Assignments

Reading Assignment 2: Tue Greenport by Clarissa Gonzalez

Tue Greenport does not consider himself and Eco artist.  However is more interested in putting humanity in the forefront of their relationship with the environment.  His work evolves around ecology, its history, the environment, social relations, and human subjectivity. Greenport does this by interweaving the subjects of public and private realms, nature, and culture.

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During his situational installation, Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change, Greenport created a situation where the gallery (in the United Arab Emirates) raised the temperature of their air conditioning up by 2 degrees Celsius. The exhibition space only had what was needed in it.  A machine that marks the changes in temperature and humidity in the space and the table it sits on. Along the air vents there are pieces of material showing when the air changes in the room. On the walls, there is information demonstrating the importance of 2 degrees.

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So why 2 degrees Celsius? According to studies on climate change, there only needs to be a two degree difference on Earth to cause catastrophic change in the world's environment. There was a struggle to convince the museum to allow the temperature change by two degrees.  There was an argument with the museum curators, due to the concern of the antiquities and art works in the permanent collections not being able to withstand the temperature difference.  However the sheikh whom owns the majority of the collections, said to continue with the exhibition.  

The real purpose of this exhibtion was to show what can be done with resources if we were to continue to conserve energy like this.  The money that was saved from raising the temperature was used to buy a piece of land in the rain forests of Ecuador. Thus protects the land from any future development, deforestation, or pollution.

Reading Assignment 2: Bright Ugochukwe Eke by Clarissa Gonzalez

Bright Ugochukwe Eke is an eco artist from Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country in Western Africa, where petroleum is a major industry.  This seemingly unchecked industry causes a lot of pollution issues in the ground, atmosphere, and water supply of the area.  After contracting a skin infection from acid rain, Eke was inspired to create work about the issue at hand. 

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Eke is concerned about the relationship between humanity and the Earth.  He however blames modernism and the globalization of the market place.  No longer are humans connected to the Earth; but are more interested in instant gratification, with no consideration of the price it holds.  Part of the issue is that there is no education or care about the environment.  Due to the petroleum industry, there is no natural sources of clean drinking water available.  Thus drinking water is available for sale in water sachets. These cheaply made plastic packaging ultimately ends up thrown on the ground after its use. Thus creating an endless cycle of pollution.

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Starting in 2006, Eke started creating works out of these discarded water sachets. Initially he was filling them with acid rain and hanging them, making them into poisonous raindrops.  In 2008, he created an installation called Shields.  Eke wished to create something that gives protection from the rain. This creating objects emulating rain coats and umbrellas, but completely made out of water sachets. 

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Eke has a concern with the community and the land.  When the work was shown in Lagos, he had a group of locals wear the coats and use the umbrellas around town. This is all in the hopes of being an education to the community about the environment and living greener.

These "shields" act as a barrier of protection.  This interest of a barrier or boundary continues into Eke's later works.  Thematically Eke is speaking on the politics of water. As clean water becomes more precious, different locales or boundaries take either higher or even lower considerations on the cleanliness of our drinking water. 

  

Reading Assignment 1 by Clarissa Gonzalez

Prior to class: Read To Life p 43-50 - Eco Art Materials Make a list of 10 materials that you had not considered art materials. Select 2 from this list and design a sculpture using that material as primary - other materials could be used for connecting or structuring. Sketch and write about these two sculptures. Come to class ready to participate where you will be sharing your theoretical sculpture. 

In class we started the discussion by observing the sculptures used for Landing on the Island, and the importance of being able to reuse as much as possible.  However this is only one of the issues artists should consider when choosing a material.  Our materials are not only considered for aesthetic value but the meaning behind them.  The class was asked to consider materials that we have not considered in the past. Here is my list:

Materials Not Considered:

  1. Slime
  2. Water/Oil
  3. Cornstarch and Water
  4. Maps
  5. Dried acrylic paint
  6. Sand/shells/pebbles
  7. Terrariums
  8. Paper pulp
  9. Plexiglass
  10. Windowscreens/mesh

For the class it was generally hard for us to come up with individual lists.  Contemporarily, art making is crossing mediums and no longer is art limited to traditional art mediums. Thus making anything and everything available to become art. 

We considered the footprints of the materials we used.  When considering a materials footprint, people consider the resources used, consumed, and waste generated.  In the process of making Eco Art it is easy to consider a material's footprint as a theme or meaning of the work.  The class was then asked to design a sculpture using non-manufactured materials.  While we did come up with projects as a group, they were not necessarily environmentally friendly or Eco Art.

When I started class on Tuesday, I wasn't really sure what I was going to be doing for sculpture class this semester.  I was (and still am) interested the social aspects behind the crisis of our drinking water (it's not safe to drink from the faucets, the gulf is dirty, etc.). However I was also considering making my own paper, out of my paper scraps or locally sourced cotton.  Which is why I listed paper pulp as one of my materials I had never considered.  It was only after I did some research that I realized paper pulp is a pretty viable sculpture medium.  So i had designed a paper sculpture for class.

I was still considering the concept of water and waves, but was trying to bring it into a installation, either by draping paper while it was in its drying stages or the recycling the iridescent mesh I had used last semester.  But I wasn't sold on the idea, and didn't mention it to anybody.

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The next day I had a short conversation with Ryan, having already told him about my budding interest with water issues, he recommend collecting the wood that had washed up on the bay and printing those along with my washes. We talked about the incorporation of man made and natural materials. Which got me thinking about everything else that is laying about around the beach.  I then had the idea to create 100 small sculptures (and corresponding prints) of items found on the beach, either trash, wood, seaweed, rocks, sand, plants, shells, you name it.  So yesterday I made a quick trip to Whitecap beach and collected whatever I could find whatever I could carry in my bag. This is some of what I found:

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I'm pretty excited with what I found. The next step is to figure out how to print some of these objects.  Then comes the building of the sculptures.  I want to keep them small, something that can fit in your hand.  It almost reminds me of the things you can find at the beach gift shops. I may even consider displaying them in a similar matter.