The 100 % Environmentally Friendly Show
One must confront the troubling observation that art dedicated to sustainability are fundamentally contradictory; for even as they seek to address climate change and work towards creative solutions – although certainly not all projects are equally politically or pedagogically inclined – they contribute to the very problem of global warming by virtue of their own carbon footprint, the results of transportation, maintaining the performance space’s climate control and printing cards/posters/programs notes. One might conclude that the eco-art performances are simply unviable from an environmental perspective. Yet if this response is both inadequate and unrealistic – as much as it would be to insist on immediately discontinuing all unsustainable technologies, rather than working gradually towards a state of sustainability – we need at the very least to consider just what justifies the continuation of unsustainable art performances committed to the subject of sustainability.
This contradiction is in the center of our “The Environmentally Friendly Show”; both on the making the show level and the performance itself.
Making the show level
The rehearsal process will be documented and blogged on a daily basis on our website. The public will be able to follow the carbon footprint we imprint while rehearsing. What sort of transportation we take on our way to rehearsal room? What sort of material do we use? How do we heat the room? And so on.
The environment is everywhere. What we would like to illustrate by the rehearsal’s documentation is that there is no inside; that there is no culture opposed to nature; no isolated environment removed from human civilization, and that earth is a dynamic totality constantly pushed off balance by man’s activity. Only when we understand this we will be able to acquire a long sighted vision of the future of the planet and of the imperative actions we must take.
We are interested in the interplay between an understanding of eco-centrism in the political sense, as a strand of activism, and that of a more general system of connectivity – of connections through time and space, across economic and social systems (connecting places, production technologies, flows of material, energy etc.)
In order to be able to show the connectivity of things across continents we will create an image of Planet Earth, a two-dimensional representation of the globe. The spectators will view the image and the actions surrounding it as if they are part of an Operating Theater. (An operating theater was a tiered theatre or amphitheater in which students and other spectators could watch surgeons perform surgery. Today the term is sometimes used synonymously with operating room (OR) or operating suite, the room within a hospital where surgical operations are carried out today.)
The planet is put on an operating table; the story of its malady is told as an old fashioned creationist tale – from inception to destruction. Understanding the past’s traditions of nature, in folk culture, science, aesthetics, philosophy and religion, is a source of illumination for the present and also for the future. The beliefs of past form the foundations for contemporary institutions and, more often than not, still persist in their own operation. It is not nostalgia we are after, there is not ‘golden age’ history. When we reference the past it is not to evoke ‘the good old days’. Our relation to the past is historical, not mythical.
How does it work
Think of us as the last gardeners on Planet Earth; think of the audience as visitors to the center of Planet Earth Studies; the center that tells the story of how a once thriving planet turned into a lifeless colony. The gardeners tells the old stories of creations, those are cautionary tales.
the room installation