When I was a child I developed a strong love for nature while reading my father’s old biology books from his school period during fascist dictatorship in Spain and after spending countless hours during the weekends in my grandparents country house in the basque mountains.
As I grew older and started thinking about a college degree, my first desire was to study biology, which later on was changed for a growing list of other academic interests (computing, journalism, film…) but nevertheless always kept an interest in living organisms and ecology. Nowadays that I’m in my forties, I have been rethinking my relationship with this early interests and have found how developmental psychologist Erik Erikson wrote that in this lifetime period known as a second stage of adulthood people are normally contributing to society along with productivity at work and involvement in community activities. So, how can I contribute to make this a better world? Can I find a way to use my experience in art, design and culture in order to help remedy the environmental crisis that we are living today?
It seems that I’m not the only one thinking about this issues, and I’m happy to find out about a field named Eco Art which concerns itself with ecological activism and which main principles are:
- To re-envision our relationship with nature, and put forward new ways to co-exist with the environment.
- To create works that use natural materials and forces, such as lightning, water, wind…
- To reclaim damaged natural environments and restore ecosystems in artistic ways.
- To create art which informs the viewer of environmental political issues and, the historical aspects of eco-systems.
- To creatively propose new ways for sustainability, healing, and coexistence.
So Ecological Art is an genre and practice that seeks to preserve, remediate and/or vitalize the life forms, resources and ecology of Earth, by applying the principles of ecosystems to living species and their habitats (wilderness, rural, suburban and urban). Art historical precedents include Land Art like the one made by Richard Long for example, or more classic forms like landscape painting and photography. According to researcher Sacha Jérôme Kagan this artistic genre was originally conceived in the 1990’s on the basis of practices that emerged from the late 1960’s and covers a variety of artistic practices which are united by shared characteristics such as: connectivity, reconstruction, ecological ethical responsibility, non-linear (re)generativity, and varying degrees of exploration of the fabric of life’s complexity.
Ana Cruz Lopes, João Farinha and Miguel Amado write that one of the most prominent urban problems European cities face, is not only the physical degradation of its historic city centers, but also the degradation of their social, economic and environmental context. According to the german foundation Heinrich Böll Stiftung we need a global (environ)mental change, that is a transformation process to affect the many relationships between our minds and their environments. And in this endeavour creativity and artistic activities can play without a doubt an important role in the resolution of this ecological and social problems. In this newly started personal journey I will have to make use of my academic background in Urban Ecology and mix it with my experience in Contemporary Art & Design to study the relationship of living organisms in our cities, and offer a series of artworks communicate our urgent need to live a more sustainable life…
I will keep you updated with the latest green news!
*(Pictures: artwork by Aurora Robson, todocoleccion.net & landscape by basque painter Ramiro Arrue).