Musings on art and life.
My thesis is well under way, but I’ve hit a bit of a wall in terms of the content. It’s been agreed with my supervisor that my work doesn’t fit with the usual guidelines for MFA projects. I’m kind of breaking a mould. Kind of. No surprises there (confirmed by multiple friends, laughter included). The irony is that because I’m talking about socially engaged environmental art as a practice, I might not get to include detailed accounts of specific artists and their inspiring initiatives. So, I’ll be expressing that here, in a somewhat less formal way.
My focus is on Project Vortex artists and Project Vortex University‘s model of engaging with communities to address plastic waste found out of place in the environment. Three artists stand out and relate directly to the local initiative I’m working towards implementing—Aurora Robson (USA), Gabriela Bustamante (the Netherlands) and Liina Klauss (China). Liina Klauss, an illustrator, designer and environmental art activist is originally from Germany and now lives and works in Hong Kong. She travels around China and South East Asia, initiating clean-up efforts to restore the landscape. Locals are invited to attend collection events where plastic waste is picked up, sorted and arranged to form an ephemeral land artwork that is then photographed. Once the project is complete, the objects are removed and recycled, returning the area to a more *natural state. Klauss describes, in an interview for KiniTv, that she is using shock to make people really look at the effects their waste has on the ocean and landscape. However, what I have always found most shocking is that these tactics are necessary to begin with.
Using relational, educational practices appears to be a growing theme in the art world, one that allows for reflection, intersubjectivity and a challenge to cultural and political norms. The growth of “communities of practice” (a term used by Dennis Stevens in relation to craft practice) interests me greatly, as it indicates a move towards more thoughtful actions regarding the earth we live on and the animals (people are animals too) that we share it with.
I have not yet ben able to contact Liina Klauss with regards to my project, however all images used are hers, and link directly back to her blogspot page.
*natural is a slippery word these days.
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