Artful Green Dot

The View From Above

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on December 27, 2009

Bird’s Eye View in Fairfield, CT

Originally organized and conceived by Ryan Dean with the help of countless others around the world.

Participants in the Bird’s Eye View have a unique way of petitioning for the reduction of carbon emissions through collaborative installations built on rooftops across the world.  Upon these rooftops, collaborators unload pounds and pounds of plastics, paper, fabric, and other used materials, which they then arrange into the number, “350,” a massive 350 that can be seen from airplanes.

These installations call attention to the reduction of carbon emissions in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, which is a level prominent scientists (i.e. NASA’s James Hansen) have identified as “the only safe level of carbon dioxide in the air.”

The following images come from Birds Eye View pieces around the globe:

Maine, USA

Australia

Democratic Republic of Congo

Brooklyn, USA

China

Bushwick, NY (Beta Spaces ’09)

Ukraine

BEV installations are not just piles of material forming signage. Those working around the BEV think of these collaborations as “nests,” and like birds, these nests require a collection process.

For example, in the installation at Fairfield University, students started a campaign to collect old bed sheets from members of the community. At Beta Spaces, collaborators used recycled materials to create art pieces to form the numbers. In Maine, Ryan Dean (the original creator of BEV) organized lumber yards to donate tarp-like materials for the projects.  For the piece in the Congo, stalks of bark from Banana trees formed the numbers.  At Brooklyn College, people used recycled art work (old paintings) and tarps for the 350. In a sense, each of the nests reflect bits of the surrounding environment.

The Bird’s Eye View has also joined networks with other groups across the world. In China,  participants from an environmental effort known as Greening of the Beige created their own nest using old magazines. Another eco-minded group known as Reverse Garbage in Australia also collaborated with BEV.

These billboard-sized nests attract attention in a fashion similar to the desperate signaling employed by those trapped on uninhabited islands.  I find this very fascinating, but more importantly, the idea behind BEV is to capture 350 from a perspective that allows one to absorb the surrounding environment in such a way that we can actually see the spread of houses, buildings, and other human detritus growing across the Earth.

For many of us, this BEV portrait of Earth isn’t something we confront on a daily basis, for we approach the architecture of our cities and suburbs on the ground. We move in and out of buildings, across streets, and through one city’s end to another city’s end without that ever-present view from above.

In a recent email exchange, one of the collaborators wrote, “Sometimes you have to look at things from a broadened perspective to see them clearly. It is in a global perspective that we may begin to change things together.”

Bird’s Eye View originally began under the direction of Ryan Dean from Cranston, RI. Since its inception during the winter of 2008, people such as Laura Marie Marciano and a network of individuals  have assisted Dean by writing proposals for the project, traveling with him to spread the mission, and putting in hours to construct/document the installations.   I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Marie on a rooftop where she displayed a Bird’s Eye View piece during Beta Spaces ’09.

BETA Spaces 2009

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on November 12, 2009

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I’m not much of a Bushwick expert, but  I felt pleasantly welcomed by the neighborhood’s energy as I trampled through BETA Spaces ’09 on Sunday.

After last year’s festival, we saw some fine writing that delivered an overview of the event, but for BETA Spaces ’09, I’d like to work on posts devoted to a few of the individual shows that made up this now annual event. Until then, here are some photos from the weekend.

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Pictures from Storm King Art Center

Posted in Spaces & Environments by Audrey Tran on October 29, 2009

STORM_1Storm King Art Center is a museum that celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature…”

Although I’ve seen plenty of public art pieces around New York, I’ve rarely seen such an enormous arena devoted to placing art in the environment.   The park seeks to create a dialogue between earth and art, but I wonder if Storm King actually accomplishes this. In many cases, I saw the artwork as an overly dominate force in the landscape while the natural surroundings in some parts seem primed just to fit the specific needs of the artwork. At other times, for example when I saw Sol Lewitt’s contribution to SK, I had to ask myself why such works require this setting. Perhaps the aethetics of the outdoors can be reason enough.

There are, of course, works at SK which definitely benefit when viewed in this unique park. Nam June Paik’s Waiting for U.F.O and Andy Goldsworthy’s Storm King Wall strike me as two good examples.

Here are a few photos from a trip to SK in September.

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Andy Goldsworthy, Storm King Wall '97-98

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Sol Lewitt, Five Modular Units, 1966

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Hay Qua! That’s NEAAT Mini-Fest

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on June 26, 2009

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When interviewing others,  I try to ask people about their backgrounds to get a deeper understanding of the people I’m talking to.  Well, I’ve just been asked to do the same thing for a gathering of Vietnamese Americans in NYC at the Hay Qua! Mini Fest tomorrow.  Come out to the event if you’re free!  Tickets are still available and the list of speakers has also grown.  While I plan to talk about my experiences as a young blogger, others from a range of creative industries will speak about their passions in food, fashion, publishing, film, design, and more.  Also, if you’ve become a fan of banh mi, this mini-fest will be a real treat. Hope to see you there!

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