumulo-nimbus thundercloud modeled by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Working with architect Douglas Garafalo, Manglano-Ovalle has transformed the numerical data scanned from this existing 50 kilometer wide thundercloud into a titanium-clad sculpture produced by computer-controlled milling machines frequently used by the automobile industry.

Both works begin to comment on ephemeral forces such as weather or clouds while examining patterns of migration uninhibited by political or social boundaries. James Rondeau, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, states: "Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle is engaged in a process of understanding how certain extraordinary forces and systems—man-made and natural—are always and already in the process of remaking the world. As an artist, thinker, and citizen he absorbs and transforms catalytic ideas and paradigmatic events, adapting them within the context of a formal, intellectual, multivalent visual practice. ‘What I want to represent,’ the artist declares, ‘is how the world represents itself to us.’ Over the course of the last decade, his protean achievements include, but are not limited to, activist-inspired public art, sculpture, film, sound, and photography—all of which fuse the politics of contemporary urban culture with poetic meditations on aesthetics, history, and identity." (James Rondeau, Event Horizons, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Fudacion "la Caixa" 2003.)

About the Artist

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle was born in Madrid, Spain and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Media Arts Award (1997-2001) from the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, a Media Arts Residency (1998-2000) from the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington in Seattle, an ArtPace Foundation International Artist Residency Fellowship (1997) in San Antonio, Texas, and a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship (1995).

Exhibition Catalog

A fully-illustrated exhibition catalog will offer critical essays by Kris Douglas, Chief Curator of the Rochester Art Center, Claire Barliant, Associate Editor of ARTFORUM, and an interview with Manglano-Ovalle by Yasmil Raymond, Assistant Curator at the Walker Art Center.

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 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.

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)

April 22, 2006

Laurie David on Global Warming

via NYTimes:

Laurie David Raises Awareness of Global Warming

By FELICIA R. LEE
Published: April 22, 2006

"I am terrified," Laurie David said between bites of her Cobb salad, avocados on the side. "I'm terrified. I'm terrified. And fear is a great motivator."

Ms. David was talking about her fears of global warming. Not exactly an aid to digestion, but talk of global warming is what she does, as the reigning media queen of the issue. She has chatted about weird weather on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," recently shepherded two TV projects on the issue onto Fox News and TBS, and is the executive producer of the global warming primer "Too Hot Not to Handle," to be broadcast on HBO today, Earth Day.

Tall, elegant and intense, Ms. David was also the guest editor of the May issue — "The Green Issue" — of Elle magazine. ("Clean up your act with eco-chic fashion, travel food.") And she is a producer of "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary film based on former Vice President Al Gore's decades of research on global warming. The film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and will be in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 26. You might have caught Ms. David (who seems not at all like the TV wife of her husband, Larry David) on "The Bold and the Beautiful," a soap opera. In an episode in January she played herself, trying to talk a shipping magnate into making some changes in his business to cut back on global-warming pollution.

"Yes, that was the low point of my life," Ms. David said. "Not because of the soap opera, but because of my hideous acting. But guess what? I got to talk about global warming on the No. 1 soap opera in the country."

For the near future, at least, Ms. David has resolved to stay behind the camera, and her latest endeavor, "Too Hot Not to Handle," is a sober documentary, full of leading scientists and statistics explaining how global warming is already upon us. If it's scary, she said, then good.

Early in "Too Hot," Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton, intones, "We're headed toward a completely different world than the one we're used to."

The film provides "a non-wonky" explanation of what, exactly, global warming is, Ms. David said. When you add junk into the atmosphere, blocking some of the energy exchange between the Earth and space, it traps heat near the Earth's surface, a Stanford scientist explains.

Besides watching scenes of hurricanes, heat waves and parched fields, viewers learn that heat waves lasting four days or more have almost tripled in the last 50 years; that moderate rains have decreased while heavy rains have increased. According to the film a quarter of the plant and animal species could face extinction by the end of the century, because of global warming.

If that doesn't grab you, yet another "Too Hot" authority talks about the commonplace ways global warming will be felt: leaves will change color at odd times of the year, ski resorts won't get snow, spring geese will no longer come in the spring.

"And by the way, you know, global warming is good for one thing: bugs and pollen," Ms. David said, tucking into her salad.

"I do not want to be talking to the converted," she said of the film. "We want to talk to people who say: 'O.K., wait a second. What the heck is this and why should I care? And you know, hey, when my kids come home, we're going to all watch it tonight.' "

Her own family is, of course, environmentally correct. Mr. David drives a Toyota Prius, a so-called hybrid car (which runs on both a gas engine and an electric motor) on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the HBO show in which he plays a curmudgeonly comedian with a tolerant wife. The real-life Davids both drive a Prius, too, and live in Los Angeles with their 10- and 12-year-old daughters. She's a model-thin, sparkly 48-year-old, and Mr. David is 10 years older.

The Davids are well aware that in some quarters Ms. David is caricatured as a celebrity do-gooder. She was infamously labeled a "Gulfstream liberal" in a 2004 article in The Atlantic magazine that noted that she chartered private planes even as she pressed for improved fuel-economy standards. An article in The Hollywood Reporter this week said that Ms. David has become "a symbol to some of showbiz grandstanding at its most self-righteous."

Ms. David said she only occasionally uses a private plane and the majority of her air travel is commercial. "This comes from people trying to marginalize celebrity, trying to marginalize Hollywood," she said of the criticism. "It comes from people not wanting you to be effective. Celebrities who lend their names to causes to raise lot of money for important issues should be admired and not marginalized and made fun of."

She grew passionate about global warming, she explained, when her first daughter was a baby. She felt lost and isolated after leaving a hot career of managing comedians, and when she met some big brains with the Natural Resources Defense Council, she recognized her calling. She now sits on the board of the council, which is dedicated to protecting the public health and the environment.

Frances Beinecke, the council president, gives Ms. David credit for changing the public perception of environmentalists as somewhat overwrought tree huggers and for playing an enormous role in moving the global warming conversation "off of the science page and squarely into the middle of American popular culture."

For instance, Elle magazine, which reaches a huge audience of avid consumers of the fashionable and the trendy, is "green" for May. Roberta Myers, Elle's editor in chief, approached her about being a guest editor, Ms. David said. Vanity Fair also has a "green issue" for May, Ms. David noted.

"This is her great passion, she knows a lot about the environment, she's the fulcrum for a lot of activity," Ms. Myers said of Ms. David. "It was just important to us that we get her voice."

Ms. David started her professional life as a talent coordinator for the David Letterman show (which is how she met Larry David) and now juggles her roles as wife, mother and activist from a home office. She travels extensively but generally limits her time away to three days. At 6 p.m., without fail, the whole family eats dinner together.

"I have taken advantage of my husband, to the extent that I even got HBO to do a documentary with me," she said. "He won't even promote his own show, and I'm like, 'Honey, "Nightline's" coming tomorrow, and you have to talk to them for a couple of minutes.' He went on Oprah with me, which I begged him to do. He's shy."

But you don't have to be famous to help, Ms. David said. Her easy to-do list of suggestions includes buying recycled paper products, unplugging appliances not in use and joining a virtual march on Washington against global warming at www.stopglobalwarming.org.

"I'm completely and totally optimistic," Ms. David said of the green movement, betting that she will win new converts when "Too Hot" is broadcast.

Ms. David called global warming a disaster that must be halted before the crash is too intense. "It's better to be in a car accident at 5 miles per hour," she said, "than one at 60 miles per hour."

Public Programs for The Drop, @ Exit Art

Drop

via NEWSgrist, 4/21/06

 

Announcing Public Programs for The Drop, @ Exit Art:

Water Challenges Facing New York City: Finding Visionary Solutions

Saturday, April 29, 2006

THE DROP public programs will include two panel discussions and an artist-led walking tour of New York's waterways & water resources, organized by Amy Lipton of ecoartspace, a curator who has been engaged with art and the environment for ten years. In the spirit of promoting discussion and analysis, Exit Art has organized a flexible presentation of panels and speakers.

The full-day panel and walking tour will focus on visionary approaches to resolving problems with and disputes over New York waterways, and will include artists, activists, water scientists, and representatives from the Department of Environmental Conservation who will speak about the importance of New York waterways. Panelists will present their visionary solutions to the water challenges facing New York City. The afternoon session will be a forum moderated by Amy Lipton, where the panelists will discuss solutions to our local water issues.

11am Morning Session
Each of the participating artists, environmentalists, scientists and landscape architects on the panel will give a five-minute presentation on their work and how it relates to water issues in New York City.

1:00 - 2pm break for lunch

2pm Afternoon Session
The morning panelists will begin a dialogue about real solutions to the water problems facing New York, and then open this discussion with the audience.
Panelists for morning and afternoon sessions include:

Artists: Brandon Ballengee, Bob Braine and Jackie Brookner
Eric Goldstein, Co-Director, Urban Programs, National Resources Defense Council
Chris Wilde, Watershed Director, Riverkeeper
Franco Montaldo, hydrologist / environmental engineer, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Margie Ruddick
, Landscape Architect


Sunday, April 30, 12 noon
Artist led walking tour of New York City waterways, exploring existing and former water sources and their importance.

Organized by Amy Lipton, Curator ecoartspace, NY and Abington Art Center, Philadelphia

Please contact Exit Art for more information 212-966-7745 or info@exitart.org

More about THE DROP:
Introduction - Artists - Curatorial Text - Public Programs - Funders

April 14, 2006

Earth Day at Abington Art Center, with New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin & artist Diane Burko

 

Celebrate Earth Day at Abington Art Center

with a book signing & talk featuring New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin & artist Diane Burko 

Sunday, April 23rd at 3pm

"The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World" 

In connection with "out of the blue" an exhibition about climate change, its politics and metaphors, Andrew Revkin, the global-environment reporter for The New York Times will be at Abington Art Center to share his new illustrated book on the once and future Arctic. "The North Pole Was Here" is geared toward readers 10 years and up but his talk was developed with the whole family in mind. The book recounts his recent trip to the shifting sea ice at the North Pole with a rugged team of climate scientists who are trying to determine what's behind the dramatic warming of the Arctic climate. All science there is extreme science.

Mr. Revkin will share a lively illustrated talk that draws on the book (published by Houghton Mifflin/ Kingfisher) and his unique adventures not only at the North Pole, but on two other recent Arctic forays, to the summit of Greenland's giant ice sheet and the windblown tundra of Alaska's North Slope. Copies of "The North Pole Was Here" will be available for purchase and Mr. Revkin will sign books after the talk. Signed copies can also be ordered in advance. To put in an order call Heather at 215-887-4882 x240.

Artist Diane Burko from Abington Art Center's current gallery exhibition "out of the blue" will speak at 4pm. She will share images of her travels to Alaska and Iceland which were the inspiration for her new paintings. Diane is a Philadelphia painter and photographer whose recent projects are based on her travels to Iceland, the most active volcanic territory on earth. Diane has received many awards including a Lila Acheson Wallace fellowship and a grant from the Leeway Foundation.

This program has been supported in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.The event is FREE and open to the public. 

 

Read a review of "The North Pole Was Here" in Grist magazine:

True North [excerpt]

[...] Built around Revkin's 2003 trip to the pole, the book intersperses the author's observations with vintage photographs and stories culled from the pages of The New York Times, and a sprinkling of history, science, and philosophy. The title comes not from a gloomy global forecast, but from the fact that the geographical Pole is covered by ice that moves much more swiftly than most of us suspect: about 400 yards an hour.

Accessible to 10-year-olds (OK, to precocious 10-year-olds), the book makes fascinating reading for grown-ups as well. As you'd expect in a book aimed at kids, everything is clear. As you might also expect, it contains a huge number of MTV-length snippets. Topics range from the speculations of ancient Hindus and Greeks about what wonders might lie at the pole to the early efforts by white folk to reach it. Revkin also explores the reasons behind the slow collapse of magnetic north, whose strength has declined 10 to 15 percent in the last 150 years.

[Read on...

 

U.S. Geological Survey Website: Repeat Photography of Glacier National Park

 

(thanks Christina!) 

News Release, March 22, 2006
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

New USGS Website features repeat photography of Glacier National Park glaciers over time.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists with the Global Change Research Project are unveiling a new website featuring a collection of repeat photographs of glaciers in and around Glacier National Park, Montana. The striking images created by pairing historical photographs with contemporary photographs reveal significant glacial
recession.  The website was created to showcase the photographs for scientific as well as general purposes. To view the photographs, go to http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/. 

Currently, 55 images are featured on the website with more color versions and newly repeated photos added as they become available. Most of the photographs were taken in Glacier National Park and many of the historical photos came from the Park's archives. 

USGS scientists began documenting glacial decline through photography in 1997.  While less quantitative than other high-tech methods of recording glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat, repeat photography provides an effective visual tool to better understand how climate change contributes to the dynamic landscape of Glacier National Park.

The website provides an easy method to download the images. It also includes an overview of the project, instructions for downloading images, guidelines for using and crediting the photographs, and links to other historical and repeat photograph collections.  The images can be downloaded as repeated pairs or individually.  File
formats include high resolution TIF images (300 dpi), lower resolution JPG (72 dpi) images, and Powerpoint ®.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

To receive USGS news releases go to

April 13, 2006

EcoPoetics Exhibition

 

via  The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF)

EcoPoetics Online Exhibition
Curated by Timothy Murray, Tom Shevory, and Patricia Zimmermann Selected artistic interventions from artists throughout the world explore the electronic interfaces between sustainability and environmental thought. Subsequently, they will be maintained in off-line form in the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University Library.

This international exhibition probes a series of questions about digitalities, visualities, and environments to create new landscapes for contemplation and action.

How might new media environments and technological flows intervene in ecoculture and ecopolitics? What is the relationship between the techne of ecopoetics and the imperative of ecopolitics?

How do Internet paradigms of speed, flow, and traffic impact notions of sustainability? Do mobile technologies and global positioning systems provide platforms for ecological activism? How can we decipher and comprehend the military’s utilization of ludic gaming systems for digital terror and ecological devastation?

How might new media interventions offset media blackouts of the global ecology of war and public health degradation? How can the artistic mixing of ecological and poetic materials—organic, inorganic, technological, aural, and visual—create alternative and fertile environments in new media culture?

The exhibition includes works by Judy Malloy, Diane Ludin, Ryan Griffis, Ian M. Clothier, Andrew Bucksbarg, Thorsten Knaub, Sam Smiley, Olga Kisselva, Ollivier Dyens, Joseph Rabie, Lillian Ball, Katerie Gladys, Annette Weintraub, Tiffany Holmes, Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND, Agricola Cologne, and Regina Célia Pinto.  We plan to archive the exhibit in The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library,
following the Festival.

Digital Artists Selected for EcoPoetics Exhibition

    1. Ryan Griffis, United States
    The Temporary Travel Office: Parking Public (2005)
    www.temporarytraveloffice.net/hollywood/parking.html
    2. Ian M. Clothier, New Zealand
    Roll over Oe sun, roll over Oe rain
    www.art-themagazine.com/ian/pages/anim803.htm
    3. Andrew Bucksbarg, United States
    Consumertopia (2001) Duration: Variable-Interactive
    www.adhocsound.org/consumertopia.html
    4. Judy Malloy, United States
    Concerto for Narrative Data
    www.well.com/user/jmalloy/concerto/begin.html
    5. Diane Ludin, United States
    Version 3.0. I BPE, Ecological and Seed-Based Patents
    www.ibiology.net
    6. Thorsten Knaub, United Kingdom
    GPS Diary
    www.gpsdiary.org
    7. Claude Shannon, United States
    AstroDime Transity Authority
    www.virtualberet.net/ata
    8. Olga Kisselva, Russia/France
    My Conquest of Iraq
    www.kisseleva.org/iraq.htm
    9. Ollivier Dyens, Canada
    The Profane Earth
    http://etfran.concordia.ca/~odyens/profane.htm
    10. Joseph Rabie, France
    Landscopes/Ayguesvives /"Here Comes the Sun"
    www.joetopia.org/_swf/e/landscopes/ayguesvives.htm
    Landscopes/ Jerusalem, Old City/"Possession"
    www.joetopia.org/_swf/e/landscopes/jerusalem_aqsa.htm
    11. Lillian Ball, United States
    Gusher
    www.lillianball.com/Gusherstills.html
    12. Katerie Gladdys, United States
    Commuting: Ditch
    www.layoftheland.net/portfolio/start.html
    13. Annette Weintraub USA
    The Mirror That Changes
    http://www.annetteweintraub.com/mirror_content/mirrorpage.html
    14. Tiffany Holmes, United States
    Floating Point
    www.enviroart.org/HolmesColab/docs
    15. mIEKAL aND, United States
    Floraspirae
    www.joglars.org/floraspirae/inhale.html
    16. Maria Damon and mIEKAL aND, United States
    Erosion
    www.cla.umn.edu/joglars/erosion
    www.cla.umn.edu/joglars/erosive_media
    17. Agricola de Cologne
    Message from Behind a Wall
    movingpictures.agricola-de-cologne.de/volume11/wall.html
    18. Regina Célia Pinto (Brazil)
    I Want Some Red Roses for a Blue Earth
    arteonline.arq.br/ecologia/

April 07, 2006

Freeman Dyson, the heretic's heretic

 

Bruce Sterling writes in one of his recent Viridian Notes

One of the weirdest things Freeman Dyson ever wrote,
among a mighty stock of very weird things:
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/03/issue/magaphone.asp
(((Freeman Dyson is the heretic's heretic and the
visionary's visionary.  In this speech, Dyson opines
that climate science is too reliant on brittle
computer models and isn't paying enough attention to
the facts on the ground:  that the warming is indeed
very real, but simply not as threatening to us as
certain other challenges our civilization faces.
I really hope this old gentleman is right.  I've seen
him be right before.  When I'm as old as Freeman Dyson
 is now, and I somehow find myself putting my stocking
feet up during balmy winter nights when everything else
is just peachy, man, that prospect will be grand.
I won't be  one bit embarrassed or ashamed that I
howled about a wolf that time revealed to be a small,
friendly pup.  I'll just apologize at equal length
and volume to anyone who will listen. I'll be really
grateful to have been that mistaken.)))

 

March 13, 2006

Deborah Fisher's "Glacial Melt" @ Socrates Sculpture Park

 
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

via NYTimes: Lens
The Quest
By SUZANNE DeCHILLO
Published: March 8, 2006

The working title is "Glacial Melt." It is made of dripping liquid plastic and wood.

Deborah Fisher is a 34-year-old sculptor working at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens.

Her quest:

"There has to be some way to look at climate change that isn't desperate, that doesn't waste time on blame or politics or collapse into end-of-times lists of future plagues and floods."

 

 

View multimedia slide show:

Sculpting in the City

March 07, 2006

The Canary Project: documenting dramatic transformations

 

New Orleans Three Months After the Hurricanes, 2005
Salt burn in a satsuma orange orchard. The ghostly white line marks the level at which salt water remained for days after the initial twenty-five foot storm surge flooded this coastal area.

The Canary Project

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris [more info

The Canary Project's mission is to photograph landscapes throughout the world that are exhibiting dramatic transformation associated with global warming and to show these photographs to as many people as possible. By documenting the vulnerability, beauty and destructive power visible in places as disparate as melting glaciers in Iceland and bleached coral reefs in the Pacific, we hope to generate a deep emotional response in viewers and to heighten awareness that global warming is already underway and of immediate concern.

Why Canary?
We chose the title "The Canary Project" because the changing landscapes we are photographing stand as warnings of more severe changes to come, like the canaries once used by miners to warn of deadly methane levels.

Where Are We Going?
We are choosing locations that are visually dramatic and diverse. Cumulatively, the images we take from these locations will express the following about the scope and potential of global warming:

Global warming will affect the earth in a variety of ways (melting ice, sea-level rising, increased severity of storms, drought, desertification, damaged habitats). For instance, in September we shot glaciers in Austria as an occurrence of melting ice; and in November we shot the devastation in and around New Orleans as an occurrence of increased storm severity due to warming oceans.

The effects of global warming will be felt throughout the world. To this end we will be shooting the drying of Lake Chad in Africa, as well as the melting of the Greenland ice cap; we will be shooting the flooding of San Marco in Venice, as well as the drunken forests in Alaska.

Click here for a complete list of proposed locations

Our Approach
We are shooting landscapes as opposed to people and communities because human stories are all too easily exoticized and made distant. (It's so easy to say "It's them, not us.") We hope to create a perspective that allows viewers to place themselves in the landscape and feel intimately involved in its change. The images will convey the magnitude and scale of the land but not in such a way that intimidates or alienates the viewer.

Our approach draws on a tradition of North American landscape photography that dates back to frontier photographers such as Tim O'Sullivan and Carleton Watkins. This tradition took a new direction in the 70's when human impact on the landscape became central to the work of photographers such as Robert Adams and Richard Misrach, and more recently Edward Burtynsky.

MORE INFO

Rain Forest Gets Too Much Rain...

 

Courtesy of Grace Wong

From left, Grace Wong, Dr. María Fernanda Mejía and Gustavo Gutiérrez-Espeleta working on a squirrel monkey in December in the Corcovado National Park near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

via NYTimes:

Rain Forest Gets Too Much Rain, and Animals Pay the Price
By HILLARY ROSNER
Published: March 7, 2006

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — Eduardo Carrillo was on a field trip to Corcovado National Park with a group of his biology students last November when he realized that something was wrong. In just over a mile, the group found five dead monkeys.

Three more were in agony, he said later — emaciated, near death, sitting on the forest floor unable to climb a tree.

"I had never seen something like this," said Dr. Carrillo, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Costa Rica. At first he suspected yellow fever, which swept through monkey populations in the 1950's. So he hurried back to San José, the capital, and convened a team of scientists, which included wildlife biologists, a microbiologist, a geneticist and a veterinarian.

Tourists in the park, a relatively remote 212-square-mile tropical rain forest preserve that stretches along the Pacific coast and inland, reported sightings of other dead animals, including deer, toucans, macaws and sloths.

In mid-November, park officials closed Corcovado to visitors after tourists, despite warnings not to handle wildlife, began bringing sick animals to ranger stations in the hope of saving them.

Dr. Carrillo and his colleagues, as well as government officials, worried they might have a mini-epidemic on their hands. But tissue samples from Corcovado spider monkeys — Costa Rica's most endangered species of monkey — sent to a laboratory at the University of Texas for analysis showed no evidence of a virus or other pathogen.

The story of what really happened in Corcovado, or at least the prevailing theory, is less worrisome in the short term than a disease outbreak, but it has the potential to be deadly serious.

Costa Rican researchers think the affected animals starved to death because of a lack of available food sources and an inability to forage for food during several months of extreme rain and cold.

September, October and November brought excessive rainfall, nearly twice the monthly averages, and unusually low temperatures to many parts of Costa Rica, especially the Osa Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific in the south.

Corcovado averages about 24 inches of rain in September, 31 inches in October and 20 inches in November. In 2005, more than 39 inches fell in the park in September, 59 inches in October, and 41 inches in November.

While it is impossible to know if the weather in late 2005 is related to climate change, the Costa Rican team studying Corcovado worries that if the climate changes and produces more extreme weather events like this, animal populations may not bounce back easily, said Gustavo Gutiérrez-Espeleta, a wildlife population geneticist at the University of Costa Rica.

The weather caused several problems for the monkeys. Some fruit trees did not bear fruit during the rainy months. Others produced fruit but it fell to the ground early, leaving nothing on the trees for long periods of time.

Compounding the problem, researchers say, was that monkeys were unable to look for food because of the incessant rain. [read on...]

The Greening of Greenland's Glaciers

 
via CNN: SCIENCE & SPACE:
Greenland glaciers dumping ice into Atlantic at faster pace
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Posted: 11:40 p.m. EST (04:40 GMT)

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Greenland's southern glaciers have accelerated their march to the Atlantic Ocean over the past decade and now contribute more to the global rise in sea levels than previously estimated, researchers say.

Those faster-moving glaciers, along with increased melting, could account for nearly 17 percent of the estimated one-tenth of an inch annual rise in global sea levels, or twice what was previously believed, said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

An increase in surface air temperatures appears to be causing the glaciers to flow faster, albeit at the still-glacial pace of eight miles to nine miles a year at their fastest clip, and dump increased volumes of ice into the Atlantic.

That stepped-up flow accounted for about two-thirds of the net 54 cubic miles of ice Greenland lost in 2005. That compares with 22 cubic miles in 1996, Rignot said.

Rignot and his study co-author, Pannir Kanagaratnam of the University of Kansas, said their report is the first to include measurements of recent changes in glacier velocity in the estimates of how much ice most of Greenland is losing.

"The behavior of the glaciers that dump ice into the sea is the most important aspect of understanding how an ice sheet will evolve in a changing climate," Rignot said.

"It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet, but glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes."

Details of the study were being presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The study appears Friday in the journal Science.

The researchers believe warmer temperatures boost the amount of melt water that reaches where the glaciers flow over rock.

That extra water lubricates the rivers of ice and eases their downhill movement toward the Atlantic. They tracked the speeds of the glaciers from space, using satellite data collected between 1996 and 2005.

If warmer temperatures spread to northern Greenland, the glaciers there too should pick up their pace, Rignot and Kanagaratnam wrote.

The only way to stem the loss of ice would be for Greenland to receive increased amounts of snowfall, according to Julian Dowdeswell of the University of Cambridge, who wrote an accompanying article.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

February 16, 2006

Deep North: a virtual expedition

 

Deep North: a virtual expedition...a year to the north pole
by jane d. marsching

deepnorth: a year to the north pole blog is complete and archived here for perusal--here are some ways to navigate through this year of research, information, ruminations, analogic connections, and wondering on the cultural imaginary of hte north pole and deep arctic
* click on the archived months in right column to view and read the year's entrie
* click on keywords in the right column to view groups of entries by topics
* type a word into the search field to find topics in the blog

Your comments are welcome and can be added by clicking on the comments link under each entry.

this year's blog, north2006: parallel conversations, is in development

Jane Marshing is 2006 recipient of a Creative Capital Grant

Jane Marsching (Roslindale, MA) Digital Arts
About Here and Later: Data Mining the North Pole – A series of digital images and sculptures, exploring both scientific and myth-based impressions of The North Pole, while detailing the collapse of the area due to environmental changes

February 14, 2006

Free Soil: international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners

 

Check out our new favorite website: Free Soil

 from their "About" page: 

Free Soil is an international hybrid collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of our environment. Free Soil fosters discourse, develops projects and gives support for critical art practices that reflect and change the urban and natural environment. We believe art can be a catalyst for social awareness and positive change.


Current members
amy franceschini
nis rømer
stijn schiffeleers
joni taylor



Website
The Free Soil website is a public resource for the exchange of related ideas and for learning. It is a way to connect discourses similar in content but separated by geography. The website includes features, news, and reviews about relevant artists, exhibitions, books, architecture, public projects and sustainability.
www.free-soil.org

Projects
Free Soil works collectively using various mediums. We realize workshops, public projects, articles, museum exhibitions and tours.
 
Check out their recent exhibition "Groundworks: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art" held in October - December 2005 at Regina Gouger Miller Gallery Carnegie Mellon University.

February 12, 2006

World: Warmest For a Millenium

 

Seasonal surface melt extent on the Greenland Ice Sheet has been observed by satellite since 1979 and shows an increasing trend. The melt zone, where summer warmth turns snow and ice around the edges of the ice sheet into slush and ponds of meltwater, has been expanding inland and to record high elevations in recent years (source: Arctic Impacts of Arctic Warming, Cambridge Press, 2004) 

Published on Friday, February 10, 2006 by the Independent / UK

World Is at its Warmest For a Millennium
by Steve Connor

The entire northern hemisphere is experiencing a sustained period of warming that is unprecedented in the past millennium, a study has found.

A review of a range of temperature records, from tree rings and ice cores to historical documents, has found that at no time since the 9th century have temperatures been so consistently high. The study, published in the journal Science, found that the late 20th century was the warmest period for the northern hemisphere since at least 800AD, eclipsing the well-known medieval warm period when vines were cultivated successfully in northern Europe and the Vikings exploited the ice-free seas to colonise Greenland.

Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa, climate scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, analysed 14 sets of temperature records from America, Europe and East Asia. Each record covered a relatively wide region, such as northern Sweden or the low countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, and extended back at least several centuries.

Ten of the 14 records were based on tree-ring data, which went back as far as 800AD, one measured ice cores from Greenland, one involved historical documents from Europe and one covered the chemical composition of sea shells on the east coast of the US. The final set of records came from China and Japan and used a variety of records, from ice cores to historical documents.

"Our results show that, during the late 20th century, warming affected the entire northern hemisphere and that at no point in the past 1,000 years has the northern hemisphere experienced the same widespread warming," Dr Osborn said.

The study showed that the medieval warm period ran from about 890 to 1170 and that this was later followed by a significant period of cooling between 1580 and 1850, which included the period known as the "little ice age" when frost fairs were held on the River Thames.

"The key conclusion was that the 20th century stands out as having unusually widespread warmth, compared to all of the natural warming and cooling episodes during the past 1,200 years," Dr Osborn said.

Climate scientists have in the past found evidence to suggest that the late 20th century was warmer than at any time in the past millennium but this study is the first to look at a variety of temperature records from across the entire northern hemisphere.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

February 07, 2006

Andrea Zittel: Critical Space

 

via Artnet (2/7/06):

A THORN TREE IN THE GARDEN
by Jerry Saltz

Andrea Zittel, "Critical Space," Jan. 26-May 27, 2006, at the New Museum, 556 West 22nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011

The year 2005 was the hottest on the planet in recorded history; there is open water for the first time ever at the North Pole; the snows at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro will probably disappear within 25 years. A power grid the size of Houston is being added to China every month; the United States, with only four percent of the world's population, emits more than 20 percent of the world's carbon. "Fifty years from now," a noted scientist speculates, "you may be living in a world where you don't go outside between one and four in the afternoon." In short, our increasingly brutish country, with its end-time mentality and barbarian attitude toward the environment, would gladly trade the last frog for cheaper gas prices.

The gypsy-visionary, social-scientist, explorer-architect, eco-rogue, control-freak artist Andrea Zittel will not be able to stop any of these things from happening. But her circuitous journey away from New York to what she calls her "High Desert Test Site," 40 acres of parched land two and a half hours east of Los Angeles and two hours south of Las Vegas -- as Zittel puts it, "23 miles past the sign that says 'Last Service for 100 Miles'" -- where the weather is brutal, the snakes are poisonous and the water is trucked in, is a glimmer of selflessness, creativity and fearlessness in the face of a technologically advanced culture flirting with geo-meteorological suicide. Zittel uses HDTS as a part-time studio and a site for other artists to execute ideas. Its existence is a reminder that chaos is a choice breeding ground for art -- an unknown zone and mental garden that can produce new thought patterns and exotic artistic fruit.

You might not know this from her current survey at the temporary headquarters of the New Museum. While expertly organized by Trevor Smith and Paola Morsiani, the exhibition, though fascinating, is so cramped it looks like Ikea. Perhaps "Critical Space," as the exhibition is called, should have been postponed until the museum is located in its new building. But never mind. This is New York, space is always at a premium, most of the artist's key works are here, and the show is a chance to sample Zittel's art and to ponder what it's about.

The Chinese "Book of Changes," or the I Ching, talks about "limitation" in terms of "ruthless severity" and as "leading to freedom." These ideas fit Zittel to a tee. Her rage for rules and protocols is ever present, as is her attraction to Constructivism, Bauhaus design and modernist architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolf Schindler, not to mention artists like Dan Graham and Robert Smithson. You can see this in the plain but subtly sexy "uniforms" Zittel has designed, made and worn for over 15 years. It's in her "living units," "eating terrains," and "cleansing chambers," each made to organize an aspect of one's life. "I love rules," Zittel says. "The only way that I can think of to be free from external rules is to create your own personal set of rules that are even more rigid. Rules are a way of liberating oneself."

In 2000, Zittel followed these rules to their logical and illogical extremes and found herself in the desert, a place that is ruthlessly rule-less. Here, Zittel's work perked up. After living in a trailer, she built several small structures, including a studio made of three contiguous shipping containers in a horseshoe configuration. As many as 14 people have slept on her front patio at once, or out back in the brush. HDTS is run on what she calls "no budget." It receives no funding, and seeks none. Thus, connections to Donald Judd's extraordinary kingdom of minimalism in Marfa, Texas, don't hold. Zittel, 40, is as possessed as Judd, but she's more ephemeral and investigational. She is exploring the place where art, entropy and self-sufficiency fuse. She'sRobinson Crusoe and Mad Max by way of Walden Pond, St. Augustine and Greenpeace.

Zittel contends that in today's art world it is "necessary to find new ways to convey meaning and create experience." She says, "The desert opens enough thinking space to reimagine all sorts of parallel new art worlds." Artist Pierre Huyghe concurs and talks about this "parallel world" as "a kind of counter-place that is outside other places but that also includes them." The desert's total lack of structure and its indigenous chaos combined with Zittel's utopianism and American gumption creates what she calls "gaps in which invention or change can happen." Curator Lynn Cooke eloquently refers to such places as "a position of elsewhere," by which she means artists like Zittel create situations "where like-minded people can go somewhat informally to work." Zittel's art is bigger in the mind than it is in person. This is not a failing. Her project entices the imagination and is a resonant example of a kind of thinking and acting that, with luck, will become more prevalent.

 

The Internal City
One of the more intriguing things about Andrea Zittel is her name, or rather her initials. Clearly she knows this. Her company is called "A–Z Administrative Services." These initials are a sort of philosophical readymade or hieroglyph that signifies completeness (from A to Z), incrementality (A, B, C), generic corporateness, the personal and the public. Aloud, they also sound like Aziz, the Muslim doctor in E.M. Forster's A Passage to India.

In Foster's book, Aziz takes two English women, longing to see "the real India," to the mysterious Marabar caves. There, amidst the thundering never-ending echoes of caverns that multiply the sound of the self until the self is annihilated, the older woman has a sort of existential seizure and glimpses her own death; the younger believes she has been molested by Aziz. This triggers a chain reaction in which Aziz is imprisoned, tried and eventually released.

The connection to A-Z is not only in the echo of the name, but in the metaphor of the cave, which for Zittel is the desert. The cave, like the desert, is elemental and has been there since the beginning. It is a place to contend with the chaos of the world, to confront nothingness, and understand one's scale; there, the cycles of life supersede all else. The Earth Mother/Sacred Womb aspect of the cave is present in the way Zittel talks about the desert as "a place to create a new organism." In this way, it's a kind of reverse garden, a symbolic image of the universe where reincarnation and the overcoming of death are thrown into high contrast. Zittel's desert is a place where tire tracks, dilapidated shacks, burned out trailer homes, broken down windmills and art merge; where science fiction, archeology and esthetics blur.

Passage to India ends with the brutal realization that England must vacate India for the two cultures to co-exist. Zittel's insight is that for art to thrive, sometimes it needs to go elsewhere.

More about Andrea Zittel:
Andrea Zittel: A Place Outside the Art Basel Herd, NEWSgrist (2/2/06)

January 29, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

 

via NYTimes: 

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: January 29, 2006

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency, said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen. "That's not the way we operate here at NASA," Mr. Acosta said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

He said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Mr. Acosta said other reasons for requiring press officers to review interview requests were to have an orderly flow of information out of a sprawling agency and to avoid surprises. "This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming," he said. "It's about coordination."

Dr. Hansen strongly disagreed with this characterization, saying such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential," he said, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.

Since 1988, he has been issuing public warnings about the long-term threat from heat-trapping emissions, dominated by carbon dioxide, that are an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. He has had run-ins with politicians or their appointees in various administrations, including budget watchers in the first Bush administration and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

But Dr. Hansen said that nothing in 30 years equaled the push made since early December to keep him from publicly discussing what he says are clear-cut dangers from further delay in curbing carbon dioxide.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Dr. Hansen's supervisor, Franco Einaudi, said there had been no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up." But Dr. Einaudi added, "That doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews. [read on...]

January 26, 2006

2005 Was Warmest Year on Record: NASA

 

Sea ice floats within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library. Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, U.S. space agency NASA said on Tuesday. (HANDOUT/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library/Reuters)

 via CommonDreams.org:

Published on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 by Reuters
2005 Was Warmest Year on Record: NASA
by Deborah Zabarenko
 
Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, U.S. space agency NASA said on Tuesday.

All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping began in the 1890s occurred within the last decade, according to analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In descending order, the years with the highest global average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, NASA said in a statement.

"It's fair to say that it probably is the warmest since we have modern meteorological records," said Drew Shindell of the NASA institute in New York City.

"Using indirect measurements that go back farther, I think it's even fair to say that it's the warmest in the last several thousand years."

Some researchers had expected 1998 would be the hottest year on record, notably because a strong El Nino -- a warm-water pattern in the eastern Pacific -- boosted global temperatures.

But Shindell said last year was slightly warmer than 1998, even without any extraordinary weather pattern. Temperatures in the Arctic were unusually warm in 2005, NASA said.

"That very anomalously warm year (1998) has become the norm," Shindell said in a telephone interview.

"The rate of warming has been so rapid that this temperature that we only got when we had a real strong El Nino now has become something that we've gotten without any unusual worldwide weather disturbance."

Over the past 30 years, Earth has warmed by 1.08 degrees F (0.6 degrees C), NASA said. Over the past 100 years, it has warmed by 1.44 degrees F (0.8 degrees C).

Shindell, in line with the view held by most scientists, attributed the rise to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone, with the burning of fossil fuels being the primary source.

The 21st century could see global temperature increases of 6 to 10 degrees F (3 to 5 degrees C), Shindell said.

"That will really bring us up to the warmest temperatures the world has experienced probably in the last million years," he said.

To understand whether the Earth is cooling or warming, scientists use data from weather stations on land, satellite measurements of sea surface temperature since 1982, and data from ships for earlier years.

More info and images:
NASA: 2005 Warmest Year in Over a Century, 01.24.06
NASA: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis - Global Temperature Trends: 2005 Summation

The Rush Creek Wilderness Trail

 

 via Brett Stalbaum (Rhizome.org):

A typology of an interpretive trail sign indexing the Rush Creek Wilderness Trail (Phase 1) was produced for the University Art Gallery "New Faculty" exhibition, 1/13/2K6 to 3/25/2K6. The Rush Creek Trail was produced by a C5 Landscape Database API "virtual hiker" and then followed on foot through the actual wilderness.

http://www.paintersflat.net/rush_creek/
http://www.paintersflat.net/rush_creek/exhibit.html

The Rush Creek Wilderness Trail

Sections:

The Rush Creek Wilderness Trail is possibly the world's first computationally derived, unofficial public wilderness trail. It traverses the backcountry of far northeastern California, extending to near the border with Nevada. It was first "discovered" by a computer algorithm called a "virtual hiker" that pre-explored the landscape by "hiking" through a virtual landscape consisting of data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. The virtual hiker found a traversable hiking path between the trailhead and the terminus, both of which were very much arbitrarily chosen by Brett Stalbaum, the author of many virtual hiker algorithms for C5 Corporation. The results of the virtual hiker's exploration produce a tracklog (computer file) which can be uploaded to a GPS device and then followed by a real hiker through the actual landscape. There is no "trail" per se, only a rugged overland backcountry track that can be followed with the assistance of a GPS device. The trail provides beautiful views of the Great Basin desert environment, plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities, and the unique experience of comparing the wayfinding abilities of a virtual hiker to your own wayfinding skills and intuition.

Phase 1 of the trail (From the Rush Creek Wilderness Trailhead to Rush Creek Spring) was opened by Stalbaum December 27th and 28th of 2005. (See Photo Journal for more info). Phase 2 (from Rush Creek Spring to the Nevada Border), will be opened sometime during 2006.

The Difference a Degree Makes

via SFGate:

Chronicle environment writer Jane Kay and photographer Kat Wade traveled from Alaska to Mexico to see how global warming is changing life along the coast of North America.

Sunday: Polar bears signal changing ice cap in the Arctic.
Today: Subtle seaside transformation in California.
Tuesday: A family sees its way of life threatened in Mexico.

E-mail Jane Kay at jkay@sfchronicle.com

Nature out of sync

Sea life depends on the intricate workings of wind and current, driven by temperatures of ocean and air. Animals depend on the natural timing of seasons to find food. In the past 60 years, as ocean temperatures off the California coast warmed by about 3 degrees, the tiny animals at the base of the food chain declined by 70 percent.

A WARMING WORLD: THE DIFFERENCE A DEGREE MAKES
SEASHORE SEA CHANGE

- Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer
Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Click to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to ViewClick to View

 [excerpt]:

Pacific Grove, Monterey County -- On the edge of the California coast, in the tide pools that tourists can see from Cannery Row, delicate anemones and sea stars are helping to tell the story of a warming world.

At low tide in the dawn light, John Pearse, a retired professor of biology at UC Santa Cruz, kneeled in the water in hip-high waders examining sunburst anemones. He found pink barnacles encrusting rocks, and the hard white shells of worm snails.

Those invertebrates normally are more common in warmer southern waters. But over decades, they have increased in numbers here. Invertebrates that do well in colder water, such as giant green sea anemones and porcelain crabs, have declined. Central California has become more like Southern California.

"Animals are responding to changes in temperature, and the change in temperature is very rapid,'' said Pearse, who began studying the low-tide zone as a graduate student nearly 50 years ago.

Unlike in the Arctic, where floating sea ice and land glaciers dramatically melt before Alaskans' eyes, along the California coast the signs of a changing environment are more subtle.

Those who know where to look can see that a few degrees increase in the temperature of the Pacific and a couple of inches rise in sea level have already changed life in Monterey Bay's fragile tide pools.

While some species will prosper, others may die. The question scientists up and down the coast are pursuing is just how the continued warming of the atmosphere and water may disrupt the ocean's intricate web of life.

In the ocean, the whales, seabirds and fish at the top of the hierarchy depend on lower organisms for food. In the last six decades, as sea water temperatures on the Monterey coast increased about 3 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists measured a 70 percent decline in zooplankton, the tiny animals at the base of the food chain.

What does it matter if a warmer world loses some inedible crabs or sea stars?

"It's hard to predict,'' said George Somero, director of the Hopkins Marine Station, the state's oldest marine laboratory, which looks down on the rocky shore here. "If you remove one species from the ecosystem, there could very well be severe perturbations in the system. In many cases, we can't predict what that means.''

[read full article

January 20, 2006

James Lovelock on "The Revenge of Gaia"

 

via The Independent, Jan. 16, 2006:

The Earth is About to Catch a Morbid Fever That May Last as Long as 100,000 Years
Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilization for as long as they can
by James Lovelock 

[...] This article is the most difficult I have written and for the same reasons. My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.

The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization are in grave danger.

Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.

Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 percent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.

Curiously, aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This "global dimming" is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.

By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible - and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us.

To understand how impossible it is, think about how you would regulate your own temperature or the composition of your blood. Those with failing kidneys know the never-ending daily difficulty of adjusting water, salt and protein intake. The technological fix of dialysis helps, but is no replacement for living healthy kidneys.

My new book, The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognize the true nature of the Earth. I think it is because Darwin's vision was so good and clear that it has taken until now to digest it. In his time, little was known about the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, and there would have been little reason for him to wonder if organisms changed their environment as well as adapting to it.

Had it been known then that life and the environment are closely coupled, Darwin would have seen that evolution involved not just the organisms, but the whole planetary surface. We might then have looked upon the Earth as if it were alive, and known that we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin - its forest and ocean ecosystems - as a mere source of products to feed ourselves and furnish our homes. We would have felt instinctively that those ecosystems must be left untouched because they were part of the living Earth.

So what should we do?

[read full article]

January 13, 2006

Trade, biodiversity and climate change

via 'Scoop' Independent News, New Zealand:

Trade, biodiversity and climate change
 January 6, 2006

By Stephen Knight  

Success in trade and attempts to be sustainable make for an uncomfortable partnership. By Stephen Knight.

Stripped to the bone, the public face of climate change, biodiversity management and trade issues go something like this.

Climate change is a natural phenomenon. It is made a worrisome thing by humans transferring carbon stored in the earth into the atmosphere at a rate much, much greater than would occur otherwise. Associated climate change is likely to be equally unnaturally rapid. We need low carbon-intensity economies.

The biological diversity of the planet is changing. This has always been so, but again the concern is the rate of change, the fact that it is in one direction (overall species diversity loss) and that the transplantation of species between continents and islands is creating a dangerous amount of homogenisation. Rapid climate change worsens these problems.

In terms of trade, taking a narrow focus, success in reducing farm export subsidies or import tariff duties protecting producers in other countries will benefit countries such as New Zealand. The December Hong Kong meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Agenda was the latest in this round. Consequent success will be a strong driver to boost primary productivity and create clever agricultural value-added goods.

Frustratingly, freeing up global trade also increases the risk of increasing rates of climate change and further reductions in global and local biodiversity. To avoid this risk, the three need to be tied together during decision-making. To a limited extent they are at a research and analysis level, such as with investment in sustainable farming. But such knowledge is poorly presented in public discussions over how to manage the closely related issues of productivity, land use, biodiversity and global climate change. Consequently, there is limited political pressure to take this research and analysis and create incentives for it to be taken up more broadly. [read on...]

Stephen Knight is an environmental scientist based in Wellington.

January 11, 2006

Warming Devastates Frogs in Latin America

 
About two-thirds of over 110 species of brightly colored harlequin frogs, in the genus Atelopus, in the American tropics, have vanished since the 1980's.

via NYTimes: 

Scientists Say Warming Devastates Frogs in Latin America
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: January 11, 2006

Scientists studying a fast-dwindling genus of colorful frogs in Central and South America say that recent global warming has combined with a spreading fungus to create a killing zone, driving many species restricted to misty mountainsides to extinction.

The researchers said they had implicated widespread warming, as opposed to local variations in temperature or other conditions affecting the frogs, by finding that patterns of fungus outbreaks and species loss in widely dispersed patches of habitat were synchronized in a way that was statistically impossible to explain by chance.

Climate scientists have already linked most of the recent rise in the earth's average temperature to the buildup of greenhouse emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes. Thus the new findings, according to the researchers and some independent experts on amphibians, imply that warming driven by human activity may have already fostered outbreaks of disease and imperiled species with restricted habitats.

The study, led by J. Alan Pounds, the resident biologist at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, is to be published on Thursday in the journal Nature.

In an accompanying commentary, two scientists not involved in the research, Andy Dobson, a Princeton University ecologist, and Andrew R. Blaustein, a zoologist at Oregon State University, said the research provided "compelling evidence" that warming caused by human activity was already disrupting ecology.

"The frogs are sending an alarm call to all concerned about the future of biodiversity and the need to protect the greatest of all open-access resources -- the atmosphere," they wrote.

But other climate and amphibian experts criticized the paper, saying there were several layers of significant uncertainty that were not eliminated by the analysis.

Among those, they said, it is still unclear whether the lethal fungus, which attacks amphibian skin, has long been in the affected areas and dormant or is a recent arrival.

Some amphibian and climate experts who read the paper said it contained definitive statements - like "our study sheds light on the amphibian-decline mystery by showing that large-scale warming is a key factor" - that were not supported by data.

Over 110 species of brightly colored harlequin frogs, in the genus Atelopus, once lived near streams in the American tropics, but about two-thirds of them have vanished since the 1980's.

Implicated in many of those vanishings, as well as amphibian die-offs around the world, is a chytrid fungus that grows on amphibian skin from deserts to lowland tropical forests to mountainsides.

A paradox confronting biologists studying possible links to climate change is that the fungus thrives best in cooler conditions, challenging the theory that warming is contributing to the amphibian declines.

But Dr. Pounds and his team, in studying trends in temperature and disease around the American tropics and, in particular detail, in the cloud-shrouded ridges of Costa Rica where he lives and works, found patterns that they say explain the situation.

Rising cloudiness, a long-projected consequence as warming increases evaporation, can keep days cooler by blocking some sunlight and nights warmer by holding in some heat.

At intermediate elevations on the mountain slopes of places like Costa Rica, that could have created a favorable zone for the spread of the chytrid fungus, Dr. Pounds said in an interview.

He said that because the apparent harlequin frog extinctions have occurred in lockstep in widely dispersed field sites, they are hard to attribute to anything other than the broad warming trend linked by other scientists to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases.

While the fungus is the bullet, he said, the broader ongoing warming and resulting shifts in clouds are the trigger.

Cynthia Carey, an expert in amphibian diseases who teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said that while both climate and amphibian die-offs are serious problems, this particular paper failed to offer anything beyond circumstantial evidence of links between the fungal illness and warming.

"It is difficult to prove cause and effect on the ground where multiple factors interact in complex ways," Dr. Carey said.

January 09, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green

 

[image source

The New Red, White and Blue
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
NYTimes OP-ED, Published: January 6, 2006

As we enter 2006, we find ourselves in trouble, at home and abroad. We are in trouble because we are led by defeatists - wimps, actually.

What's so disturbing about President Bush and Dick Cheney is that they talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in domestic spying - all to defend our way of life and promote democracy around the globe.

But when it comes to what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic policy today - making ourselves energy efficient and independent, and environmentally green - they ridicule it as something only liberals, tree-huggers and sissies believe is possible or necessary.

Sorry, but being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do. Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence - that is for sissies, defeatists and people who are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.

Living green is not just a "personal virtue," as Mr. Cheney says. It's a national security imperative.

The biggest threat to America and its values today is not communism, authoritarianism or Islamism. It's petrolism. Petrolism is my term for the corrupting, antidemocratic governing practices - in oil states from Russia to Nigeria and Iran - that result from a long run of $60-a-barrel oil. Petrolism is the politics of using oil income to buy off one's citizens with subsidies and government jobs, using oil and gas exports to intimidate or buy off one's enemies, and using oil profits to build up one's internal security forces and army to keep oneself ensconced in power, without any transparency or checks and balances.

When a nation's leaders can practice petrolism, they never have to tap their people's energy and creativity; they simply have to tap an oil well. And therefore politics in a petrolist state is not about building a society or an educational system that maximizes its people's ability to innovate, export and compete. It is simply about who controls the oil tap.

In petrolist states like Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Sudan, people get rich by being in government and sucking the treasury dry - so they never want to cede power. In non-petrolist states, like Taiwan, Singapore and Korea, people get rich by staying outside government and building real businesses.

Our energy gluttony fosters and strengthens various kinds of petrolist regimes. It emboldens authoritarian petrolism in Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Sudan and Central Asia. It empowers Islamist petrolism in Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It even helps sustain communism in Castro's Cuba, which survives today in part thanks to cheap oil from Venezuela. Most of these petrolist regimes would have collapsed long ago, having proved utterly incapable of delivering a modern future for their people, but they have been saved by our energy excesses.

No matter what happens in Iraq, we cannot dry up the swamps of authoritarianism and violent Islamism in the Middle East without also drying up our consumption of oil - thereby bringing down the price of crude. A democratization policy in the Middle East without a different energy policy at home is a waste of time, money and, most important, the lives of our young people.

That's because there is a huge difference in what these bad regimes can do with $20-a-barrel oil compared with the current $60-a-barrel oil. It is no accident that the reform era in Russia under Boris Yeltsin, and in Iran under Mohammad Khatami, coincided with low oil prices. When prices soared again, petrolist authoritarians in both societies reasserted themselves.

We need a president and a Congress with the guts not just to invade Iraq, but to also impose a gasoline tax and inspire conservation at home. That takes a real energy policy with long-term incentives for renewable energy - wind, solar, biofuels - rather than the welfare-for-oil-companies-and-special-interests that masqueraded last year as an energy bill.

Enough of this Bush-Cheney nonsense that conservation, energy efficiency and environmentalism are some hobby we can't afford. I can't think of anything more cowardly or un-American. Real patriots, real advocates of spreading democracy around the world, live green.

Green is the new red, white and blue.

A Dozen Weird Weather Moments

 

[image source

via Bruce Sterling's Viridian Note #00456: The State of the World 2006

From LA Times, 1/6 - 1/12: 

Zeitlist: Politics
Running Hot and Cold: A Dozen Weird Weather Moments
by JUDITH LEWIS

Katrina turned the weather into the year’s biggest news event, as the natural world against which Bush has made war since 2000 decided to send back a return salvo. The storm quickly became a political portent for both ends of the spectrum, with Christian conservatives interpreting the supposed fetal shape of Katrina to be a pro-life meteorological statement sent by a vengeful Lord to ravage the Gulf of Mexico, and the sane world noting apprehensively that hurricane season has been worsening with steadily increasing ocean-surface temperatures. Bad as it was, the scientists added, 2005’s weather is just a taste of what’s to come. Here’s the rest of the year in bad weather.

1. 2005 was the hottest year on record. This year’s global average temperature topped the previous record, set in 1998.

2. The Amazon River basin experienced its worst drought in recorded history.

3. The National Climate Data Center (NCDC) reported that nine of the 10 warmest years in history have occurred in the past decade.

4. Satellite monitoring in September revealed that the summer Arctic sea ice has shrunk as much as 40 percent since monitoring began in the late 1970s. At the current rate of decline, there will be no summer Arctic ice pack within two decades.

5. Multiple studies showed that the higher average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere over the last decade are unprecedented over the past 2,000 years.

6. Swiss and U.S. climatologists working in Antarctica built “EPICA Dome C,” the longest ice-core record to date. Gas bubbles trapped in ice crystals record the atmospheric compositions over time. From this, researchers reported that today’s levels of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years.

7. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that sea-surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico this summer were the highest since measurements began in 1890.

8. The warm waters contributed to the year’s record-breaking hurricane season, with 26 named storms forming in the Atlantic. Fourteen became hurricanes, and Katrina, Rita and Wilma created an unprecedented triumvirate of category 5 storms. The NOAA also exhausted its pre-assigned list of storm names, and for the first time had to turn to the Greek alphabet. On the last official day in hurricane season, tropical storm Epsilon strengthened into a hurricane.

9. Wilma played second fiddle to Katrina despite being the stronger storm. In Florida, Wilma was “the Big One” they’ve been expecting for a century. It knocked out the power for weeks, and left a destruction path wider than any previous hurricane in the state. With a central ultralow pressure of 882 millibars, Wilma surpassed 1988’s Gilbert as the strongest hurricane on record.

10. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology reported in the May issue of Science that the long-term process of global dimming, a diminishing of the sun’s effects caused by an accumulation of particulate matter in the atmosphere, began to turn around in 1990. Since global dimming has a cooling effect, its decline could speed the effects of global warming.

11. Researchers on a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean discovered that the strength of the current that drives the Gulf Stream — and bathes Britain and Northern Europe in warm waters from the tropics each summer — has slowed by 30 percent in just the past decade. Thought to be a consequence of global warming, the weakened current could trigger severe winters and cooler summers on both sides of the North Atlantic.

12. Outlandish weather effects materialized all over the world. On July 26, 37 inches of rain fell in Mumbai, India’s financial center, during one 24-hour period. Four hundred thirty-eight people drowned or were buried in landslides in India’s highest recorded rainfall. A record 22 tornadoes hit Southwest Australia in May, causing the state’s most expensive natural disaster. In October, 78.9 inches of snow fell on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, nearly doubling the previous record of 39.8 inches, set in 2000.

January 07, 2006

Warming Trend Continues

A reservoir bed in Alcora, Spain, attests to the hot, dry weather in the region this year, which was called either the hottest or second hottest on record.

Photo Credit: By Fernando Bustamante -- Associated Press

 

via Washington Post:

2005 Continues the Warming Trend
Year's Temperatures Are Among the Highest on Record, Scientists Announce

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 16, 2005; Page A02

This year has been one of the hottest on record, scientists in the United States and Britain reported yesterday, a finding that puts eight of the past 10 years at the top of the charts in terms of high temperatures.

Three studies released yesterday differ slightly, but they all indicate the Earth is rapidly warming. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has concluded 2005 was the warmest year in recorded history, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.K. Meteorological Office call it the second hottest, after 1998. All three groups agree that 2005 is the hottest year on record for the Northern Hemisphere, at roughly 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average.

Jay Lawrimore, who heads NOAA's Climate Monitoring Branch in its National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., called the new data "one of the indicators that the climate is changing." He added: "It's certainly something the administration is taking seriously."

The three teams used the same set of ocean and land temperature records, but they analyzed the data and compensated for gaps in the climatic record differently. As a result, NASA scientists estimate that 2005 average global land and sea temperatures were 1.04 degrees Fahrenheit above average, just beating out 1998's 1-degree elevation. NOAA researchers, by contrast, say this year's global average is 1.06 degrees Fahrenheit above average, compared with 1.1 degrees in 1998.

The analyses were based on data through the end of November and projections of December temperatures.

Scientists said yesterday that these differences should not detract from their common conclusion that the world is experiencing serious climate change, driven in part by human activity. Researchers recently found by drilling ice cores that there is a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than in any time in the last 650,000 years, which reflects that humans are burning an increased amount of fossil fuels to power automobiles and utilities.

The Earth has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century, with 1 degree of this increase occurring in the past 30 years. This climate change has brought unusually prolonged droughts in some regions and heavy precipitation in others, while the Arctic's sea ice has shrunk to its lowest level since observers started using satellite records in 1979.

James Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute, said this year's statistics were particularly significant because in 1998 the world experienced El Nio, which drove up temperatures dramatically. This year, by contrast, the world reached record levels without such a dramatic climatic event.

The world's temperatures are on an upward trend, Hansen wrote in an e-mail, "because it is being driven by the Earth's present energy imbalance, which is substantial." As long as humans keep adding more heat-trapping greenhouse gases, Hansen added, "the planet stays out of energy balance."

Some global-warming skeptics questioned the significance of yesterday's findings. "Saying that 2005 was a near-record is like saying that a plane that landed safely could have crashed," said William O'Keefe, chief executive officer of the George C. Marshall Institute. "It is trying to make news where none exists."

But Climate Policy Center Chairman Rafe Pomerance, whose bipartisan group backs mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, disagreed. "The temperature trend is a wake-up call for the Congress and the president to craft a response that will begin to dramatically reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," he said.

Graphic
A Matter of Degrees

 

January 01, 2006

New Media Artists + Projects


ARTIST
Andrea Polli: http://www.andreapolli.com

PROJECTS
N.: (pronounced n-point)

a project created in collaboration with Joe Gilmore, a web artist and programmer from the UK. Climate change in the Arctic is an important indicator of global climate changes. N. is a near-real time sonification of arctic data, updated regularly, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration"s (NOAA) Arctic research program. Important to this project is a custom piece of software created by Polli in collaboration with computer programmer and video artist Kurt Ralske. This software is open source and is available to other artists at: http://www.andreapolli.com/datareader/. N. was commissioned by the Lovebytes 2005 Festival in Sheffield, UK
"The overall effect is mysterious; while giving an approximation of windswept desolation, it is also as melancholy as a whale song...It is remarkable that this work, almost entirely constructed from empirical scientific data, manages to produce such a palpable and emotive sense of loss." -David Barrett, Art Monthly

Queensbridge Wind Power Project

presents a vision of a future when meeting energy needs can enhance the beauty of a city by investigating how clean, renewable wind power could be integrated into the landmark architecture of the Queensboro Bridge. 

Heat + the Heartbeat of the City

a series of sonifications (translations of data to sound) that illustrate scientifically predicted climate changes focusing on the heart of New York City and one of the first urban locations for climate monitoring, Central Park. According to a 1999 report published by the Environmental Defense Fund, New York City will be dramatically impacted by global warming in the near future. 

<Atmospherics/Weather Works>

Interactive work; a system for understanding weather patterns through sound. More info (Whitney Artport: Gate page, May 2004)

central park climate from 1901-2001 

ARTICLES
Listening to the Earth, a short paper on Heat and the Heartbeat of the City, Hz Journal #7, Fylkingen, Stockholm.

ARTIST/S
Millie Niss
PROJECT
News from the Earthquake Zone (2005) Design & Programming by Millie Niss, Art by Regina Celia Pinto

ARTIST/S
Christina McPhee, Jeremy Hight + Sindee Nakatani
PROJECT
Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries Online Data Project, 2005, Whitney Museum of American Art / Artport
Live data diaries, part of a larger multimedia installation, formerly on exhibit at Transport Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. The Project ran from 5 March 2005 until 22 September 2005. Its currently running off of 30,000 records of seismic data collected while being live.

About the live project:
Drawing from live, micro-seismic measurements of peak ground velocity, peak ground accceleration and spectral response, we compile hourly updates into number sequences that, in turn, 'crash' into an archived seismic database from a recent quake. At seismically active zones in central California from Carrizo Plains, called the Cadillac of San Andreas Fault geomorphology, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, to nearby Parkfield, where a 6.0 quake on September 28, 2004 has delivered a rich trove of geomorphologic data, the diaries are a live communication from a continuously active seismic landscape. Part of an ongoing multimedia project on seismic memory on the San Andreas Fault. view diaries

ARTIST
Jeremy Hight

Right as Rain: A Weather-Dependent Love Sonnet (2002)

34 north 118 west with Jeff Knowlton and Naomi Spellman


ARTICLES
Narrative Archaeology: Reading the Landscape

GPS has been used for military weapon tracking, for navigation and mapping, but it and wireless are now able to be used to set locations as triggers in physical space for narrative segments that build as one moves across the city space. The act of reading/ interacting with technology and nonlinear narrative now moves from the isolation of individuals and their computers to a new sense of community as the work is to be experienced in groups and in the city at large. A writer can set scenes in physical locations but now can also use narrative segments to tell of unseen layers of architecture, history, ethnography and other areas where the person can read the places in city. There will be anthologies, not in books on shelves, but laid out in physical space as artists explore linking areas with locative media-driven narratives across city spaces.

ARTIST
Christina McPhee
PROJECT
Slipstreamkonza (2001-2004)

A sonification project of carbon absorption and release on the tallgrass prairie.  Sonification is from a database that covers seasonal weather changes. The project is in collaboration with microclimatologist Jay Ham Phd who is studying the microclimate changes at the 1 cubic meter level above ground (ie literally grass roots) as part of a global 12 site research initiative to assess grassland biospheres in relation to carbon levels worldwide.  The work is still in progress as it is an ongoing art/science resesarch effort.  Most recent pieces include some collaborative visualizations of the data using Jitter and aerial photographs (myself with Nick Fox-Gieg) in 2005, and, in 2003, a sound work with Henry Warwick.  I also have extensive documentary still photography of the microclimatologic instrumentation on the field sites. 

related pages:  http://www.christinamcphee.net/slipkonza/slipkcosign04.htm
 

ARTIST
Roxana Torre: http://www.torre.nl
PROJECT
Personal World Map

The Personal World Map has been developed with the idea of giving users another perception of the world. Normally we measure distances between places in km (or miles) but in the Personal World Map these distances have been replaced by travel time and travel costs. These two factors can give a better indication of relative position between places than geographical distances.

ARTIST
Michael Sellam
PROJECT
Echoes

Echoes is a project of "field recordings" and is about the relation between culture/nature, the contemporary socio-economic ecology. It questions the control of nature by man, against the exhaustion of the natural resources. It is also a reflection on the way in which our signs invade space. To some extent small insects are the inhabitants of an empty landscape, hardly distinct, their movements frantic; they are activated, reactive and chaotic behaviors.

 

ARTIST
Gustavo Romano
PROJECT
CyberZoo

December 31, 2005

Out with the Old + In with the New?

via NEWSgrist:

Out with the Old + In with the New?

Katrina
Satellite view of Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005.

The year 2005 in Art: reflections from here and there:

via Artforum:
Best of 2005: 11 Critics + Curators Look at the Year in Art

John Kelsey:
HURRICANE KATRINA - Ask Stockhausen. As if timed for the opening of the Whitney's Robert Smithson retrospective, this was arguably less a natural disaster than a case of Land art gone horribly wrong. An environmental and political tragedy of Spielbergian proportions, Katrina produced images of the sort of "naked life" we'd previously only identified with non-sites like Iraq. The drowned ghetto, the shooting of homeless looters, the police suicides, the forced evacuations, the superdomes filled with refugees—these are visions we can only try to erase. For some reason it was impossible not to imagine the hurricane as a terrorist act. And I guess it was—Made in USA.   [...]

 

December 30, 2005

Mercury rising, stormy weather

 

 

via Common Dreams:

Published on Friday, December 30, 2005 by the Independent / UK
Review of the Year: Climate Change
Mercury rising, stormy weather - our world is taking a battering
by Michael McCarthy

You see it in heat, you see it in ice, you see it in storms. Climate change without doubt became the critical environmental issue of 2005. The evidence of global warming occurring here and now mounted up during the year and is proving ever harder to ignore, even by habitual sceptics.

The past 12 months have been one of the hottest periods ever recorded. When all the figures are in, this may prove to have been the warmest year in the global temperature record, although in mid-December British meteorological scientists were saying it was still just exceeded by 1998.

But, around the world, there have been unprecedented heat-waves. The thermometer reached an astonishing 50C - that's 122F - in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria. Canada and Australia had their hottest-ever weather, while a record drought in Western Europe saw bush fires devastate much of Portugal's countryside.

Two other phenomena besides high temperatures pointed directly at climate change in 2005. One was the record melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean, and of land-based glaciers and ice sheets; the other was the record incidence of tropical storms.

In September, satellite measurements showed that the Arctic sea ice had melted to a record low extent - about 20 per cent below the long-term average - prompting fears that an irreversible decline has set in, and that the whole of the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free relatively soon, perhaps within two to three decades.

This means not just that the North Pole will be a point in the sea; it means that animals that need the ice to live, such as polar bears, may be doomed. In December, there were reports of polar bears being drowned because the gaps between ice masses were too great for them to swim.

There are other significant reports of ice melting, especially in the glaciers and ice-sheets of Alaska and Greenland. Measurements taken in 2005 showed that the Kangerdlugssuaq glacier, which drains about 4 per cent of Greenland's massive ice sheet, is moving into the sea three times faster than a decade ago. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt completely, sea levels around the world would be raised by about seven metres (23ft). But even a rise of just one metre would be catastrophic for many low-lying areas, such as Bangladesh. In November, American scientists revealed that sea levels are now rising by about two millimetres a year, twice as fast as 150 years ago.

Stronger, more frequent tropical storms are the other pointer towards a changing climate. Scientists predict that the greater energy available in a warmer atmosphere will intensify hurricanes and typhoons, and 2005 has indeed been a record year in terms of both intensity and frequency.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, there were 26 tropical storms in the 12-month period, exceeding the previous record of 21, set in 1933. Of the year's storms, 14 reached the status of hurricanes. Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida in October, was confirmed as the strongest hurricane ever recorded.

But it was Hurricane Katrina, of course, which attracted the most publicity. The devastation of New Orleans in August posed the critical question - was there a link with climate change? Some scientists are uncertain about this, but in September Sir John Lawton, who chairs the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, said unequivocally that the super-powerful hurricanes battering the United States were the "smoking gun" of global warming.

Not surprisingly, the mounting evidence of a destabilised atmosphere gave a new urgency and dynamic to the politics of climate change during the year, although the administration of George Bush continued to stonewall on the issue. Tony Blair, with his special opportunity as chair of the G8 group of rich countries, while at the same time holding the presidency of the European Union, put climate change at the top of the agenda (along with Africa) at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland in July.

What emerged was not a change of heart from the US over the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse-gas emissions - as the environmental pressure groups had been demanding, entirely unrealistically - but something just as important. China and India, whose future emissions of carbon dioxide will be a crucial factor in the struggle to control climate change, agreed to talk about them for the first time.

Later in the year, the world took another step forward when almost 200 countries agreed at the UN climate conference in Montreal to start shaping a second stage to the Kyoto treaty to replace the first emissions reduction period, which ends in 2012.

There was a mix of good and bad news on other fronts, such as rainforest destruction and wildlife. The Amazon was struck by its second-greatest bout of forest clearance, new figures revealed - but in September, in Kinshasa, nations home to populations of the four great apes - gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and orang-utans - agreed on a strategy to try to preserve man's closest relatives in the face of ever-increasing threats to their existence from habitat destruction and hunting.

© 2005 Independent News and Media Limited