[NetBehaviour] wont fly for art: stretching the frame

Ruth Catlow ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org
Sat Apr 18 17:17:01 CEST 2009

Hi NBs,

Very grateful for this superb, informative and broad discussion around
our exponential-growth pledge not to fly for art for 6 months

I've been thinking about the questions surrounding how an artist can
exhibit their work internationally without flying lots. 

I address this question as a Londoner. ie someone with a surfeit of
culture and diversity (of locals, practitioners, participants and
audiences) within cat-swinging distance. I'd like to think some more
about Pall's and Helen's posts from Iceland and New Zealand.
The question for me is about what it means in the current context (of
environmental crisis) if I have to fly lots for my art. What does it do
to the meaning of the art?

Last year Jeremy Tridgell http://www.ecoloqo.net, a design historian,
presented this graph* as part of his research about the environmental
impact of academic conferences at the Networks of Design conference at
University College, Falmouth. 

It took me a while to understand what it meant but when i did it made
quite an impact on my thinking.

It tells a convincing story of how the UK seeded the global carbon habit
through the techniques and processes of industrialisation. It does not
show UK carbon emissions falling, it shows them falling as a percentage
of the rest of the world's emissions. It demonstrates (for carbon
emissions) the maxim, "give a bloke a fish and you feed him for a day,
teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" but resets the
frame to include "and his grandchildren will deplete the ocean's fish
stocks". I'm not sharing this image to stake my claim, as a UK citizen,
for a share of national guilt (just in case you were wondering;) but
because it facilitated for me a different way of thinking about personal
agency and responsibility. It depicts a less mechanical and linear
notion of cause and effect by stretching the frame of action and
influence. For me it necessitates a more ecological approach, one that
is alert to the complex interrelations of all manner of things and
processes across time and space. 

more soon
: )

*from Hansen, J et al.(2007) Dangerous human-made interferencewith
climate: a GISS modelE study, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 2287-2312, or page
21 of http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

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