‘tending the wild’— lessons from a small forest toward deep sustainabilty                           Thank you             ...
The 9 planetary boundaries recently adopted              by the UN 2012
the scale, ecocidal violence that our species is inflicting                                                              2...
:Confronts many of our dominant cultural stories       myths of never-ending progress and growth       the acceptability o...
“ecocide demands a response.                 The response is too important to be leftto politicians, economists, conceptua...
ecocide – long term degradation tobioregion by human activity
JosephBeuys,Harrisons,AgnesDenes
1996
2006    2006the local project • Local projectsolo exhibition –filmed new native treewoodlands
Industrial forestry in Ireland- 40 year monoculture, clearfell andreplace rotation
permanent, non clearfell forest, usingClose-to-Nature-continuous cover principles
Lessons in and from the forests:naturally regenerating permanent forests inNetherlands, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia13
‘Tending’ Anderson writes suggests a healthy tension, a specific application ofwisdom, of culture practices that fosters a...
Art as action research              began conversion ‘Hollywood’ -2.5 acres  2008  15          25 yr conifer monocrop
2008 my neighbours and local green cllr learn about about     close to nature, non clearfell forestry16
transforming my conifer plantation to a forestnative ash tree seedlings coming up in thinned conifer plantation
Land, art and ecology (2006) RSA• ‘the relations between doing and seeing, action and vision, construction and  perception...
2008                  Creating short                 art films about                           forest                 tran...
SENSITIVITY: looking/listening with my camera and mic is making me much more aware of the vast complexity of the dynamics ...
... artists should move towards    ‘an ecological sympathy’Still from Transformation (2011)
examining visualpolitics of natureimages /cinemaGrowing view –That visual conventions,long assimilated, maysignificantly a...
See 40 yr+ residency in this forest as a continuingdialogue - my relational films & forest learningbecoming an audiovisual...
•read more: issuu.com/cathyart•see more: ecoartfilm.com
Learning how to live responsibly with forest                      communities, is transferable to all other areas         ...
DoggedDetermineddifferent
Thank youJoin the conversation –email: cathyart@gmail.com   prosilvaireland.org, ccfg.co.ukwww.ecoartfilm.com          fac...
Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts Un...
Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts Un...
Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts Un...
Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts Un...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts University

974 views
934 views

Published on

Cathy Fitzgerald, creative practice-thesis doctoral scholar from the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, was invited by TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts University, UK to take part in a 'Text+Work' public talk on 14 Feb 2013. TheGallery's 'Text+Work' talks are designed to further developed the conversation and narrative surrounding exhibitions at TheGallery. Currently the exhibition is Jane Wilbraham's wood sculptures.

Cathy's talk was described as an 'Art in Context session on Land management' at TheGallery.

With a background in biological research and visual culture, Cathy reviewed the growing ecological crisis; discussed contemporary art & ecology practice, ecocriticism of cultural works (visual culture and nature cinema), radical permanent forest management and new national forest policy in Ireland that is moving towards permanent, non clearfell forestry. Cathy's background in these areas, have fed her arts practice that is resulting in a long term art & ecology forest project based in her immediate environment, a small woodland in rural Ireland. From this work Cathy is developing an applied, transferable philosophy of deep sustainability, rooted in actions, theory and the many lessons from the forest in which she lives.

Published in: Education
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
974
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
439
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
5
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Good evening everyone! Thank you all for coming and special thanks to Stephanie James here from the school of visual arts and Violet for all her work here at TheGalleryHonour to be able to share my work and ideas with you allIts so great to be here in the UK where so many of you I the last couple of years have stood up to fight for your forests –And you know… courage is contagious and in Ireland with the threat of the sale of our harvest rights to Iriish public forests, it has been an inspirationDelighted to be here in this wonderful space and to be highlight Jane’s exhibition too – her small acts of rebellion do so well to counter and make us consider the rush of our modern society that has largely industrialised the natural world; that has prioritised and culturally promoted, the fast, the plastic and the short-term.I can really relate to a comment about Jane’s work too, that ‘In 2008, when stock markets were crashing around the world, Jane Wilbraham decided to whittle a stick’ – her personal politics are in fact the theme for my talk – which is really is about how artists sensitive & passionate about ecological concerns can lead us both to question dominant paradigms and also to envisage long term, deep sustainability, diverse and creative, embedded and springing forth, form the relations that we must foster with our own different and specific environments
  • To give you an outline of my presentation; I’ll be talking for 35 mins, about my ideas, the develop of my practice that moves across art, forestry, politics in response to the title of the talk art and land management. This will be the thinking, rational part of the presentation. But don’t worry I will end my presentation with a short 8 min film – composed of small clips about how my forest and art ideas have evolved since 2008 – this is called the Hollywood Diaries. My experimental films don’t supply empirical knowledge but somehow film for me provide a mechanism to reveal understandings that can’t be translated into facts and figures and it allows you to visit my small wood. I also always put my public talks, the PowerPoint and audio online afterwards so just sit back and relax. You don’t need to take notes now and I will be happy to hear your comments and any questions after that.To begin and very briefly - I’ve been working on and around art & forest projects these last 18 years since I moved to Ireland from NZ – the forests of NZ have of course affected me and forests have been my best teacher in thinking and developing deep sust practices in my immediate environment. Recently these practices and ideas are moving out from my small wood across the internet and have also found their way into new national forest policyits been more a meandering, emergent, type of interdisciplinary action researchI’ll start with some science (I worked in biological research until I was about 30, before going to art college)Then I’ll talk about the develop of my art & ecology practice, then my radical forest practiceWe may all be very aware that we need to preserve our forests but for our forests to thrive into the future, and us as well, we need to becom so much more aware and relate to their very real ecological limits, so we all thrive and survive
  • The Premise / context for work isscience overwhelmingly indicates many ecosystems near collapseThis pie chart is new, the framework of the interconnected planetary boundaries(or tipping points) was accepted before th UN Rio summit last yearWhile much of the media still focus on the rhetoric of climate change and peak oil, this holistic image reveals a more fundamental truth that our industrial society that is built on ever increasing exploitation and extraction is incompatible with earths fundamental ecological limits for life and that ecocide is happening on a planetary scale; as you can see we are grossly exceeding some planetary boundaries I have found this pie chart so important to convey this Dorian Grey portrait of our industrial growth society (and I have written about it at some length too); commentators have noticed the power of bring all the different sciences together, and interestingly the first person to use a piechart, to great effect was Florence Nightingale.To me this portrait reveals that relations with our landbases. Waterways, oceans, forests, nonhuman communities and the earth’s finite mineral reserves will have to change radically in the very near future, not in 50 years but in our most immediate future.However this chart ignore cultural and social elements that have enabled our species to inflict this much damage– for instance along with created the 6th great extinction period were h=an estimated 10 000 are being wiped out every year, our colonizing, now globalised industrial culture has also seen the extinction of many culture and with them, alternative world views of peoples who have at sometimes lived far more sustainably that our modern has ever done.
  • The rate of change is frightening, here all the indices have been almagated into one increasing line shown from the 1950 – its increase is so unprecedented its known as the Great Acceleration – this is a recent still from the viral web video Welcome to the Anthropocene we are facing not only an inconvenient truth but a truly inconceivable oneExponential, accelerating degradation of the earth’s life support systems are a result of massive human pop increase and gross material consumption and pollutionWhile technological advances will reduce waste and improve efficiencies, they will not change the values and social culture of the industrial growth society that has both promoted and blinded us to the ‘slow violence’ of unsustainable exploitation as a former biologist its impossible for me to think that we can avoid widespeadecologicial system collapse (I used to grow bacterial cultures and track their growth rates, once this log or exponential phase is started it is difficult to reverse); Our lack of economic and political change in the last few years also gives little confidence that we will be able to reverse this situation in the narrowing window of time that scientists believe we now have left
  • Coming to these dark realisations been slow for me and throws up contradictions in my work too – my work rests on accepting that efforts may be too lateConfronts many of our dominant cultural stories myths of never-ending progress and growth the acceptability of a spreading culture of exploitation that has created material wealth only for the few the stories of the ‘superiority’ of our species that overlooks our ecological interdepence that we can treat ecological entities as ‘property’ It challenges us as individuals, as communities, nationsAnd, as artists and cultural workersWILL CATTON WHO RECOG WE OVERSHOT CARRYING CAPACITY in mid 80s noted that there has been a cultural lag phase in acknowledging the earth’s grave predicament – that culturally we have not respondedSome artists and writers and activists have noted this too for e.g the UK DM
  • Who have said:“ecocide demands a response. The response is too important to be left to politicians, economists, conceptual thinkers, number crunchers; too all pervasive to be left to activists or campaigners.Artists are needed. So far, though, the artistic response has been muted…” Dark Mountain manifesto 2009We can ask related questions too about why the response of the arts to this global reality has been so muted;Its too big and abstract to grasp, unprecedentedSome things are evident though- the legacy of postmodernism in industrialised society has created a situation where nature is seen now and experienced virtually, and that nature is viewed a s a‘social construction’. Somehow the material, natural world largely disappeared from the the humanities, left almost entirely to the sciencesThere is a nature deficit in our children’s access to nature – esp as over 50% of the world’s populations live in urban environmnets; On a personal individual level it is far easier to turn away from the dark facts and live in our world of mass distraction; nonne wants to think that the material promises of modern life are inherently unsustainableNd even if you have managed to be sensitive still to nature (and research shows now if you haven’t been exposed to nature at a young age you are less likely to think about it), the anger and pain of destruction may make you unable to engage with the area BUT THIS SENSITIVT IS VITAL, & I’LL DISCUSS THIS LATER
  • ecocide – long term degradation to bioregion by human activityEcocide may be often tthought of happening far away but its all around us; I happen to be personally afftect by ecocide, my father died of melanoma one of the major cancers that resulted from the use of Monsanto’s Agent Orange. It’s a recog war premise, the NZ govt won a case from the US to have mechanisms to help the children of Vietman vets access to specialised cancer specialists. I hope myself and my sisters will never need it.Polly Higgins, the UK env lawyer who has done much in the last few years to raise awareness about legalising against corporate ecocide, has in her work with indigenous peoples also come to similar conclusions., in lawyer speak she suggests for peace and for the survival of all species that‘that we must urgently extend our duty of care to all life’Personally it has taken a long time to come to come to these understandings; And to ALSO to recognise the few, when I started, cultural workers who have been engaging with these concerms from artistic perspective
  • In 1999, at the end of my undergrad fine art degree in painting, I finally found and was very interested in key artists who had engaged with these issues;But their art practice was unusual and challenging for me; they created works outside the gallery system, involving interactions with the land, They were pioneering in creating relational works (well before relational aesthetics theory evolved) with local commuities, ecologists and even local politicians, using art to think and practice different means to perceiving and then relate to specific environments ; Many of these works were deeply interdisciplinary, Bueys had an intense interest in politics and was a founding member/contributor to the first Green party n GermanyAt that time, I can remember thinking how I could never imagine having the confidence or skills to work like this but somehow, something must have gotten in deep. I struggled too as these artists ecological works have long been relegated to the edge of contemporary arts practice. However, Somehow I have been very fortunate in my education outside of college, whenever I could I always chose jobs or art projects that built on these concerns. Its nevertheless been a slow, stumbling in the dark process. in the next slides I will give you an overview of my artistic development to illustrate why I am passionate about this area and it may give you means to access and engage in it too
  • Back 96 I created an Irish native tree calendar and researched text on these species that were new to me (I looked how trees were described in poetry, their biodivestiy value and their functional use); I was working with leading foresters in a rural community with Jan Alexander who had instigated to date the largest community native woodland planting project in Ireland. Jan like me is not a forester but as an individual had startled the nation almost 30 years ago on our most popular chat show (the late late show) by asking ‘why Ireland, with the best tree growing conditions in Europe was importing Ash timber to make its beloved Hurley sport sticks’. Jan’s work at that time and her forming the organisationCrann helped spearhead the planting of native species across Ireland in the last 20 years; in Ireland there are policies and financial incentives to plant broadleaved trees.New to Ireland my work at that time was pretty simple but it was a kind of practice-writing endeavor. My calendar proved to popular, going into two printing, got a mentoin in the Irish Times and my work on raising awareness about rarer hedgerow trees led to me receiving a small environmental award
  • Ten years later, this well after I had completed my MA in fine art, I borrowed a video camera with next to no filmmaking skills returned to this woodland project. I created a solo exhibition and half hr documentary. I was extremely interested in interviewing, along with Jan, the new woodland owners, many who have never tended forests before, but also in a bizarre way to interview these young forests..From closely surveying these woodlands during filmmaking I became aware with Jan, that there was little knowledge for these woodland owners of how to manage these forests sustainably into the future. Jan at that time had recently become chairperson of ProSilva Ireland a brach of a Europe wide organisation. This brought her in contact with leading European and deeply sustainable foresters who were implementing permanent forest management. It also broadened her thinking to move on from native tree planting to engage with the dominant type of forestry in Ireland – the mass, monoculture conifer plantations that since the 1950s makes up the majority of the 10% of land that is forested in Ireland. Unfortunately with no forest culture in Ireland we had all to easily adopted tree plantations rather than developing our forests.
  • So here is the alternativeIt’s a radical departure from industrial forestry, closely following natures own dynamics This is an image I took in Slovenia in 2008 – I love how it shows the forest, the most sophisticated ecosystem we have on earth and us just learning below – here we can see young trees, older trees, and different species all thriving together – this type of forestry management employs selective harvesting and then species naturally regenerate in the spaces created from the removed trees.Slovenia is covered in a patchwork of forests, many are privately owned, it does not promote industrial scale operations; Its stunning and its gets better – for the last 64 years, clearfelling has been discontinued, and its been illegal to clearfell these last 25 years. The ‘capital’ of these forests: their biodiversity, timber and cultrual amentiy aspects are accumulating in value, not to mention the positive effects such permanent forests have for rivers and climate; old forests sequester much more carbon.
  • Inmy spare time in 2008 I started blogging on art & ecology area, reviewiimg projects from across art disciplines. I also went to seminars and conferences on art, climate change in the UK and also the UN 2009 Climate Change summit AND began to tentatively ulpload small videos on my forest and spread my work on newly forming online art & ecology networks.
  • I was a close follower & contributor to the comprehensive UK RSAArt & Ecology five year project I was so excited when I found the book in 2008 that when next in London I visited and met with the web journalist, Wiliam Shaw for the project – over coffee I literally bullied him into to creating an online network for the project. Its still live and was a very useful directory and noticeboard of developments in this area at that time although now it’s a general arts network.To me this project supported the beginning of a much needed critical framework of the art & ecology area.Key quotes‘the relations between doing and seeing, action and vision, construction and perception, lie at the core of art that engages the land at ground level, Lucy Lippard, p15How we view the world has been in the past conditioned by painting and writing. Today movies, photo and TV, condition our perception and social behaviour…we should begin to develop an art education based on relationships to specific sites. How we see things and places is not a secondary concern, but primary’ Robert Smithson, p22
  • In my theory work I am examining the visual politcs of nature images and cinemaGrowing Arguments in ecocriticism that such visual conventions, long assimilated, may significantly account for our disregard for the natural worldIn early American nature cinema there are representations of dominion and imperialism of the nature world and that still inherent in nature documentary today for e.g
  • I have articles on the anthropocene: 10 000 years of ecocide, ecopornography and deep sustainability: the art and politics of forests etc on my issu site. These are not academic papers but some articles from my blog on cinema and ecology. Do feel welcome to follow my and my small forest.Thank you.
  • Tending the wild - lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability by Cathy Fitzgerald, TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts University

    1. 1. ‘tending the wild’— lessons from a small forest toward deep sustainabilty Thank you valentines day hopper tp be speaking as so many in UK have stood up for your forests in the last 2 yearscathy fitzgerald, ireland ecoartfilm.comTheGallery, Bournemouth, Valentines Day 14.2.2013, 5pm
    2. 2. The 9 planetary boundaries recently adopted by the UN 2012
    3. 3. the scale, ecocidal violence that our species is inflicting 2010
    4. 4. :Confronts many of our dominant cultural stories myths of never-ending progress and growth the acceptability of a spreading culture of exploitation that has created material wealth only for the few the stories of the ‘superiority’ of our species that overlooks our ecological interdependence that we can treat ecological entities as ‘property’It challenges us as individuals, as communities, nationsAnd, as artists and cultural workers
    5. 5. “ecocide demands a response. The response is too important to be leftto politicians, economists, conceptual thinkers, number crunchers; too all pervasiveto be left to activists or campaigners. Artists are needed. So far, though, the artistic response has been muted…”Dark Mountain manifesto 2009 photo: emily coghlan
    6. 6. ecocide – long term degradation tobioregion by human activity
    7. 7. JosephBeuys,Harrisons,AgnesDenes
    8. 8. 1996
    9. 9. 2006 2006the local project • Local projectsolo exhibition –filmed new native treewoodlands
    10. 10. Industrial forestry in Ireland- 40 year monoculture, clearfell andreplace rotation
    11. 11. permanent, non clearfell forest, usingClose-to-Nature-continuous cover principles
    12. 12. Lessons in and from the forests:naturally regenerating permanent forests inNetherlands, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia13
    13. 13. ‘Tending’ Anderson writes suggests a healthy tension, a specific application ofwisdom, of culture practices that fosters active relations with the nonhuman ‘future has an ancient heart’
    14. 14. Art as action research began conversion ‘Hollywood’ -2.5 acres 2008 15 25 yr conifer monocrop
    15. 15. 2008 my neighbours and local green cllr learn about about close to nature, non clearfell forestry16
    16. 16. transforming my conifer plantation to a forestnative ash tree seedlings coming up in thinned conifer plantation
    17. 17. Land, art and ecology (2006) RSA• ‘the relations between doing and seeing, action and vision, construction and perception, lie at the core of art that engages the land at ground level’ - Lucy Lippard, p15• ‘How we view the world has been in the past conditioned by painting and writing. Today movies, photo and TV, condition our perception and social behaviour…we should begin to develop an art education based on relationships to specific sites. How we see things and places is not a secondary concern, but primary’ - Robert Smithson, p22
    18. 18. 2008 Creating short art films about forest transformation still from burning bright 200820 20
    19. 19. SENSITIVITY: looking/listening with my camera and mic is making me much more aware of the vast complexity of the dynamics of the living communities & elements – my neighbours that I need to relate to
    20. 20. ... artists should move towards ‘an ecological sympathy’Still from Transformation (2011)
    21. 21. examining visualpolitics of natureimages /cinemaGrowing view –That visual conventions,long assimilated, maysignificantly account forour disregard for thenatural world
    22. 22. See 40 yr+ residency in this forest as a continuingdialogue - my relational films & forest learningbecoming an audiovisual diary that I share withother humans online, as an e.g of an applied deepsustainability Photo: anon
    23. 23. •read more: issuu.com/cathyart•see more: ecoartfilm.com
    24. 24. Learning how to live responsibly with forest communities, is transferable to all other areas of human interaction with nature. For it is by learning to walk gently on the forest floor that we also learn to soften our ego boundaries and experience the universe as a vibrant living whole. Wild Foresting, 2006permanent, Close-to-Nature naturally regenerating forest in the Netherlands, 2010
    25. 25. DoggedDetermineddifferent
    26. 26. Thank youJoin the conversation –email: cathyart@gmail.com prosilvaireland.org, ccfg.co.ukwww.ecoartfilm.com facebook: /ecoartnotes, /the Great Turning Artful Inquiry

    ×