Final Fridays: June 2013

Owen Driggs: Can Artists Heal Nature?

Friday, June 28, 2013, 6PM



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As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What needs healing? What arrogance! 

Join us at the ZERO1 Garage where more than ten artists, technologists, scientists, growers, and community members, will each address the intentionally provocative question, “Can Artists Heal Nature?”

The event begins with a shared potluck at 6pm, so please bring a dish to share.

Participants will each have five minutes to address the title question, followed by an open discussion. Speakers include Johnny Chen, Olivia Chumacero, Susanne Cockrell, Sarah Dougherty, Janet Owen Driggs, Gene Felice, Helen and Newton Mayer Harrison, Marc Los Huertos, Jennifer Parker, Bonnie Sherk, Kelly Sicat, Susan Suntree, and Jane Tsong.

Presented by ZERO1 and the Lucas Artist Residency at Montalvo Arts Center, this conversation is organized by Lucas Artist Fellows Owen Driggs in association with their project Mapping Biointimacy, developed for COME HEALING, Montalvo’s 2013 Art on the Grounds exhibition. The portmanteau word "biointimacy" combines "biological" and "intimacy" to suggest both the physical interdependence of all life on Earth and a condition of relational awareness. Using digital mapping and GPS technologies alongside more traditional interpretive strategies such as conversations, signage, and workshops, Mapping Biointimacy supports experiences of the natural world as a network of intimate relationships. Informed by proximity, feeling, and knowledge, encounter by encounter, intimacy can grow.

The question “Can Artists Heal Nature?” was first addressed in this format in October 2012, for the SOCiAL: Art + People initiative in Los Angeles.

Confirmed Participants:

Johnny Chen grew up near Montalvo and has spent many an hour in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He drags his family camping more often than they care for and, when not doing that, works as an Android engineer at Motorola.  He hopes one day soon to make a social impact using a combination of his engineering and UX design skills.

Olivia Chumacero is a member of the Raramuri tribe from the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico. Currently she is a consultant for the California State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles and teaches a philosophy of life derived from her indigenous cultural background titled Everything Is Medicine. Ms. Chumacero has received a grant from Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio. Everything Is Medicine is encapsulated in traditional knowledge imparted to her by elders and family relatives, which focuses on the medicinal, edible, and cultural uses of native plants and all life supporting systems in our mother planet.

Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves work collaboratively under the rubric of fieldfaring to create social art projects that investigate the overlay of urban and rural systems upon the lives of specific communities. They ask questions about the nature of people and place as seen through social economy, history and local ecology. The collaboration began with a two and a half year public project (2004-2007), Temescal Amity Works, which facilitated and documented the exchange of backyard produce, conversation, and collective biography within the Temescal Neighborhood of Oakland, CA.

Sarah Dougherty earned her BA in Latin American Studies from the UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005 and received her MFA in painting from UCLA in 2012. As a site-specific teacher, painter and activist she documents and disseminates the beauty between creativity, decolonization and learning. In 2010 she founded and currently co-teaches in the Art & Nature Artist Collective based out of LA. She lives and works in San Jose, CA creating "Classes without Walls" and teaching Spanish through art to middle school students at Escuela Popular. Sarah is currently showing work at Aran Cravey Gallery in a solo exhibit called A Home is Medicine.

Janet Owen Driggs is a writer, artist and curator who, along with Matthew Owen Driggs, frequently participates in the collective identity “Owen Driggs.” Her interests focus on those sites, both physical and intangible, where ‘one’ meets the ‘other.’ Her artworks have been exhibited in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, and Brazil, and she has curated exhibitions and screening programs in the United Kingdom, United States, People's Republic of China, and Mexico. Janet is co-author of Preserving a Home for Veterans (with T. Lyons, L. Bon, R. Fox), Les Figues Press, 2012, and Something More Than Just Survival (with J. Rochielle) Proboscis 2012. Other writings have been published by Artillery, Art Review, ArtUS, and Emergency Index.

Gene Felice is a graduate student at the University of California Santa Cruz. He is enrolled in the DANM (Digital Arts and New Media) program and is currently working with OpenLab and the Mechatonics Research Group to develop his project Oceanic Scales. He currently divides his research between:  Art, Design & Education.  This split allows him to develop balance between interactive art, living systems, and the latest available technology for new media. He has a hybrid practice at the intersection of nature and technology, developing symbiotically creative systems as arts/science research.

Helen and Newton Mayer Harrison: Among the leading pioneers of the eco-art movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. The Harrisons' concept of art embraces a breathtaking range of disciplines. They are historians, diplomats, ecologists, investigators, emissaries and art activists. Their work involves proposing solutions and involves not only public discussion, but extensive mapping and documentation of these proposals in an art context. Past projects have focused on watershed restoration, urban renewal, agriculture and forestry issues among others. The Harrisons’ visionary projects have often led to changes in governmental policy and have expanded dialogue around previously unexplored issues leading to practical implementations throughout the United States and Europe.

Dr. Marc Los Huertos is a Cal State Monterey Bay faculty member in the Division of Science & Environmental Policy, where he teaches a wide range of classes that include Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Monitoring; trains students with skills in soil and water nitrogen biogeochemistry, aquatic ecology, and bioassessment; and teaches the integration of science and policy and research methods. He is currently writing a textbook on the Ecology of California's Inland Waters -- if you are interested in learning more please follow this link. In addition, he works with farmers to protect water quality in the Central Coast region. On a personal note, Marc has three children and enjoys international travel and live jazz.

Jennifer Parker maintains a multifaceted art practice at the intersection of art and science. The conceptual framework of her research includes a literal, formal, and idiomatic approach to materials and a political, private, and metaphorically abstract attitude toward expression as it relates to information and creativity. This research approach animates a space of possibility by asking the viewer to pay attention to the overlooked details, juxtapositions and interdependencies of our physical and sensory experience in the world around us. To pull information out of pie charts and graphs, to look at, feel and explore ideas as new and innovative forms of expression.  She is currently Chair of the UCSC Art Department; professor in the Digital Arts and New Media program; and the founding Director of OpenLab, a research center facilitating innovative, creative and collaborative research with art, community, design, technology and science at UCSC.

Bonnie Ora Sherk, W.B.E. in San Francisco and San Jose, and Founder & Director of Life Frames, Inc., is an environmental architect, planner, and educator with over 25 years’ experience in conceiving, planning, designing, and developing, site and culturally sensitive, indoor/outdoor, themed, multi-culture/ecology/technology park environments that are integrated with vibrant community programming, relevant interdisciplinary project-based curricula linkages to schools (Pre K-College), and community-originated products. Ms. Sherk's systemic designs often include innovative funding opportunities and mechanisms for generation of revenue, as well as sustainable, organizational, maintenance, and management strategies. Sherk's work integrates extensive community involvement resulting in a social weaving of all sectors of community, often through the creation of Community Research Mentoring Teams. Projects result in innovative community and economic development strategies that give heightened visibility to a locale and meaningfully synergize local resources: human, ecological, economic, historic, technological, & aesthetic.

Kelly Sicat is Director of the Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center. She maintains oversight responsibility for the planning, development and implementation of Montalvo’s artistic programs including visual arts, public programs, education and outreach, and the Lucas Artists Residency Program.  Prior to joining Montalvo in October 2007, Kelly worked for seven years as the program coordinator for LACMALab, an experimental research and development unit of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art charged with exploring new ways of presenting arts and engaging audiences, with a hallmark of commissioning new works by contemporary artists.  From project conception to implementation, she worked closely with numerous noted contemporary artists developing works that bridged formal curatorial and education practices.

Susan Suntree is a poet, performer, and essayist whose work investigates the dynamics of science, art, and spiritual philosophies as they engage contemporary life. Her book, Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California (University of Nebraska Press 2010), won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award for Nonfiction and PEN Oakland’s Josephine Miles Award for Poetic Narrative. In this book, Suntree draws from Western science and indigenous myths and songs to tell the epic story of how Southern California came into being. In addition to books and essays, her work includes adapting as a poem the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set as a choral work by composer Adrienne Albert (A Choral Quilt of Hope: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Her performances include one-woman shows, site-specific performances, and street theatre featuring giant puppets and masks focused on threats to the Southern California environment and indigenous heritage.

Jane Tsong's public artworks bridge landscape, art, and everyday experience. Recent commissions include no beginning no end /circle the earth/blessed water/blood of life..., blessings for air, water, and biosolids treated by the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant in Seattle (collaboration with poet Judith Roche), and Age of Amphibians at Reseda Pool, which transports swimmers to an ancient swamp landscape when they bask among shadows cast by Carboniferous plant forms looming above. Her proposals for radical gardens, each growing out of extensive research into local cultural history, have been finalists for public art commissions in Los Angeles, Astoria, Oregon and the City of Ventura.

LOCATION: ZERO1 Garage, 439 S. 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113

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