The Art of Transforming Polluted Water into Clean Water, Energy, and Sound

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Gilberto Esparza at work on Nomadic Plants

Mexican visual artist Gilberto Esparza works with technology, including electronics, robotics, and biotechnology, to develop innovative solutions to the detrimental impact that humans have had on the natural world, particularly on water. His overall goal is to rethink and redo the current relationship between human society and the environment by establishing collaborations between the two. 

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What Is Your ‘Tipping Point’ for Collective Action?

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Scream (detail), 150 x 158 cm, mixed media drawing, 2020

I recently read the article “As the Climate Crisis Grows, a Movement Gathers to Make ‘Ecocide’ an International Crime Against Humanity” from Inside Climate News. The authors state that “international lawyers, environmentalists, and a growing number of world leaders say that ‘ecocide’ – widespread destruction of the environment – would serve as a ‘moral red line’ for the planet.” French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis add that ecocide is an offense that poses a similar threat to humanity as genocide. And Pope Francis describes ecocide as “the massive contamination of air, land and water” or “any action capable of producing an ecological disaster.” The Pope has proposed making ecocide a sin for Catholics, endorsing a campaign by environmental activists and legal scholars to make it the fifth crime before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

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An(other) Interview with Artist Katie Holten

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In this issue I have for you my second interview with artist Katie Holten. We first spoke back in 2019, when she created the NYC Tree Alphabet to draw greater attention to the threats that New York-area trees face. Now she’s created an alphabet for the trees of Ireland, her home country. In our interview below we discuss what inspired her latest alphabet, how she’s developed an accompanying tool for use in schools, and what to expect from Learning to be Better Lovers, her forthcoming exhibition about learning to love all creatures on the planet.

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On Water as Polluted Body, Place of Solace, and Life Force

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sTo Len, detail of FOAM (FutureOfAMaterial) installation. Gomitaku print, sumi ink on linen, 64” x 360,” 2020.

Since June of 2017, artists Jarrod CluckGina R. FurnarisTo LenLeslie Sobel and Rachel Wojnar have been on an intense physical, emotional, spiritual, and art-making journey, which culminated with their MFA Thesis Exhibition, Confluence, on view at the Joseloff Gallery of the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford (Connecticut) from September 10-19, 2020. They are the third cohort to complete the Nomad Interdisciplinary MFA program. Founded by director Carol Padberg in 2015, the program uses an innovative field-based model and offers a curriculum that includes art, ecology, the study of place, indigenous knowledge systems, and technologies. Encompassing two hands-on residencies per year, the Nomad MFA provides courses in El Salvador; New York City; New Mexico; Mexico; Oakland, California; Miami; and Minneapolis.

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The Ocean Inside

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Video still from The Ocean Inside projected on the Veil (2018-2019). Photo by Eveline Kolijn.

Dutch-Canadian printmaker Eveline Kolijn grew up in the Caribbean where she developed an enduring interest in natural history and the environment, as well as a love of the ocean. Having spent a great deal of her childhood scuba diving in the coral reefs, she originally thought of becoming a marine biologist before her life took her in another direction. 

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Woven and Waxed Water Stories

10° 20′ 32” N, 44” x 96” x 3”, detail. Salvaged fishing nets and lines collected from across the Pacific Ocean with deep-sea leader line, 2021 (in process) .

Hawai’i-based fiber artist Mary Babcock uses discarded fishing nets and lines as well as household wax paper to create tapestries and installations about sea level rise, “our proclivity towards destruction or entanglement,” and our perceptions of and relationship to water. The process of self-laminating wax paper for installations and of cleaning, sorting, and unravelling abandoned, tangled fishing nets and lines and then weaving them into something completely new, is the manifestation of her refusal to see anything as unworkable or unrepairable, including the climate crisis. 

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