Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? – 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Opinion - 01 Aug 2018

Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do?

Five of the best recent artist projects that show alternatives to unsustainable practices

By Ellen Mara De Wachter

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, which means that humankind has now used more natural resources since 1 January than the planet can regenerate in an entire year. This year, Earth Overshoot Day comes two days earlier than it did last year – its earliest date since it was first marked in 2006, in October. Since then, the world has been using up its yearly provision at an ever-increasing rate; we currently use 1.7 Earths per year.

Despite more than three decades of mainstream environmental campaigning and activism, we have seen increasingly regular natural catastrophes caused by climate change, and unsustainable population growth, energy consumption and food production techniques. In 2015, the United Nations devised the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting 17 Global Goals for the next 15 years, among them the pledge to eradicate poverty, hunger and injustice; mitigate the effects of climate change; provide clean water and energy; and build sustainable infrastructure and production. Yet these guiding principles provide no guarantees that our consumption habits will slow down. What is actually being done about our failure to live within our planetary means, and what might the role of culture be in developing alternatives to our damaging practices and policies? 

This September, to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly Sessions in New York, the Danish non-profit organization ART 2030 will launch its annual ‘Art for the Global Goals’ week in collaboration with artists, galleries and other organizations. In advance of this, they have commissioned the performance Tow with The Flow (2018) by Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, a collaboration with Danish high school students. Presented at several venues, including Roskilde Festival in early July, it involved performers interacting with suitcases full of clothing to highlight textile production and consumption – a reference to the UN’s goal of responsible consumption and production. 

Art 2030 says the project ‘shines a critical light on the Western World's overconsumption’, but illuminating an issue is only the first step in achieving change, and what Earth Overshoot Day highlights is the urgent need for practical solutions. Successful art projects in this area imagine – and provide – alternatives to unsustainable practices. They often take the form of social enterprises and innovative entrepreneurship that avoid the damaging practices of big business. Here are some of the most inspiring projects from recent years: 


Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? - 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Mae-ling Lokko, Hack The Root, 2018, installation view, RIBA North, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Thierry Bal 

Mae-Ling Lokko, Hack the Root, 2018

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and the Royal Institute of British Architects for this year’s festival, Lokko’s Hack the Root is a research unit and factory that produces modular bio-based building tiles from agricultural waste and mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus that consists of fine filaments that bind materials together. Lokko sees the project as a life cycle that grows in a similar way to a root, by consuming and displacing the matter around it as it grows. As well as the material production component of the project, in which waste is upcycled to make new bricks, there is an important social side to its development as part of the biennial, with ‘Grow-It-Yourself’ workshops involving school children and students at the local university technical college. For Lokko, the project ‘cuts across class and cultural barriers’ because the mycelium panels can be produced locally in a cheap and decentralized way, generating opportunities for new kinds of economies and communities to flourish. 


Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? - 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Kathrin Böhm, Company Drinks, 2017. Courtesy: Adriana Kytková

Kathrin Böhm, Company Drinks, 2014

Describing itself as ‘an art project in the shape of a drinks company’, Company Drinks is a social enterprise Community Interest Company, that produces a range of soft drinks, syrups, tonics and beers in Barking and Dagenham, east London. The company oversees all aspects of the production of drinks, including growing and picking, branding, bottling and trading, which take place at a local level for maximum efficiency and minimum waste. Foraging is a large part of Company Drinks’ ethos, and since 2014, more than 36,000 people have taken part in fruit picking trips and foraging walks, as well as traditional Kentish hop-picking, or ‘hopping’. The Company Drinks Pavilion in Barking Park hosts discussions around the politics and economics of local food production and workshops at which people can learn how to make drinks and set up small businesses, skills that seem especially useful in light of the UK government’s recent scaremongering over food shortages. 


Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? - 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Olafur Eliasson and Frederick Ottesen, Little Sun. Courtesy: the artists; photograph: Merklit Mersha

Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun, 2012

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, whose work has long dealt with themes of light, perception and the environment, set up Little Sun with entrepreneur Frederik Ottesen in response to the needs of the 1.1 billion people living without access to energy supplies. The company began as an idea to create a portable solar lamp for people living off-grid in Ethiopia, enabling them to pursue vital activities after sunset. From the outset, it was founded on principles of financial sustainability and affordability and it has grown into a network of entrepreneurs across Africa. For every sale of a Little Sun product in a part of the world with electricity, the company makes the same product available to someone without access to electricity at a locally affordable price. The company has sold more than 661,577 lamps worldwide, saving over USD$35 million on energy expenses in off-grid household and reducing CO2 emissions by 134,572 tonnes. 


Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? - 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Plane Landing, 2018. Courtesy: Jason Peper

Gustav Metzger, ‘Reduce Art Flights’ campaign, 2007

The art world is scandalously wasteful. Temporary exhibitions rely on magnitudes of single-use timber, MDF and paint for installations, and generate reams of unnecessary – and often unread – printed matter. The production of works of art can rely on toxic processes and materials such as resin, glue, synthetic paint and photographic chemicals. The never-ending movement of people and art works between biennials, art fairs and exhibitions around the world generates vast amounts of greenhouse gases. In 2007, the late Gustav Metzger called for the art world to curb its air travel habit with the Reduce Art Flights campaign, which he launched at Skulptur Projekte Münster with a leaflet bearing the German phrase ‘Münster - Die zweite Bombardierung’ (The second bombardment of Münster). As Meztger explained, ‘the second bombardment is a play on several aspects … we are now being bombarded by the pollution of aeroplanes crossing Münster and everywhere else’.


Earth Overshoot Day: What Can Artists Do? - 地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?

Superflex, Supergas, 2002, installation view. Courtesy: Superflex


Superflex, Supergas, 1996

Back in the 1990s, the first wave of consciousness-raising and policy-making in response to the ecological crisis was big news. The United Nations’ Earth Summit in 1992 produced Agenda 21, an action plan for sustainable development on local, national and global levels, and the mots du jour were three Rs: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. In 1996, the Danish collective Superflex developed their Supergas project in collaboration with Jan Mallen and engineers in Europe and Africa. Supergas offered a cheap and sustainable source of fuel for cooking and lighting in rural areas of developing countries by transforming a readily available and completely free material, i.e. animal or human excrement, into gas. Superflex’s first biogas unit was installed with help from SURUDE (Sustainable Rural Development) on a farm in Tanzania in 1997. Still one of the most innovative art projects in recent decades, it sets the bar high for how creativity and engineering can open up debate about complex issues and meet people’s needs without harming the planet.  

Main image: Olafur Eliasson and Frederick Ottesen, Little Sun. Courtesy: Michael Tsegaye

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Ellen Mara De Wachter is a writer based in London, UK. Her book Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration is published by Phaidon (2017).

Earth Overshoot Day
climate change
Mae-Ling Lokko
Kathrin Böhm
Gustav Metzger
Frederik Ottesen
Olafur Eliasson
Ellen Mara De Wachter

意见- 01八月2018地球超调日:艺术家能做什么?今天,艾伦.玛拉·德·瓦切特展示了不可持续实践的五个最好的艺术家项目是地球超调日,这意味着人类自1月1日以来使用的自然资源超过了地球所能再生的资源。整整一年的利率。今年,地球超调日比去年提前了两天,这是自十月首次在2006开始的最早日期。从那时起,世界一直在以每年不断增加的速度使用它,我们目前每年使用1.7个地球。尽管超过三年的主流环保活动和行动主义,我们已经看到越来越规则的自然灾害由气候变化,以及不可持续的人口增长,能源消耗和粮食生产技术造成的。2015,联合国制定了2030个可持续发展议程,制定了未来15年的17个全球目标,其中包括消除贫穷、饥饿和不公正的承诺;减轻气候变化的影响;提供清洁的水和能源;建立可持续的基础设施。产品和生产。然而,这些指导原则并不能保证我们的消费习惯会减慢。对于我们未能在我们的行星方式中生活,我们所做的是什么?文化在我们的破坏性实践和政策的发展中可能扮演什么角色?今年九月,丹麦非营利组织ART 2030将与艺术家、画廊和其他组织合作,推出一年一度的“全球目标艺术周”,以配合联合国大会在纽约举行的会议。在此之前,他们已经委托LiBethe昆卡拉斯姆森(与丹麦高中生合作)进行流程(2018)。在七月初的罗斯基勒节,包括表演者与装满衣服的手提箱相互作用,以突出纺织品生产和消费——这是联合国负责消费和生产的目标。艺术2030说:IN是西方世界过度消费的关键之光,但照亮一个问题只是实现变革的第一步,而地球超调日凸显的是迫切需要切实可行的解决方案。这一领域的成功艺术项目为不可持续的实践设想和提供了替代方案。他们往往采取社会企业和创新创业的形式,避免大企业的破坏性做法。以下是最近几年最有启发性的项目:Ma-Link,Lokko-HakythHyoToRooToStudioTyVixVIEW2018Y1.JPG WPA6021602IMG Mae ling Lokko,HACK根,2018,安装视图,RiBA Nead,利物浦双年展2018。礼貌:艺术家;照片:蒂埃里BaleMaelLokko,黑客根部,2018委托利物浦双年展和英国皇家建筑师学会为今年的节日,Lokko的黑客根部是一个研究单位和工厂,生产模块化的生物基地。D由农业废料和菌丝体构成的砖,真菌的营养部分,由细丝连接在一起。LokKo把这个项目看作是一个生命周期,它以一种类似于根的方式生长,它在生长过程中消耗和移动周围的物质。该项目的材料生产部分,其中废物被循环地用于制造新的砖,作为双年展的一部分,它的发展有一个重要的社会方面,在当地大学技术有限公司的“成长自己动手”的工作坊中涉及到学童和学生。倾斜。对Lokko来说,该项目“跨越阶级和文化障碍”,因为菌丝板可以以廉价和分散的方式在当地生产,为新经济和社区创造新的机会。WPA6022602IMG Kalthin B OHM,公司饮料,2017。礼貌:阿德里亚娜KykokaAkkulin Bohm,公司饮料,2014形容自己为“一个饮料公司的艺术项目”,公司饮料是一个社会企业社会公益公司,生产一系列软饮料,糖浆,补品和啤酒在吠叫。第二Dagenham,东伦敦。该公司监管饮料生产的各个方面,包括种植和采摘、品牌化、装瓶和贸易,这些都是在地方一级进行的,以获得最大的效率和最小的浪费。觅食是公司饮品的一大组成部分,自2014以来,超过36000人参加水果采摘旅行和觅食散步,以及传统的肯特斯跳跃采摘,或“跳跃”。该公司在巴克公园喝凉亭,围绕当地食品生产和研讨会讨论政治和经济,人们可以在那里学习如何制作饮料和建立小企业,这些技能在英国政府最近的恐慌中似乎特别有用。超过食物短缺。1919CuffiTi MulkLITHMLHAJ.JPG WPAP6023 602IMG Olafur Eliasson和Frederick Ottesen,小太阳。礼貌:艺术家,照片:MelkiLi Malaa奥拉弗埃利亚松和Frederik Ottesen,小太阳,2012丹麦冰岛艺术家Olafur Eliasson,他的作品长期涉及光、知觉和环境的主题,与企业家Frederik Ottesen I建立小太阳。N响应11亿人的生活需求,无需能源供应。该公司开始构思为埃塞俄比亚的人们提供一种便携式太阳能灯,让他们在日落后进行重要的活动。从一开始,它是建立在金融可持续性和可承受性的原则基础上的,它已经发展成一个遍布非洲的企业家网络。对于每一个太阳能产品的销售,在世界上的一部分电力,该公司使同样的产品提供给一个没有电力的人在当地负担得起的价格。该公司已在全球销售了超过661577盏灯,节省了超过3500万美元的非电网户的能源开支,并减少了134572吨的二氧化碳排放量。礼貌:杰森佩珀古斯塔夫梅茨格,“减少艺术飞行”运动,2007艺术世界是浪费浪费。临时展览依赖于一次性使用木材、中密度纤维板和油漆的安装量,并产生大量不必要的和经常未读的印刷品。艺术作品的生产可以依赖于有毒的过程和材料,如树脂,胶水,合成涂料和摄影化学品。人类和艺术作品在世界各地的双年展、艺术博览会和展览之间的永无休止的运动产生了大量的温室气体。在2007,已故的Gustav Metzger呼吁艺术世界,以减少其空中旅行习惯与减少艺术飞行活动,他在SkulpTurp PyjktE MunnStand发起了一个传单带有德语短语“Munnest- Die zweite Bombardierung”(第二轰击的米恩斯特)。正如Meztger所解释的,“第二次轰炸是几个方面的游戏……我们现在正被横跨Munnter和其他地方的飞机污染所轰炸。”SujasGuthTayaland 3.JPG WPA6025602IMG SuffFLX,SuffGAS,2002,安装视图。礼貌:SuffFLX-ExFLUX,超天然气,1996在20世纪90年代,第一次意识的提高和决策的浪潮,以应对生态危机是一个大新闻。联合国1992次地球首脑会议产生了21世纪议程,一个可持续发展的行动计划,在地方、国家和全球层面上进行。1996,丹麦集体SuffFLX与欧洲和非洲的Jan Mallen和工程师合作开发了超天然气项目。超天然气为发展中国家提供了一种廉价且可持续的燃料用于烹饪和照明。完全和自由的物质,即动物或人类排泄物,变成气体。SuffFLX公司的第一个沼气单元是在1997坦桑尼亚的一个农场的Surod(可持续农村发展)的帮助下安装的。这是近几十年来最具创新性的艺术项目之一,它为创意和工程如何打开复杂问题的辩论,满足人们的需求而不伤害地球奠定了坚实的基础。主要形象:Olafur Eliasson和Frederick Ottesen,小太阳。礼貌:米迦勒TSeaye El玛拉de Water埃伦玛拉德瓦切特是一个作家,总部设在英国伦敦。她的书《共同艺术:艺术家创造性协作》发表于2017页。地球超调日气候变化梅岭LKKO


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