Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Flights of Fancy

Another blog I read just turned me on to RAF-Reduce Art Flights, a project launched at the Venice Biennial. The project aimed to highlight and promote the reduction of travel in the art world. With all the art fairs there's been an increase in not just in travel, but an exponential increase in shipping of artwork.

This project hits close to home, especially given a couple of recent experiences. As I would hope, as my career grows, I have more opportunities to travel with/because of my work. On the other hand, I don't want to create a negative environmental impact with the work. And airline flights (if you didn't already know) have HUGE carbon emissions. So how to keep the career growing, spread the work and minimize the impact?

Recently I was invited to the Wexner Center to present my work as part of the Art & Environment program. It was a one afternoon engagement. I explained the quandary to the director, and asked if there was a way to broaden my (positive) impact while there, could she work with the school or other organizations to fill up a week? She was happy to oblige. I spent a week working with a local group of extraordinary high school students (more on that later), spent the afternoon at the Wexner, and met with local artists. Believe me the week was packed full.

(I was also reminded - again - of our desperate need for better rail. The only train was a 12 hour trip arriving at 3.30am in a city two hours away, the bus left at 4am. I was totally up for taking on the long trip and early arrival, but as anyone who has ridden any distance knows, the freight trains are given priority and passenger trains are notoriously late. If I missed the 4am bus I would have been awkwardly stranded).

So in the case of Wexner it opened up lots more opportunities for me to meet with and work with people.

The other instance was that I was invited to participate in the EcoAesthetics exhibition at < > TAG platform in The Hague. They were interested in bringing in an artists who would get out into the public space and create interventions or activate public participation. Well, thats me for sure! Unfortunately I *really* couldn't justify a flight to The Hague for a weekend project*. So instead I suggested that I create a project that could occur in the public realm, but which they could produce, organize and promote all themselves. I would provide the creative idea, the structure and the electronic files, everything else was (mostly) up to them. From that was born the "Insert ____ Here" project which will launch in The Hague this weekend, Brooklyn next weekend and then Miami and the Bronx soon after. I would love to see it happen in neighborhoods around the world, so certainly contact me, or watch the project site (totally in progress- just a theme place holder for the moment) for more information.Link

In light of this, I have been talking with Michael Mandiberg and Tiffany Holmes (of ecoviz.org) about creating a group of artists who are interested in participating in and promoting an electronic panel. We could be in our homes, in front of a web cam participating in a panel anywhere in the world. If Andy Revkin can do it, so can we.

*It's not that I don't want to go to these places - I definitely do, I love travel and I love meeting people around the world, but I am trying to be conscientious about my travel footprint - reducing the flights and if I do fly, packing the time full of opportunities.

Images (from top to bottom): Michael Mandiberg's Real Cost plugin for Mozilla Firefox, Eve S. Mosher's "Insert ____ Here" project

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