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Sunday, March 29 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Session 5 Paper Stream 3: Birds, Places, and Communities

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Session 5 Paper Stream 3: Birds, Places, and Communities

Frank Ekeberg and Krista Caballero: "Birding the Future: Environmental Health within a Regional and Global Perspective"
Research indicates we are living through the "6th extinction," where loss of species and biodiversity is occuring at an alarming rate. Across culture and continent, birds are seen as "message bearers" able to communicate the future, announce changes in weather and warn of coming disaster. Having penetrated almost every ecosystem on the planet, birds detect dangers to health and environment before we do. Declining bird populations in practically all habitats signal profound changes over our entire planet, and it has been estimated that almost a third of all bird species will have disappeared by the end of this century. 

This presentation discusses Birding the Future, a multi-layered, interdisciplinary project designed as a series of local, site-specific works that explore issues of species loss and biodiversity while specifically focusing on the warning abilities of birds as indicators of environmental health. Birding the Future is an outdoor installation and image walk with several entry points, incorporating multi-channel sound, stereoscopic images, text, Morse code messages, calls of endangered and extinct bird species and a rendering of projected extinction rate. Most of the benefits, as well as destruction of biodiversity, occur at a local level. By focusing on local ecosystems in a number of regions across the world, the project combines the notions of "site-specific" and "site-adaptable" to highlight regional specificities while simultaneously mapping global commonalities. 

The project poses questions such as: What might happen as the messages of birds are increasingly being silenced? What does it mean that we can only see and hear certain species through technology? How can traditional ecological knowledge be combined with technological advances to increase awareness of our role in and effect on the environment? 

Birding the Future was initiated in 2012 with region-specific iterations presented in Queensland, Australia, in 2013 and Dubai, UAE, in 2014. Iterations for Scandinavia and Southwest USA are currently being developed. In addition to the installation and image walk, the project includes a web site that serves as an archive and information resource for conservation status and initiatives while seeking to map and connect regional issues of biodiversity with a global perspective.

Deborah Ely and Mike Leggett: "Siteworks: Strategic Intervention in Art and Science Dialogues"
Siteworks is a research program centred in an Australian bush location three hours' drive south of Sydney. The first, in 2009, brought fluvial geo-morphologists onsite for several months prior to an event that brought together other earth scientists with local, national and international artists, professional performers and a site-based artist and director. During each of the two days entitled Ten Trenches, presentations from all participants were followed by a series of performances. 

In the following years this pattern was adopted for Siteworks, looking above the ground as well as beneath it. Consistent dialogue with local indigenous people, their cosmology, stories and lore together with performance threaded through each event. Narratives concerned with colonial occupation of riverside locations were a focus in 2010 involving historians and archeologists; in 2011 a botanist worked with an ecologist to build a bark canoe, joining with other artists and scientists working with flora and fauna; nutritionists, a farmer, a celebrity chef and an agrarian professor met with artists who had made work concerned with the future of food in 2012; a night-time public event in 2013 drew a thousand people to listen to astronomers and anthropologists, and a sound performance based on electromagnetic phenomena; bio-diversity in October of 2014 included onsite camping and nocturnal tours to find both art and animals.

The paper will outline the experience of managing and developing the Sitework series of events. The thematic frameworks and specific collaborative projects between artists and scientists will be evaluated for bringing together diverse practices and expertises. Future events will continue with approaches to foster a better understanding of humans in the physical and natural environment and how threats to climate, water, food and shelter can be addressed through collaborative interventions involving artists, scientists and the enfranchised citizen.

The Bundanon Trust was established 20 years ago by Arthur Boyd, one of Australia's best known painters, who noted that he 'couldn't exhaust this landscape' and directed that the 3000 acres of riverside rainforest bush be used for scientific research and agriculture as well as art, education and recreation. Investigations across disciplines have led to surprising outcomes characterised by the sharing of ideas about process, materials and the role of risk and experiment.

Dan Collins: "Community Mapping"
Community mapping is an approach to spatial representation that promotes a sense of agency and active engagement by encouraging “bottom-up” participation by users and community groups. Reviewing the place-based work of an earlier generation of geographers, environmental writers, and artists, the paper provides a context for understanding contemporary mapping utilizing geo-technologies such as “locative media.” The author concludes that technologically empowered artists, partnered with specialists engaged in place-based research, can translate objective representations of place into socially engaged action. 

Speakers
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Krista Caballero

Krista Caballero is a transdisciplinary artist whose work unpacks cultural myths relating to the "American" West, technology, gendered land use, and ideas of the sublime. Drawing on the language of land surveying to triangulate what is measured "essential," her work asks how we might imagine a future where shifting ecologies speak to opportunity and possibility. In 2010 she created Mapping Meaning, an ongoing project that brings together a select... Read More →
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Dan Collins

Dan Collins joined the School of Art faculty at Arizona State University in 1989. He is founding Co-Director of the PRISM lab (a 3D modeling and prototyping facility) and coordinator of the foundation art program (artCore). Collins studied studio art and art history at the University of California, Davis, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Art Education from Stanford University (1975), a Master of... Read More →
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Frank Ekeberg

Frank Ekeberg is an artist and researcher primarily concerned with the sonic arts. His work explores issues of ecology, time, space, and memory. He uses almost exclusively natural sound as source material, and spatial aspects of the sounds and the listening environment are integrated as essential elements of the work. Ekeberg has composed and designed sound for concert performance, dance, film, theater, radio plays and intermedia installations... Read More →
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Deborah Ely

Deborah Ely is the Chief Executive Officer at Bundanon Trust and convenor of the interdisciplinary, site-specific project SITEWORKS. Prior to taking up her position at Bundanon Trust, an arts and education institution near Sydney, Australia, she was the Visual Arts and Craft Manager at Arts New South Wales, a state government funding body. Previous positions include Director of the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney; founding Director of... Read More →
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Mike Legett

Mike Leggett has film and video work in archives and collections in Europe, Australia, North and South America and has practiced professionally as an artist, curator, writer, researcher, producer, editor and teacher. He has a PhD from the Creativity & Cognition Studios in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, the University of Technology Sydney, and a Masters of Fine Art from the College of Fine Arts, University of New... Read More →


Sunday March 29, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm
Art 246 900 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

Attendees (8)