I'm working on a public art project with the community of the University of Washington-Tacoma. All the Rivers in the World, Tacoma
Meet your Creek continues to work at the confluence of public art and ecological literacy with community-engaged art events. www.meetyourcreek.com/
For the very first time, the International Weather and Climate Forum welcomes contemporary art with Warmingland, a group
exhibition that addresses the questions of climate change and sustainable development. Warmingland brings together a
group of international artists who are committed to this cause: Vaughn Bell (USA), Wen Fang (China), Jérémy Gobé (France),
Studio Orta (England, Argentina, France) and Douglas White (England).
In a playful nod to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Warmingland addresses the alarming increase in temperature in this
wonderful land that is planet Earth. The exhibition takes visitors through the looking glass into a world of polluted air and
bleaching coral, a world where islands are disappearing because of rising sea levels. And yet it is also a world whose citizens
marvel at the beauties of nature, rally round and take part in trying to preserve their common heritage.
Warmingland takes a sensitive and participative approach, one that doesn’t try to list the woes of our beleaguered planet, but
rather extends a poetic invitation to visitors, encouraging them to open their eyes to what is at stake and take action. The
artist and environmentalist Joseph Beuys maintained that “every man is an artist” and, as far as the climate is concerned,
transitioning towards a low-carbon economy is definitely in our hands.
Jean Jouzel, the president of the International Weather and Climate Forum, is convinced that, because the environmental
transition is also a cultural one, it is vital today to turn to art. As he says: “Artists definitely have a role to play in developing
awareness of global warning and its consequences”.
Visitors to Warmingland will discover some pioneering works as they embark on an amusing and sensory journey, one that is
both committed and deeply moving.
Entering the exhibition, they will be welcomed by English artist Douglas White’s immense Black Palm. Here the palm tree, which
is emblematic of tropical island paradises, becomes the symbol of a world that is reliant on carbon. This sculpture illustrates
resilience and the solution: a circular economy that recycles its waste transforming it into spectacular new raw materials.
The Antarctica World Passport programme by the world-famous artist duo Lucy + Jorge Orta gives visitors the opportunity to join a
community of some 25,000 citizens around the world who hold an Antarctic passport as a token of their commitment to preserve the
world we share.
American artist and environmentalist Vaughn Bell endeavours to capture the beauty of living nature, its smells and its poetry. Village
Green comprises four fragile and wonderful landscapes that visitors can discover in a multi-sensory experience by placing their heads
inside the terrarium-like structures.
Jérémy Gobé immerses visitors in the marine environment, which is also adversely affected by global warming. Coral / Artefact, a
scientific and artistic project that aims to save the world’s corals, is being presented to the public for the first time. Can artists and
scientists manage to save coral by working together? Let’s hope so!
Confronted with air pollution and global warming (which contributes to exacerbating the effects of pollution on our health), everyone
has a role to play with their art and creativity. It is this firm belief that drives the Maskbook project, a collective work of art launched
by Chinese artist Wen Fang and Art of change 21. The project allows thousands of participants from all over the world to express
their solutions. A Maskbook workshop will be organised during the Forum.
“Art is the best option for taking action, developing awareness and innovating in the field of sustainable development. It is a way of
forging perceptible connections with climatic phenomena that can be difficult to apprehend and which may sometimes seem elusive
and threatening” according to the two people who came up with the idea for the exhibition, Alice Audouin and Marguerite Courtel
from Alice Audouin Consulting, which specialises in the relationship between art and sustainable development.
Warmingland was made possible thanks to the support of Schneider Electric Foundation, LVMH, Mirova (Natixis Investment
Managers), GreenFlex and Enercoop.
About The International Weather and Climate Forum
The International Weather and Climate Forum (FIM) was created in 2004. It is a key event on the calendar both in terms of
education and as a means of rallying support. The forum is part an event for the general public, part international symposium
and part contemporary art exhibition, as well as being a media workshop for weathermen and women from numerous countries.
The FIM is presided over by the climatologist Jean Jouzel.
About Alice Audouin Consulting
Alice Audouin Consulting is a consulting firm specialising in art, sustainable development and responsible communication. The
two partners, Alice Audouin and Marguerite Courtel, strive day-by-day to ensure that innovation and creativity are at the heart of
companies’ corporate strategy and that artists play a major role in the environmental transition.
International WEATHER AND CLIMATE FORUM
Paris de l’Hotel de Ville, 75004 Paris
2nd-3rd June, 11am-6pm; 4th-5th June, 9am-6pm
Exhibition tour everyday at 3pm
Come see my new work "Local Homes" and more at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Saturday & Sunday, April 21 & 22, 2018
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special events on Friday, April 20
With three days of science activities, the Unearth Science festival celebrates science and nature in ways that will encourage you to see, touch, hear, and explore.
Meet Your Creek connects public art, place-based learning and ecological literacy. Over the course of 2018, beginning with a kick-off in November 2017, a series of participatory community events is unfolding around Longfellow Creek. Art events will occur in tandem with community events sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Watershed Action Plan.
We are creating unique, hand-made Postcards from the Creek. Participants make their own postcard based on their own observations and understanding of Longfellow Creek. They are then invited to either mail the postcard to a friend or loved one, or to donate it to the postcard archive, which may be exhibited at a local venue. When we think of sending a postcard, we often imagine a scene of spectacular natural beauty, inspiring awe in national parks or famous sites. By creating postcards from our own backyards, we find an opportunity to observe more closely the processes happening all around us. Mailing the postcard and sharing the images online offers a chance to share knowledge about our own local place and its inhabitants.
Funding for this project is provided by Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds, administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
Last month I was in Italy creating a site-based work through the Eremi Arte program. It was a wonderful experience to be able to create work in response to and collaboration with such an amazing place.
I wrote this little bit about the process of working:
To fly in a plane, to go to a place with language you don’t speak, to be surrounded by strangers, to first arrive in a place after dark and wind up the curving road not knowing where, in a new time- this is dis-orienting. To re-orient takes time. To know a place may take months, years, a lifetime. So what is it for an artist to come to some place they don’t know- really deeply don’t know, and respond? This is a difficult question. I am most interested in artists whose process in some way responds to a specific situation/time/place. But why some artist, why here- why me? And what danger is there in this approach? How can we fail- the expectations of the hosts, my own expectations, the community, the place? With this feeling of uncertainty comes discomfort and fear. Look at the beautiful landscape! Look at the deep history, culture and spirit of this place! Now what will you do?
Actually this uncertainty and discomfort is probably very good, and very important. So I think an experience like this is good for an artist: mind-refreshing, fear-inducing, challenging. If a work comes together in a short time, and feels successful, it is also satisfying for an artist and community working together. However, we must also be prepared for a work to “fail” and for this process of failure to still have some value to those involved in it. For me it is also important that the discussion and presentation of the artwork highlight that it is contingent: arising from relationships between people, institutions, location, timeframe and context. The artwork is not the idea or vision of an individual expressed in the place, rather it is a confluence of forces temporarily arising in the place.
I would like to thank the organizers of the Eremi Arte program for creating a situation in which this confluence of forces can occur. I am thankful that enthusiastic students were willing to engage in an uncertain process. I am also very grateful that, because of the happy confluence of people, place and ideas, we have created a work which I believe has some depth, presence and sensitivity.
My on-going work Village Green continues to evolve and adapt to new locations. In each installation, we create "personal biospheres" that are unique, immersive environments of living plants, soil and micro-organisms specific to the locale. The visual form of the house changes meaning as it is placed in reference to different contexts, and each venue undertakes adoption and maintenance of the "biospheres." Versions of this work have been in Brussels and Buenos Aires this spring:
The exhibition "Notes on our Equilibrium: A Dialogue with the House of Jean Prouve II" at CAB Contemporary Art, Brussels has just ended, and they collected a bit of press:
Holistiquement votre, Marie-Claire, May 2017, page 62
Notes on our equilibrium, a Dialogue with the House of Jean Prouvé II, Le Vif, n°18, 5 may 2017, page 43
Notes on our equilibrium, Elle Deco, may 2017, page 44
A Dialogue with the House of Jean Prouvé II, Collect, n°472, may 2017, page 10 (FR/NL)
Is dat nu kunst? Het Niewsblad, may 2017, page 21
Bienvenue dans l’Anthropocène, La Libre Belgique, Suplément Art Libres n°21, week from 21 till 24 may
2017, page 2-3
Des Histoires pour Gaia, H Art, n°171, June 2017, page 10
CAB Art center presents “Notes on our equilibrium”, artdaily.org, 23 june 2017,
“Notes on our equilibrium”, Happening.media, 22 april 2017,
“Notes on our equilibrium”, Art Viewer, 17 june 2017,
Meanwhile, in another hemisphere, "Naturaleza: refugio y recurss del hombre" is open at CCK in Buenos Aires.
Meditations on Water at Jack Straw Cultural Center
Meditations on Water is composed of works by artists, inspired by the waters surrounding Seattle, as they partnered with City Meditation Crew to slow down and notice their environs one moment at a time. City Meditation Crew is a fictitious city department and performance art group who works throughout the United States. Meditations on Water includes an archive of photographs, sound works, and objects. We see and hear: City Meditation Crew paddling meditatively along the Duwamish River; Janet Norman Knox’s poetry about the disappearing viaduct; Susie Kozawa playing Pier 56 as an instrument; and a narrative by Linda Shaw embodying an attentive ferry passage on Puget Sound. Meditations on Water features handmade “river rocks” by Vaughn Bell and the passersby she engaged along rivers in
Washington. Bell will host a series of rock-making events at Jack Straw through the installation's run.
Opening with "Rock-Making" Event : April 14, 7-9 pm
Artist Panel: April 28, 7 pm
"Balance" at the Great Park Gallery, Irvine CA
IRVINE, CA: The Great Park Gallery presents Balance, an exhibition that studies the evolving relationship between nature and humanity through installation art and sculptural work. The exhibition opens Dec. 3 and runs through Feb. 19. A free opening reception is set for Sunday, Dec. 4 from 1-3 p.m.
The exhibition features artists from the United States who examine time and patience including Vaughn Bell, Marissa Gawel, Isabelle Hayeur, Esther Traugot, Jedediah Corwyn Voltz and Andre Woodward, with highlights from Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, N.Y. With a sense of wonder, this group exhibition negotiates with environments while investigating their intricate details and exploring their nostalgic landscapes.
The public is invited to the Great Park Gallery at the Palm Court Arts Complex on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 10 to explore this free exhibition. For more information, visit ocgp.org or call 949-724-6880.
Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has become a nationally recognized city, with a population of 258,386 that spans 66 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Orange County Great Park – the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century. For more information, please visit cityofirvine.org
salmon spawning surveys with one of Seattle Public Utilities' fisheries biologists
In the fall several species of salmon move upstream in Seattle’s river and creeks to spawn. In the urban environment, this is often unsuccessful. Walking an altered urban creek you can see why - it has been channelized in many places, making steep sides and few eddies and pools for the fish to rest in. The gravel that salmon require to make their nest (redd) and lay eggs in is missing in many places from these altered streams. But the invisible threat to these salmon is what is in the water. Coho salmon especially are susceptible to toxins and sediment in the water that wash off of roads or from yards. They encounter this toxic water, especially after a storm, and die before spawning.
The mouth of Thornton Creek empties into Lake Washington. This urban creek has a few branches and headwaters beneath a shopping mall at Northgate. It flows between houses, parks, roads and schools to reach the Lake. The salmon that make it up Thornton Creek have already gone through the Ship Canal, through the Chittenden Locks, and up into the Lake.
We walk Thornton Creek in waders and boots, starting in the lake and moving upstream. We walk against the flow, and sometimes we are waist deep, other times in shallow water. Under roads and in backyards, walking in the creek provides a new view of the city. We pass some wooded areas, lawns and back yards and fences and bridges. Only when we reach Meadowbrook Pond and Thornton Confluence does the channel spread out again, becoming a place of pools and riffles.
On a day in late October we find three salmon: a mostly eaten carcass near the mouth of the creek, one unspawned, dead, and one living fish hiding in a resting spot where the creek flows around an island in suburban back yards.
Piper’s Creek flows mostly through Carkeek Park and empties into Puget Sound. The environment of Piper’s Creek is urban- residential neighborhoods and business districts fill the watershed- but immediately surrounding the Creek are woods and park areas.
On a day in late November we walk Piper’s Creek, and count over 130 salmon, 50 or so of them living. They are mostly Chum salmon. In pools behind downed logs and rocks, groups of salmon are gathered. The carcasses of already spawned salmon, most partially eaten by raccoons or other predators, can be found in the water and on the banks. Some salmon, already spawned and nearly dead, rest in shallows, their gills still slowly moving. The fish we see often appear battered and worn out. The females have rubbed the scales from their tails while using them to dig nests in the gravel.
Moving against the current, climbing over logs and brush, I think about what the view of the salmon might be underwater, what the experience might be. We enter a culvert, crouching in the dark and shuffling forward. The sound of water rippling amplifies, echoes. A sudden splashing and thrashing occurs as a salmon at the edge is disturbed by our movements and plunges off downstream. Each time this happens I am startled by the speed and power of the fish near my feet.