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January 14, 2007

Strange Weather @ The National Academy of Sciences

Flood5

Flood 5, 2006, oil on canvas, 60 x 78 inches

Strange Weather
New Paintings
By Joy Garnett

in two parts:

Part I:
January 15 - April 30, 2007
by appointment,
call (202) 334-2436
 

National Academies' Keck Center
550 Fifth Street NW, First Floor Gallery
Washington, DC


Artist's Talk : Thursday Feb 8, 2007, 6 - 8pm


PRESS RELEASE  [PDF]  

An artist's multiple with essays by Lucy R. Lippard and  Andrew C. Revkin is available upon request. 

Part II:
Opens to the Public
May 5 - July 30, 2007

OPENING RECEPTION
Sunday, May 27, 2007, 1 - 3 pm

National Academy of Sciences
2100 C Street NW, Upstairs Gallery
Washington, DC
 
Open  weekdays,  9am - 5pm

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NAS Announces 'Strange Weather: New Paintings by Joy Garnett'

Washington - "Strange Weather," an exhibition of paintings by Joy Garnett depicting environmental and social catastrophes, will be on view by appointment from Jan.15 through April 30 at the National Academies' Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. It will then be placed on public view from May 5 through July 30 at the National Academy of Sciences' headquarters, located at 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Joy Garnett gathers photographs of man-made and natural disasters from the Internet and renders the images as richly textured oil paintings. In the process, she locates tensions between the visceral power of paint and the fleeting nature of images in the mass media, addressing the evolving role of art in an information-saturated society.

Curated for the National Academy of Sciences, the exhibition focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In Strange Weather, Garnett takes widely distributed news images of a devastated New Orleans and recasts them as paintings in which geological, political, and sociological weather are inextricably intertwined.

Based in New York City, Joy Garnett studied painting at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and received her MFA from the City College of New York. Her paintings were recently exhibited in "Image War," organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art , New York City, and "Run for Your Lives!" at DiverseWorks, Houston. In 2004, she received a grant from the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation. In 2000, she received a commission from the Wellcome Trust to participate along with her father, biochemist Merrill Garnett, in "N01se," a multi-site exhibition about information and transformation at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, and the Wellcome Trust's Two10 Gallery, London. The exhibition was organized by artist Adam Lowe and historian of science Simon Schaffer.

For more than 20 years, the Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences has sponsored exhibitions, concerts, and other events that explore relationships among the arts and sciences.

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December 27, 2006

Leaving empty space behind

reBlogged via Eyebeam:
(Originally spotted at Kosmograd).
Originally posted by Geoff Manaugh from BLDGBLOG, ReBlogged by Paul Amitai on Dec 26, 2006 at 11:58 AM
 
 
[Image: From At This Rate, by Giles Revell and Matt Wiley].

Logging roads in tropical rainforests expose whole landscapes to disease, fire, drought, longterm human settlement, and uncontrolled future deforestation.
"Every second we lose an area the size of a football pitch," Giles Revell and Matt Wiley write, describing the ecological motivation behind their new photographic series, At This Rate. "Every day we lose an area larger than all five boroughs of New York City... Every year we lose an area three times the size of Sri Lanka."

 
[Image: From At This Rate, by Giles Revell and Matt Wiley].

Revell and Wiley produced At This Rate for a publication by the Rainforest Action Network; the project is "aimed at increasing awareness of the rapid destruction of our rainforests. If this destruction continues, half our remaining rainforests will be gone by 2025 and by 2060 there will be absolutely nothing left."

 
[Images: From At This Rate, by Giles Revell and Matt Wiley].

However, what at first appear to be satellite images of obliterated rainforests are actually lone photographs of disintegrating leaves.
These "resemble maps of cities, emphasising the rate of deforestation," fellow architecture blogger Kosmograd writes.

September 29, 2006

Robert Polidori's "After the Flood" @ the Met

 3_new_orleans_polidori_048_marigny5417l_1
5417 Marigny Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2006

reBlogged via NEWSgrist:

via NYTimes:
Art Review
What's Wrong With This Picture? {excerpted}
By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN
Published: September 22, 2006

After Hurricane Katrina, Robert Polidori went to New Orleans, where he lived years ago, to shoot photographs of the devastation for The New Yorker. He stayed longer than first planned, then went back again and again, for weeks, taking hundreds of pictures with a large-format camera that produced wide, superbly detailed color photographs. The camera was awkward to manipulate through the wreckage and in the heat, without electricity and lights. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jeff L. Rosenheim, a photography curator, has selected a couple dozen of these big panoramas and interiors to make a pocket-size lament for a woebegone city.

They are unpeopled scenes: New Orleans as our modern Pompeii. Mr. Polidori stood near the corner of Law and Egania Streets where a plain, single-story cottage with a hole in the roof rests beside a telephone pole. A crisscross of power lines forms a shallow X against the empty blue sky. The house, pale green and white, recedes, diagonally.

Except that — the image can take a second to decipher — there are two cottages, one green, one white. During Katrina, the green one, like Dorothy's house, floated clear across Egania Street from who knows where, stopped perpendicular to its neighbor by those electric lines, which acted like arrestor wires on an aircraft carrier, ripping open the hole in the roof.

If this sounds confusing, that’s the nature of chaos, which can be as hard to photograph as it is to describe. Fortunately, Mr. Polidori is a connoisseur of chaos, and the beauty of his pictures — they have a languid, almost underwater beauty — entails locating order in bedlam. [...]

These are photographs, in other words, without nostalgia, as Mr. Rosenheim writes in a short introduction to Mr. Polidori's book, "After the Flood," but with "something of the air that generations of anonymous New Orleanians had breathed in and out." They make "no attempt to excavate what went wrong in New Orleans or why the state and federal response remains even today predisposed to cronyism, gross fraud and corruption." They simply testify, as Mr. Rosenheim puts it, "to a city that care forgot."

It's good of the Met to remind us.

Learn more about this exhibition

View images from this exhibition

July 30, 2006

Disasters of War: Lebanon oil slick

 

via Breitbart News:
Lebanon oil slick 'worst environmental disaster' in Med
Jul 29 7:03 AM US/Eastern

The Mediterranean is threatened by its worst ever environmental disaster after Israel's bombing of a power plant in Lebanon sent thousands of tonnes of fuel gushing into the sea, the environment minister charged.

"Up until now 10,000-15,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil have spilled out into the sea," after Israel's bombing of the power station in Jiyeh two weeks ago, Lebanese Environment Minister Yacub Sarraf told AFP Saturday.

"It's without doubt the biggest environmental catastrophe that the Mediterranean has known and it risks having terrible consequences not only for our country but for all the countries of the eastern Mediterranean."

Israeli forces bombed the tanks at the power station on July 14 and July 15, just days into their offensive on Lebanon which has seen blistering air strikes across the country and a bloody ground incursion in the south.

The leak from one of the tanks, which are located just 25 metres (80 feet) from the sea, has now stopped but another containing 25,000 tonnes of fuel oil is still on fire and is in danger of exploding. Between 8,000-10,000 tonnes of fuel are on the shore and 5,000 on the open water.

"Until now, the worst ecological disasters have taken place in the oceans and it's the first time that an oil spill has happened outside the open sea," said Sarraf. "We can have no illusions."

Sarraf said that the cost of cleaning up Lebanon's once golden beaches -- which until the bombardment were major attractions for locals and tourists -- will cost between 45-50 million dollars and would not be finished until next summer.

The spill is now affecting 70 kilometres (40 miles) of Lebanon's 220-kilometre-long (140 miles) coast, a third of its coastline. Beaches and rocks are covered in a black sludge which has reached the famous tourist town of Byblos, north of Beirut.

"If nothing is done, not only will currents flowing towards the north mean that one third of Lebanon's coastline be hit, but also Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Greece and even Israel," Sarraf said.

"The fauna and the Mediterranean ecosystem risk suffering badly and certain species are threatened with extinction," he warned.

Sarraf said that owing to the Israeli blockade of Lebanon's waters, it was impossible to send ships to clear up the pollution.

"I have appealed to Britain, Italy, Spain, the United States, all the countries which have already suffered oil slicks to ask for technical assistance as we cannot act on our own," he said.

Kuwait has sent 40 tonnes of material that would allow the petrol to thicken and also special carpets which absorb petroleum products.

A resident of Byblos, known worldwide for its seafood restaurants and historic harbour, said "for the last four days, fish, crustaceans and crabs have been coming in black, and they are dying as victims of this oil slick."

Fuad Hamdan, director of Friends of the Earth, Europe, and founder of Greenpeace Lebanon, agreed that "it is certainly the worst environmental disaster ever on the eastern Mediterranean coast."

Hamdan said the eastern Mediterranean coast from the Israeli port of Haifa until Syria's Lattakiya was already heavily polluted from Israeli industry, Lebanese sewage and industry from east Beirut and from Syria.

He advised people against eating fish from coastal areas. "Anyway it will smell bad and put people off."

Besides the oil slick, the fire from the oil tanks has caused atmospheric pollution which has already reached Beirut. "Now the toxic cloud is stretching over a 30 kilometre distance," said Sarraf.
The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/29/world/650-envrio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
via NYTimes, Environment:
Casualties of War: Lebanon's Trees, Air and Sea
By HASSAN M. FATTAH
Published: July 29, 2006

JIYEH, Lebanon, July 28 — As Israel continues the bombing campaign that has turned parts of Lebanon into rubble, environmentalists are warning of widespread and lasting damage.

Spilled and burning oil, along with forest fires, toxic waste flows and growing garbage heaps have gone from nuisances to threats to people and wildlife, they say, marring a country traditionally known for its clean air and scenic greenery. Many of Lebanon’s once pristine beaches and much of its coastline have been coated with a thick sludge that threatens marine life.

As smoke billowed overhead on Friday, turning day into dusk, Ali Saeed, a resident, recounted how war has changed this small industrial town about 15 miles south of Beirut.

Most people have left, he said. It is virtually impossible to drive on the roads, and almost everyone hides behind sealed windows.

"There's nowhere to run," Mr. Saeed said, showing off the black speckles on his skin that have turned everything white here into gray. "It's dripping fuel from the sky."

 

Continue reading "Disasters of War: Lebanon oil slick" »

May 17, 2006

Reclaiming the Land @ the Vera List Center

 

Panel Discussion
Reclaiming the Land: Conversations on Collaboration

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

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

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

Chris Reed, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston

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

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

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

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

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

 

May 16, 2006

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)

March 15, 2006

Alaska Oil Spill

 

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.
Workers are cleaning up a two-acre site in the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska.

via NYTimes: 

Large Oil Spill in Alaska Went Undetected for Days
By FELICITY BARRINGER
Published: March 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, March 14 — The largest oil spill to occur on the tundra of Alaska's North Slope has deposited up to 267,000 gallons of thick crude oil over two acres in the sprawling Prudhoe Bay production facilities, forcing cleanup crews to work in temperatures far below zero to vacuum and dig up the thick mixture of snow and oil.

The spill went undetected for as long as five days before an oilfield worker detected the acrid scent of hydrocarbons while driving through the area on March 2, Maureen Johnson, the senior vice president and manager of the Prudhoe Bay unit for BP, said at a news conference in Anchorage on Tuesday.

At the conference, officials from BP, the company pumping the oil, and from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said they believed that the oil had escaped through a pinprick-size hole in a corroded 34-inch pipe leading to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

The pressure of the leaking oil, they said, gradually expanded the hole to a quarter- or half-inch wide. Most of the oil seeped beneath the snow without attracting the attention of workers monitoring alarm systems.

The leak occurred in a section of pipe built in the late 1970's, in the earliest days of oil production at Prudhoe Bay. The larger pipeline, which carries North Slope oil across the state, was completed in 1977.

Environmental groups were quick to point out that the spill raises doubts about the continuing reliability and durability of the infrastructure of North Slope production.

The current spill is among the worst in the pipeline's history, and the first of such a magnitude likely to be blamed on the decay of the aging system. In 1989, about 11 million gallons fouled Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground. About 700,000 gallons escaped from the pipeline after vandals blew up a section of it in 1978, and about 285,000 gallons spilled in 2001 when a hunter shot the pipeline.



Corroded pipe leads to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Asked later on Tuesday about how company and state officials arrived at their tentative conclusions about the cause of the spill, Ms. Johnson said investigators had "looked at the leak investigation system, at all the logs and all the charts" that measure oil volume and pressure at different times and in different areas.

At the news conference, Ms. Johnson said that although routine inspections last year indicated increasing corrosion in the pipe, the severity of corrosion found since the leak pointed to a swift and sudden deterioration. "We had no reason to expect" that this pipe, which carried 100,000 barrels of oil to the Alaska pipeline a day, "was going to leak," she said.

Ms. Johnson also said the leak was "smaller than our system would detect," adding that it was "still not acceptable to BP."

The normal fluctuations of oil flow in this particular pipe could have masked warning signals, state environment officials said.

March 13, 2006

Land Boom: Bad for Whales

 
Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
A gray whale pops up for air in Baja California, where advocates of tourism and the environment clash with those favoring heavier development.

Mexican Land Boom Creates Commotion in Whale Nursery
By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: March 12, 2006

LAGUNA SAN IGNACIO, Mexico, March 7 — This remote lagoon, surrounded by salt flats, mesas and desert, has been a sanctuary for gray whales for centuries.

Every year they return in January to these quiet, protected waters to give birth and nurse their calves through the first few months of life. Then they mate again in a swirl of water and fins, and frolic in the warm waters, breaching and flopping their gargantuan bodies.

Fishermen, who serve as guides during the whales' three-month stay, ferry tourists to the center of the lagoon, and the whales play with the boats. Sometimes, enthusiastic visitors can pet and scratch the leviathans' blubbery, sensitive skin.

But the lagoon has proved a powerful draw for more than just nature lovers. The area's salt and oil deposits have long drawn development interests, pitting environmentalists and local fishing and tourism concerns against big companies and land speculators in battles that have intensified in recent years.

In 2000, for instance, environmentalists won a long-fought victory over the Mitsubishi Corporation, which had sought to build a giant salt-mining complex on the lagoon, which would have devastated fishing and the whale-watching industry.

Another company, Exportadora de Sal, has received a 50-year concession from the government to mine salt, suggesting another looming battle. Environmentalists also say that plans to exploit oil deposits near the lagoon and build a big marina near its entrance threaten the whales.

From ecologists' standpoint, though, perhaps the greatest threat to the lagoon is the land boom that is sweeping the peninsula. All across the Baja California, land speculators are buying out members of ranching and fishing cooperatives, which own vast tracts including beaches on some of the most pristine and rich marine habitats in the world.

But here, environmental groups have reached an unusual agreement with a cooperative that will help protect the lagoon, the last undisturbed gray whale nursery, from industrial development or land speculation.

Under the accord, the cooperative, the Ejido Luis Echeverría, has agreed to protect 120,000 acres around the lagoon from development, in return for a $675,000 trust fund put together by several groups, among them the Natural Resources Defense Council and Wildcoast.

Trust earnings go to the cooperative to be invested in projects to create permanent jobs and give its 43 members a stake in protecting the whales and their habitat.

"This is a long term project, a project for perpetuity," said the president of the cooperative, Raúl López. "We have to be an example for the other cooperatives."

Still, the Echeverría cooperative is only one of six that own land around the lagoon, and the environmentalists have their work cut out for them persuading the rest to commit themselves to protecting the whales.

Serge Dedina, the executive director of Wildcoast, has tried to convince the cooperative members that they have more to gain in the long run from developing tourism around the whales, as well as sustainable fisheries, than from a one-time windfall of cash for their land.

The gray whales migrate every year from the seas off Alaska to Mexico's waters. They begin arriving in January and stay until early April. The lagoon, along with two other less pristine bays, are vitally important to their survival, since it is here the mothers give birth and here the calves gain enough strength to handle the perils of the open ocean.

The lagoon is also home to 221 bird species. Ospreys, cormorants and pelicans fish the waters, while falcons, gold and bald eagles sweep the skies. Rare species like endangered peninsular pronghorns and green sea turtles can be spotted here, too.

The whales are the big draw, however. Eight camps are scattered along the southeastern shore of the bay and 16 boats have permits to take tourists out.

Mr. López said that the idea of the local cooperative, or ejido, was that the trust fund's support of small projects would bring in jobs and erase the temptation for people to sell out to mining or other development concerns.

But leaders of other cooperatives around the bay are not convinced. To the north, the San Ignacio Ejido is controlled by ranchers and businessmen who have little or no stake in the whale-watching business.

Their president, Rodrigo Martínez Zapien, a grocer, said most of the 81 members were ranchers or small-business men and would support selling their beaches to a salt-mining company or anyone else who would produce jobs. Already, they have been approached by land speculators, he said. "The truth is there is not much interest in going to exploit this business of the whales," he said.

Others say they see the whales as a resource. The whale tours are a lot less work than hauling in fishing nets. And the money from the trust will help small businesses that provide jobs. The only other option, they say, is to sell, move to the city and run through the profit.

"Sure there have been people who have come around wanting to buy, but for us it doesn't interest us to sell the land, because almost all of us work in tourism now," said one local fisherman, Alejandro Ramírez, 35, who works at a whale-watching camp. "If I sell out, sure, I'll have more money, but money in your hands goes quickly, and with this natural area my family has a way to make a living for a long time."

February 16, 2006

Uneasy Nature @ the Weatherspoon Art Museum

 

ROXY PAINE, Misnomer, 2005 (detail).
Stainless steel, 12.33 x 16 x 11.58 ft.
Image courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, New York.

Uneasy Nature

Lee Bul
Bryan Crockett
Roxy Paine
Patricia Piccinini
Alyson Shotz
Jennifer Steinkamp

February 18 - May 28, 2006
Opening Reception: Friday, February 17
6-7 pm Member's Preview / 7-9 pm Public Reception

Weatherspoon Art Museum
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Spring Garden and Tate Streets
Greensboro, North Carolina 27402-6170
336.334.5770

via e-flux:

The exhibition Uneasy Nature brings together sculpture, drawing, photography and digital animation by six internationally recognized artists who incorporate mythology and narrative to reflect on the evolving perception of nature in contemporary culture. Artists include: Lee Bul (Korea), Bryan Crockett (US), Roxy Paine (US), Patricia Piccinini (Australia), Alyson Shotz (US) and Jennifer Steinkamp (US).

Our impact upon the natural world is immense. We hear and see signs of it everyday, usually in terms of unseasonable weather, pollution and rising gas and water bills. But our influence thus far is miniscule compared to the idea of nature envisioned by biotechnology. The introduction of genetically engineered foods and animals and the ongoing research into stem cells present us with a whole new reality of potential organic forms and creatures. Today our idealistic concepts of nature are proving to be archaic, and we are re-awakening to a new version of nature that is of mythic character. The works in Uneasy Nature manifest this uncomfortable view of a nature strangely altered through cross-pollination with culture and technology.

Uneasy Nature is organized by Weatherspoon Art Museum curator of exhibitions, Xandra Eden. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with full color images of the work in the exhibition, artists' biographies, and essays by Eden and British cultural historian, critic and novelist Marina Warner. The catalogue for Uneasy Nature is made possible through the generous support of the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Panel Discussion: Fact or Fear? Genetics and Public Perception
Weatherspoon Art Museum: Tuesday, April 25 at 7 pm
Celebrate your unique genetic code on National DNA Day by joining artist Bryan Crockett, Uneasy Nature; Dr. Vincent Henrich, Director of Institute for Health, Science and Society and Professor, Department of Biology at UNC-Greensboro; and Dr. Barbra Rothschild, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill for an informative discussion on our fascination with and perception of genetic research and biotechnology. Free, limited seating.

For more information:
Loring Mortensen
336.256.1451
lamorten@uncg.edu

February 01, 2006

Julia Bryan-Wilson: Nuclear Futures

 

Performance Studies Tuesday Night Forum Series Presents:

Nuclear Futures
Julia Bryan-Wilson
Assistant Professor, Contemporary Art and Visual Culture
Rhode Island School of Design

February 14, 2006  7pm

Tisch School of the Arts
New York University
Department of Performance Studies
721 Broadway
6th Floor, Room 636

Drawing on art history, performance studies, and visual culture studies, this paper asks how monuments mediate, enable, and block different kinds of futures. "Nuclear Futures" explores the plans for a large-scale warning marker that will be constructed above the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a nuclear waste dump currently operating near Carlsbad, New Mexico. This marker--whose design was recently finalized--is meant to caution people for the next 10,000 years about the dangers of drilling or digging on this radioactive site.  What might these plans tell us about the duration and legibility of visible signs--their persistence or erosion through time--and the persistence and dangers of the dream of a universal language? What kinds of futurity does the warning marker ask us to imagine--or forget? What might the marker tell us about the performativity and temporality of visual imagery in the nuclear age?

January 13, 2006

Debris Fire Burns in New Orleans

 

Bill Haber/Associated Press
A fire was burning in a 100-foot-high pile of hurricane debris in the Lower Ninth Ward. 

via NYTimes:

Debris Fire Burns in New Orleans
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 13, 2006
Filed at 10:54 a.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A smoky fire was burning Friday in a 100-foot-high pile of furniture, refrigerators and other hurricane debris in the city's hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward.

The fire, reported late Thursday, covered about 4.6 acres and was largely under control, firefighters said. They were dropping water from helicopters and planned to let the blaze burn itself out.

No injuries were reported. The area remains largely uninhabited due to the extent of the damage from Hurricane Katrina's floods.

The pile included wood, furniture, water heaters, stoves and refrigerators.

 

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.

January 02, 2006

Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky



Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky

The Brooklyn Museum
Through January 15, 2006

from the press release:


The first major retrospective of the internationally renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky will bring together more than 60 works by the Toronto-born artist from both public and private collections.

Burtynsky, a modern-day counterpart to nineteenth-century landscape photographers, examines the intersection between land and technology, creating images of unorthodox beauty. His subjects include locations that have been changed by modern industrial activity such as mining, quarrying, rail cutting, recycling, and oil refining.

[read on...]

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