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.

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Tan Lin’s Landscape of Poetry, Text, and Pictures: A Piece from PERFORMA ’09

Posted in Actions by Audrey Tran on November 18, 2009

Tan Lin’s Chalk Playground (LitTwit Chalk) set about a dozen+  artists and writers to chalk their thoughts on the streets of NY last Saturday. Pieces chalked included a Futurist Manifesto, a Chinese Manifesto, and many other impromptu pieces of poetry. The following pictures catch the “poetry line” working away in a parking lot in Chinatown.

Here’s a favorite:

I only caught up with the poetry line downtown, but the entire performance actually traveled across Manhattan.

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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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Bushwick’s BETA Spaces

Posted in Exhibits, Spaces & Environments by Audrey Tran on October 30, 2009

Remember the date– Sunday, NOV. 8TH–if you plan to catch Bushwick’s 3rd annual festival of art in unorthodox spaces. For months, the directors of Arts in Bushwick have been organizing artists, curators, and people with access to spaces to create this day of group shows.

A few of the themed collaborations caught my Artful Green eye:

Allyson Parker’s The Kotel, “(aka “The Western Wall”) will be reconstructed in Bushwick out of recycled fabrics. Paper and pens will be available for the public to write down their wishes and insert them into the “wall”. At the end of the show all wishes will be gathered and faxed to the Israeli Telephone Company a fax service directed to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.”

The Bird’s Eye-View, organized by Laura-Marie Marciano and supported by 350: “The Bird’s Eye View is a network of recycled art installations, constructed on rooftops, in collaboration and support of 350, an international grass-roots organization for the reduction of carbon emissions. Images of the installations will be taken to be spread by use of the media to the general public, raising awareness about global warming. The images send a message of green peace, global solidarity, and a broadened human perspective. ”

BETA-Spaces-2009-Map-Flier

Because of a very wonderful older sister, I now have a lovely digital camera to employ while covering this event.  Look out for more photos of the Bushwick arts scene in future posts.

Happy art-hopping, everyone!

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The Aura of 2012+

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on October 15, 2009

Despite the cold rain two weekends ago, I managed to get to the opening of this new show in Chelsea.  The Drop Gallery is currently showing works from about thirty international artists who have been asked to explore urban environments.

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Some artists approached the subject by documenting peculiar intimacies of urban life (one multi-part sound piece exposes different noises found around famous NYC sites) Others such as Adrian Kondratowicz and Saya Woolfalk created art pieces that draw attention to our already existing world.  On a quick Tweet, I noted that Kondratowicz’s hot pink and black spotted trash bags make garbage look like a party. His installation looked more like life-sized plastic bags for party favors rather than containers of garbage.  Likewise, Woolfalk installed a video of No Place among one of her sculptures created from recycled materials–imagine glue bottles, milk jugs, and soup cans now paper mached and regally covered in gold paint. In No Place, bits of our world seem to emerge subtly, but are always present.

Of the many ways the 2012+ artists handled the subject, I was drawn most to the works that revolved around collaboration–either among the viewers present, or from pre-arranged participants. For example, Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree invites passersby to scribble a wish on note tags, which can then be tied to a potted tree resting in the gallery. Since I caught the show during the first hour of the opening,  only a few notes had been tagged to the tree, but I can imagine how filled it must be by now–and this is quite an image. How blithe and spiritual, it seems, to unload wishes upon a tree. Ono has been showing such pieces since the 1990’s and has previously said “All [her] works are a form of wishing.

Although his international collaboration is set for viewing in December, Hiroshi Sunairi’s Tree Project also made a debut at 2012+ with a sampling of the beautiful trees from his NY participants.

Sunairi’s project is an open call to anyone who wishes to participate in “the pleasure of growing plants,” specifically Hibaku plants, which are seeds that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

TONIGHT, The Drop will host a closing party for the show and will feature a variety of professionals speaking on their reflections of the word “environment” using no more than “20 slides for 20 seconds” a piece.

2012+ is on view at the Drop Pop Up Gallery on West 25th Street (between 10th and 11th ave) in Chelsea.  See it before October 17th!

Views of the High Line Park

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on July 26, 2009

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Alan Sonfist’s Time Landscape

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on June 18, 2009

Alan Sonfist Time Landscape The Time Landscape sits peacefully on the corner of LaGuardia Place and Houston Street, as busy walkers bustle around it everyday.   I’ve overlooked this earthwork for the past four years, perhaps because at first glance, it seems like any other  fenced garden, only a bit overgrown.  It’s also situated right next door to another community garden full of vegetables and neatly tended flowers.  However, Sonfist’s work asks viewers to think of their environment in ways that a normal garden doesn’t.

This fenced plot, installed in ’78, holds a “primeval forest,” made up of Pre-colonial plants that inhabited Manhattan before settlers began transforming it into the concrete landscape we know today. With this in mind, I see Sonfist’s piece as an intervention in daily life, much like a  living timecapsule that holds live objects.   Unlike others in the 1960’s Land Art Movement, Sonfist created an earthwork that exists alongside nature instead of in domination of it.

I took these photos this past weekend.  On image.google  there are a few dozen pictures that capture the landscape as a whole, but  here, I’ve decided to post images that show some of the intimate details of the Time Landscape.  Regardless of what pictures you might see, every New Yorker should visit this piece at least once.

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While taking these pictures, I found myself stooping awkwardley around the fence to get scenes of the landscapes interior, but I realize now that it must have been Sonfist’s intention to view the landscape in conjunction with the world around it.

Alan_Sonfist Timelandscape

Timelandscape

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A Museum Without Walls

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on March 30, 2009

For over a year, artist Katie Holten has been heading the creation of a museum free of drywall, floors, and ceilings.

Her collaborative 4.5  mile public art piece will take place this summer  along the Grand Concourse in honor of the street’s centennial anniversary .

Holten’s Tree Museum will include environmentally conscious art and writing created by New York artists, writers, and activists (E.J. McAdams, who I interviewed in January, will also be apart of the exhibit). Students from P.S. 386, Dreamyard Preparatory, and the Bronx Writing Academy will also create work for this project.

Works will be housed in sidewalk display cases along the entire stretch of the Grand Concourse, while visitors may access audio tours through their cell phones.

Holten came up with the collaborative project after spending hours on the Concourse and observing its natural environment.  The purpose of the Museum is to  direct viewers to the ecosystem of the street.

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While the media typically gives us a negative portrayal of the Bronx, the Tree Museum will help counter that impression.

The museum, which is set to keep “the same visiting hours as trees,” will open on June 21st and goes till October 11th.

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