Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Art of It

The reverberant song of the natural world is rising through the arts and music now; it's becoming overwhelming. A story that stands out among many is that of Zaria Forman, who paints with her fingers in pastels. Her work often has underlying environmental themes. For example, the piece above was part of her Maldives series where she wanted to promote awareness of the Arctic polar melt that’s causing rising seas. This comes via the story of her mother:

My mother, renowned artist Rena Bass Forman, dedicated her life to photographing the most remote regions of the earth and was inspired by Bradford’s journey. The cold and isolated landscape of the Arctic consumed her interest for the past ten years. She created her own series of journey’s entitled Chasing the Light and the Greenlandic expedition is the third in the trilogy. Her work from her Arctic trips have been compared to 19th century photographers John L. Dunmore and George Critcherson who were on Bradford’s expedition.

It's called "Chasing the Light". She is currently leading a historically contextual art expedition in the Arctic in honor of her mother who passed away in 2011:

Continuing the story of polar melt, which is the main cause of rising seas, I followed the meltwater from the Arctic to the equator. I spent September 2013 in the Maldives, the lowest and flattest country in the world, collecting material and inspiration to create a body of work celebrating and representing a nation that could be entirely underwater within this century. Two award-winning artists who participated in the Greenland expedition Chasing The Light joined me in this venture: Painter Lisa Lebofsky, and director, filmmaker, and actress Drew Denny.

During our month on the islands, we shared the concept of our project with children on the islands, inviting them to document their homeland as it transforms throughout their lives. The children can use their creativity to continue spreading awareness while inwardly processing the ecological transformations surrounding them.

I hope my drawings will raise awareness and invite viewers to share the urgency of the Maldivians’ predicament in a productive and hopeful way.  I believe art can facilitate a deeper understanding of crises, helping us find meaning and optimism amidst shifting landscapes.

Another artist, Daniel Crawford, came up with a completely different approach. He’s using his cello to communicate the latest climate science through music. Crawford used an approach called data sonification to convert global temperature records into a series of musical notes. The final result, “A Song of Our Warming Planet,” came about following a conversation Crawford had with geography professor Scott St. George during an internship. St. George asked Crawford about the possibility of turning a set of data into music, and this is the result.

In an urgently collaborative effort in the first few months of 2014, over 120 musicians and poets participated in The Climate Message; creating and submitting short video clips that combined moments of astonishing beauty with calls to action on climate change.

Google Doodle asked kids, grades K-12, to draw an invention that would make the world a better place for their 7th annual Doodle 4 Google competition. The winner, Audrey Zhang, invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively cleanses the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life. Tragically, we see here a child frantically trying to save her own world.

These have become the voices of the New Environmentalists who are engaging hearts as well as minds, with the courage to challenge the status quo and go forward with beauty and light in these dark times.

Update:  On June 22: Bearing Witness To The Climate Crisis — Welcome To Our Festival Of Song And Sound!