Throughout Event: Art Exhibit with work by Roberto Bessin, Holly Ewald, Gabriel Warren, Petra Kuppers, Lisa Steichmann, Lauren Rosenthal, Ana Flores and others
2-3.30pm Being in Landscape: Easing In
Kayak Exploration (weather permitting, self-led, from The Willows)
History Walk (Janice Nepshinsky)
4.00-5.00: Workshops (parallel):
Susan Masket, Artist, RI: The Fine Art of Recycling
Joe Trumpey, University of Michigan: Eco-Exploring: Observation, Creative Methods and Collaboration in the Field
5.30-6.30 Disability and the Environment
Alison Kafer, Southwestern University: Cripping Nature, Cripping Politics: Notes Toward an Ecofeminist Disability Politics
Petra Kuppers, University of Michigan: Disability Culture and the Pleasure of Site
6.45 Food Circle
During dinner: recitation, sharings: Bring A Piece of Landscape
Jonathan Gray, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University: Trail Mix
9.00 Welcoming, with Petra Kuppers
9.30 -11.00 Workshops (parallel):
Denise J. Poyer, Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, RI: What Does a Watershed have to do with Water?
Holly Ewald and Michael Bell, Voices and Visions of Village Life, RI: Creating a Place in Your Community
11.30 -12.30 Where Are We?
Indigenous Sustainability: A Narragansett Perspective
Loren Spears, Narragansett, Executive Director/ Educator Tomaquag Museum and Nuweetooun School
Janis Nepshinsky and Gerry Krausse: Where we are?
1.30 – 2.30 workshops (parallel)
Julie Cole, Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts, Colorado Springs: Art for the Environment: One Organization's Approach to Creating Public Art and Engaging the Community.
Laura Landen, Providence College and Jane Belanger: Listen to the Land
2.30- 3.00 Coffee and Gallery Meet
3.30 – 4.30 Readings/Performances
Anca Vlasopolos, Wayne State University
Kara Provost, Curry College
4.45 -5.45 Workshops (parallel)
Linda Weintraub, ARTNOW Publications, NY: Open Forum: Timely Teaching: Modeling Pedagogy on Eco-System Dynamics
Darlene Trew Crist, Science writer for the Census of Marine Life and www.healtheseas.com: Healing the Sea with Words: A Writing Workshop
6.15: Dinner, with Rachel Carlson pictures and video. Janice Nepshinsky: Introduction. Presentation: Kristen Cronon, Winchester High School.
8.00 Performance Evening, curated by Deborah Nash, RI Dance, with work by Nathan Andary, James Brown and Tim Rubel, followed by discussion.
9.30 -11.00 Memory and Difference
Walk through trails along Kettle pond to view "Punctuating Place", by Ana Flores. Then, join Petra Kuppers to talk about The Anarcha Project.
11.30 – 12.45 Artists in Nature Parks
Gabriel Warren, sculptor, Antarctica artist fellow, National Science Foundation
Roberto Bessin, Artist in Residence, Hoketo, Japan
John Ingram, artist and art teacher at United Nations School, NYC
Elke Bergholz, marine scientist and science teacher at United Nations School
Moderator: Ana Flores, Artist in Residence, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kettle Pond Visitor Center
13.00 Reflection and Farewell, with Ana Flores
Notes on Presenters and Presentations (in order of Program)
Janice Nepshinsky: History Walk
Janis Nepshinsky is Visitor Services Manage at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Her career has always involved the environment. From serving as a director and educator at a nature center, researching the Florida manatee and sea turtles, working as an environmental engineer, cleaning and protecting Florida's vital waters, to connecting visitors of national wildlife refuges with their natural surroundings. Protecting and connecting people with the environment is more that a career for Janis, it is her passion.
We'll travel back over 10,000 years, and hope to be back for dinner! The land that is now Ninigret NWR was once a naval air station "Charlietown", a summer colony, early colonial farmland, and home to native people, the Narragansetts. Join us for a walk to Ninigret Pond while we discuss the various human activities that occurred here and talk about the great ice sheets that shaped the Rhode Island landscape.
Joe Trumpey: Eco-Exploring: Observation, Creative Methods and Collaboration in the Field
Joe Trumpey is an Associate Professor and Director of International Engagement at the School of Art & Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Eco-Explorers is a collaborative program pairing Michigan Elementary school children with University of Michigan students enrolled in an annual Field Sketching course. The University of Michigan students take a semester preparing for 3-4 weeks of field work and exploration during the Summer months. During the field experience, daily comparisons and exercises are documented and posted on a shared website. The program utilizes creative methods to explore local ecosystems for the comparisons. The University of Michigan field sites are diverse and have included: Costa Rican Forests, Ethiopia, The Everglades, The Four Corners, Michigan Dunes and Forests, The Outer Banks of North Carolina, The Sonoran Desert, Southern Africa and Yellowstone. The workshop will include some outdoor sketching.
Susan Masket: The Fine Art of Recycling
Susan Masket is a Rhode Island-based visual artist, activist and educator whose cuurent work addresses environmental issues related to waste and excess. By focusing on the post-consumer waste-stream, Susan finds and combines everyday materials, particularly those that don't recycle, into unique sculptural constructions. The work is primarily abstract, quirky and thought-provoking; small in scale, large in scope!
A hands-on workshop and mini-exhibit with discussion and dialogue about 'recycling' and the wastestream. We will spend most of the hour assembling a small sculptural object using materials provided and selected from a 'smorgasbord' of 'domestic residue' from the artists studio.
Alison Kafer: Cripping Nature, Cripping Politics: Notes Toward an Ecofeminist Disability Politics
Alison Kafer is an Ed Roberts Visiting Scholar in Disability Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies at Southwestern University. Her paper looks to the cultural production of disabled artists as a way to "crip" our understandings of nature, ecofeminism, and environmentalism.
Petra Kuppers: Disability Culture and the Pleasure of Site
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist and Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan. Her book include Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007), The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (Minnesota UP, 2007) and Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge, 2003). In this talk, she shows examples of sited art practice that explores our shared connections with the land, with each other, and celebrates pride and depth in disability culture.
Jonny Gray: Trail Mix: A Sojourn on the Muddy Divide between Nature and Culture
Utilizing a mix of autobiographical performance, performative writing, persona monologues, and performance ethnography, the performance investigates the “muddy” boundary between nature and culture. This liminal space offers a playful yet serious place to interrogate multiple possibilities in the ways we use, consume, think about, construct, and operate within both nature and culture. In so doing, the performance also addresses the role performance specifically and the arts generally might play in raising environmental consciousness, engaging in environmental activism, and influencing environmental policy. The performance uses the metaphor of the “backpack” to investigate the various intersections of different progressive politics, including especially intersections of environmental and GLBT/Q concerns.
Jonny Gray is an Associate Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He specializes in research and performance work in the area of environmental communication and advocacy, and in addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes in the Department of Speech Communication, he also teaches in the Environmental Studies program. He has published essays concerning environmental issues in Text and Performance Quarterly, Call to Earth, The Green Window and the forthcoming Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture. He is the current vice-president elect of the Environmental Communication Division of the National Communication Association.
Denise Poyer: What Does a Watershed have to do with Water?
Denise Poyer has been the Program Director for the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association (WPWA) since 1994. Her specialty is watershed education. Through her many projects and interests Denise has taught both children and adults about ecosystems, large and small. In addition, Denise shares her skills as a facilitator at leadership development training and other instructional workshops.
In this workshop Denise will use maps and models to illustrate the connections between land, surface water, and ground water and human interaction with them all.
Holly Ewald and Michael Bell: Celebrating a Place in your Community
Ewald and Bell will present the research and technical processes they used to create the integrated visual and sound exhibition, Languages of the Land, based on a year-long arts and humanities project focused on a small waterfront park in Warwick, RI. Community involvement was integral to the research process. They will discuss their collaboration and how each of their distinct disciplines overlaps and/or informs the other. Much of the workshop will be hands-on. Participants will be guided though the process of conceiving and implementing a project in their own community.
Michael E. Bell has a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University, Bloomington; his dissertation topic was African American voodoo beliefs and practices. He has an M.A. in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California at Los Angeles and a B.A. in Anthropology, with M.A. level course work completed in Archaeology, from the University of Arizona, Tucson. Since 1980, Bell has been an independent public-sector scholar and a Consulting Folklorist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Providence, Rhode Island. Bell has a variety of publications and media productions on topics ranging from local legend to the occupational folklife of shellfishing on Narragansett Bay. His book, Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001), won the Lord Ruthven award as best nonfiction vampire book for 2001.
Holly Ewald is a studio and community artist who works in a variety of media, including artist books, collage, monoprints and mail art. She received, an MFA in Painting from Brooklyn College and has done several artist residences. Recent collaborative projects include visual exchanges with writers, artists, parents and children from different Providence communities including South Providence, the Cambodian Community, and Pawtuxet Village. Along with Michael Bell she is a founding member of Voices and Visions of Village Life an organization that initiates and supports creative humanities/arts projects with adults and children in Pawtuxet Village and other communities. www.voicesandvisions.org
Loren Spears: Indigenous Sustainability: A Narragansett Perspective
Loren Spears is the founder of Nuweetooun School at Tomaquag Museum. She is a mother of three. She works tirelessly to empower children through cultural & environmental education.
Janis Nepshinsky and Gerry Krausse: Where we are?
Gerald Krausse is Professor Emeritus in Environmental Studies at URI and independent film maker who has been creating wildlife videos for the past 15 years. His video work has been used by many environmental groups, and national wildlife refuges.
Julie Cole: Art for the Environment: One Organization's Approach to Creating Public Art and Engaging the Community.
Julie Cole is Director of The Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts. The Foundation strives to build a creative and socially responsible community through collaboration with artists, audiences, and other non-profit organizations in the Pikes Peak Region. Its successes include the Uncle Wilber Fountain, a true oasis in the desert climate that transformed a downtown park; Cubical Cactus, a sculpture created from a tree lost to drought; and Poetry of the Wild, a community-wide art project conceived by Ana Flores. Learn how these and other site-specific Smokebrush projects incorporate an awareness of the natural and man-made environments they inhabit, and create a collaborative work of art destined for a Colorado/Rhode Island "community" project.
Laura Landen and Jane Belanger: Listen to the Land
Laura Landen is a nature enthusiast, photographer, environmental activist, and professor of philosophy at Providence College. She continues to encourage study of and commitment to protecting the environment--locally, nationally and globally--and serves as treasurer and web master for the Friends of the National Wildlife Refuges of Rhode Island.
Jane Belanger, OP is a Dominican Sister and founding member of the Shepherd's Corner staff. With a degree in fine arts and numerous years of teaching, she also is a spiritual director. As Land Manager for Shepherd's Corner, she also tends gardens, keeps bees manages the livestock and shares in the programming including Labyrinth walks, nature study and fiber programs.
Shepherd's Corner is a little corner of creation surrounded by the burgeoning metropolis of Columbus, Ohio. To preserve and enhance the habitat, as well as to engage the local community, Shepherd's Corner began with "Ask the Land," an ecological survey, then listened to the land as a guide for habitat enhancement and programming for the public.
Reading: Anca Vlasopolos and Kara Provost
Anca Vlasopolos is professor of English at Wayne State University. She is the author of one scholarly monograph and of an award-winning memoir, and this year she will have published a collection of poems and a nonfiction novel, both addressing issues of ecology. For her presentation, she will be reading from her poetry collection, Penguins in a Warming World, and from her forthcoming novel, The New Bedford Samurai.
Kara Provost grew up in Florida, where she spent a lot of time wandering around outdoors, swimming in the ocean, and climbing trees. She has had poetry and memoir published in a number of literary journals and recently had a chapbook of poems about motherhood and parenting, titled Nests, published by Finishing Line Press in Kentucky. She teaches writing and academic skills at Curry College in Milton, MA.
Linda Weintraub: Timely Teaching: Modeling Pedagogy on Eco-System Dynamics
Linda Weintraub is the author of Avant-Guardians: Texlets in Ecology and Art (2006 - ongoing) and founder of Artnow Publications. The series takes the form of short textlets that facilitate the integration of ecology into college art instruction. The titles of the first three publications in the series include: Cycle-Logical Art: Recycling Matters for Eco-Art, Eco-Centric Topics: Pioneering Themes for Eco-Art, and Environmental-ism Schisms: Nine Approaches to Eco-Art (2006). Environmental considerations led to the text´s innovative design and distribution. Other publications include "An Eco Art Manifesto", co-author Skip Schuckmann Landscape and Art, Fall 2003 and "Forum: Eco-tistical Art", College Art Journal. Summer, 2006.Weintraub previously wrote In The Making: Creative Options for Contemporary Artists (2003) and Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art´s Meaning in Contemporary Society (1995).
The immediate goal of the open forum is to develop learning strategies and curricula that emulate ecosystem dynamics. The ultimate goal is to augment the role of academe in providing for the long-term ecological destiny of our planet.
Darlene Trew Crist: Healing the Sea with Words: A Writing Workshop
Darlene Trew Crist is an author and editor, whose freelance work has specialized in translating scientific findings into language that can be understood by all. She is currently the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Census of Marine Life, an international collaborative effort that involves 1700 scientists from 73 nations with the shared mission of quantifying life in the global oceans-- from microbes to mammals-- and how these populations are changing over time.
Curated by Deb Nash
Deborah Nash runs RiDance.com, a dance website for the entire RI dance community - teachers, students, audiences & performers in all dance forms.
Choreographer: Nathan Andary; Andary Dance
Dancer: Lauren Kalavati , Music: Bach , Costume: Nathan Andary
The Fox (excerpt form Hard Times)
Choreographer: James Brown
Choreographer: Tim Rubel
Dancers: Hey Coyote: Tim Rubel
Transilience: Tovah Bodner, Christen Gedney, Katie Zarlin
Music: Mike Oldfield/Moby . Costumes: Tim Rubel, Sarah Mcginnis
Both sections of this dance use the image of the coyote as a metaphor for the animalistic tendancies that are ingrained in human beings. Coyotes are wild and unpredictable and their intentions are often misunderstood. Hey Coyote! deals with being pursued by something both desirable and frightening. Transilience explores everyday human/animal relationships as we quickly move from one situation, one thought process to several others.
Memory and Difference
Walk through trails along Kettle pond to view Punctuating Place, a series of figurative, organic sculptures by Ana Flores. The figures and their interpretive boxes with journal and historic texts serve as memory recalls for the dense layers of human habitation in this coastal Rhode Island landscape: the strong indigenous history, the erased history of slavery and the colonial past. Petra Kuppers will join Flores to dialogue at the site of the slave history figures to talk about the Anarcha Project, a collaborative performance project that discusses connections between black culture and disability culture.
Artists in Nature Parks
Gabriel Warren is a sculptor and photographer who derives his work from polar regions. He has travelled twice to Antarctica, including to Pole, with the National Science Foundation, and has sailed in the High Arctic as well with the Canadian Coast Guard. When not otherwise occupied, he sails offshore in a boat of his own design and construction, flies small planes, or stares blankly off into space.
John Ingram is an Arts Educator and Artist living in New York. For the past 14 years he has been Head of the Art Department at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. He and the UNIS Art Department have been engaged in several
Community based art projects including a mosaic installation at the American Cancer Society Headquarters on 56th street, a labyrinth for the Stuyvesant Cove Environmental Center on the East River, a mural for the VFW Medical Center in Manhattan, and recently a mural for the Knickerbocker Village Senior Center in Chinatown. With his teachers and students he has developed techniques for efficiently creating large scale murals on social and environmental themes. In 2006 he worked for 6 months of a sabbatical with a Community Theatre NGO in Northern Thailand on projects in the region concerned with child trafficking and the environment. In 2000 he coordinated a project with Elke Bergholtz, a biology teacher at UNIS, concerning her work with the NSF in Antarctica on atmospheric ozone depletion. When Elke returns to Antarctica again this year they will develop a new project together.
Ana Flores´ sculptural work is a response to the environment; "a dialogue with nature and place". Since 1995 these dialogues have evolved out of the studio and into public spaces, nationally and abroad. She has designed public art and sculptures for institutions and parks, created events, shows and courses that encourage more dialogue between art and nature; between artists and scientists, between the public and the landscapes they inhabit. These have included: "Gaia Dialogues"/ a year long forum and exhibit of artists, scientists and educators,"Poetry of the Wild" a community environmental project that has traveled to various states, and "Cuba Journal", her own very personal response to the culture and place ofher native Cuba in the form of a sculptural installation which has toured nationally.
She is Artist in Residence at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center in Charlestown RI, the Rhode Island headquarters for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Professor of
Environmental art at Bryant University. Her work has been shown throughout the United States, New Zealand and in Canada, for more on her work: www.art- farm.net
Holly Ewald and Michael Bell: Elements
“Elements” are part of the installation Languages of the Land, A Dialogue with Salter Grove. The fist row of prints that meet the viewer are the elements of the place: grasses, water, sky/space, and woods.
The installation grew from my curiosity about the spirit and history of a small bayside park on the Providence River, near my home in Rhode Island. Salter Grove remains in a natural state, molded by centuries of storms, tides, ice and sun. The landscape of Salter Grove embraces the memory of its past inhabitants, the wildlife, the people and their cultures. As a newcomer to Rhode Island, Salter Grove welcomed me, its rawness, delicacy, stillness and storm allowed me to be with myself in nature. In conversations with others at the park, I found that many come to Salter Grove for solace, comfort and socializing. Just as the Narragansett Indians drew sustenance from the waters of Narragansett Bay at Salter Grove, today this park draws many local residents, Southeast Asians and Latinos to its shores for fishing and social gatherings.
Rather than illustrate the history of this waterfront site, I created a picture of its spirit. In developing the installation, I spent time photographing, researching and asking local residents about Salter Grove’s past and their personal experiences in the park. Involving local communities in artwork has been an aspect of my work for many years. I handed out disposable cameras to park visitors and asked them to photograph their favorite spots or views. These photographs let me see the place through other’s eyes and informed my images. During a weekend cleanup of the park, I asked participants to select a “treasure” from the items collected. These treasures are set in the dirt, sand, pebble and grass lined shelves on the installation walls.
As one walks through the suspended book pages, a sound track, recorded and edited by folklorist and collaborator Michael Bell, allows the visitor to hear the voices of long-time residents, Cambodians, Hispanics, and European-American descendents telling stories and histories of the site. The suspended prints create a sense of the spirit of the waterfront location, while the audio collage grounds it with specific stories of the site. The thinness of the paper allows the landscape and the silhouettes of timeless figures to be seen from both sides. Thus, the shadows of the past haunt the landscape. The movement of these prints echoes the fragility yet the constancy of Salter Grove. The landscape is always there, yet changing, affected by even our slightest movements.
I found in exhibiting the installation locally and in New York City it provoked memories for many of similar places in other parts of the world.
We are touring the installation and offering workshops. Contact Hewald@cox,net
Stand for Knowledge (2006)
Stand for Knowledge (2006) is inspired by arboreal anatomy. I am interested in the symbol of the tree of knowledge and life allegorically. My daily walk in the woods provides me the quiet opportunity to hear the sounds of the trees, to be apart
of something larger and profound. "What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk to the sky"? Stand for Knowledge is constructed from pages of a discarded
encyclopedia whose text has been obfuscated with India ink and a recycled 200-year-old elm barn beam that has been blackened.
10 pieces, appx.10"x10"x62"-77"
Beyond Balanced is acryla gouache on museum board. 42"x124
Web of Life - from the Gaia Dialogues 2001
plastic grocery bags, woven and tied
A common metaphor for the 'interconnectedness' of all living things and inert matter on earth. The Web; a paradox of large proportions- incredibly delicate, yet stronger than steel for its weight. A better product cannot be processed in the laboratory - man has yet to duplicate the phenomenon of spiders silk.
Piesterion: Euthesauros (subseries)
The pieces in this subseries, like all members of series Piesterion, have as their intellectual foundation in the ice cores drilled out of the Greenland and Antarctic caps
and glaciers worldwide. Through their contributions, we know as much, if not more, about paleoclimates than we do about the present. Whatever ability we have to predict comes from our detailed understanding about the past.
This subseries differs in several ways from other members of series Piesterion, which have generally been freestanding and outdoors. These pieces are intended for display indoors, and the metalwork-- the symbolic cores-- are not self supporting but are held in position by the wood frames. These latter are intended to refer to somewhat outdated museum mounts, perhaps from the time of Victoria when the polar regions were beginning to be explored in earnest.
The illuminates glass zones can be thought of as anomalies in the `core´ structure, and could `explain´ why the fractures occurred where they did.
All together, the implications are that the `cores´ are deemed to have great value, despite their deteriorated and obviously fragile condition. The meaning of the suggestion that ice could be in a museum is self-evident.
Euthesauros means literally `good treasure´, but in Greek has the overtone of preciousness and careful storage.
The Anarcha Photography Project
In photography, the fire of light stains the film, holding the flash of a moment. Frozen and removed from context, the images take over our memory by force. How does this slice of light and time speak for that moment? How can a story be shared when rendered mute?
These images are traces of a performance of the story of Anarcha and the portraits of the performers. The threads that connect these people with the history and the future of that story are complex and evolving. I am honored to play a small part of that telling and to witness the joy of its unfolding
Lisa Steichmann is a photography based artist living in Ann Arbor, MI. She teaches photography at the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Washtenaw Community College. Her interest in photography includes a focus on alternative processes and plastic cameras.
The Anarcha Performance Project is an interdisciplinary performance project that evokes haunting memories of three Alabama slave women who in the 1840s persevered through years of medical experimentation at the hands of J. Marion Sims, “the father of gynecology.”
We resurrect the memories of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsy through performance material developed out of two years of archival research as well as live and on-line workshops with hundreds of writers, artists, performers, activists, academics, and students. The workshop participants’ responded to these women’s stories with remembrances both imagined and real.
With its infusion of dance, spoken-work poetry, theatre, music, and projected images, The Anarcha Project investigates relationships between black culture and crip culture, and celebrates folkloric healing practices, explores ethical relationships to history, and interrogates the on-going abuse of marginalized people in health care practices today.
The Anarcha Project Collaborators: Petra Kuppers, Anita Gonzalez, Aimee Meredith Cox, Tiye Giraud
The Olimpias Performance Research Projects: Purgatory Possible Projects
A Collaboration between Petra Kuppers, Jay Steichmann (sound art), Lisa Steichmann (book art)
Created in response to an artist’s visit to SymbioticA, with thanks to the participating artists/scientists, including Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Donna Franklin, Guy Ben Ary, Paul Vanouse, Stuart Bunt, Miranda Grounds
SymbioticA is a research laboratory dedicated to the artistic exploration of scientific knowledge in general, and biological technologies in particular. It is located in The School of Anatomy & Human Biology at The University of Western Australia. SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department.
Purgatory Possible Projects emerges out of the notion of waiting, of indecision, of an absence of judgment implied in the old Christian concept of purgatory as a place of suspension between heaven and hell. The ‘possible’ project at the site of indecision is a project that is in abeyance, not begun, not finish(able), a chimera. PPP, then, refers to the exciting realms of ethics, investment, imagination, subjectivity, to relationships between laboratory spaces and the ‘public realm’.
PPP stems from a three-week artist visit at SymbioticA, where Petra Kuppers interviewed artists and scientists at a local café outside the laboratories, on an ocean bay, surrounded by sea birds, in Perth, the most isolated city in the world. The interviews were recorded on mobile phones, giving the sound a transitory quality, a density, and an embedment in the local site with its winds and non-human participants.
PPP explores the thought-patterns and dreams of art workers who engage in affect-laden realms (such as transgenic art, tissue-culture work or other forms of sci-art where issues of life and death are at stake). PPP offers visitors noise and information, a dense soundscape in which communication can only be established precariously, and where all stories remain fantasies.
Lisa Steichmann’s and Petra Kuppers’s bios are above.
Jay Steichmann is a PhD student at Michigan State University whose specialization is in the emergent field of digital rhetoric. His research area includes technical and
professional writing, digital literacies, and curriculum and program development. He also writes on ergodic literature and technology transfer, and their influence on
The ACN realization of PPP is a prototype, and the full installation including paper sculptures/book art is available for touring to galleries and universities. The full installation includes documentation of actual and future sci-art experiments at SymbioticA.
Contact: Petra Kuppers, email@example.com, http://www.umich.edu/~petra
Punctuating Place/Field Notes from an Artist working in Nature Ana Flores
When we moved to Southern Rhode Island in the mid 1980´s my concept of "community" was based on the quotidian sense of the word: a group of people brought together sharing a district, region, or common interests or work. I was basically a city girl, use to sidewalks and public transportation routes taking me places, and once there it was the human social web that I observed. When we bought a half finished house and more importantly -as far as my husband was concerned - a chunk of land in the middle of a scrubby forest. I was in for an initial cultural shock and re-education.
Immersed, as we had to be, in the hard work of finishing the house: pushing back the forest, rebuilding stone walls and using the wood for heat, I had little time to seek
out the human constituents in my area. But as we worked manually on the land, the land worked on us. Slowly I discovered a rich new sense of community in the birds, the trees, the rocks and extraordinary insect life that surrounded us. As I aspired to learn the names and habits of my new wild society I realized how one dimensional my earlier concept of community had been. I was now living the last definition of community that appears in the Webster´s dictionary, Ecology :a group of plants and animals species living together and having close interactions esp. through food relationships: biocenois: to share and make common, a community of biologically integrated and interdependent plants and animals. I was now just an animal in the bigger picture.
As many of you know, there are many stories in these woods, not just human ones. If you let your mind be still, and open all your senses, those stories will come to you. They will come in many languages that you may not understand intellectually, but your body and ancient animal being will know them. Through your feet you will feel the deep history of the land. Walking across glacial rubble: sand and unsorted pebbles, or scrambling over large erratics: exotic stones brought in by the ancient river of ice that eventually melted into the ocean whose cold or warm waters now lick your bare toes. Your eyes may notice the feeding habits of the squirrel, or the new nests being constructed in a tree. The feel of the wind on your skin will tell you whether we have rain coming and the moist, peaty smell of leaf mold will make you want to unfurl like a new fern. You will know many things that you cannot name, but they are part of you- your wild self.
In 2006 I received a New Works grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to become artist in residence at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, home to the RI headquarters of the US Fish and Wildlife and numerous other conservation partners. I felt blessed that almost in my backyard an institution had been established whose mission it was to protect and conserve this wild community that I had come to need and love. Working as an artist at Kettle Pond allowed me to explore the layering of stories further and to come into contact with environmental professionals who make it their life´s work to know all those other languages that I sense in the land: the ancient geological story, the intimate habits of the wildlife or the hydraulic and ecological status of the salt ponds.
As I spent time in the library, to be found both indoors and out, it was the complex layering of human history in this landscape that called me. My resulting installation
entitled, "Punctuating Place" is an attempt to evoke those human voices from different eras: the indigenous history, the colonial "contact" period and the century of slavery that powered the plantations that once existed along this coastline. Each of these eras had their own different ways of reading the land, reaping it´s resources and punctuating the places that sustained them. I have created figure groupings made out of the materials of those cultures. Each is marked with an interpretive box containing excerpt of history from the period and a journal for the public. I hope those of you walking by will take a moment to punctuate this place with your own observations. I am also hoping that the other layers of the wild community will punctuate them with plant growth, bird nests, or by seeking shelter in them.
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