The NATO summit in Chicago is happening right now. Back in February, NATO ISAF Commander General John Allen apologized for the ignorant actions of his coalition soldiers. So I apologize for my own ignorance. And emailed this video to the ISAF.
Sansevieria Trifasciata, an epic houseplant, performed its work “The Plant is Present” at the School of the Art Institute’s New Blood Performance Festival, November 19th and 20th, 2011. The plant sat silently while a total of 138 visitors took turns sitting in a chair opposite it, staying in its presence for as long as they liked. All guests were photographed, and asked to record their experience in a comment book. Responses ranged from “I felt a connection to the plant and was able to live in the moment” to “It was awkward” to “So good! I loved every second of it!” to “Marina was exactly as interesting.” Check back later for more documentation, a full transcription of the comment book and photos of all 138 visitors to the plant.
Sansevieria trifasciata is an epic houseplant. Often referred to as “the plant that won’t die,” it is famous for thriving on neglect. Commonly called Mother in Law’s Tongue for its sharp leaves, or Snake Plant for its winding tendrils, S. trifasciata is one of the top 50 plants that clean the air, converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night, and has historically been used to create bowstring hemp. In short, its creative career is one of tenacity and self-sacrifice. I will be giving a lecture on the phenomenal artistic accomplishments of this plant at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Nov. 14th, 4:30pm, 2M space, MacLean Bldg) before the plant performs a solo work called “The Plant is Present” at this year’s New Blood Performance festival.
This weekend, William Fox described artists as having an arc of inquiry that is equal and parallel to scientists. He did this at the A + E Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art. I know because I was there.
The Center for the Art and Environment has been building steadily since its initial conference in 2008. I wanted to go so badly back then: couldn’t make it happen. Now spent the weekend standing in the same room as eco-art behemoths.
The concept of an institution for art and environment is incredibly unique. Partly because eco-art by its very nature is difficult to archive and exhibit. Partly because there’s no precedent. And partly because, well, most of the eco-art dialogue in recent years has been happening on blogs and websites, nimbler programs with little or no funding-slash-facilities.
So it’s both weird and wonderful to encounter 3 floors of a building exclusively designed for eco-art. It’s dizzying to realize that while I’m very familiar with the work of Fritz Haeg, The Harrisons and Chris Jordan, before this weekend I’d never actually seen them in person. It’s especially weird to do all this in Reno, with the lights and the gambling and whatnot.
Back to Chicago tomorrow. Everything is old and new at once.
Every four years theater artists of all kinds gather in the Czech Republic for the Prague Quadrennial. Countries set up pavilions to display the best of their professional and graduate-level stage design. The city is swarmed with performances, lectures, panels and demonstrations. When I first went in 2003, site-specific performance was highlighted as a fascinating trend in scenography. Since then, the Quadrennial has expanded from a stage-design conference to a dialogue on all things performance and space. Site-specific projects are more the rule, less the exception. I’m here until June 27th, nerding out with the folks from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. We’ll be participating in a Roundtable Discussion– Considering Sustainable Design– on June 21st. Check sustainablepractice.org for further updates. Until then, I’m loving me some cobblestones.
p.s. : the Latvian pavilions are kicking butt, as usual.
I love conferences. I love them when they’re full of moving lights and impossible ideas, and I love them when most of the attendants are barefoot and eating quinoa. The “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” conference was neither of these things. It was full of very smart folks very interested in making change– who were also in an excellent position to do so. Which means I was in a dizzied cloud of endorphins for most of it. Or maybe it was the free coffee (which came in silicone-and-ceramic-fake-paper-coffee cups! Yeah, those things! I was excited, too).
These folks did not let me hide in the blogger background. I was forced into breakout groups and brainstorming sessions, coaxed into collaboration with big players in public space and health. I’ll be posting about the experience on sustainablepractice.org and maybe inhabitat.com, but for now, let me just say how refreshing it is to watch government officials, corporate VPs, and non-profit directors draw mind-maps and talk about healthy communities. One director even took her shoes off.
This is my second year as Lighting Technician for the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. It’s a great gig, for a number of reasons: the scenery, the free food, the fact that the TD actually listens to my design suggestions (two new specials this year!). In between shifts in the scissor lift, I’m finishing up my COP16 coverage and preparing for SFSketchfest. I’ve also been watching the videos from Green Stage Scratch Night. It looks like it was a great production, with a lot of work done in very limited time. Unfortunately their camerawoman got caught in a subway strike and it had to be filmed on an iphone. Took me ten minutes for me to get the courage to watch it. Definitely a learning experience, made some necessary edits clear. In the meantime, I’m waving hello to the deer.
I’ll be in Cancun from November 26- December 5th covering the cultural aspect of the COP16 talks for inhabitat.com, and, time permitting, Culturebot. Here’s a feed of my posts. Here’s Inhabitat’s flickr page. Pardon me while I disappear for long bit.
I’ve been following Culturebot for awhile now, so when they put out a call for “non-NYC” writers, I submitted myself, droolingly. They cover some of the most exciting and relevant art happenings, and they do it with depth and craft. Here’s my first piece for them. There will be more as time and opportunity allow. My culture-nerd culture always needs feeding.
I’ve been working on a play called “Good Fix.” It’s about do-gooding and righteous highs. An excerpt of it is going to be read on “Green Stage Scratch Night,” Nov. 28th at 7:30 at the Rosemary Branch in Islington, in the UK. Green Stage is all about creating original environmental work. Imma see about begging someone to tape the reading for me. Just as soon as I send them the full script.
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