“On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.
For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.
Cool project from the DDB China Group for the China Environmental Protection Foundation:
We decided to leverage a busy pedestrian crossing; a place where both pedestrians and drivers meet. We lay a giant canvas of 12.6 meters long by 7 meters wide on the ground, covering the pedestrian crossing with a large leafless tree. Placed on either side of the road beneath the traffic lights, were sponge cushions soaked in green environmentally friendly washable and quick dry paint. As pedestrians walked towards the crossing, they would step onto the green sponge and as they walked, the soles of their feet would make foot imprints onto the tree on the ground. Each green footprint added to the canvas like leaves growing on a bare tree, which made people feel that by walking they could create a greener environment.
It’s nice to see a project that gets the public completely involved without sacrificing any quality control. See some detail images after the jump. (via)
San Francisco-based artist Michelle Fleck creates slightly minimalistic acrylic paintings that deal with the “relationship between man and the landscape”. In the paintings, decaying natural environments are sullied by the trappings of construction work and neglect. What’s great about these, in addition to Fleck’s nice illustrative sense of texture, is the artist’s intelligent handling of her subject matter. It’s so common, whenever drawing on environmental themes, to be heavy-handed. To sort of say, “I’m talking about the environment now, and it’s very important so look at what I’m doing.” Instead of taking that route, Fleck just paints what she sees (of course taking care to include pointed compositions and visual appeal). Some situations don’t need extensive commentary, just a skilled storyteller to show you just enough of what you need to know.
There is a lot of public art on view in Nantes, France right now. Amazing installation pieces have sprouted all over the city, an industrial port off the Loire river near the Atlantic coast, as part of a couple large exhibitions happening all at once. One of these exhibits (and possibly the best of all currently on view), is ESTUAIRE, a trail of installation pieces in and along the Loire near Nantes and Saint Nazaire that celebrates and plays off of river habitats. This is the third year the show has been organized (2007 and 2009, previously). A few of the sculptures include beached boats, partially submersed homes, bears in trees, and monstrous sea snake skeletons, providing for a really strong, visually appealing commentary on the state of our natural environments. Check out more of ESTUAIRE 2012 after the jump.
These works from Berkeley, CA artist Masako Miki (originally from Japan) are fairly on point. Delicately rendered animals exist naturally among fantastical environs full of color. The artist’s ruminations on time, life, death, and innocence would be a big pill to swallow if these paintings weren’t so damn pretty. And it’s not that this stuff hasn’t been done before (Josh Keyes, growing environmentalist concerns, etc.). But in this case cosmic elements enter the mix, allowing us to contemplate the issues of our small planet and the issues of “the Beyond” in one go.