Art and Environmental Activism
“For good and/or ill, ideology and aesthetics are always bedfellows and always have been”. -Duncum, 2002
The direction that my art is taking at the moment stems, as always, from my interest in environmental issues and art activism.
The videos I am making do not promote plastic bags as art objects to be admired but to be questioned - they are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.
When I came back to Berlin after two weeks in Greece and Bulgaria I had nothing to work with. There was not a single plastic bag in my house but there were so many out there polluting the streets.
So I went outside and spent a couple of hours walking around and collecting any plastic I found.
As soon as I stepped outside into the real world where the problem actually takes place, I begun to see more clearly the ways that my art can develop.
Now, the videos seem to me like steps that lead to something bigger. This always happens and I often catch myself feeling like I have wasted my time on something that was not exactly what I should have done. But as J.P Morgan has famously said: “Go as far as you can see and from there you will be able to see farther”.
So, what form will these videos take? My thoughts in regards to this are still too premature. The ideas, tangled up in influences by other artworks, beliefs about what art is and what an artist is to do, are blur and out of focus, giving my mind a sense of something being there but without yet a clear understanding of what they really are.
As I write this my mind is able to make out Pedro Reyes Palas por Pistolas (2007) as a powerful source of inspiration (http://urbanoproject.org/palas-por-pistolasshovels-for-guns/).
The shovel and planted tree you see in the picture are not all that there is to this artwork. The artist collected residents’ firearms, that were later melted down and turned into shovels that were used to plant trees in Mexico City, Vancouver, and San Francisco.
All of the process and important ideas that are involved in completing an artwork remain usually hidden behind the end outcome. But it is the process and principles that I love, and so I want to make art that brings them into focus.
Duncum, P. (2002), Visual Culture Art Education: Why, What and How. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 21: 14-23. doi:10.1111/1468-5949.00292