Thursday, September 17, 2009


Here's another Vermont project calling for art in action:

An international exhibition, January 27 - February 10, in Nagoya, Japan.

ON THE PLANET: we will live on this planet, curated by the Japanese videographer, Izuru Mizutani. His proposal, conceived of in relation to the 2010 Conference on Biodiversity to be held in Nagoya later in the year, was awarded this curatorial slot at the Yada Gallery of the Nagoya Citizens Museum.

Four Vermont Artists, Sophie Hood, Janet Fredericks, Janet Van Fleet and Riki Moss have been invited to install individual work together in a 1200 square foot space. Their idea is to envision some aspect of biodiversity on this planet, collectively presented in a way that celebrates our rural Vermont environment, its beauty and vulnerability distinct from the urban landscapes inspiring the other eleven artists from Japan and New York, and to spotlight the alarming escalation of species loss, technically a period of "mass extinction", largely caused by the exploding population and actions of a single species - us.

As Andrew C. Revkin recently wrote on his New York Times blog Dot Earth, "It’s clear that the arts, from visual to musical, can have a role in shaping how people perceive the planet and their place on it.”

That's the challenge: how do these four artists intend affecting perception?

Janet Van Fleet exploring the web of life:

Riki Moss reassembles curious bio forms.

Sophie Hood's wearable creature-sculptures from plastic bags.

Janet Fredricks marks the river as she walks it.

Later in the year, Vermont will reciprocate with many more artists exhibiting in Barre at SPA and at the Millstone historic quarries, and at Flynndog during next year's Art Hop. A video
documenting these exhibits and the artists' perspectives will be offered for screening at the
the tenth anniversary of the 191 parties to the United Nations' Convention on Biodiversity, which will be held in Nagoya in October, 2010.

So, can the visual arts affect government? Are the perceptions, the questioning, the mark making, envisioning, crafting, conceptualizations - the tools of the visual artist - capable of urging compassion for our vulnerable planet? Is the depiction of earth's beauty enough to convince a person - a government - that the earth is worthy of care? Can we even comprehend that we are all part of one being? Or are we only interested in saving ourselves?

Or is it up us? Can we conceive of our own species extinction?

Follow along on the blog Nagoya/Vermont.