Our shared Environment
Before I start, my apologise for not doing an #ArtTalk last week but I don’t believe in batting anything out for the sake of it and I needed ways to claw back from overstretching myself. I will be adding a previous post that went missing and slotting it back in below this one at some point.
My theme for today is Environmental Art Installations as distinct from Art about the current state of our shared natural world blighted by pollution and climate change which is entirely our fault. Most notably the one name that springs to mind is Andy Goldsworthy and you can find out all about him here among many other links such as Wikipedia, Britannica as well as videos of his work appearing on TV. http://www.artnet.com/artists/andy-goldsworthy/
Above is a simple example which was posted on Pinterest as being disturbing but I think is clever, beautiful if a little dangerous being made out of mirrored steel by Rob Mulholland. Having just looked for further pictorial examples I found too many artworks I didn’t like sited in the natural world but pleasing if installed in urban or gallery settings like sculpture parks dedicated to such things. I dislike artworks made out of harmful manmade materials in the countryside as I go there specifically to escape all that. Nor do I like strong brightly coloured works there either.
I was inspired to write this because if a tweet of just four pebbles with some writing on them and the comment, “I wonder who will find them when I leave them behind on my walk.” The comments I can remember as I seem to have got blocked were “I’m amazing”, “I’m wonderful”, “I’m fab” and something else along those lines. I responded with “Nice idea, may do something similar with something organic” and mentioned it to a friend who is a member of Men In Sheds which despite the name is not sexist at all as it has a few female members.
My friend Chris is a polymath and unusually for a male a chatterbox, which he freely admits. He’s a magpie for collecting interesting info that frankly I can’t keep up. He likes all things to be environmentally friendly and is into recycling, repairs, no waste and make-do-and-mend among many, many other things.
So that’s the background for prompting this article but here’s something for you to discuss, not simply do you like Environmental Installation Art, but what sort, where; do you fancy or do any and what do you consider to be appropriate. Is, for example, writing on a pebble something you would object to? On reflection now, I think I would without public approval given we could end up with countryside walks plagued by them and everyone has the choice of what to write so a child could see be coming across something offensive, horrific, traumatising or menacing if you also include drawings. That’s quite aside from political statements, swearing and things meant to harm confidence and scare others rather than build a society that cares.
So, what would you do, and what wouldn’t you do? What would you often or just as a one off? Is there any Environmental Art you think should be permanent or do you think all of it should be temporary? As for those pebbles… I think I will do some occasionally, but not mark them with anything permanent or potentially damaging to the environment.or any who come across them. Maybe I’ll write something on with chalk or in naturally occuring oxides so it washes away when it rains, and I might carve some design out of clay and only bisque fire it or wood so it will eventually decay. I might just say on one of those “I was here when this was still beautiful, please add a mark to this if you found it and it it still is. Dates optional”.
What would you put? There are in fact treasure hunt type walks if you look online for folk to find and swap items like this dotted around the UK. They are discreetly hidden, often under rocks or in small holes and crevices, some with horrid plastic deposit boxes to make them airtight and weather proof, others purpose made from environmentally friendly recycled materials such as tin cans, glass jars and wood.
Overall I think that’s the best place for such items to trigger exploration and creativity as well as a deeper appreciation of the countryside so damaged now by all our collective greedy, polluting ways and wasteful habits. So if you’re out on a walk and spot litter, why not pick it up and recycle it by making a treasure container for your next walk. Tell folk what you’ve done, and give some clues to where people can find it after asking permission from the land owner. I hope it takes off a little to just get rid of litter and it doesn’t need to be in the countryside but a means to bring nature to the attention of built up urban areas. Overall I think we need much stronger laws, fines and limits to protect our precious, inspirational wonderful natural world given how fragile it’s survival has become.