Free Soil
Art + Activism
DIY / Homebrew
Film / Video
Open Source
Public Projects
Social Practice
Symposium / Conference
Virtual Soil




30 Nov 2010
Sydney, Australia
The Artlab involves 22 months of rigorous research and experimentation between a ‘rapid response’ team of international ‘ecological health’ experts who are also practicing media artists, designers and engineers. The Sydney Artlab has investigated the Flying Fox relocation program to be undertaken at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and provided design solutions that depend on nurturing human / bat relations. These include the wonderful Botanic Garden Xtension at Barangaroo and the exhibition X.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
13 Sep 2010
The Nederlands, Utrecht
Future Park is a two-part project involving a series of events that explore the instrumentality of urban parks in relation to social policy and the shifting economic, political and cultural structure to imagine a post-capitalist city. The first is a project titled ‘Teach Me to Disappear’ by Paul Elliman and Nicole Macdonald. At Casco projects.

Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Sep 2010
Latvia, Kurzeme
The Herbologies/Foraging Networks programme of events, focused in Helsinki (Finland) and Kurzeme region of Latvia, explores the cultural traditions and knowledge of herbs, edible and medicinal plants, within the contemporary context of online networks, open information-sharing, biological and hydroponic technologies.

Food / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
01 Sep 2010
US, New York
A Windowfarm is a hydroponic system. Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants in water containing dissolved nutrients, without the use of soil. Its a DIY farming system for urban dweller's windows.

Food / Open Source / Sustainability
19 Aug 2010
US, New York
A research and interview article by Nicola Twilley whom with Sarah Rich co-founded the Foodprint Project as an exploration of the ways food and cities give shape to one another. Test cases are New York and Toronto.
An interesting read including topics such as Culinary Cartography & Edible Archaeology.

Architecture / Food / Sustainability
25 Jul 2010
July 27 & 28
Sydney, Australia
HotHouse brings together artists, designers, curators and creative thinkers in a quest to develop models for sustainable environmental change. This “collective experiment” calls upon art and design to offer practical means of transforming spaces, environments, and even cities in ways that are enduring and energising, and that, most importantly, engage all sectors of the community.

Architecture / Events / Sustainability / Symposium / Conference
28 Mar 2010
TODAY ....
"Liberate the horizontal. Integrate the vertical super-surface."
Pretty self explanatory.
See you in the branches.

International Tree Climbing Day is a project by the Duo Collective (Kayle Brandon and Heath Bunting). Formed in 2002, Duo produced a range of projects, in terms of duration, formality and resources. Some where short, messy and cheap, others where long, expensive and structured.

More info.

DIY / Homebrew / Free / Sustainability
01 Nov 2009
In the light of Copenhagen
Belgium, Brussels
"A new United Nations climate conference will be taking place in Copenhagen in early December 2009. Its aim is to come up with a Copenhagen Protocol that will replace that of Kyoto. It would be no exaggeration to say the Copenhagen conference will be of historic significance even before it has taken place. After all, a good and wide-ranging protocol is essential if there is to be any chance of taking vigorous action against climate change. And there’s not much time to lose. The latest data all point to the accelerated warming of the planet.

Just before the UN conference, the Kaaitheater is holding the second Burning Ice encounter. We are once again inviting artists, philosophers, sociologists and politicians to formulate challenges for art in the light of the Copenhagen conference. The basic ingredients of Burning Ice 2 are the play Holland Tsunami by the Dutch theatre company SPACE and the performance Evaporated Landscapes by Mette Ingvartsen. Debates and talks will be held on the topics covered. The full programme will be announced in October."

Art + Activism / Artists / Sustainability
25 Oct 2009
US, Bloomington
"The Society for a Re-Natural Environment, or SRNE, is a multi-faceted, re-environmental organization dedicated to identifying, protecting, and occasionally enhancing elements of wild, non-human nature that exist or have re-inserted themselves into human dominated habitats. The SRNE is dedicated to disseminating information regarding often overlooked, everyday experiences of this aspect of nature."

Education / Organizations / Sustainability
21 Oct 2009
Copenhagen, Denmark
Migrating Gardens is a collaborative project by Oda Projesi and Nis Rømer reflecting on the relation of micro-scale farming and migration. It is an investigation of why people move from one environment to another and how they manifest themselves in the city with their practices/professions from where they come from.
It takes place in the whole of October, with events, cycling tours and a free news paper that you can download here.

Exhibitions / Free / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability

02 Sep 2009
Heavy Metal
Germany, And Other Central European Countries
My new feature about the transformation of former industrial landscapes on the German - Polish border. Read it in our features section here.

Articles / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City

01 Sep 2009
Transforming Industrial Landscapes in Lusatia
The landscape of East Germany is scarred from the change in ideologies following the end of the Cold War.

In the aftermath of the lignite (brown coal) mining, a symbol of GDR Industrial pride and a behemoth of its economic power, vast tracts of barren land and deep gorges have been left. East from Berlin, edging up to the border of Poland, the landscape has endured decades of abuse and upheaval. However this is all changing.

Under the direction of the IBA Fürst-Pükler-Land, SEE is a ten year project and the largest landscape design and earthmoving site in Europe. There are 25 projects currently being undertaken in the Lusatia area, each one addressing environmental renewal, landscape architecture and industrial heritage. To be completed by 2010, it is the first IBA (International Building Exhibition) to focus solely on the landscape instead of built projects.

I visited the area to see this transformation first hand. While I did not visit all the 25 sites, the area is certainly one of paradoxes and an inspiration for the revitalization and creative activation of former industrial areas. It has even more relevance as the history revolves around the cycle that is mining coal for energy, and then creating energy to mine the coal.


In the 1800’s, Fürst Pükler had grand and eccentric visions of transforming this same countryside into a garden. After his extensive travels, the passionate prince brought the English tradition of landscape gardening back to his castle in the area that is now the German-Polish border. It was his life’s work to make nature and art as one and was finally laid to rest in a green pyramid at Branitz. Continuing the Pückler legacy is the IBA director and Director of the Bauhaus Foundation , Prof Dr Ralph Kuhn.

The Lakes

One key rehabilitative idea is to transform the huge holes left by the open-cast coal mining into manmade lake-lands, attracting tourists and leisure seeking urbanites to a future aquatic paradise offering floating architecture, water sports and nature reserves. The lakes will all have their own identity.

My first stop is the Ferdinand Heide designed IBA Terraces on the shore of the new Ilse Lake. This is to be the first completed manmade lake as part of the SEE project, an open cast mine that is slowly filling with water from the underground streams. The sun chooses to radiate this vast place for me, and it takes on another image. Here this once barren landscape is alive and in flux, as it was before. It’s a strange kind of time travel. Green shoots sprout after the rain, and the blue sky is reflected in the waters.

There is still one abandoned house on the edge of the lost village, a silent witness to its life, death and life again. A chilling reminder of the full impact of mining in the area are the memorial rocks in front of the lakes bearing the names of the villages, and the year of their evacuation, that had to be cleared for the mines.

We walk up to the “viktoriahohe”, a lookout point shaped like a boat, and witness the sun shining on the spectacular view of this surreal and ever changing landscape. It is strange juxtaposition, having tourist lookouts over the flooded mines.

Industrial Heritage as tourist attraction

An idea held strongly by Dr Prof Kuhn is to remember the area’s industrial heritage by retaining some of the structures, and not to demolish and forget them like so many other GDR buildings. And like alchemy, transforming these heavy metals into another force, one of culture and spectacle.

The F60 is one such monument to the past. Referred to locally as the horizontal Eiffel Tower (it does look remarkably like the Parisian landmark lying on its side) this overburden conveyer bridge is 502 meters long. It is the largest machine ever created and only one of five ever to be built. Now it stands as a monument to the past. Silent. Except for the audiovisual spectaculars that happen every weekend, one of the cultural projects developed for the site. And the birds that nest in its corners.

In the old Builders workhouse I watch an education film about the history of the F60, and see how these huge beasts operated. There is a small museum with coal memorabilia like bricks with GDR emblems. We have a coffee and a soljanka soup at the café terrace overlooking the steel giant. Couples can even hire an elevated platform hundreds of feet high for a special dining experience.

Lauchhammer Bio Towers

The Lauchhammer Bio towers are another kind of monument, this time the only remnants left from a huge 120 hectre cokery that once filled the town of Lauchhammer. Not ruins, but reminders. Througout Lauchhammer there are old, factory buildings with broken glass and lonely bus stops with names like "Wasserwerk" and "Haal 3", reminders that the town once relied on this coal washery, powerplant and brickette factory to survive. We look at a black and white photograph of the site in 1958 and I am shocked by its huge scale. In 1991 it began to be dismantled. 5000 people lost their jobs.

All that is left of the cokery now are the bio towers and a tree that also miraculously once stood here. Landscape architects Zimmermann and Partner have transformed the area with a green and asphalt park, replacing the dirt and smog with landscape design. A vertigo inducing glass cube hangs off one tower, where one can now look over the site from above and see another design tool, the white crosses that mark the spots where other towers once stood. The paving is made from schlackerstein, the waste products of Lauchhammer. The towers were only saved after much controversy. For a while they were lit up at night until the locals were convinced of their value as a monument to their local history. In the end it was the work of the Kunstgassemuseum Lauchhammer that saved them. Plans for the future are still unclear.
Former worker Dr Konrad Wilhelm joins us on our tour and as he looks out over the area, the sadness he still feels is clear. He tells me how he was born on this area, played there, partied at the rocket bar and the cinema; how he left, came back, employed workers and then had to fire them all. He tells me he turned out the light at the end of it.

Art and Creativity

Creative initiatives are paramount to the SEE project and play a role in many of the 25 projects. They revitalize the area, create interest and engage the community.Internationally renowned landscape artists and architects have also been invited to participate. Nowhere is this so prevalent as Pritzen - a peninsula that forks out into the new lake of Grabendorf.

In the nineties Pritzen had two Art Biennales (1993 and 1995), so it already has some resonance on the German cultural map. These Biennales consisted of site specific land art and landscape design, and addressed the changes. Ben Wagin created his own monument to the destroyed village of Gräbendorf and planted a tree for every demolished house. Like all land art, some pieces have remained, while others have been grown over or swept away by the battering winds. It feels like a treasure hunt trying to find them all now. The Stonehenge like structure on the top of the hill is clearly an art object , while the abandoned caravan in the field - it’s not really clear.

But there are new plans too. Swiss artist Jurg Mantala has been chosen as community arts worker. Together with the locals they will create art works under the name of Paradise 2. Other community projects involved the people of the destroyed villages creating an opera together. Artist Charles Jenkes together with Italian Andreas Kipar have been invited to create a new piece and will create a giant hand, embracing the lake and island. After walking along the windy shores, we took a warm coffee and LPG cake “ every trade cake” at the local café. The town of Pritzen has a sense of hope.

Weltzow – World at the open cast mine

While there are 24 projects to resuscitate the mines, one project, just as spectacular, does not do that. It is the one remaining active coal mine in the Lusatia – Weltzow.
After seeing this, I am aware of the sheer scale and effect of open coal mining, and why the other 24 projects are so necessary in creating an alternative future for the area.
As we near the Weltzow, the road becomes rough and dug up, trees are being felled to make way for large machines. It is like a giant hole creeping towards the neighboring towns, about to eat them up and swallow them into the mine. When we arrive at the mine, Energy company Vatenfall has even provided look out spots to bear witness. As far as the eye can see, up to the horizon, there is a dead desert. No sign of life. Miles of nothing. Just the sounds of strip mining, the monstrously big machine and the F60 overburden conveyer belt, slowly passing and sorting the soil, exposing the black coalface below. Huge endless plains of desert, the largest machines in the world repetitively sorting the soot from the sands of the coal face. It is like a huge rake or a huge insect. Here the F60 is no ruin or monument, it is alive and active and is slowly rumbling its way to devour ghost towns. 80 towns have gone or were relocated due to the mines. And more will go. On our way back we pass through the inhabited town of Proshun, who have to wait until next year to find out their fate. Heidemuhe was not so lucky. We drive through its deathly quiet overgrown streets, cracked windows with flowers growing through the mouldy wallpaper – all abandoned – to make way for the mine. There are open doors and stairways to nowhere, an old glass factory that is no longer needed.

Some ideas work and others do not in this changing and historically forgotten landscape. This area is one of opposites, of destruction and transformation. It is not unique, but the incentive and infrastructure put in place to deal with the changes may well be.
As I leave, I think again that it’s a bit like alchemy - transforming heavy metals into another force.

Thank you to Janine Mahler and IBA SEE for hosting me and showing me around the area.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
31 May 2009
The Gulf Region
The fabulous Volume/Archis have helped to develop this remarkable site that follows the development and urban planning initiatives happening in the Gulf regions, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi. and their global implications. The Almanakh 2 is soon to be published.

Architecture / Magazines / Sustainability
18 May 2009
UK, Liverpool
An unconference is a participant driven face-to-face conference that sets its own agenda on the day and facilitates inclusive debate.

The UNsustainable UNconference comes out of FACT's response to Liverpool's Year of the Environment and the urgent need to establish a forum to advance the ecology and dialogue around the sustainability of society.
Held alongside Climate for Change, the UNconference invites communities of interest who have been engaged in this project and others who are operating through self-organising networks and alternative models of both capital and cultural production.

Join in for an experimental 'un'conference , 9 May, 12pm-5pm, to draw together Climate for Change activity and beyond - where participants set the agenda, and draft a collective wiki-manifesto throughout the day. Sign up and add yourself as a contributor participant on our wiki here and bring your laptops!

Events / Sustainability
13 May 2009
U.S., Baltimore
Artist and educator, Hugh Pockcok is weighing all of his food and drink and all of his urine and shit. The difference between the two weights is approximately what has been transformed into Energy. "This energy is what moves my body and mind. During this period of time I am finding that I am able to more closely observe the passage of energy as it moves from the food that I eat, tthrough my body and then, through the many interactions I have, out into the world."

My Food My Poop May 22nd- Aug 16th Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

Art + Activism / Food / Sustainability
05 May 2009
Den Haag
In 2009 Stroom Den Haag begins the program Foodprint: Food for the city. The program takes place over the course of two years and focuses on the influence food can have on the culture, shape and functioning of the city, using The Hague as a case study. With a series of activities Stroom aims to increase people's awareness of the value of food and to give new life to the way we view the relationship between food and the city. The program invites artists and designers to develop appealing proposals on the subject, while at the same time establishing a clear connection with entrepreneurs, farmers, food experts and the general public.

Food / Sustainability / Urban/City
21 Apr 2009
Platform21 is a platform for people curious about the future. An old, round chapel in Amsterdam is their public design laboratory where they organize exhibitions, lectures and other events.

Architecture / Social Practice / Sustainability
14 Apr 2009
Copenhagen, Denmark
In connection to the coming UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009; COP 15, a series of shows are taking place. Deep green tackles both current issues and draws lines back to an earlier history of environmental art. With Anja Franke , Nils Norman , Sergio Vega, Aleksandra Mir, The Yes Men, Camilla Berner, Tue Greenfort, Learning Site, Åsa Sonjasdotter, Andrea Polli and Free Soil.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
03 Apr 2009
A group of six Landscape Architect students from the Swedish University of Agriculture in Wanå are making small geometrical cultivation plots with an area of 120x120 cm, the original allotment square size, that will organically spread out. The plots will be filled with different kinds of edible plants. Our hope is that these plots, with your help, eventually also will spread in the rest of the world.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
02 Apr 2009
Alternative + Sustainable Cities of the Future
Cambridge, MA
April 3-5, 2009
Harvard University
The conference will bring together design practitioners and theorists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, politicians and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.

Architecture / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Apr 2009
The Building Centre
London, UK
April 9- May 30, 2009
In 2007 Lord Cameron of Dillington, first head of the Countryside Agency, famously remarked Britain was ‘nine meals away from anarchy.’ Our food supply is almost totally dependent on oil (95% of the food we eat is oil-dependent) and if the oil supply to Britain were suddenly cut off Lord Cameron estimated it would take just three full days before law and order broke down. We rely on a particularly vulnerable system. Britain needs to seriously invest in agriculture infrastructure if we are to avoid food crisis.

This exhibition looks at different ways to incorporate agriculture into urban landscapes.

Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
24 Mar 2009
Issue One: Second Chances
US, New York
"The first issue of LANDFILL features folks telling the stories of their second chance at life. The stories were printed on paper containing flower seeds, buried and photographed. In time, the paper breaks down, seeds are released, and new life grows out of the old-just like recycling."

Books / Sustainability
10 Mar 2009
Open Call, crash course
London, UK
C.R.A.S.H - A Postcapitalist A to Z brings permaculturists and activists, artists and young precarious/unemployed workers together to share skills for resistance and self-resilience in a time of economic and ecological collapse.

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination is a network of socially engaged artists and activists whose work falls in between resistance and creativity, culture and politics, art and life. We are inviting creative resisters, unemployed workers and art activists to take part in our latest project - C.R.A.S.H: A post capitalist A to Z - in London’s financial district in June 2009.

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability
03 Mar 2009
US, Stanford
April 15-17, 2009
The Rising Tide conference is a series of topically organized panels, seminars, and roundtable discussions, bringing together creative professionals, scholars and students to engage in conversations and debates about the intersections of ethics, aesthetics, and environmentalism. This groundbreaking conference will be jointly hosted by California College of the Arts and Stanford University.

Our audience and collaborators come from various disciplinary backgrounds. They are artists, activists, community organizers, venture capitalists, philanthropists, students, and faculty of Fine Arts, Design, Architecture, Writing, Criticism, Curatorial Practice and Environmental Sciences who are helping to push the green revolution to a tipping point.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Symposium / Conference
27 Jan 2009
The first public experiment in the ATKN research project explores some of the fundamental elements of wireless communication. Technological development made it possible to use changing electrical fields as messenger, first over wires later via electromagnetic waves through the air.

Each day we use our wireless devices to pick up the messages, that travel on these waves, out of the air. The airspace that surrounds us is filled with data. In this experiment two vertical axis windmills use the displacement of air to harvest energy to establish communication. The speed of the windmill and the amount of energy generated defines the quality of the connection between the two locations. Information will be send back and forth if conditions allow it. Air will generate energy which will produce communication and fill the airspace.

Artists / Sustainability
14 Jan 2009
Santa Cruz, USA
The Strengthening the Roots: Food, Justice, & Fair Trade
February 13th - 15th
The convergence is organized by the California Student Sustainability Coalition's Foods Initiative/West Coast Real Food Challenge, United Students for Fair Trade, & the Community Agroecology Network. This regional gathering of students, allies, and other key members of the Fair Trade & Sustainable Food Movement will build upon past accomplishments and serve as a catalyst for regional integration and leadership development. In addition to strengthening the roots of the movement through content explored, the convergence will broaden the leadership community by actively engaging new high school and middle school youth and deepening the commitment of our college level affiliates.

Events / Sustainability
09 Dec 2008
Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots movement initiated by farmers, writers, chefs, eaters and policy advocates who recognize the profound sense of urgency in creating a new food system that is capable of meeting the changing needs of American society as it relates to food, health, animal welfare and the environment.

Food Democracy Now! invites to sign this live petition effort to encourage President-Elect Obama to consider a Sustainable Choice for our next Secretary of Agriculture.

Calls / Sustainability
18 Nov 2008
The Alphabet City series challenges us to rethink ideas central to our lives. In each volume writers and artists address single theme from many perspectives, revealing its processes and possibilities.

This issue, FUEL, examines the future of energy by asking about the politics, science, and history that have shaped the impending crisis of supply while describing possible futures. How will world work after coal and oil? Will the changes be slow or sudden? How might we steer toward a future without massive disruption to our economic life? FUEL addresses these and other questions about the necessary radical reinvention of energy.

Alphabet City is co-published with The MIT Press and appears each October accompanied by an arts and ideas festival in Toronto.

Books / Events / Sustainability / Symposium / Conference
14 Nov 2008
US, California
"An inventory of urban and suburban sustainable ideas and the people behind them. Disobeying the suburban aesthetic laws for common sense, locavorism, human footprint reduction. Escaping consumerism by saving seeds, making your own honey, compost, houses etc...."

Besides this blog, Susan Husky has also published Eco Heroes, a collection of stories and images from East Bay backyard activism.

Blogs / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
14 Nov 2008
India Resource Center works to support movements against corporate globalization in India. They provide timely information on transnational corporations to Indian movements and educate and mobilize key constituencies in the US and other countries to take action in support of campaigns in India.

Oslo (November 11, 2008): Students at the University of Oslo have voted overwhelmingly to restrict the dominant presence of Coca-Cola products on campus, and introduce ethical alternatives to Coca-Cola on campus.

Social Practice / Sustainability
12 Nov 2008
The most ingenious project i have seen in ages. Completely inspiring!! Go go go!
TheWhoFarm is a non-partisan, petition-based initiative to respectfully request that our 44th President oversee the planting of an organic farm on the grounds of The White House, our nation’s First Home, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.

DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
02 Nov 2008
Greening Our Urban Spheres
US, San Francisco
An exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that brings together a diverse group of practitioners who combine art with cultural activism to explore questions of how we ensure sustainability for our growing urban populations. "Since our relationship with nature varies so much from one culture or locale to the next, The Gatherers provides an opportunity to explore not only the differences, but also the similarities, of their attempts to green our urban spaces. In doing so, it touches upon a broad range of interlinking matters, from environmental issues to urban spatial justice, through interactive programs, urban interventions and public dialogue."

Artists and artist collectives in the exhibition include: Fallen Fruit, Amy Franceschini with Wilson Diaz, The National Bitter Melon Council, Oda Projesi, Marjetica Potrc, Public Matters, Ted Purves and Susanne Cockrell, Rebar, roomservices and Åsa Sonjasdotter. The Gatherers is co-curated by Berin Golonu and Veronica Wiman.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
30 Oct 2008
LE GRAND MAGASIN is the title of a store opening in October 2008 in Berlin. The store and exhibition will display and sell products from European cooperatives. It will provide a forum and raise consciousness about products promoting solidarity and alternative types of doing business and manufacturing.
The Project is made by artist Andreas Wegner and will be an exiting exploration and display of workers owned businesses and area that has been little explored in a European context.

Art + Activism / Artists / Social Practice / Sustainability
14 Oct 2008
Portland, Oregon
A Portland based database of wild food sources.

Sustainability / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
13 Oct 2008
Norway, Sørfinnset
Check our new feature on Sørfinnset skole; a self organized and very remarkable place and artproject in northern Norway.

Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability

13 Oct 2008
Norway, Sørfinnset
See a slide show here

The majority of contemporary art production comes from urban centres where the density of funding and institution is the highest. This also makes for a perception of what is not city as "other" and only rarely does experiences and knowledge produced and rooted in a countryside find its way into the artistic discussions. Sørfinnset skole/ the nord land is unique in this respect. It is situated in Sørfinnset a town with 80 inhabitants in the municipality of Gildeskål, Norway. It is a former school that has now become the base for a whole range of activities and exchange between local and international art and culture.

Sørfinnset skole / the nord land is an ongoing project started in 2003 by the artists; Søssa Jørgensen & Geir Tore Holm (N), Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kamin Lertchaiprasert (Th) as a part of the public arts program Art in Nordland. It is a parallel to "the land" in Thailand: An artist driven ecological rice farm, school and selforganized commune established by Kamin Lertchaiprasert og Rirkrit Tiravanija in 1998.

The Art in Nordland program is supporting the project with no end date. This makes sense because as Søssa and Geir state: "Changes happen slowly in nature and in social and cultural processes alike, which is why we have involved ourselves in a long term relation to this place"

The school and its related plot of land is situated close to the water and just above the Arctic Circle, meaning days without nights in summer and the reversed in winter. Traditionally this was a farming and fishing community. Also being this far north you find influences of Sami culture; a nomadic people traditionally living of reindeer, travelling across borders between northern Norway, Sweden and Finland.

These conditions, and the fact that Geir has Sami roots have lead Søssa and Geir to work with Sami culture. In 2005 a course was made for building a "Goathi" (a Sami dwelling) with the master of Sami craft: Jon Ole Andersen and they have continued making projects on Sami history, building customs and food. The same year they started building the Thai house. The building was started in collaboration with 10 Thai students from the Land together with local craftsmen, people from the area and people coming to help from elsewhere. The construction has continued up until today and was just finished on the 3rd of August 2008 ready for use by international visitors and local wanderers.

The Sørfinnset skole / the nord land makes a strong case that hospitality and international exchange can be the foundation for another form of globalization actualized in a specific place and community. In this respect it is more than a project where everyday life and art is closely linked; it also points to how the specificity of the the land and local culture, in meeting with another kind of culture can transform places into a new kind of particularity; a place like no other.

You can read more about the Land here

and about Sørfinnset skole / the nord land here

This feature was written by Nis Rømer after a visit to the Sørfinnset skole / the nord land in July 2008.

Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
29 Sep 2008
Brussels, Belgium
PARK 58 is an initiative that aims at a creative reinvention and participative re-appropriation of the city of Brussels, starting from the imaginary mental transformation of a very special place – relatively unknown – in the heart of the city: Parking 58.

This parking lot, built on the occasion of the World Exhibition in ’58, directly tells a lot about the history of Brussels, in its past and present realities. Its highest level offers a stunning and unmatched 360° panoramic view on the city. This specific building, which stands for 50 years of “Bruxellisation” and drastic changes to the cityscape and urban tissue, involving the spectacular rise of King Car, symbolizes many long-abandoned options in the development of urban structures and mobility. Designed for the use of the clients of the Carrefour supermarket at the floor level, its vast rooftop remains largely unoccupied.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
12 Sep 2008
From September 17th to 21st 2008 the European Social Forum (ESF) is being held in Malmö, in the south of Sweden. The forum is by far the biggest meeting place for social movements and a progressive civil society in Europe - with the aim to create a better Europe and a better world. More than 20 000 people are expected to participate in Malmö. During five days over 200 seminars and workshops will be mixed with even more culture, film, music, informal meetings, activism and demonstrations.

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability
02 Sep 2008
Th New New Museum
US, New York
"After Nature" surveys a landscape of wilderness and ruins, darkened by uncertain catastrophe. It is a story of abandonment, regression, and rapture—an epic of humanity and nature coming apart under the pressure of obscure forces and not-so-distant environmental disasters. Bringing together an international and multigenerational group of artists, filmmakers, writers, and outsiders, the exhibition depicts a universe in which humankind is being eclipsed and new ecological systems struggle to find a precarious balance.

Exhibitions / Sustainability
28 Aug 2008
Aug. 30 + 31

Wander to the wild with artist Amy Franceschini and botanist Stefen Ericsson. Learn to identify the natural enviroment
surrounding your city. By examining a 10 x 10 meter sample of wild space in Umea, Sweden, workshoppers will discuss the relationships in this community of plants as it might relate to relationships in cities both spatially and socially.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
22 Aug 2008
US, Chicago
Hull-House Kitchen: Re-thinking Soup
Every Tuesday, 12-1:30pm
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Residents' Dining Hall
800 South Halsted

A gathering every Tuesday to eat delicious, healthy soup and have fresh, organic conversation about many of the urgent social, cultural, economic, and environmental food issues facing us all.

Please join us in the historic Residents' Dining Hall, where Upton Sinclair, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B.DuBois, Gertrude Stein and other important social reformers met to share meals and ideals, debate one another, and conspire to change the world. Activists, farmers, doctors, economists, artists, and guest chefs will join us each week to present their ideas and projects.

Art + Activism / Events / Free / Sustainability
20 Aug 2008
An exhibition being held at the Arsenal architecture gallery in Paris. A good overview of the necessary (and exciting) sustainable building practices in a city that is experiencing redevelopment on a large scale.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability
09 Aug 2008
US, Oakland
10,000 Steps is a unique collaboration between marksearch (Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas), an independent artistic cultural research team, and the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation. In this two-year stewardship project, the artists are working with neighbors and community groups that surround four historic parks in downtown Oakland – Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln and Madison Square Parks – to beautify and draw attention to green urban public space.

The team has co-hosted many park greening events in and around the parks: clean-ups, picnics, and community gardening. Future events include the creation of butterfly gardens in Madison and Lincoln Square Parks as well as a youth bench-building project at the Lincoln Rec Center.

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability
21 Jul 2008
UK, Kent
The Camp for Climate Action, at Kingsnorth, Kent, 3rd to 11th August.
"The world is changing. Food riots abroad, house prices and pensions collapsing at home, energy prices skyrocketing worldwide. And slap bang in the middle of all of this - climate change."
Oganize and make culture for a sustainable future not dependent on endles capitalist expansion.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
26 Jun 2008
London, UK
1 July at 7pm

If the government is to be believed, we are undergoing a streak of freakily bad luck. First the credit crunch, then astronomical fuel price hikes and now a global food crisis. Could all these by any chance be connected?

Mute magazine will be hosting an open discussion with contributions from: Gareth Dale (author of recent critiques of 'green capitalism' including 'On the Menu or At the Table: Corporations and Climate Change'), James Heartfield (author of Green Capitalism: Manufacturing Scarcity in the Age of Abundance), Helena Paul (co-director of Econexus, and long term campaigner against GM and Agrofuels), Graham Burnett (vegan-punk permaculturist and founder of

The Church House
Fletcher St (off Cable St)
London E1

Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
19 Jun 2008
"An urban epiphyte is a native plant you wear on your person. (urban ep-i-phyte, noun): A biological indicator that lives wholly with the architecture of human bodies as they move through space; as a means to provide a measure of local ecological health and symbiotic cohesion. Participants are given their own epiphyte, an adaptable pouch filled with soil, compost and a native plant, able to adhere to persons or objects. The idea is to attach the epiphyte to your person or belongings as you go about your daily routine. The project is recording the various narratives that occur within the placement of the epiphyte on yourself and in the varied spaces throughout the city."

Artists / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
19 Jun 2008
July 26-29
US, New York
Citysol is a four-day music and art festival that celebrates the vital connection between cultural innovation and the movement for environmental sustainability. The mission of Citysol is to provide a new venue for creative artistic collaborations, while engaging young New Yorkers in an advocacy campaign to bring about stronger policies in support of clean, renewable solar power in New York State.

Sustainability / Urban/City
05 Jun 2008
San Francisco
The Free Farm Stand is an all volunteer grass roots effort whose goal is offer a place where urban farmers and gardeners can share their harvest of vegetables, fruits, and flowers with others, especially those on low incomes and tight budgets. They make locally grown, organic food accessible to all as much as possible by encouraging neighbors to grow some of their own food and turn vacant lots into garden plots and turn gas stations into plantations. The Free Farm Stand offers free organic produce & free flowers free seedlings & starts free garden advice a place to drop off locally grown or gleaned organic food & flowers.

Free / Sustainability / Urban/City
27 May 2008
US, Detroit
'From The Ground Up' is a project Nick Tobier is working on with a group of students from the Univerity of Michigan. They are living and working in the city, building an orchard and constructing an outdoor classroom with EarthWorks Urban Farm and working through the radical food and community networks in the city of Detroit.

"Easy access to easy food is what we as a nation leave to Detroit and to so many of our inner cities. The cumulative effects of this are manifold--from childhood obesity, to lack of choice, from the loss of a connection to culturally significant foods to an abrogation of the bond between people and place.
Walk a few blocks parallel to the major streets in Detroit and a potential solution to these concerns is visible. Through hard work, residents of many Detroit neighborhoods are answering their concerns through gardens. Breaking rough ground to plant delicate seeds is an act that requires nourishment and nurturing. The fruits (or vegetables) of this willingness to wrestle something fantastic and vital out of what has been left to decay is a creative act that, like other art forms, is often relegated or isolated as a luxury, while in fact it is central to culture ... "

Organizations / Public Projects / Sustainability
25 May 2008
US, Paia, Hawaii
Plant A Wish" allows a person or a business to purchase native trees and donate them – along with their personal wishes for the future – to a native reforestation project on Maui or abroad. Their wishes are written on small pieces of biodegradable paper and planted underneath their tree(s. Organized by the local permaculturegroup, learn more on their blog.

Public Projects / Sustainability
23 May 2008
Focus on Gender in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
October 19-22, 2008

"Women are most vulnerable to the bad effects of climate change and yet women are absent in the decision-making process, the discourse and the debate on climate change, a global mainstream issue that is affecting the entire world.
Changing and influencing the course of climate change and preparedness thru disaster risk reduction are the two main strategies which women must understand and engage in.
There is an urgent need for political leaders and legislators to commit to creating a gender responsive enabling environment for responding to climate change and preparedness through disaster risk reduction at national and international levels."

The Center for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP) is a non-partisan, non-profit and non-governmental regional organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting equal participation of women in politics and decision-making. CAPWIP was established in 1992 by a group of women from the Asia-Pacific region who share a vision of governance that affirms gender equality, integrity and accountability, excellence, sustainable development and peace.

Events / Organizations / Sustainability
22 May 2008
San Francisco
Forage Oakland::Forage San Francisco is a neighborhood bartering project that works to connect neighbors and neighborhoods by way of exchanging surplus backyard
Don't let your surplus harvest from backyard fruit trees go to waste! Exchange them for other forage-ables.

*Strictly barter, no cash exchanged*

Blogs / Sustainability
15 May 2008
Biopiracy, external and internal conquest
An exhibition at Kunstraum Lakeside by Ines Doujak dedicated to the neo-colonial practice of “biopiracy.” Doujak traces the routes by which natural resources from “biodiversity” regions in the southern hemisphere are appropriated and marketed by multinational corporations. If new economic Edens are unfolding here for selected enterprises, based on the exploitation of traditional knowledge in these regions, it is not without the complicity of knowledge producers in the West, such as botanical gardens, for example, whose program of investigating and preserving nature is increasingly associated with the practice of genetic modification. Ines Doujak’s installation on one aspect of economy and power under the sign of globalization pursues the question of how the aesthetic and ethical value of the “diversity of life” becomes a factor in the economic value chain, resulting in monopolies that in turn counteract multiplicity by negatively influencing the local communities on whose knowledge they are built.

Artists / Exhibitions / Sustainability
14 May 2008
re-use/office space
Belgium, Brussels
Rotor is a platform for the endorsement of industrial waste re-use. When waste is re-used it lives another life in a use that is identical or similar to the one for which the product or material was initially destinated. The processing requires only limited external energy supply.

Rotor built a new office space based on the principle of re-use.

For the construction they refer to the technique of an American organisation, The Reuse People , that salvages demolition yards and resells the released materials in second hand building materials shops.

Posted in conjunction with 'nowHere'.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
28 Apr 2008
Art, Nature & Environment Conference 2008
9 - 12 July, University College Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

The second Art, Nature & Environment conference organised and hosted by the RANE research cluster at University College Falmouth, will take place over four days in July of this year. The conference aims to bring together some of the leading members of the artistic community and the growing community of artists and researchers already engaging with RANE, to consider and discuss how artists might best address current ecological concerns.

Events / Organizations / Sustainability
14 Apr 2008
Art Changing Attitudes toward the Environment
US, New York
May 9-31, 2008
The exhibition is directly tied to the seminar, Unlearning Intolerance: Art Changing Attitudes Toward the Environment, sponsored by the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with NWM and UNEP. The exhibition compliments and expands upon the perspectives presented at the Unlearning Intolerance seminar, including the connections between art, action and human security, and art as a vehicle for environmental action. The works of art to be displayed at the exhibition are creations of the seven artists participating in the Unlearning Intolerance seminar.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
01 Apr 2008
An International Comparison
May 22-24, 2008
Department of Urban Open Space Planning
Universitat Kassel

New gardens of everyday life and use are becoming widespread in cities around Germany and other European countries. Whereas experts still concentrate on traditional types of gardens, changed kinds are emerging, especially joint projects such as “International Gardens” by and for migrants, “selfharvesting-gardens” or vegetable patches in public parks. Phenomena like these are identified as forward-looking elements in urban development which require closer examination. The conference “Gardens as everyday culture” is
seen as a step in that direction.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
01 Apr 2008
Helsinki, Finland
GRASSROOTS is a 2-day conference, a public forum for discovering and debating the wide field art and ecology today with renowed and specialist speakers leading the way. You don’t need to be a specialist, just come with an open and enquiry mind.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability
24 Mar 2008
At the basic democratic institution NGBK in Berlin a show is coming up this week about the use of catastrophes in relation to climate change and a discussion on who benefits from and uses or even encourages a feeling of danger. With: Ingo Vetter (SE/D), René Lück (D), Lise Skou / Nis Rømer (DK) and more, architecture by Oliver Clemens and Sabine Horlitz

Exhibitions / Sustainability
23 Mar 2008
Current Issue - Vol 28 no 1
Fuel for Thought: oil, energy, conflict and art

Artlink covers contemporary art in Australia and through its networking with the national and international scene, provides a context for evaluation and analysis. It regularly produces Special Issues on specific areas, and undertakes major theme-based features.

Art + Activism / Magazines / Sustainability
22 Mar 2008
Mojave, US
We recently met artists and educators Deena Capparelli and Claude Willey who are behind the project MOISTURE. Two deeply inspired folks...

MOISTURE is an experimental research project undertaken by a Los Angeles-based artist collective. Focused on developing location-sensitive structures for the collection, retention, and use/re-use of water in the Mojave Desert, the collective are invested in creating microclimates within one of the driest desert regions on the planet.

Art + Activism / DIY / Homebrew / Education / Sustainability
08 Mar 2008
How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today
US, San Francisco
Hot off the presses from our local friend and inspiration. Chris Carlsson's, Nowtopia uncovers the resistance of a slowly recomposing working class in America. Rarely defining themselves by what they do for a living, people from all walks of life are doing incredible amounts of labor in their "non-work" time, creating immediate practical improvements in daily life. The social networks they create, and the practical experience of cooperating outside of economic regulation, become a breeding ground for new strategies to confront the commodification to which capitalism reduces us all.

Books / Sustainability
05 Mar 2008
Helsinki, Finland
GRASSROOTS is a 2-day conference, a public forum for discovering and debating the wide field art and ecology today. It is taking place at Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland, on the 16th and 17th of April. See the web page for the full program.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
05 Mar 2008
Hawaii, US
By Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma on public food, public land and commons in Hawaii

Free / Public Projects / Sustainability
03 Mar 2008
Nevada Museum of Art
U.S. Nevada
Land Arts of the American West, JEFF GORDINIER
Author of X Saves the World - How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking, FRITZ HAEG, MICHAEL LIGHT, GEOFF MANAUGH, BLDGBLOG and Dwell Magazine, JENNIFER STEINKAMP.

Events / Exhibitions / Sustainability
28 Feb 2008
Portland, Oregon
Sunroot Gardens is an agricultural operation centered in the City of Roses, Cascadia. They are mostly urban, farming 16 plots around the Southeast side of Portland, Oregon.

Their general farming practices:

No chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, sprays, etc.
No genetically engineered seeds
Heirloom vegetable varieties rather than hybrids
Low irrigation usage (and in some cases, none)
Bicycle-based; over 90% car-free
Cruelty-free soil amendments (i.e., no factory-farmed manure)

Sustainability / Urban/City
11 Feb 2008
US, New York
The Energy Harvesting Dérive combines new modes of pedestrian movement with alternative energy research goals. The project hacks the recently popular Heelys roller sneaker to transform it into a platform for generating electricity from human motion.

see also:
Kinetic Energy Project: Shoe Power

Sustainability / Urban/City
02 Feb 2008
The world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 70 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, we campaign on today's most urgent environmental and social issues. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

Organizations / Sustainability
29 Jan 2008
EYFA (European Youth For Action) developed from a tour that was initiated by a Swedish/German group in 1986 to save the old forests in Europe: then named European Youth Forest Action. From these 'routes', it developed into a platform for grassroots movements working to transform local and international communities in their approach to environment and social, political and economical positions.

"Our main aim is to encourage people's initiative and autonomy; people feeling empowered to act and to raise their voices in decision making processes that effect their lives. We promote and use consensus decision-making processes, whereby information is openly shared and decisions are only made when everyone can agree. As a social and information network we share information, resources and skills to achieve better solutions while building community based on trust. Socially sustainable and just communities go hand in hand with environmentally sound ways of living. Our environmentalist perspective is based on the understanding that most environmental problems are also a question of social and economic injustice. EYFA works to challenge the current dominant social and economic system, while creating new methods based on social and environmental sustainability."

Organizations / Social Practice / Sustainability
28 Jan 2008
Imagining Sustainable Futures
US, New York
Department of Art & Art History, Film & Media Studies, and Environmental Studies Programs, Colgate University
This exhibition and symposium explores environmental issues including global warming and sustainability across natural, built, and digital environments. Creative Solutions for Sustainable Futures emphasizes interdisciplinary, digital, networked art and research that draws upon environmental science, computer science, design, hacking, gameplay, engineering, and eco-criticism.

Talks, panels, performances, and presentations by Natalie Jeremijenko, Brooke Singer, Joline Blais, Tom Sherman, Jane Marsching, Don Miller (aka no carrier), Colin Ives, Alex Galloway, Amy Franceschini and Andrea Polli.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
23 Jan 2008
Bristol, UK
The Urban fringe Pharmacy Project is primarily designed to promote healthier lifestyles for the whole community.

Traditionally the types of walks and workshops that they facilitate may be found at National Trust, English Heritage, or other 'middle class' green spaces. Thier open, accessible, and friendly events are held in inner city and urban fringe green spaces and parks, near to bus routes and areas of urban population. We aim to give participants the opportunity to receive expert guidance in a way that is not currently available.

Social Practice / Sustainability
19 Jan 2008
US, Los Angeles
Artists, Activists, and citizens reimagine the city asa a living environment, reclaiming its geography and resources; Fallen Fruit, L.A. Urban Rangers, Farmlab, Edible Estates.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
17 Jan 2008
Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities
GREENWASHING presents the work of 24 international artists and artist-groups whose practice suggests that the literalism embedded in old-fashioned concepts such as 'environmentalism' and 'nature' are not equipped to comprehend the ecological territory of our time. Today we negotiate an evermore urgent and pervasive ecological (and thereby cultural, political, social and economic) arena that is darkly shadowed by potentially catastrophic ecosystemic collapse. In the face of a constant bombardment of eco-economic guilt, corporate agendas and political point-scoring, what might emerge is genuine perplexity and false promises, though still possibly capable of unleashing creative change.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
16 Jan 2008
Portland, Oregon
City Repair was formed in Portland, Oregon in 1996 by citizen activists who wanted a more community-oriented and ecologically sustainable society. Born out of a successful grassroots neighborhood initiative that converted a residential street intersection into a neighborhood public square, City Repair began its work with the idea that localization (of culture, of economy, of decision-making) is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.

Art + Activism / Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Jan 2008
The Rural Route Film Festival has been created to highlight works that deal with rural people and places. While the term "rural" is defined by Webster's Dictionary as: 1) Of or relating to the country: RUSTIC 2) Of or relating to people who live in the country 3) Of or relating to farming: AGRICULTURAL, the creators of Rural Route Film Festival leave it up to you, the film and video artists, to explain your own definition of "rural."

Coming to the Red Vic in San Francisco Feb. 5, 2008.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability
28 Dec 2007
U.S. Florida
Once again, Mark Dion deservedly receives a generous grant to realize: Travels of William Bartram – Reconsidered. The award will allow Mark Dion to create a site specific project at Bartram’s Garden, America’s oldest living botanic garden.

Travels of William Bartram – Reconsidered will examine the history and culture of 18th century American naturalists, John (1699-1777) and his son William Bartram (1739-1823). Using their travel journals, drawings, and maps, Dion plans to retrace the exploratory journeys of the Bartrams, in particular, William’s expedition to northern Florida. Dion and his companion “explorers” will travel in the same ways the Bartrams did: by horseback, boat, and on foot.

Artists / Sustainability
03 Dec 2007
ForestEthics' Catalog Cutdown Campaign is organizing people to stop the production of direct mail catalogs/junk mail. Sears is best known for being the original catalog producer—sending out an estimated 425 million catalogs a year, using enough paper to wrap the Sears Tower 6 times a day, every day.

02 Dec 2007
US, Berkeley
A documentary film about young farmers, protagonists of America's agricultural revival.

The Greenhorns is a documentary film that explores the lives of America’s young farming community—its spirit, practices, and needs. As the nation experiences a groundswell of interest in sustainable lifestyles, we see the promising beginnings of an agricultural revival. Young farmers’ efforts feed us safe food, conserve valuable land, and reconstitute communities split apart by strip malls. It is the filmmakers's hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can inspire another generation of optimistic agrarians.

01 Dec 2007
Two city kids quit their jobs, pull up stumps and journey to a remote, empty, block of land to start an ultra low impact lifestyle from scratch.

DIY / Homebrew / Education / Sustainability

16 Nov 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
By Nis Rømer

In the course of the summer (2007) the Public Picnic project developed with the help of neighbours, friends and people passing by. A plot in Nørrebro, Copenhagen was temporarily appropriated and turned into a public garden and a hub for a series of public events.
The plot had been hidden behind a fence for years but showed to be quite remarkable; wild berries en mass, apple trees, weeds high enough for a full grown person to disappear into and overall a vast diversity of plants.

The early allotment gardens in Denmark were connected to the workers movement and thus had a political component. Many workers got access to a plot of land away from overpopulated cities and small apartments. Access to land was especially 100 years ago a deeply democratic spatial project, as well as about having places for leisure and retreat from working life. Today it is harder to spot the project in the allotments and it seems there is a need to define what are the spatial rights worth fighting for now?

An attempted answer could be that we need spaces free from the omnipresent regime of disciplining by media and commerce and institutions telling us how to live our lives, how to look, act and feel. Places where the collective is possible, where there is no division between production and play, between pleasure and politics; places for the life-world.

The Public Picnic project was motivated in wanting to act and think on how gardens can have a renewed relevance in urban life and politics. While gardens often are private retreats we wanted this to be a public space for pleasure and production. We trampled some new paths in the weed to open it up. Rosa Marie Frang shouted out the news that television wants us to believe is reality mocking the fiction and creating a new one. Media reality is a farce, and we refuse to reduce our thinking. Shaking the earth in series of events to make geographies or moments where opposites normally fixed can meet, exchange and in the process transform us and the categories themselves.

This is the spaces we want, spaces in out neighbourhood where we can meet, organize and express ourselves in informal ways. It is a modest demand: inclusive spaces free of commercials, self organized urban free spaces where we live, everywhere.

See the homepage for documentation of the events

Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Nov 2007
San Francisco
This public art project is the start of a large-scale urban earthwork that involves replacing sidewalks with native plant life to establish a connective greenbelt between the Mission District’s two largest parks: Franklin Square Park and Dolores Park. The greenbelt will be a narrow landscaped strip running east west through neighborhoods now lacking public green spaces. On the whole, the self-supporting native plants will thrive, as they have evolved for thousands of years to suit San Francisco’s semi-arid climate. Also, the permeable soil will absorb rainwater otherwise headed for the sewage treatment plant, which, during heavy rains, overflows into the Bay. Visually, the greenbelt will be reminiscent of the now landfill-covered Mission Creek with a stream of planted vegetation separating pedestrians from cars.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
12 Nov 2007
Project Compost is a student-run, student-funded unit of the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis (ASUCD). Four student staff members, many interns, and even more wonderful volunteers cooperatively manage Project Compost.

There are 2 parts to Project Compost: Education and Action
The Education portion means we offer free composting workshops through the Experimental College, make presentations to clubs and classrooms, as well as make home compost consulatations and construct compost bins to give away.

The Action portion of the program consists of compost pickups. Each and everyday we collect over 1,000 pounds of food matter from the Dining Commons (Tercero, Segundo, Oxford Circle, and Castilian), ASUCD Coffee House, Coffee Kiosks on campus, the Pomology Department, the Greenhouse, and several labs on campus. This organic matter is composted by Project Compost on the Student Farm in windrows.

Education / Organizations / Social Practice / Sustainability
31 Oct 2007
Club of Pioneers
There is currently a special on sustainable architecture and green building on the Club of Pioneers website. The general focus is future mobility and sustainable lifestyle, but the discussion forums are a great way for urbanists and green thinkers to get their ideas out there and be challenged.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
29 Oct 2007
The art and agricultural collective Kultivator must have been working hard to make this big show in W139 in Amsterdam.

Social Practice / Sustainability
24 Oct 2007
US, Berkeley
SAFE, the Society for Agriculture and Food Ecology is a group initiated by students at UC Berkeley who catalyze honest discussion of a truly sustainable food system.

Through panels, speakers, events and workshops they bring this discussion onto their campus with the intention of being inclusive, productive and impassioned on behalf of thier common goals of agricultural sustainability, ecological integrity, healthful human nutrition and vibrant rural economies.

"We feel strongly that this discourse is a critical element in the formation of policy goals, urban consumer literacy, and the shaping of food science. We also hope to embolden those interested in food/farming to make a career in these fertile fields."

They have also organized The Local a market stand featuring fresh local produce on UC Berkeley Campus once a week.

Art + Activism / Free / Sustainability / Urban/City
13 Oct 2007
Ecological Strategies in Today's Art
Oldenburg, Germany
Ecological questions, that is to say the science that studies the relationships of living things to their environment, have lost the last remnants of naive starry-eyed idealism over the past years. Environmental catastrophes such as the tsunamis, dying forest syndrome, fish mortality, cannibalism among seals, global climate warming, water shortages, as well as air and ground pollution make it clear that natural catastrophes are not only just "natural.“ They result from highly civilized ways of life that are based on exploitation and which destroy well-attuned ecosystems. The idea of ecology as a communicative system has therefore gained in influence and importance. With Free Soil, Critical Art Ensemble, Christina Hemauer/Roman Keller, MVRDV and others

10 Oct 2007
Manchester, UK
"In The World is My Imagination, curated by Andrea Zapp at CUBE, nine artists and collectives are exploring the model and the miniscule as an artistic interface in video, networked and interactive installations, digital sound sculptures, photography, found objects and custom built environments.

For the show, Hilary Jack has been commissioned to make a new installation. The work, entitled Tap, involves harvesting clean drinking water from an existing dripping tap (in the Ladies Toilet) which is be redirected into a reservoir and used to nourish an indoor plant. The plant in turn acts as host, feeding a myriad of miniature self propagated baby plants to which it is umbilically connected. Placed on a nest of domestic tables in the gallery the installation acts as a model and metaphor for domestic mains water systems and their satellite networks - networks currently under threat from various environmental and man made disasters such as flood, drought, sabotage and terrorist attack. The work hints at our fragility once those networks are threatened while highlighting our waste of and dependence on, one of our most precious natural resources - clean water."

Artists / Exhibitions / Sustainability

02 Oct 2007
A seminar and exhibition organized by Ulrike Solbrig, Åsa Sonjasdotter and Nis Rømer, in Sparwasser, Berlin, August 2007.

Text by Nis Rømer

Guattari's book "the three ecologies" was published in 1989 but not translated into English until 2000. In it, Guattari argues that the definition of ecology needs to be expanded to encompass social relations, human subjectivity and environmental issues. Addressing this point of view we titled the seminar accordingly.

We invited practitioners who work with an awareness of how the shaping of livelihoods reflects political, economical and cultural power structures, as well as those working with modes of self-empowerment and sustainability.

It seemed to us that much of the debate on climate change misses out on anything other than the technological fix to the current environmental crises. It has therefore become more important to connect contemporary artists who work with other dimension of the environment and to contribute to the creation of discourse around this. The question of “How can we cultivate and experiment with other ways of living and organizing our selves?” was constant in organizing the seminar.

Here is a rundown of the presentations:

Laor Paphonsak and Nuntasakun Tepparit represented The Land Foundation from Thailand. It was surprising to me that The Land was not just about star artists going and building a house and then leaving again (sorry my prejudice). Paphonsak and Tepparit spoke about the One Year Project which takes place as a school and proposes a whole way of living. The school is divided into 4 parts: The first three months is for meditation and includes not talking for the whole period. Other parts of the One Year Project include learning how to live from the land and only the final part evolved around art making. The approach is non-dogmatic. A question was raised about self-sufficiency, to the extent of denying themselves beer. The answer was that they still needed to be on good terms with the neighbours and thus a beer together was necessary from time to time.

Sørfinnset Skole - the Nordland by Søssa Jørgensen and Geir Tore Holm(NO) is inspired by The Land, yet they couldn't be more different. They are based in Scandinavia, North of the polar circle, which means summer without nights and winter without light. Its there one finds their School. Tore has Sami roots and together with Søssa explores this in the building and construction of the Nordland. At the same time direct exchange is made between The Land in Thailand and the Nordland. Recently a traditional Thai house was built and modified to the sometimes harsh Scandinavian climate. The location also works as a type of community centre for the small village and its surrounding, with café, community radio and talks on a variety of topics around culture, food and nature.

EcosXchange / Siraj Izhar presented a project to introduce an alternative economy in Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Rezé, Nantes. The building with its Iconic status and size, (around 1000 people live there) provides a good context for testing alternative economies to improve the place in terms of both sociability and environmental impact.

Ingrid Book & Carina Hedén presented an example of social housing in Angered, in the municipality of Göteborg, Sweden. Angered is a community of 40.000 inhabitants with a 90 % immigrant population and high rates of unemployment and crime. Millions of € have been spent to improve the situation but has resulted in little apparent improvement to public life in the area. Their talk was formulated as a question and a series of images from the area: How can artists work in meaningful ways in a context like this?, what would need to be done if anything? They opened it up to the other participants for suggestions.

Amy Plant presented which is a support website for Manor Gardening Society Allotments in Hackney Wick, London. The allotment gardens are threatened by eviction because of the building of the Olympic City. The presentation showed how artists can contribute to making campaigns highly successful in terms of media coverage and air time, and also added reflection on what kind of city is created, for whom and in which aesthetics. It was obvious that the planning for the site by the Olympics planners had more to do with creating a kind of marketable identity resembling slick commercials, rather than making a place where life is lived and people take part in the formation of their environment.

Workstation ideenwerkstatt Berlin e. V was similar in some ways in terms of their cultural activism and interest in gardening. Frauke Heel presented the Worksstation's practice of working. On the one hand it was self reflective and open to what is work and how it is valued. On the other it was directly activist, such as the Rosa Rosa and other Intercultural gardens in Berlin (See the documentation part of the website for images)

The question of “What is a livelihood and how do artist connect to a local context?” was asked by the Sandarbh Artists Workshops represented by Sakshi Gupta and Chintan Upadhyay, India. They work mainly in semi-rural areas. The setup is that artists are “thrown” into a specific area and work ad -hoc in a highly experimental manner as a response to the local situation and people they meet. One example was a local museum with farming tools that represented local identity and farming habits, but also worked actively as a kind of tool lending library.

From an entirely different angle Anna Barth talked about the Butho tradition - a dance that connects to soil and to death and to what is traditionally thought of as ugly. One Japanese Butho master owned a nightclub and in this setting removed from "high art" many things were tested and developed. Another Butho master stressed the importance of learning to farm in order to know how to dance Butho.

The organisers presented their individual and group works. Ulrike Solbrig explained and demonstrated the working method of UN-Wetter taking the shape of discursive picnics shared events in the city where everyone is at the same time a host and a guest, and research into for example the patenting of crops.
Åsa Sonjasdotter discussed her project Potato Perspective and distributed her A-Z on how to breed potatos, and the amazing biodiversity you can have in potatoes when finding other ways of breeding than what the marked allows for.
Nis Rømer and Andrea Creutz working together in Fieldwork presented their works in Swopshop and Free Soil, with discussions on participatory research, alternative economies and localized research.

The afternoons of the seminar were for urban explorations in Berlin. We were guided by in many cases Ulrike Solbrig to see self organized community gardens, children's farms and other places both some that have been around for years and more recently initiated project. One of the projects that showed a lot of potential were the "Intercultural Garden" movement. These are communal gardens that work for intercultural dialogue and exchange trough gardening together. In only a few years there have sprung up between 60-80 gardens in Germany alone and the number is growing rapidly. See reports from the excursions and the many places visited on the website under the menu: Documents

One overall and encouraging tendency was that so many artists and activists work with practices that are sustainable in more ways than one. By way of example and lived experiences it was shown how art, culture and activism is important for creating new ways of living, defined not by a capitalist machine but by a lust for life.

The seminar was accompanied by an exhibition in Sparwasser also documented on the website:

Education / Sustainability
27 Sep 2007
Georgia, US
Artist Residency
The Appalachian mountains of north Georgia is the setting for this unique and magical place. It's an artist residency program on an authentic working farmstead.

Residencies / Sustainability
22 Sep 2007
San Francisco

Once again the Bicycle Film Festival comes to San Francisco. This year it is full of off-site events, street performances and screenings at the Victoria theater. Hop on a bike and come by.

Free Valet parking for bikes.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Sep 2007
Habitat International Coalition (HIC) is an independent, international, non-profit alliance of some 400 organizations and individuals working in the area of human settlements. The strength of the Coalition is based on its worldwide membership that includes social movements, grassroot organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and research institutions, and like-minded individuals from 80 countries in both North and South. A shared set of objectives bind and shape HIC's commitment to communities working to secure housing and improve their habitat conditions.

Architecture / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
15 Sep 2007
US, Berkeley
Friday, September 21, 2007

Krutch Theater, Clark Kerr Campus, Berkeley
2601 Warring Street at Parker
9:00AM to 3:30PM

An event that highlights the broad spectrum of Berkeley sustainability efforts led by businesses, government agencies, academic and health institutions, community-based organizations and inspired individuals. The Summit includes a whirlwind of short presentations on Berkeley-focused sustainability projects, structured networking, and organic lunch.

10 Sep 2007
San Francisco
The book tells the inspiring stories of individual citizens, families and community groups that achieved unlikely victories in the fight to bring environmental sustainability and economic fairness to such vital areas as water management, food, toxics, urban renewal, clean energy, and local politics. For example, the book tells the story of LaDonna Redmond, a Chicago mother who, when confronted by her son's extreme food allergies, decided to create a system of urban farms in her neighborhood. We write about the residents of Norco, Louisiana, who fought a years-long battle to force Shell Oil to address the consequences of decades of toxic exposure.

Books / Sustainability
04 Sep 2007
A wonderful project in its early stages. Superfund 365 , A Site-A-Day, is an online data visualization application with an accompanying RSS-feed and email alert system. Each day for a year, starting on September 1, 2007, Superfund365 will visit one toxic site currently active in the Superfund program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the end, the archive will consist of 365 visualizations of some of the worst toxic sites in the U.S., roughly a quarter of the total number on the Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL).

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
25 Aug 2007
September 13-16, 2007
Bristol, UK
OFFLOAD is the UK’s first network media and systems arts event on nature, sustainability and ecology. The event brings together international, national and local artists and practitioners interested in creating work that use new and existing media. OFFLOAD is interested in interactive, playful, participatory and socially aware practice.

Art + Activism / Events / Public Projects / Sustainability
20 Jul 2007
US, New York
A Summer Charette Produced by
the Forum for Urban Design and Storefront for Art and Architecture

Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
17 Jul 2007
A series of international arts exchange projects, focusing on the Philippines, Mexico, and California. Taking the historic Acapulco-Manila galleon route as its metaphor of origin, these exhibitions seek to create new routes of cultural exchange along old routes of commerce and trade and will facilitate further discussions between artists, curators, gallerists and scholars from all 3 places to explore strategies for sustainable exchange.

Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
15 Jul 2007
Bikes that haul, for all.
US, Berkeley
"Worldbike is an international network of bicycle designers and industry leaders, and international development professionals, working together to provide transportation solutions and create income-generating opportunities for the world’s poor. All across the developing world, people use bicycles the way we use pickup trucks and school busses. However, the bicycles sold in developing countries are those designed for recreation and are ill-suited to carrying loads.

Worldbike designs higher-strength, longer-wheelbase bicycles with integrated cargo capacity. They conduct trial markets to determine the ideal price levels, work with the bike industry to get the best quality parts and frames at the lowest cost, and partner with international development organizations like Kickstart International to sell and distribute the bicycles."

Organizations / Sustainability
12 Jul 2007
workshop and exhibition
A workshop for cultural practitioners working with modes of self-empowerment and sustainability. With this project, we will gather people who work with an awareness of how the shaping of livelihoods reflects political, economical and cultural power structures, and who, through engagement in this subject, have developed positions and strategies of criticality within their praxis. Participants from Thailand, India, England, Norway, Germany, Scandinavia and others. The workshop is held in Sparwasser, Berlin. It is open to the public. Organized by Åsa Sonjasdotter, Ulrike Solbrig and Nis Rømer

Exhibitions / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
21 Jun 2007
August 14-21, 2007
Eight days of low-impact living, debates, learning skills, and high-impact direct action tackling the root causes of climate change.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability

05 Jun 2007
Part 2
Here are the ten art projects that deal with the subject of Climate Change, including us.

1 Halliburton SurvivaBall

‘The SurvivaBall is designed to protect the corporate manager no matter what Mother Nature throws his or her way,’ said Fred Wolf, a Halliburton representative at the Catastrophic Loss conference held in Florida. ‘This technology is the only rational response to abrupt climate change’. It will include a sophisticated communications systems, nutrient gathering capacities, onboard medical facilities and a daunting defense infrastructure. The only problem is, the SurvivaBall was a fake, and so was the Halliburton representative. The Yes Men are pranksters/performers who assume other identities - ‘identity corrections’ - to make fun of and bring attention to the serious issues of corporate accountability and global greed. They are invited to events and TV shows through their various websites and present ridiculous and unbelievable corporate strategies. No one seemed to doubt their appearance in Florida, and fellow representatives even asked about the SurvivaBalls anti-terrorism capabilities. Other stunts have included the fake GWBush site and apologising on behalf of Bophal for their chemical spill disaster of 1984.

2. Cape Farewell

Cape Farewell was conceived by artist/filmmaker David Buckland and during the past five years he and a varying team of artists, writers, choreographers, filmmakers, environmentalists and scientists have worked on a 100-year old Dutch schooner called The Noorderlicht. Located in a fjord near Longyerben, Svalbard, just north of the 79th parallel, they respond to the environment and reflect the earths change where its most sensitive, the arctic circle. They draw attention to the role ocean currents play and the effect that rising CO2 levels and changing weather patterns will have. The team have already developed a major exhibitions programme, a book Burning Ice - Art & Climate Change and the DVD Art From A Changing Arctic. On his last mission, Buckland invited novelist Ian McEwan, playwright Caryl Churchill, artist Antony Gormley and choreographer Siobhan Davies. Turner prize winner Gormley worked in conditions of -32 degrees to complete an ice sculpture that lasted only three months.

3. Hehe: Nuage Vert and Pollstream

Across a number of projects, the French collective Hehe create a sense of constant rather than delayed feedback. Pollstream is an intervention in environmental ethics. It creates a series of interactive environments in which the audience are in a process of monitoring localised pollution at the very same time that they produce it. The audience is required to conceptualize themselves as responsible - collectively and individually - for their emissions. Using visual, kinetic and sonic technologies, it undermines these typical defences of disengagement by speeding up the normal time it takes for our actions in and on the environment to have consequences. Another project, Nuage Vert, uses lasers and a camera tracking system to project colour coded information onto a waste burning plant/power plant within a local area that is visible to all residents.

4. Translator II: Grower by Sabrina Raaf

Humans also produce carbon dioxide. Sabrina Raaf is a Chicago-based artist working in experimental sculptural media and photography. Translator II: Grower is a small rover vehicle which moves around the gallery drawing vertical lines up and down on the wall with a green crayon. The height of each line is determined by the level of carbon dioxide present in the room, which the robot reads via a small digital sensor mounted on its shell. The carbon dioxide, of course, is generated by gallery visitors, This piece makes visible how art institutions depend on their visitors to make them 'healthy' spaces for new art to evolve and flourish within. Watching the artistic output of a machine that is so sensitive to its environment makes people in the space more sensitive to their environment and its conditions.

5. Canary Project

By photographing landscapes throughout the world that are currently undergoing dramatic transformation or are vulnerable to predicted changes, Canary Project conveys the urgent reality of global warming. Their team of scientists, writers and artists aim to present these images in ways that speak to diverse audiences and foster positive action. Project co-founder Susannah Sayler will be photographing 16 landscapes selected in consultation with leading climate-change scientists and journalists, showing that global warming is already affecting the world in a variety of ways and affecting every place on earth. In the second phase of the project, they will photograph solutions to the problem, such as sources of alternative energy, preparations for already predicted changes and various green products. Sayler has travelled to ‘hot spots’ and her haunting images include glaciers in Austria and bleached and dead coral in Belize. So far the images have been shown on buses in Denver with the words ‘This is what Global Warming looks like’ and online publications such as Polar Inertia.

6. Precipice Alliance and Mary Ellen Carroll

The Precipice Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness about global warming through the visual arts. They believe visibility is the key to positive action and that artists can give form to the intangible and deliver a powerful message. They commission projects that specifically address climate change in order to direct public attention to the urgency of the issue. Large-scale contemporary art will be executed in public venues. The first commission is by New York-based conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll. It consists of a 900-foot-long window display in the buildings of the former American Can factory, comprised of eight-foot-tall neon letters proclaiming, ‘IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK’. It is ‘indestructible language’, focusing on the fluid, open-ended nature of words. The organization hastens to note that the art piece is ‘carbon neutral’, employing low-wattage transformers and lead-free glass tubing, as well as using solar panels to offset the energy consumed.

7. Free Soil

Free Soil is an international collaboration of artists, activists, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of the environment. Members have developed art projects about greening cities (The Hot Summer of Urban Farming, Copenhagen); the pollution of the Baltic Sea and resulting ‘Red Tides’ of toxic algae (Selective Memory, Starlsund) and F.R.U.I.T, a travelling installation examining how the city is connected to the surrounding agricultural areas. For ISEA 2006 in San Jose, Free Soil conducted a bio diesel bus tour of Silicon Valley, pointing out the environmental consequences of the Hi-Tech industry, and offering alternatives, such as mycoremediation - cleaning soil by using mushrooms. They also foster discourse and give support for critical art practices that reflect and change the urban and natural environment via features and projects on their website. Free Soil believe art can be a catalyst for social awareness and positive change. F.R.U.I.T is currently touring as part of Beyond Green: Towards a Sustainable Art.

8. Andrea Polli

Andrea Polli is a digital media artist living in New York City. She is interested in global systems, the real time interconnectivity of these systems, and the effect of these systems on individuals. She currently works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate information through sound (a process called sonification). Her Queensbridge Wind Power Project presents a vision of a future when meeting energy needs can enhance the beauty of a city by investigating how clean, renewable wind power could be integrated into the landmark architecture of the Queensboro Bridge.

9. Platform

For over 20 years the London based Platform has been engaging in making transparent that which corporations and companies wish to remain hidden. 90% Crude is a sustained investigation into the power and impact of transnational corporate trade and business. Other projects include a research campaign and cultural intervention project on Shell and BP oil companies (Gog and Magog); a series of experimental interventionist walks in the London's financial district (Freedom in The City) and Desktop Killers which links corporations to genocide. In Unravelling The Carbon Web, Platform works to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil corporations, and And While London Burns is a downloadable audio tour of London - a soundtrack for the era of climate change - in their words ‘a requiem for a Warming World’ . Their latest initiative is Remember Saro-Wiwa and will be Britain's first Mobile memorial. It is in honour of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and his colleagues who were executed after anti oil campaigns in the Niger Delta.

10. Natalie Jeremijenko

Jeremijenko is an inventor and engineer whose work focuses on the design and analysis of tangible digital media. She bridges the technical and the art worlds and her mission is to reclaim technology and apply it to the messy complexities of the real world, often with disquieting results. Her project, One Tree, features the planting of 2,000 walnut trees in sensor-equipped planters around San Francisco. The condition of the growing trees will reflect the region's surprising discrepancies in climatic, environmental and socio-economic conditions. Another project Bit Cab inserts geospecific data directly onto New York City taxi display units. Her much acclaimed Feral Robot Sniffer Dogs were hobbyist kits made to modify commercially available toy dogs to potentially detect toxic substances in the air.
Fade to Black is a network of webcams oriented skyward. The images on the webcam fades to black as pollutant film accumulates on the lens. It provides visual and empirical information on air quality.

Commissioned by DAMn Magazine

Photos thanks to the Canary Project

Artists / Sustainability
31 May 2007
US, Los Angeles
Farmlab is dedicated to the preservation and perpetuity of all living things. The people that did Not a Cornfield are continuing their efforts under this umbrella. Amongst their projects are; turning a junker car into a garden where Farmlab presents an exhibition and demonstration of "How to Make a Junker Garden".

Public Projects / Sustainability
18 May 2007
Europe's first commercially operating power station, known as PS10, using the Sun's energy this way and at the moment its operator, Solucar, proudly claims that it generates 11 Megawatts (MW) of electricity without emitting a single puff of greenhouse gas. This current figure is enough to power up to 6,000 homes.

18 May 2007
US, New York
Exhibition on view at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum through September 23, 2007.

"Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” Through partnerships both local and global, individuals and organizations are finding unique ways to address the basic challenges of survival and progress faced by the world’s poor and marginalized."

Exhibitions / Sustainability

15 May 2007
See slide show:

Last week while I was in Barcleona, I had the good fortune of meeting up with a friend who offered to host me for a day. I asked if there were any urban garden projects going on, and the next day we were on the subway leading to the outskirts of town, walking up a dirt road into the valley of San Genis to Can Masdeu.

A winding dirt road lead us to a cluster of hand painted signposts and bulletin boards framing a view of arcadia"

You have arrived in a
rural/urban social center.
It is not a hostel.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you would like to visit the
house and/or get involved in
the project please talk to someone
from the community.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here we collectively organize
diverse acitivities. We invite you
to come especially on Sundays to the
interactive workshops of Collserola.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you use any materials
return them to where you found them
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here there are no door keepers,
Security, cameras, or cleaning service.
This project depends on

Can Masdeu is a squatted social centre in one of the last non-urbanized valleys, San Genis, part of the Collserola National Park in Barcelona. It was squatted by an international group of activists in December 2001, and the terraces surrounding the masia (country mansion) are cultivated by neighbors who live in the neighborhood below, Nou Barris. It sits on 49.4 acres of land. Parts of the masia were built in the 1600s, and in the early 20th century and the house was a nunnery and leper hospital. Surrounding the mansion are terraced gardens that provide food for the entire community. Sections of the land are community gardens dedicated to the neighbors. These are broken up into small plots separated by bamboo fencing.

Can Masdeu gained international attention in April 2002, when over 100 national police came to evict 11 squatters defending the house in positions of passive resistance. Unable to remove the squatters from lockdowns, tripods, on ropes and planks extended out of windows, and even a hanging bathtub, the police waited for the squatters to get thirsty and hungry and come down. After three days of media attention, hundreds of protesting onlookers chanting slogans and stopping traffic on the local highway, and even a solidarity group organizing a sit-in in the Spanish Embassy in Holland, the judge ordered the police to leave and the case reopened. Later rulings favored the owner, the Hospital of San Pau, but no eviction notice has been given.

The project includes a bakery, pizza oven, bike kitchen, cafe, and a social center, the PIC, or Punt d'Interracció de Collserola, which opens Sundays to the public and offers a variety of activities and workshops, often related to environmental issues, permaculture and organic farming, communal living, and community autonomy.

The PIC and the rurbar, a cafe serving local and organic meals and drinks, is open most Sundays from noon until evening. Activities are listed on the website and in the newsletter Infousurpa.

As of 2007, more than 28 people live in and share the house. Community participation includes bi-weekly meetings, organic gardening, housework, and two collective meals per day, and each member contributes roughly 25 euros/month to food costs. The working languages of the house are Catalan and Spanish, but as it is an international group, English, Italian, French, Basque, and Esperanto are also spoken.

Upon entering the main courtyard, we were greeted by a table of people enjoying a community lunch including fresh baked bread and several dishes of food from their gardens. We happened to arrive on a Friday which is the baking day.

After wandering around the grounds and leafing through their extensive zine and radical left library for over 2 hours, it became very clear that Can Masdeu was organizing beyond the local community and that it had become an important link in an international network of social organizations and movement carrying genuine social ecological and political value;
many of its residents have participated in broader social struggles, including the demonstration for a "New Culture of Water" against the Damming of the Ebre River, and the Campaign Against the Europe of Capital and the War.

One aspect of this community that seemed to be the glue of its efficiency and survival was the distribution of responsibilites. The group works in a very open way, such that they make sure that people who have specific skills pass them on to other people. In the case of doing renovation work, they might run a workshop so that when they repair or develop something, they can also teach a group of people as they go along. It seems that skill sharing and rotating roles is essential, such that if one system fails, more than one person will know how to fix it.

Currently Can Masdeu is prodding ahead with educational programs, outreach and rehabilitating the compound with the intention of being completely sustainable. Evidence of this dots the land; solar panels, composting toilets, pedal powered washing machine, rainwater catchment tanks, solar showers...

The city of Barcelona has plans to develop the valley, but the project has received international attention and is in a holding pattern at the moment. The project was an inspiration and breath of fresh air during our stay in Barcelona. I will carry this day with me into the urban garden in San Francisco. Thank you Can Masdeu!

Relative links:
Interviews +photos

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 May 2007
New issue out of Mute Magazine. It's readable on-line and very recommendable for critical debate on climate change issues and its political and social implications.

Magazines / Sustainability
13 May 2007
Rome, Italy
A 3-day forum conceived as a meeting point for all structures that have the aligned ideas on bikes: their use and recycling, importance in urban zones and their political and social implications (no war, no petrol, no pollution, etc...). "This forum is also for the benefit of us all, as we will use it as a starting point for a long lasting process of friendship, collaboration and particpation europe-wide (world wide maybe?)."

Events / Sustainability
11 May 2007
US, New York
Once again. The ever wonderful festival including, city joy ride,
art exhibition, screenings, and more...
May 16-21, 2007

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City

03 May 2007
Arts in (Climate) Crisis
By Joni Taylor
Part 1

Apocalypse may be the new black, but the Plague, the Cold War and the Millennium Bug combined did not add up to the deserved attention that the dangers of Global Warming are receiving.
The scientific evidence, detailed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drove the message home to (most) politicians that the planet is in dire straits, and their responsibilities lie further off than just the next election. On a local level, reports of North Alaskan fishermen hearing the sound of thunder for the first time in history and Media images of hurricanes, tsunamis and shattering icebergs did their bit to freak out the couch potato public. But still not everyone cares enough to be convinced. Potentially thousands of viewers were misinformed by the recent ‘documentary’ The Great Global Warming Swindle, when the already questionable talking heads claimed that overzealous Neo-Marxists and boosted Government funding were to blame for the ‘myth’ of man made global warming. It smacked of conspiracy theory, but compared to the depressing prophecies of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ one almost wished the ‘Swindle’ was true.

Artists have often aligned themselves with activist causes, and have helped to move radical social change. Anti-establishment or outspoken views have never been at odds with the creatively minded. And Nature itself has long been an inspiration. At the turn of last Century, the romantic landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich depicted the fears of the oncoming era of mechanical industrialisation. Land Artists emerged alongside the noisy environmental movements of the Sixties, pointing out Starship Earth’s fragile beauty by making temporary and ephemeral pieces. Green party candidate Joseph Beuys regenerated the city of Kassel by planting his 7000 oaks in 1984.

This Century there has been a hip move towards green design and sustainable architecture. The slickness of sites like Treehugger and Worldchanging can't be denied. There have also been a number of exhibitions lately focusing on ecological systems, such as ‘Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art’ at Chicago's Smart Museum; The Sharjah Biennial, 'Art, Ecology and the Politics Of Change' and the recent focus of the RCA (and accompanying book - LandArt: A Cultural Ecology handbook).

But climate change or global warming as a specific cause is a relatively new one for artists. As subject matter, the enemy here is invisible - but its affects are not.
More artists are collaborating with scientists in a bid to inform their work on a technical level. But while the scientists role is a didactic and theory based practise, the artist deals with the nuances and the abstract. Art asks to be interpreted by the viewer, and its appreciation is often personal. Art speaks another kind of language - one of emotion - and this is why it may be better understood by the public, amidst the Babel of scientific jargon.

There are 3 artistic strains in dealing with climate change.

One is reducing the co2 emissions produced by artists themselves - not flying to that next art fair or finding alternatives to energy sucking Plasma screens. Just like a UN delegate, an artist is accountable for his /her carbon footprint. Using recycled and green products is another indication of ‘Slow Art’.(The next art movement perhaps?) London’s seven meter tall WEEE man, made of the industrial detritus used in a typical lifetime, was a successful shock factor device standing on the River Thames.

Another method is making art that depicts the effects of warming and pollution. The most memorable tools in Gore's film were the postcards of glaciers in the Twenties, compared with the dried up and sandy images of today. Photographers relish travelling to exotic places to bear witness to both environmental damage and utopian beauty, and bring back images to share with a city bound audience.

The last, most innovative area is the collision of art and science to create visualising tools, or to quote worldchanging ‘making the invisible, visible’. By transforming data and graphs to a visual language, artists can demonstrate the bare facts with humour and delight. Some even use ecological systems in their work, mimicking nature.

As you will see in part 2, there is a range of new arts initiatives aimed specifically at publicising climate change, with sponsors in tow. Will the public be driven to action by seeing an image on the side of a bus, or a public commission through their car window?
Let's hope that narrowing all the attention to climate change will not take away the real issue, which is the impact humans are having on the environment.
The new ecosystem here is one of dangerous networks - political situations, technological development, corporate responsibility and greed are all connnected to this alienation from the planet earth.
And let's hope that a walk in the country or a breathtaking sunset can also still do the trick when it comes to remembering what is at stake.

Commissioned by DAMn Magazine

Images courtesy of The Canaray Project

Art + Activism / Articles / Sustainability
03 May 2007
+discursive picnics
UNWETTER is an international group of artists, curators, theoreticians and activists. Like Unwetter (German for stormy and turbulent weather) radical global transformations reshuffle conventional knowledge systems and hierarchies, opening new spaces to be explored.
UNWETTER's basic format is the Discursive Picnic that connects different contexts in an ongoing process of reciprocal exchange.
Website is also a great resource for further reading and links.

Art + Activism / Public Projects / Sustainability
29 Apr 2007
Artist Pension Trust® (APT) is the first barter-based, investment program dedicated and tailored to the needs of emerging and mid-career artists -- a group whose career trajectories and employment patterns make existing long-term investment programs inaccessible. APT helps artists with innovative financial planning solutions that are achievable through investment of their artwork.

28 Apr 2007
Call for Participants
Bremen, Germany
An empty multistory building at the edge of Bremen, Germany. "We are looking for temporary inhabitants to explore individual living utopias. The ideas should preferably be in the field of self-sufficient, sustainable living."

Each participant will receive enough space to bring alive his/her idea. This can be anything from an architectural element to a design object from recycled material as well as a theater performance. Sproutbau is simply a place to experiment.

Since the building is going to be demolished there are very little limits for procjet ideas.

Architecture / Calls / Sustainability
17 Apr 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
Two projects are unfolding simultaneously in Copenhagen city spaces, organized by "publik" that produces temporary art in public spaces:
How Do you belong? is a series of public art project focusing on different aspects and meanings of belonging. First project to open was Hartmut Stockters "Ponganer for a day" Where you can rid yourself of the prejudices that go with your current national identity. The nature and culture of Ponga is richly described in drawings and objects
Read more

Surface Tension_Copenhagen invites Danish and international artists to take a look at Copenhagen's infrastructure and backsides. One project is a Public Air Quality Indicator installed on Copenhagen City Hall. With Yvette Brackman, Octávio Camargo, Ken Ehrlich, Robin Wilson & Nigel Green, Brandon LaBelle, RACA and Nis Rømer.
Read more

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Apr 2007
US, Berkeley
Conference Schedule
April 27, Friday night, 7:00-9:00

The rich and bountiful commons that Californians once enjoyed as a gift of nature and fruit of public efforts are under assault today. Our resources are degraded, our services privatized and our public spaces increasingly pre-empted. But the state’s commons-wealth are not mere amenities for our private lives or raw materials for the economy. They are collective goods, shared resources and collective achievements that underpin our and future generations’ well-being, our civic life and our possibility for a democratic life together.

What exactly are commons? How do they work? How can we protect them? Join scholars, activists, scientists and writers from around the state to examine the crises of California’s commons, recover their history and imagine their possible futures.

Download the brochure.

Art + Activism / Events / Social Practice / Sustainability
13 Apr 2007
US, New York
Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, has developed the idea of “vertical farm” skyscrapers. In his theory he speculates about 30-story towers producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year.

from New York Magazine

Architecture / Magazines / Sustainability / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
12 Apr 2007
A new electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Encyclopedia is a free, fully searchable collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators, and experts who collaborate and review each other's work. The articles are written in non-technical language and will be useful to students, educators, scholars, professionals, as well as to the general public.

Free / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
08 Apr 2007
Globalism - Crisis + Opportunity
US, Chicago
Green World Symposium
April 26-28, 2007

3 days of artists and "cultural producers" addressing globalism:

"Globalism is radically transforming our world, creating new political instabilities, economic interdependencies, ecological stresses and cultural hybrids. The negative results of globalism have been widely discussed: the loss of cultural and ecological diversity; the consolidation of economic and media power; the rise of violent reactionary and fundamentalist movements."

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability
06 Apr 2007
San Francisco
Sunday, April 15th, 2007
1-3:30pm/ Readings begin at 2pm
located on 7th Ave. at Lawton Streets

Presentations + Readings by:
Amy Balkin, Henrik Lebuhn, Marina McDougall, Rick + Meagan Prelinger/Prelinger Archives, Erik Zo

A one-day public library created by artists, gardeners and friends of the Garden for the Environment. Invited, one and all, to bring a selection from your private library to the garden for a one-day only public library. By sharing a selection of your favorite books we will temporarily create a collective dream library. Please bring no more than ten books on the following themes: Urban gardening, art and nature, food history, art/policy/farming, sustainability/self-reliance, future of food, social history of food/gardens.

Books can be children's books, non-fiction, how-to guides, scientific/botanical illustrations, recipe books, zines and fiction. Come prepared to read, sip tea and share selections from your favorite books.

If you cannot make it, we will create an online archive at Library Thing.

DIY / Homebrew / Events / Free / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
04 Apr 2007
San Francisco
A very active and organized San Francisco group who cretaed a 40 year plan: The Path to a Livable City. Thier mission is to promote policies which shift travel from automobiles to more appropriate means—create a balanced transportation system and promote complementary land use.

Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Apr 2007
"spring_alpha" is a networked game system set in an industrialised council estate whose inhabitants are attempting to create their own autonomous society in contrast to that of the regime in which they live. The game serves as a "sketch pad" for testing out alternative forms of social practice at both the "narrative" level, in terms of the game story, and at a "code" level, as players are able to re-write the code that runs the simulated world. The basic aim of the game is to change the rules by which the society in that world runs. This is done through hacking and altering the code that simulates that world, creating new types of behaviour and social interaction. How effective this becomes depends on the players' ability to spread these new ideas into the society.

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
31 Mar 2007
US, Santa Cruz
Free Wheelin' Farm is a northern California organic farm that delivers their produce via a bike with a trailor.
Check out their zero emission plow!

21 Mar 2007
"Carbon Trust is launching a carbon label to provide both a measure of a product's carbon footprint and to allow a business to demonstrate a commitment to manage and reduce the carbon emissions of its product, as well as helping everyone in the UK start to make informed decisions about the products they buy."

13 Mar 2007
The book is a compilation of texts and projects (not only by superflex) that actualize, exemplify or discuss self-organisation. The counter-economic strategies presented here are alternatives to classical capitalist economic organisation that exploit, or have been produced by, the existing global economic system.

Books / Social Practice / Sustainability
10 Mar 2007
San Francisco
Saturday April 21 through Sunday April 22, 2007
Along the Third St Corridor

CCA's Curatorial Practice presents: The San Francisco World’s Fair of 2007 asks, “What would today’s world’s fair look like if it didn’t privilege a singular ideology and how would it define itself?” Using this idea as our conceptual framework, the project begins to sort through the accumulated values and investigates multiple ways to proceed. Our World’s Fair creates a space in which to debate the nature of progress through the creative act.

Events / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
07 Mar 2007
As the "greening" business flourishes and people start replacing their non-green products with "green" products, what will happen to the flurry of pre-green consumer waste?

Superuse has some ingenious examples of giving disposed products a second or other life.

DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
07 Mar 2007
Direct Action for People and Planet
"The general principles behind Earth First! are non-hierarchical organisation and the use of direct action to confront, stop and eventually reverse the forces that are responsible for the destruction of the Earth and its inhabitants. EF! is not a cohesive group or campaign, but a convenient banner for people who share similar philosophies to work under."

Sustainability / Virtual Soil
05 Mar 2007
Mini Film-Series dedicated to food and food security
Canada, Ottawa
On March 1 (sorry, too late), 8 and 15 USC Canada, Just Food, the Good Food Box, and World inter-action Mondiale (WIAM) are bringing Reel Food, a program screening Media That Matters: Good Food, a collection of short films on food and sustainability.

Artists / Events / Organizations / Sustainability
03 Mar 2007
New Climates is an online exhibition of new and existing artworks responding to the relationship between art, global climate change and networked culture. New Climates takes the form of a continuously-updated and extensive video weblog.

14 artists have been selected to create short web-videos responding to the pervasive discourse and images of the climate change crisis.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
26 Feb 2007
From Treehugger...
A cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor uses about 74 watts to display an all white web page, but only uses 59 watts to display an all black page. Worldwide, about 25 percent of the monitors currently in use are CRT, which means that they waste energy displaying white backgrounds. Read the stats.

Sustainability / Virtual Soil
24 Feb 2007
Presented by Worldwatch, State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future explores the myriad ways urbanization is affecting our lives and the global environment—with a special focus on the ideas that can make our cities environmentally sustainable and healthier places to live.

Books / Sustainability / Urban/City
19 Feb 2007
US, New York
Frome the founders of Booklyn...
Part endurance/body art, part earthwork/landscape art, part ecological meditation and part Butoh dance – the Vegetable Mind performance involves carefully excavating holes in the earth and then planting people in those holes so that it appears as if the people grew out of the ground. A team of gardeners tends the planted people. Landscape composition, physical placement, drainage of waste, protection from the elements, harvesting and restoration of the sites are all carefully designed into each site-specific performance/installation.

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability
16 Feb 2007
The exhibition will include short and clear facts about the work in the ProMidNord -project and about the Mid Nordic Region in general. The subjects are the comprehensive strategy, energy, environment, youth-democracy and culture. The artexhibition "MORE THAN THIS - voices and expressions on sustainability" will provide artistic perspective about sustainable development.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
12 Feb 2007
"Artists should be at the centre of society keeping alive a utopian vision, because society will not improve if the people envisioning a better society are politicians."
-Peter Sellars

As the tenth anniversary of the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight colleagues approaches, and a decade of empty promises fades in the Niger Delta, a wide coalition of organisations and individuals has gathered to ensure that their courageous struggle will never be forgotten.

Remember Saro-Wiwa is launching a unique public art initiative – the Living Memorial – dedicated to Ken, his colleagues, and the issues that they fought and died for. It will be Britain's first ever mobile memorial, moving from site to site over two to three years, while at the same time planning for a permanent home.

See the shortlist of artists.

Art + Activism / Public Projects / Quotes / Sustainability
11 Feb 2007
Making maps for an island planet
A journey around our interdependent world through debate, art and workshops at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
10 Feb 2007
Totnes is the first town in the UK to have a 25 year plan that will help them become a non-oil-powered community. They are planning to reduce and even stop using oil within the next 20 years.

Sustainability / Urban/City
31 Jan 2007
Project duration: august 2004 - july 2007
ProMidNord is a projectinitiative of the MidNordic Committee to the Interreg IIIB -program.
The project consists of five different workpackages, which all aim to strenghten the potential and attractiveness of the whole region.
The five areas of co-operation:
1) Strengthening the MNR as a macroregion and introducing joint Spatital Development as a method
2) Environment and eco-competitiveness
3) Sustainable Energy Development
4) Youth, Regional Development and Democracy
5) Culture and cultural heritage as a means for sustainable development

Art + Activism / Sustainability
28 Jan 2007
L’Alliance pour la Planète, a collective made up of NGO's and associations in France, is calling out to Parisian and all European citizens to turn of their lights for five minutes on February 1st. The date is choosen because a new report will be submitted in Paris the next day by GIEC, an intergovernmental group of experts on climate change for the United Nations. The '5 minutes of respite' are meant to attract the eyes of the media, and show the French presidental candidates that global climate change must be included in the political debate.

Calls / Events / Free / Organizations / Sustainability
24 Jan 2007
The Art of Climate Change
Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and educators together to collectively address and raise awareness about climate change. Created by David Buckland, Cape Farewell has led three expeditions into the wild, beautiful and icy High Arctic, a place for artistic inspiration and scientific enquiry.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
21 Jan 2007
Stephanie Smith and the Smart Museum have made the "Beyond Green" catalogue free for download. Contains contributions from Free Soil, Temporary Services, Dan Peterman, JAM and many more.

Free / Sustainability
17 Jan 2007
Take the Harm Out of Pharma and Industrial Crops
'The federal government's regulations of pharma crops do not address the possibility that pharma crops could contaminate seed production. As a reaction, The Union Of Concerned Scientists has launched a campaign to call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for immediate regulatory action under the Plant Protection Act to prohibit the outdoor cultivation of genetically engineered food crops for the purpose of producing pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals.'

Organizations / Sustainability
11 Jan 2007
'Green' Olympics plan to bulldoze 100 year old Manor Garden Allotments for a screen to show events to non-ticket holders.

-Watch the beautiful and informative BBC Video!
-Visit the organizational diagram.
-UK Citizens! Sign the petition:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Incorporate rather than demolish Manor Garden Allotments within the 2012 Olympic site."

Sustainability / Urban/City
11 Jan 2007
US, Chicago
A chicago based group, Echo Studio, presented landscaping suitable for use in an urban environment at the Garden in a City exhibition.

I post this link as a reference to a possible educational format to present the various configurations of plantings that can happen in citites.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
10 Jan 2007
US, New York
A group exhibition that inventively explores the representation of “nature” through the perspective of networked culture. The exhibition includes works by C5, FutureFarmers, Shih-Chieh Huang, Philip Ross,Stephen Vitiello, and Gail Wight, who provocatively combine art and politics with innovative technology, such as global positioning systems (GPS), robotics, and hydroponic environments.

Art + Activism / Exhibitions / Sustainability
22 Dec 2006
Combining Art + Technology to Promote Sustainability by Tiffany Holmes
Eco-visualization technology made by media artists offers a new way to dynamically visualize invisible environmental data. Eco-visualization can take many forms. My own practice of eco-visualization involves animating information typically concealed in building monitoring systems, such as kilowatts or gallons of water used. A public display with real time visual feedback promotes awareness of resource consumption and offers a practical alternative to remote meters concealed in utility closets. The long-term goal of most eco-visualization practitioners is to encourage good environmental stewardship using hybrid practices of art and design. This essay contextualizes the emerging field of eco-visualization and its interdisciplinary trajectories.

Artists / Sustainability
19 Dec 2006
Brazilian artist and curator Maria Therese Alvez has a ongoing project about ballast from ships and how this lead to global exchange of flora. In short when trade ships returned with an empty load, to maintain stability in the ships they were loaded with ballast most often in the form of soil. Arriving back the ballast was unloaded and in this way a huge exchange of soil and thereby seeds took place along the major trade routes. With great care in researching this she finds the ballasts spots, analyzes the flora present, makes gardens and more.
Alvez also co-founded Brazil's Green Party, something I would also like to know much more about.

See Wake!

Artists / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
16 Dec 2006
London, UK
Jeremy Deller is working to make a habitat for bats in London to promote wildlife friendly building design and public engagement with ecological issues. You can take part in monthly design challenges and next spring there will be a national design competition for artists, designers, architechts and the like for the final design of the house. The website is just up with resources and more. Deller is probably best known for the re-enactment of a miners strike: "The Battle of Orgreave"

Architecture / Artists / Sustainability
14 Dec 2006
A new book published by Printed Matter, GRAN BAZAAR, by Katie Holten. This is the culmination of a residency in Mexico city where Katie fueled a spontaneous “factory” in her hotel room, mainly utilizing the detritus from daily transactions. Newspapers, take-out packaging, toilet paper tubes, and other leftovers were turned into handmade goods, such as pet toys.

The book also contains texts by Néstor García Canclini (anthropologist, Mexico City), J. Frederick Janka (curator, Mexico City), and Sally O’Reilly (writer, London). Canclini writes about the influence of the urban informal in international mega-cities and Janka outlines the organic evolution of the project. Sally O’Reilly interviews Holten on techniques concerning art, trade, and object dilemmas.

Books / Sustainability
12 Dec 2006
Greenwash Exposed
George Monbiot has a weekly column in the Guardian, a great blog and wrote several books, so far. Linked to his latest book 'Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning', he launched a new website that creates a space for additional and up-to-date information. Both the book and the site strive to expose corporations' and politicians' false statements and claims about global warming. Monbiot wages war against their mean techniques, trying to make us believe their are taking action and we shouldn't.

Articles / Books / Sustainability
05 Dec 2006
This Green Electronics Guide ranks leading mobile and PC manufacturers on their global policies and practice on eliminating harmful chemicals and on taking responsibility for their products once they are discarded by consumers. Companies are ranked solely on information that is publicly available.

The Second edition of the guide just came today. Apple still has a long way to go.

28 Nov 2006
The Mars Greenhouse project is part of the Advanced Life Support system for the mission to Mars. The Mars Dome Project (MDP) is designed to grow plants in an enclosed structure under reduced pressure.

It reminds me of Ken Goldberg's early work: Telegarden

Sustainability / Virtual Soil
28 Nov 2006
My friends Melinda Stone and Francis Lake have truly gone back to the land. The homestead is 7 hours north of San Francisco and offers goats, chickens, a large garden, orchard, a creek with swimming holes and flowing waterfalls. The entire farm is off the grid and self sustained.

They have started an Artist in Residency and internship program.

Join them!

DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
28 Nov 2006
Publication date: 11 December 2006
London, UK
Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook will present a compendium of texts, dialogues and collaborations by and among ecologists, economists, cultural theorists, activists and art writers that extend from the notions of land, cultural production and the emergencies of 21st century.

Art + Activism / Books / Sustainability
20 Nov 2006
Creative ideas for reusing and recycling random stuff
UK, Leeds
Two sites in one: How can I Recycle this?Recycle this? and Compost this?, as the latter grew out of the first one. Both sites suggesting at least one item a week to recycle or compost. Feel free to propose them items you reuse (or would like to).

Blogs / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
16 Nov 2006
The PLANT! project is maintained by 6 small groups of students from Calvin College. PLANT! consists of 6 neighborhood-centric sites that have been converted from unused space to urban gardens that will act as vehicle for the participants to better understand "place" in terms of geography, a concept, topography, history, community, science, botany, the environment, psychogeography, emotions, situations and any other way imaginable.

Art + Activism / Public Projects / Sustainability
12 Nov 2006
First Scrap Raft to Cross the N. Atlantic
The Floating Neutrinos are creating and demonstrating viable alternatives to modern tendencies toward imitation, factory made consumerism, and loss of individual creativity.

Click around...

Free / Sustainability
08 Nov 2006
Pure Beauty...

02 Nov 2006
Broken ipods wanted for art
US, New York
Stay Free magazine is seeking artists and (broken) ipods for an upcoming project about planned obsolescence. Why does the portable player widely considered the hallmark of savvy design typically die in little over a year? Are ipods "made to break"? Or simply, as some critics have suggested, run-of-the-mill e-waste?
Nice info links as well.

Magazines / Sustainability
23 Oct 2006
Thy, Denmark
This is amazing stuff and I cant wait to visit. The center has for two decades investigated, developed and tested renewable energy sources like wind, water, sun, bio diesel and more and tested various sorts of waste cleaning and recycling approaches. On a piece of land in Northern Jutland (DK) they have built an experimental and functional example of a future ecological society. They recently launched an updated website, the virtual tour is very much recommended.

Organizations / Sustainability
23 Oct 2006
Temescal Amity Works is a two-year project by Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves (editor of: "What we want is free"), sited in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, where they also live. They maintain a storefront, a series of free publications, a website and a crop-sharing program. The projects considers how existing models of local collectivism and exchange both personal and economic can be extended into aestetic practices and how these can feed back into and layer a site and a community.

DIY / Homebrew / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability
22 Oct 2006
People reclaiming their rights that were theirs in the first place.
Thomas Linzey, innovative attorney and co-founder of Democracy Schools and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund facilitates conservative American townships to challenge the validity of corporate rights, claim local self governance and reclaim democracy.

Education / Organizations / Sustainability
21 Oct 2006
San Francisco
Where art, activism and food collide. Bioneers is a forum for connecting the environment, health, social justice, and spirit within a broad progressive framework. Speakers include:
Michael Pollan on Centralized Food Systems,
Paul Stamets on Mycoremediation
Lois Gibbs... on Love Canal and chemical pollution.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability
20 Oct 2006
Many projects like this are sprouting up! Bravo. The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project is about connecting surplus fruit or vegetables to those who have the time to harvest it — for our neighbours in need.

20 Oct 2006
World's Worst Polluted Places
In November 2003 the Blacksmith Institute launched the Polluted Places Initiative to address severely polluted sites throughout the world. By identifying polluted sites directly through an on-line nomination process, researching each site and publishing dossiers online, and conducting site assessments to consult with local stakeholders the institute puts focus on pollution problems in the developing world.

The Institute just published the top ten of "World's Worst Polluted Places"

Organizations / Sustainability
17 Oct 2006
Underground Buildings
US, Cape Cod
Over 40 years, Malcom has been promoting sustainable living and can be considered the father of modern earth-sheltered architecture. He has writen several articles and books, published by himself, about underground structures, gentle building and passive solar energy.

Architecture / Articles / Books / Sustainability
15 Oct 2006
Via culiblog: On an island in Amsterdam’s Westerpark, a horizontal grid of 1m2 garden plots are being prepared for the children. The sign says that around 500 children will receive weekly education about nature and the environment on these plots.

Education / Sustainability
11 Oct 2006
Inspired by Cuban urban gardening, Organopónico Bolivar 1 is a pilot project supported by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Sustainability / Urban/City
08 Oct 2006
Latitudes is an independent curatorial practice that works with artists, institutions and organisations to facilitate and produce temporary and sustained projects such as exhibitions, commissions, publications, research and events.

Current Publication:
LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook: (launching December 2006) |
about land, cultural production and the emergencies of our time...

Art + Activism / Books / Organizations / Sustainability
04 Oct 2006
US, New York
AIR is a public, social experiment in which people are invited to use Preemptive Media's portable air monitoring devices to explore their neighborhoods and urban environments for pollution and fossil fuel burning hotspots.Participants or "carriers" are able to see pollutant levels in their current locations, as well as simultaneously view measurements from the other AIR devices in the network.

Public Projects / Sustainability
02 Oct 2006
Navdanya is a participatory research initiative. It was initiated as a reaction to the Punjab Violence and the Bhopal tragedy in 1984, to provide direction and support to environmental activism. Those events demanded a paradigm shift in the practice of agriculture. Navdanya was born of this search for nonviolent farming, which protects biodiversity, the Earth and small farmers. Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic negineering, defended people's knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation. It has its own seed bank and organic farm.

Art + Activism / Organizations / Sustainability
02 Oct 2006
On their website they present five examples of intercultural garden projects in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Göttingen and Dessau, in Germany. The initiators were faced with different starting conditions; for example with a high percentage of immigrants in the West and a low percentage in the former GDR. Also the local cooperation partners vary in each city – they are essential for the success of a project. Apart from Stiftung Interkultur, the projects have gained other actively committed partners, such as the Torture Treatment Centres, municipalities, local churches, refugee organisations, commissioners for migration in states and city councils, ministries, foundations, universities and environmental organisations.

Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Oct 2006
Open Collaborative Design
ThinkCycle is an academic, non-profit initiative engaged in supporting distributed collaboration towards design challenges facing underserved communities and the environment. ThinkCycle seeks to create a culture of open source design innovation, with ongoing collaboration among individuals, communities and organizations around the world.

Organizations / Sustainability
25 Sep 2006
New Perspectives on Art and Rural Culture
International conference, October 19th-21st.
"Increasingly it is becoming clear that the rural is a contested zone, where some of the most pressing issues of our time are being played out – issues of environmental sustainability, issues of global economics versus local economies, issues of food production and genetic modification, issues of community breakdown, issues of cultural commodification. These are cultural issues as much as social and economic ones, and need to be addressed as such. A new cultural discourse is required, one which places the rural at the center of a debate about arts practice, social engagement and sustainability."

Events / Sustainability
22 Sep 2006
"World Carfree Day is an annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution of cars. Each year on September 22, people around the world organize events of all sizes to showcase alternatives to the automobile. World Carfree Network invites organisations and individuals everywhere to join."

Events / Organizations / Sustainability

20 Sep 2006
8 visual artists in the city and on the web
Copenhagen, Denmark
The "five finger plan" of Copenhagen, is made to make the city develop along five lines of infrastructure and leave intact green belts between the fingers deep into the city. In a way this quite ingenious plan holds the promise that the city and its surroundings can be integrated and the growth of the city controlled to some degree by planning the infrastructure. The plan developed in 1947 does still work as the overall framework for the city though much has been built also between the fingers.

Hot summer of urban farming continues along this trajectory and explores various ways that gardens and farming can be integrated in the city, though on a much smaller scale. Over the summer 8 artists and groups have been making plantations and temporary gardens in Copenhagen's lesser used spaces.
The works are situated in Outer Nørrebro, which is characterized by the highest density of people, the biggest ethnic mix and the least square meter public space per inhabitant. If you take a careful look there are small pockets of undetermined spaces mainly used by dog owners if by any. In the tradition of "zwischennutzung" -temporary uses of city spaces -the projects that the artists made are temporary or made to slowly dissolve in the city and take a life of their own.

Åsa Sonjasdotter have made potato gardens with a variety of sorts supplied by the Nordic Gene Bank a quite remarkable institution that stores seeds and plants from all over the world. A thorough research into the cultural history of the potato, tells a story of how patents to plants are managing to make it illegal to grow most varieties of potato's. One sort has a special status; the "Asparges potato" has been bought by an independent group who has given the rights back to the public.

Marie Markman has done calculations on how much could actually be grown if the leftover spaces were cultivated. While the project does not suggest that this should actually happen it would provide for some weird parks and plantations in the city if other crops were introduced. At least in free Soil we like farming and parks together a lot.
An on going fight for one of the biggest free areas in the city by artist group YNKB is documented on the "hot Summer" website as well as a pretty rough weed garden turned into a parterre. Nance Klehms has made a project about immigration and farming; she exported corn from the US into Denmark made it into tortillas and served them in exchange for stories of migration. Gillion Grantsaan has harvested stories about national and international politics from a bench in a newly made park.

All projects can be seen on the website:

The project wil run until Sept. 26, 2006 and is organized by free Soiler Nis Rømer in the context of publik -a newly established organization for art in public spaces and media.

Dandelion Town by Camilla Berner
Oxygen Greenhouse by Hartmut Stockter

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
13 Sep 2006
8 visual artists in the city and on the web
Copenhagen, Denmark
Over the summer, 8 artists from Denmark and abroad have made temporary works, gardens and plantations in outer Nørrebro, Copenhagen. The projects explores informal and temporary uses of spaces that are undetermined. An oxygen greenhouse, a project about what can be grown in the city and a dandelion town are among the works. The website has a big resource section and shows the works online should you not be in the Copenhagen area.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
10 Sep 2006
Throw-n-Sow is more than a toy, it is a workshop and a catalyst for many questions.

Workshop at ISEA: Global Youth Ambassadors

Throw-n-Sow is a flying disc toy similar to a Frisbee that uses the centripetal force generated in the act of throwing to distribute seeds into the environment. Manufactured as a toy made from environmentally-friendly, biodegradable plastics, Throw-n-Sow consists of a main body and a separate container that slides and locks under the disc.

Education / Sustainability
07 Sep 2006
US, Chicago
People Powered designs experimental pilot programs that integrate art, environmentalism, and communities. By presenting these projects in exhibitions and public locations in the city, People Powered creates a platform for discussing how these practices may intersect.

Art + Activism / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
04 Sep 2006
Food continuously circulates through the landscape into our homes and bodies organizing our calorific, symbolic and social energies. Juice, the essence of food, can also mean credit, electricity, access, flavor and love. The topic of food, as product as well as service, as metaphor as well as material, as energy as well as connectedness, will preoccupy us at Doors of Perception 9. The encounter will be held in New Delhi from 28 February to 4 March 2007.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability
31 Aug 2006
From 1971 to 1991, the New Alchemy Institute conducted research and education on behalf of the planet :

"Among our major tasks is the creation of ecologically derived human support systems - renewable energy, agriculture aquaculture, housing and landscapes. The strategies we research emphasize a minimal reliance on fossil fuels and operate on a scale accessible to individuals, families and small groups. It is our belief that ecological and social transformations must take place at the lowest functional levels of society if humankind is to direct its course towards a greener, saner world."

Architecture / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
25 Aug 2006
Activists campsite as model for sustainable living
"Environmentally sensitive" campsite set up by a loose group of anti-G8 campaigners, including Dissent Network.

- compost toilets, recycling banks, power for lighting from wind turbines and solar panels, a fixed bicycle ran a music system, grey water systems...

See also, Indymedia's: Rural Convergence Article
[Link 1][Link 2]

Organizations / Sustainability
24 Aug 2006
Global warming politics in a post-environmental world
A paper distributed widely around academia last year -- based on interviews with 25 leaders in the mainstream environmental movement argues that environmentalism is ill-equipped to face the massive global challenges of our day, particularly climate change.

The Grist has the full lowdown, rebuttals and interviews with Shellenberger and Nordhaus.

Articles / Education / Sustainability
22 Aug 2006
Exporting Alaskan Ice to the Bahamas
Tavares Strachan creates a solar powered freezer to preserve a 4.5 ton portion of a frozen Alaskan river. The block of ice was shipped to the Bahama's for an exhibition in July.

In this project, he suggests that opposites, or extremes, are actually necessary for each other's survival. Ice on the surface of the Arctic Regions helps to maintain the Earth's warm climate, and heat helps keep ice frozen. The gist of the project is to actually bring the frozen north and the hot tropics into contact, to demonstrate that they are contrasting halves of a single entity, and to then utilize the heat and light energy of the South to maintain the exact opposite condition of sub-zero temperatures. The first part of the project is about the conceptual notion of ice and heat as the poles of our environment; the second part is about the miracles of technology, which can use one extreme of temperature to produce the other.

Artists / Exhibitions / Sustainability
22 Aug 2006
high rise honey!
Artists Harry Sachs (31) und Franz Höfner (35) have used the former No Man's Land of the Berlin Wall to build mini “plattenbau” for bees! The project - Honig Neustadt - currently houses around 500 000 bees and produces ecologically controlled honey too. More to come….

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
13 Aug 2006
Book by the WorldChanging authors. Official publication date is only November 1, 2006; but nevertheless worth being announced.

Covering eight chapters ( You, Stuff, Shelter, Cities, Communities, Business, Politics, Planet) it promises to cover a lot of new information, never before presented on the site.

Articles / Books / Sustainability
31 Jul 2006
Textlets in Art and Ecology
US, New York
Linda Weintraub has initiated an interdisciplinary college text book series in which the core principles of eco-art are identified and its practice is promoted. Avant-Guardians explores art allied to ecology’s engagement with the perpetually shifting, infinitely layered montage of living entities.

The first two textlets in the series are entitled Cycle-Logical Art and Eco-Centric Topics. Subsequent volumes will extend the consideration of ecology and art to aesthetics, art mediums, tools, and the creative process itself.

Books / Sustainability
31 Jul 2006
From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis
Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart suggest that we need to
look back at the past since the birth of agriculture to fully apprehend the disastrous evolution of our farming techniques today. Out of all the different cultivation techniques throughout history, only twentieth centuries developments created an inbalance on our planet. Besides the description of the various agricultural developements, the authors offer us an alternative worldwide economic policy.

Books / Sustainability
26 Jul 2006
A handbook to recycling today — from the urgency of resource depletion on a global scale to what the individual reader can do in their own home, and from corporate strategies for a greener future to burgeoning small scale eco-design projects.

19 Jul 2006
The VisibleFood project is a website and database created to expose the hidden costs of the globalized system that produces, processes and distributes our food. The database is searchable by product, brand, company, ingredient or toxin. Associated with these things are something we call "invisibles" -effects on society, health and the environment.

16 Jul 2006
US, San José
free soil will make a bus tour of the Silicon valley focussing on the recent history and environmental impact of the High-Tech Industry.
ZeroOne ISEA August 7-13, 2006

Art + Activism / Education / Public Projects / Sustainability
15 Jul 2006
Denmark, Aalborg
Wild flowers, water, grass, moss, cabbage, a molehill, a larva and a bench made from bricks are some of the elements that appears in the project Five Identical Landscapes. The 15 square meter landscapes are placed in five locations in Aalborg city, Denmark. When the same landscape can be experience at five different locations, the attention turns away from the specific scenery, and towards it's unique surroundings. Through the project the artists want to stimulate joint ownership and the critical sense towards, how vi use and shape the city. By artists Marie Markman and Birgitte Christensen

Public Projects / Sustainability
08 Jul 2006
The Kinkajou is representative of a range of useful low-power appliances for underserved communities in developing countries, from medical devices to teaching tools.

06 Jul 2006
Sustainable architecture
An Earthship is a house that can provide in all basic needs of life and has a minimal ecological impact. It's concept was developed by architect Michael Reynolds and is based on the ideas of using durable technology, the reusage of discarded materials and being autonomous. Meanwhile about a 1000 earthships have been build on several continents.
A few other links:

Architecture / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
06 Jul 2006
Europe, Various Cities
from their website:
"In 2003 Andrea Creutz and Lise Skou, initiated the project swop network as a platform for production and dissemination of materials and ideas surrounding contemporary political, economic and social debate.
The project has grown into different initiatives that vary from distributing a free paper, establishing a currency called 'Hidden Flow' Currency, opening a Give Away Shop, and more."

Art + Activism / Free / Public Projects / Sustainability
29 Jun 2006
Work has already begun on a series of gigantic dams in the eastern highlands of Iceland, including the massive Karahnjukar dam. The Karahnjukar dam, is designed to provide hydro-electric power for a massive aluminum smelter owned by the US multinational corporation Alcoa. The company plans to close two of its smelting plants in the US and to open new ones in Iceland, using the electricity from the government-subsidized dams to reduce costs. The project is contracted to be built by known war profiteer Bechtel.
{Linked from Earth First}

Interview with Shell to Sea campaingers from a solidarity camp.

26 Jun 2006
Action-based arts and the Urban Environment
Bonnie Sherk, founder of Crossroads Community (The Farm) in San Francisco, 1974-1980. The Farm, located beneath a freeway interchange in the heart of the city, served as a series of community gathering spaces: a farmhouse with earthy and elegant environments; a theater and rehearsal space for different art forms; a school without walls; a library; a darkroom; a pre-school; unusual gardens—all providing an indoor/outdoor environment "for humans and other animals."

Other links:
-Community Arts interview with Bonnie Sherk.
-2007 at the CCA Wattis Institute exhibition.
-June 28, 2006: Lecture: Ecological Activism: Local vs. International

Related Articles:
-Playing to the Senses: Food as a Performance Medium
-Will Bradley's, Let It Grow

Art + Activism / Events / Exhibitions / Sustainability
24 Jun 2006
An Indian activist group started in the 70's (drawing universal attention to the Uttarakhand Himalayas) contributed substantially to the emerging philosophies of ecofeminism and deep ecology and fields of community-based conservation and sustainable mountain development.
A more recent act of resisitance: Tree hugging.

Art + Activism / Sustainability
22 Jun 2006
The Antarctic summer home to 20 people, including 12 to 16 scientists who will do research on climate change and Antarctica's key role as part of the global climate system. It will be powered by solar and wind energy alone and will recycle all its waste.

*Looks a bit like the front end of an old American car.
-I know there is a model that has a front end that looks more like the building. If you know it mail me.

Architecture / Sustainability
19 Jun 2006
The Global Seed Vault will be a frozen Noah's Ark constructed in a mountainside on the island of Svalbard, Norway. It will serve as a back-up system to protect the world's crop seeds from cataclysms.

*Living on Earth's Audio Version

Maybe it is time to contribute on a local level to create a vast network of community based seed banks...

07 Jun 2006
agri-cultural platform
Art and organical farming in Öland, Sweeden. The Artist initiative 16:2 by Malin Lindmark Vrijman and Mathieu Vrijman, has set out to make a physical and mental room for experiments with and experience of visual art integrated in the environment. They are also working on a space for hosting guestworkers of all kinds in the beautifull surroundings. In this way it will be an international open platform for conducting research in the integration of artistic practice into society.

31 May 2006
Artist, Joost Conijn built a car that runs on wood,using wood as fuel instead of petrol. In order to keep the motor running, Conijn travels through woods, independent of petrol, leaving cultivated roads behind. Crossing little villages, people guide him to local saw-mills and offer him some food and spare wood. Wood Car stems from Conijn's desire to move and transport himself independently, towards alternative ways of life just outside the accommodated environment, open-mindedly questioning cultural presumptions.

Other projects include a self-made "Airplane" and a non-judgemental documentary, "Siddieqa, Firdaus, Abdallah, Soelayman, Moestafa, Hawwa en Dzoel-kifl", about a group of self-governing, anarchic children living in Holland.

Comprehensive Site of his work, but in Dutch:

Hout Auto:
the Challenge Blog
Still Photo

1. Quote from Handbook for Space Pioneers

Art + Activism / Artists / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
28 May 2006
Make-shift vegetable oil-powered journey
"We don't think it is natural to have five lanes of cars rushing towards Amsterdam; we don't think it is natural to expect all trains to run on time, certainly not if they give us four to ten opportunities an hour to rush you to our destination. And we don't think it is natural that we, against better judgement, allow the market to determine what will and will not happen with the world. "

Photographer Jeroen Nooter and artist Sara Nuytemans drove a vegetable oil-powered truck to Mongolia in the summer of 2005. Travelling a distance of 11,711 km to advocate the use of vegetable oil as fuel and to create a greater awareness for Mongolia.

Artists / DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability
25 May 2006
Affected local diversity
Copenhagen, Denmark
In 2004, artist Åsa Sonjasdotter visited an Indian Organic Farmer’s organisation that shares locally breaded species of rice, wheat and beans to withstand the heavy pressure to enter commercial farming. Back home she started growing different varieties of potatoes, which - she found out later - were 'illegal' as they are not included on the EU’s listing.
or .. How two seemingly very different stories are related if you look at it from a potato's point of view.!

Artists / Organizations / Sustainability
19 May 2006
US, Los Angeles
Known as one of America's largest urban garden, South Central Farm's 14 acres and 360 garden plots are on the brink of becoming parking plots for a large development.

For 14 years, the South Central Farmers have worked to transform the land into a farm that meets the needs of a community regularly ignored and neglected by the City and its “elected” representatives. The State has failed Los Angeles residents who lack access to healthcare. The South Central Farmers grow medicinal herbs as an alternative to the high cost of prescription drugs. The City has failed to provide safe places for the children of South Central Los Angeles to play free from threats of violence and gang activity. The South Central Farmers welcome families and community into a veritable oasis.

Sustainability / Urban/City
07 May 2006
Free access to wonderful content; Free Range Practice Guides, Buying Collectively, and Protesting in Public to name a few.
Other projects and connections:
Energy Beyond Oil
Access to Recycled Technology
Brave New Brum


Art + Activism / DIY / Homebrew / Free / Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
05 May 2006
The Hidden Life of Garbage
Heather Rogers takes a look at society seen through the recent history of garbage. She investigates controversial topics like the politics of recycling and the export of trash to poor countries, while offering a potent argument for change.
see also: Garbology -thanks to Emily Forman for pointing to this.

Books / Sustainability / Urban/City
26 Apr 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark
This is a truly amazing ressource about wind power by the danish wind industry. The site has historic information, information about the wind, and all sorts of turbines. All is well designed and explained with animations and great pictures.

18 Apr 2006
US, Los Angeles
Edible Estates is an ongoing series of projects to replace the American front lawn with edible garden landscapes responsive to local culture, climate and inhabitants.

Click around for Edible Estates projects.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Apr 2006
US, New York
Beekeeper, David Graves farms bees on New York City rooftops in exchange for tasty honey. He claims that NY city sprays less pesticides than an orchard where he would normally retrieve honey. His honey is also contributing to a local pride, as the honey collected from New York City bees is distinctive, varying in flavor from borough to borough and even neighborhood to neighborhood.

Another great link:
High Rise Honey

DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability / Urban/City
29 Mar 2006
Research in Art, Nature & Environment
Is a program at the University College Falmouth, set out to explore the relationship between the visual arts and ecological thinking. Using artistic practice the cluster aims to offer interpretations and models of thinking about the natural world that help to promote a sustainable future.
Work undertaken by RANE includes creative research projects, a public lecture series and a forthcoming conference planned for the 12th - 15th July 2006

Education / Events / Sustainability
08 Mar 2006
The Artist's Garden After Modernism
US, New York
This show has been mentionned before on Free Soil, but the catalogue is a remarkable book in its own right. There is little published on contemporary artists gardens, or gardening in an art context. The book has new commissionned projects and documentation of recent gardens by Joseph Kosuth and hard to find material on for example Matta-Clarks floating gardens and Fischli Weiss' garden for Münster. Also you'll find essays and interviews with among others Alan Sonfist. The book continues a legacy from the Queens Museum of Art who previously published "Fragile Ecologies"

Books / Sustainability
05 Mar 2006
After Winter Comes Spring: A Critical Look at Food Systems in Chicago
US, Chicago
Very interesting compilation of texts on food production and consumption by Brian Holmes, Sarah Lewison, Nance Klehm and more. Some amazing things happening in Chicago.

Art + Activism / Articles / Sustainability

27 Feb 2006
Life Support Systems
Mushrooms dining on motor oil. In our own backyard …
San Francisco
Soil is the vital system which supports growth of plants which supply food and oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and nitrogen is a foundation of life, yet we know less about it than we do about deep space. A shovel full of soil contains more living material than the total number of humans ever born. This is a frontier where fungi lay traps for thread-like worms, bacteria dine on toxic chemicals, and unknown species leave scientists and artists with an exciting world of discovery.

Recently, while doing research about mycoremediation we came across the work of Paul Stamets and Diane Whitmore. Stamets coined the term “mycoremediation” which refers to fungal mycelia used in bioremediation. Of particular interest was the work Stamets did with Battelle Laboratories, which was a major contribution to the research at a Washington State Department of Transportation site. This project involved four similar diesel-contaminated mounds of soil, which gave the team the possibility to apply varying remediation techniques in a comparable situation. Three mounds were covered with plastic tarps of which two piles were treated with bacterial remediation techniques and one was left unmanaged. The fourth pile was put into parallel, alternating layers of soil and pure culture sawdust spawn. This mound was left uncovered. Within a few weeks oyster mushrooms thrived on this specific pile and one month later plant life reappeared. A milieu of life forms (mushrooms, insects, larvae, birds, seeds) manifested a small ecosystem prospering on the (previously) toxic soil, in stark contrast to the three other piles. This experiment is evidence that with mycoremediation, brownfields can return to greenfields.

Mycelium possesses the ability to decompose organic structures by using enzymes to dissolve cellulose and lignin within. When the right fungal species are introduced in a contaminated environment, similar chemical bonds that are present in pollutants are broken down by these enzymes as well. Together with the habitats existent organisms, mycelium can decompose a wide variety of durable toxic chemicals. The fact that we can use mycoremediation to destroy the characteristic properties of long-chained toxins and break them down into less complex ones, gives us the possibility to use the technique in many different ways.

In 2002, artist Diane Whitmore was asked to be part of Chlorophilia, a one evening event at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. This green happening, curated by Phil Ross, exhibited the work of plant breeders, garden societies and research scientists, aligning the work of both artist and expert in a tradition that is as old as human culture. Diane had been interested in collecting edible mushrooms for a few years, when her friend suggested she see a Stamets lecture. She was immediately inspired by him and started experimenting with motor oil. She felt that the word on mycoremediation had to get out into other worlds. The Chlorophilia show seemed like an excellent environment for Diane’s OYSTER MUSHROOM BAR, a format that allowed her to engage with her audience and present a recipe to reverse disasters. In one evening she reached 250 people.

Diane’s Bar project took the form of five stools surrounding a bar where visitors were presented with place settings of a different sort. They received dinner plates of snow-white mycelium, and were encouraged to place drops of motor oil onto the cultures, and examine the result with forceps, scalpels and magnifiers. About one hundred plates of agar culture were served. Each plate was served upon information-laden placemats that visitors could take home. People also received ‘servings’ of mushrooms which had been feeding off of motor oil drained straw, and dissected them. In the meantime, standing behind her bar, Diane had the opportunity to answer questions and inform her audience about the possibilities of mycoremediation.

In an email interview with Diane, she revealed the roots of her interest in recycling and renewal: “As for my personal history, I think it really hit me at the age of 25. That would have been 1988. I had a job as a deckhand sailing across the Atlantic on a wooden ship. One day, I was asked to take out the trash. This meant dumping overboard. I didn't understand some of the subtleties of boat living at this point. I simply threw the black bag overboard, expecting I guess, for it to sink. It was a doldrummy, calm hazy day and the bag did not sink. I watched it float away from the ship, unable to retrieve it. It just floated there. It was very upsetting to me.

With help, that day, I organized a system to sort, dispose of and pack out waste. There were times, out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, that I'd see a lone styrofoam cup float by. The Ocean is really big, and you don't see boats for a week at a time, yet a styrofoam cup floats by you. It changed me, I think.

My first gig at the Exploratorium was as a volunteer for a Garbage Symposium in 1994. I was still a student at SFAI. There, I met Mel Chin, who was working with hyper-accumulating plants, remediating a site in Minnesota, my home state. I got interested in that along with collecting wild food and medicine. I had been using junk in diorama-type artworks since the boat trip, then incorporated my interest in systems and sculpture into a recycling and sorting system at the San Francisco Art Institute. Later, I co-developed a human-powered recycling system for the Burning Man project, a week-long temporary community in Nevada that hosts as many as 30,000 participants.”

So for those of us not attending Burning Man, we can look to the sky while we dip our toes into the far reaches of the earth in our backyards. Think globally, act locally!

Amy and Stijn

Art + Activism / Artists / Events / Sustainability
26 Feb 2006
Architecture Conjecture :Urban Speculation : Landscape Futures
World Seed bank, Largest Diamond Mine, and a Temporary Park are only a few reasons why to visit this blog-- not to mention the beautiful Soil Maps on Feb. 3rd's entry. Go Now!

Architecture / Blogs / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
14 Feb 2006
The Future of Affordable Housing
US, Minneapolis
Since January 28 and untill April 30, 2006, the Frederick R. Weismann Art Museum is showing the results from a competition focussed on the design of affordable single-family homes and displays different models that involve some sort of sustainable technology.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability
11 Feb 2006
March 30-31, 2006
The symposium will explore the radical and innovatory power of the concept of sustainability, which implies a strategy for integrative development in harmony with nature and a reinvigorated notion of global justice on the basis of shared environmental responsibility.

Invited speakers include: Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon (UK), Jonathan Dronsfield (UK), Miklos Erhardt (H), David Haley (UK), Newton & Helen Mayer Harrison (USA), Tamás Kaszás and Viktor Kotun (H), Hildegard Kurt (GER), Kristina Leko (CRO), Edit Molnar (H), Nils Norman (UK), Marko Peljhan (SLO), Renata Poljak (CRO), Rúrí (IS) and Diane Warburton (UK).

Events / Sustainability
05 Feb 2006
Adventures in sustainability
A new book just released about a family's experiment with not spending a cent for 6 months. Living on the Northern coast of Australia, they are now attempting the same exercise in self-sufficiency down in Tasmania.

Books / Sustainability
29 Jan 2006
The Biocultural Geography of Abandonment, Deindustrialization & Transition
US, Various Cities
This project documents the disease of abandonment of the built environment revealing the odd interaction of social and ecological forces that lead people to build, abandon and reclaim buildings and structures.

Architecture / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
29 Jan 2006
Sites about Walking
Free Walking is about going on walks together. Or, you might say, it is about the shared experience of exploring places on foot.

Free / Sustainability
18 Jan 2006
work and book
US & Denmark
Based in Copenhagen and Los Angeles, Errant Bodies has been publishing books and CDs on sound, auditory issues, spatial arts and design, and cultures of experimental audio and art since 1995.
A keen eye to social and political aspects of our environment makes this site well worth a viisit

A book just came out: Surface Tension: Problematics of Site, addressing the history and legacy of site-specific art practice

Books / Organizations / Sustainability
18 Jan 2006
An international group of artists with Cecilia Wendt, Sweden and Rikke Luther, Denmark, (co-founders of the artist group N55) Julio Castro, Mexico, and Brett Bloom, US. Who deal with urbanism, ecology and of course learning. They definately share affinities with free soil, check their site.

Organizations / Sustainability
17 Jan 2006
A good round-up of the ecololgically friendly build environment.
Check out:
An urban ecology demonstration in Kolding Denmark where sewage is treated and recycled back as toilet flushing water. The glass pyramid is the final treatment step.

Architecture / Sustainability
07 Jan 2006
Combat Global Warming
US, Santa Fe
Architecture 2030 was established to conduct research, and provide information and innovative solutions in the fields of architecture and planning, in an effort to address global climate change.

Their new website is part of an ongoing effort, initiated by architect Edward Mazria, to provide information and innovative solutions in the fields of architecture and planning, in an effort to address and reverse the destructive trend toward global climate change.

Architecture / Organizations / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
04 Jan 2006
Who gets what from the Common Agricultural Policy
Europe, Various Cities
In its infancy, but a worthy effort nonetheless to quantify farm subsidies in Europe.
"This is a collaborative project bringing together journalists and activists from more than ten European countries. The purpose of the site is to publish data about farm subsidy payments obtained under legislation on public access to information."

Sustainability / Virtual Soil
18 Dec 2005
US, Various Cities
Edible Estates is an attack on the American lawn and everything it has come to represent. It is an ongoing series of projects to replace the American lawn with edible garden landscapes responsive to local culture, climate and landscape.

Public Projects / Sustainability
15 Dec 2005
Gardeners' stories of the struggle for land and justice
A collection of stories, images, dreams and practical strategies all related to urban gardens and urban farms from a wide variety of locations.

Books / Public Projects / Sustainability
09 Dec 2005
Metropolis Magazine seeks to identify the next generation of Big Ideas by the next generation of designers. They are offering $10,000 to an individual or team of designers seeking to develop a Big Idea that will make our designed environment better, safer, and more sustainable. The Next Generation Design Competition was established in 2003 to recognize and encourage activism, social involvement, and entrepreneurship among designers.

Calls / Sustainability
05 Dec 2005
A SF based blog about food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food. Lots of yummy links.

Blogs / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
30 Nov 2005
NASA experts developing standards for simulated soil
As the Bush administration pushes for human occupation of the moon, “counterfeit” lunar materials are needed. Known as simulants, fake lunar soil is being developed to assure that future explorers can sustain their stay on Earth’s moon. The first lunar simulant, MLS-1, was made because it had an approximate chemistry to Apollo 11 soil 10084, but its mineralogy and engineering properties were all off.

27 Nov 2005
First international conference on Persuasive Technology for human well-being
The Netherlands
PERSUASIVE 06 is aimed at exploring technology in the service of human well-being, within the broader context of a socially and ecologically sustainable society.

The conference will be held at the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, 18-19 May 2006.

Events / Sustainability
15 Nov 2005
Providing developing countries with low cost photovoltaic panels
The project uses sample panel components and instructions as an introduction for people in poorer regions to gain experience and learn about the possibilities of solar power applications. Besides of standard telecommunications and agricultural systems, the panels can be used to create a solar cooker and probably a mosquito zapper.

Education / Sustainability
14 Nov 2005
A common ground for sustainable commerce
Reducing our ecological footprint is something that starts at a personal level and will only be effective if we come to a truely green commerce worldwide. Øfootprint acts as a link between millions of people and supports the idea that the small changes we make can lead to large results.

Organizations / Sustainability / Virtual Soil

11 Nov 2005
-a video report
US, Chicago
On a plot of land close to the University of Chicago you find an area with lush community gardens tended by Chicagoans that care for growing their own food.‭ ‬On entering the gardens only the constant humming in the background from the steam power plant, one of the cities most beautiful industrial buildings, reminds you that you are still in the city.

Just behind the gardens allmost covered by vegetation lies an odd shaped building with construction going on. ‬This is the experimental station,‭ ‬a bike workshop,‭ ‬the Baffler magazine, a small business incubator ‬and the studio of Dan Peterman who is the primus motor of the station.‭ ‬The name is well picked,‭ as ‬it is a frame-work for projects starting from a grassroots level that develop over time into small businesses,‭ ‬nonprofit organizations and art projects.

The history of the building dates back to the late‭ ‬1960's when the station was started by Ken Dunn as the Resource Center - a project that is still ongoing.‭ ‬Dan Peterman acquired the station in‭ ‬1996, but in‭ ‬2001‭ ‬the place burned down and years of work was ruined.‭ ‬Now after years of rebuilding and legal battles the place is almost back on its feet and ready for a gradual start.

The experimental station is a unique project in community-‭ ‬based neighborhood change and shows a break with the all too familiar gentrification process.‭ ‬Creating a space for artists and less affluent groups to come together and produce with the assurance that they won't be evicted allows for a different kind of investment of time and energy into the place.‭

In many ways the place is a dream situation where an institution together with artists and producers form an ecology that opens possibilities and allows for the sharing of ressources and the development of independent projects and thinking.

The video shows the present progress of experimental station as of October‭ ‬2005‭ ‬as well as an interview with Dan Peterman.
Download it here ‭(‬20‭ ‬minutes, 21 MB)

if you have a Mac you can watch it with this viewer‭

Architecture / Organizations / Sustainability
09 Nov 2005
Thurrock: A Visionary Brief in the Thames Gateway has redefined what is meant by ‘culturally-led regeneration’. It is a major programme of new thinking about Thurrock and the Thames Gateway, bringing an international perspective to local, regional and national policy debates around cultural practice in regeneration.

The programme has set out an innovative process for planning and development in the Thames Gateway. It has demonstrated that if culture is interpreted widely, if regeneration is addressed holistically and if a creative process is embedded in planning and decision-making, then it is possible to create truly sustainable communities.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
02 Nov 2005
Arts + Agricultural Change
Littoral is interested in opening up new critical territory for contemporary art practice in the context of agricultural and rural change, and supports organisations and artists interested in working on arts projects to do with agriculture, farming and other rural issues.

LITTORAL is a non-profit arts trust which promotes new creative partnerships, critical art practices and cultural strategies in response to issues about social, environmental and economic change.

Organizations / Sustainability
02 Nov 2005
A small website with some nice projects in allotment gardens in Sweden. Their "Network of Gardens" project lacks content , but it a nice effort.
Contribute now: Network of Gardens
This site was created by Lena Ignestam and Christel Lundberg

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
28 Oct 2005
by Brett Bloom & Ava Bromberg
The product of 4 years of work from In The Field, an artists collective that explores the complex social constellations around urban land use issues. With introductions to City Repair, Resource Center, Park Fiction and more, this is one of the best accounts of imaginative urban planning and neighborhood interventions by people who care. A range of social, legal and ecological issues are explored and dealt with as should be when dealing with the places we live.

Architecture / Books / Sustainability
18 Oct 2005
Greening urban communities one tree at a time.
US, Los Angeles
The T.R.E.E.S. projects goal is to change our approach to urban watershed management, motivating other cities to adopt “best management practices”.
The Tree People try to achieve this by simply planting trees, raising a general environmental awareness, and running forestry programs in order to restore watersheds.

Organizations / Sustainability

06 Oct 2005
October 6 - January 5, 2006
FRUIT takes up the challenge of elevating the ecological knowledge of consumers and encouraging a way of life that is friendly to the environment. We want consumers to be conscious of the entire life of a product, from production to utilization, and not just what they see in the stores. Consumers must be aware that every phase of a product's life influences the environment and ourselves.

Free Soil has produced a run of FRUIT wrappers, a website, and a traveling installation as part of an initiative to inform people about alternative food systems and local food movements. The wrappers are disseminated throughout the food chain by piggybacking on oranges. Information will be carried through the food system and into the hands of consumers. The wrapper holds information on a variety of aspects concerning food movements, transport and urban farming. Get your daily dose!

Contribute Now!

Exhibitions / Public Projects / Sustainability
01 Oct 2005
Tagging along a Free Ride
Bozo Texino is a 56min documentary on the secret history of hobo and railworker graffiti, called WHO IS BOZO TEXINO? Shooting over a period of 16 years, Bill Daniel rode freights across the west gathering interviews and clues to the identities of many of the most legendary boxcar artists while discovering a vast underground folkloric practice that has existed for over a century.

What does this film have to do with Free-Soil?:
Bozo Texino embraces "a subculture of men who, by choice or necessity, slip beneath society's radar and adopt a rootless existence, free of social security numbers and the bonds of wage slavery. In a political climate where welfare mothers receive the full brunt of opprobrium from upper and working classes alike, few are aware of this liminal network of rail-riding hoboes, whose names are not recorded in the files of state-assistance bureaucracies."

Catch Who is Bozo Texino at the Viennale

More on Bozo Texino + Bill Daniel

Artists / Free / Sustainability
29 Sep 2005
From Treehugger via David Lu
A truly mobile garden.
Part of Vancouver's International Car Free day.
Yes, finally a use for oversized American cars. Cities should only support small electric/hybrid cars!
Let's turn all those abandoned drive-in theaters into community gardens.

Public Projects / Sustainability
24 Sep 2005
Groundworks: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art
October 14–December 11, 2005
Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA, USA

The exhibition, catalogue, and associated conference seek to address questions of policy, efficacy, and impact when artists work within a social, ecological, and political context.

*Free Soil presents: Gardening Superfund Sites

Exhibitions / Sustainability
22 Sep 2005
15,000 truck loads of earth and one million seeds
A living sculpture in the form of a field of corn growing in the historic center of Los Angeles. Lauren Bon's Not A Cornfield project transforms an industrial brownfield site into a cornfield for one agricultural cycle. At harvest time, the corn will be moved to another site where it will be dried out and then displayed and eventually used for the production of biodegradable containers.

This site will play host to regular visiting hours and interpretive tours, as well as a dynamic schedule of weekly events and periodic festivals.

See website for a current schedule.

Events / Public Projects / Sustainability
17 Sep 2005
An Electronic Journal for electronic culture
Free online Journal from the University of Rochester. Issue 9 includes articles like:
"Taking the SUV to a Place it's Never Been Before:
SUV Ads and the Consumption of Nature"
"Man is in the Forest:
Humans and Nature in Bambi and The Lion King"
- which should make a good read

Articles / Free / Sustainability
13 Sep 2005
Towards an Eco-Cinema, Bristol UK, Sept. 28 & 29
A programme about contemporary artists working with ecology;
"The issues at stake – from the broad issue of climate change to the resultant problems of desertification, waste and dwindling biodiversity – will be examined through artists’ practices, and through interdisciplinary dialogue with sciences, industry, government and environmental groups."
The first conference with participation of Henrik Håkansson, Dan Peterman and more was reviewed by Maja and Reuben Fowkes
read the review


11 Sep 2005
Copenhagen, Denmark
The project intersects with recent public debate in Copenhagen about air pollution in the city. In collaboration with Senior Scientist Jørgen Brandt from The National Environmental Research Institute in Denmark a first prototype is developed for making an indicator that can be placed in the city and display local levels of pollution as well as pollution forecasts on individual streets. The project holds an open source script for displaying data from the Internet in a variety of forms.

Public Projects / Sustainability
10 Aug 2005
Free Soil at Garage Festival
For the Garage festival 09 Free Soil conducted a site specific research project investigating the environment of the Baltic Sea.

We created an alternative archive of political and historical events that have occurred in the Baltic Sea region, especially Stralsund and linked these with the sea’s responses. The impact of Industrialisation, population growth and political changes has resulted in climatic and environmental changes recorded in the sea. Nature retaliates by creating new forms, one of the most significant being the spread and growth of toxic Blue Green Algae or “phytoplankton”

Images: wooden sewerage pipe from Stralsund. &
Portrait of William Lindley the designer of the first sewerage system in Stralsund, algae on paper.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Virtual Soil

10 Aug 2005
Free Soil at garage festival
For the Garage festival 09 Free Soil have conducted a site specific research project investigating the environment of the Baltic Sea.

We created an alternative archive of political and historical events that have occurred in the Baltic Sea region, especially Stralsund and linked these with the sea’s responses. The impact of Industrialisation, population growth and political changes has resulted in climatic and environmental changes recorded in the sea. Nature retaliates by creating new forms, one of the most significant being the spread and growth of toxic Blue Green Algae or “phytoplankton”

Images: wooden sewerage pipe from Stralsund. &
Portrait of William Lindley the designer of the first sewerage system in Stralsund, algae on paper.

Public Projects / Sustainability
01 Jul 2005
Exploratorium's Garden Research
San Francisco
A wonderful online document of art and science of food.
"Plants are expressive, they are not deceptive."-Bob Cannard.
This site documents community garden projects, immune system of kale, compost tea..

Education / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
30 Jun 2005
New York City Open Accessible Space Information System
US, New York
A community-based undertaking, local organizations design and test the first city wide, web-based, open space mapping resource for NYC.

Community Garden locator

Public Projects / Sustainability / Virtual Soil
08 Jun 2005
Research Grants
Their purpose is to further artistic and scientific knowledge by fostering the meeting of art and science in the field of technologies. The Foundation seeks to nurture a critical awareness of technology's implications for human beings and their natural and cultural environments and to promote the
exploration of aesthetics suited to environments shaped by human beings.

Calls / Sustainability
08 Jun 2005
US, Various Cities maps all the 'public fruit' planted on private property that overhangs public space. This project encourages people to harvest, plant and share public fruit. The project is a response to accelerating urbanization, as well as issues of grassroots community activism and social responsibility. The mission of the project is to expand the community and using Fruit maps, photos and essays to create an online, global public fruit resource.

Artists / Organizations / Public Projects / Sustainability
01 Jun 2005
Stanford Torus
The Stanford Torus was the principal design considered by the 1975 NASA Summer Study, which was conducted in conjunction with Stanford University.It consists of a torus, one mile in diameter, rotates once per minute to provide Earth-normal gravity on the inside of the outer ring, and which can house 10,000 people.

Architecture / Sustainability
14 May 2005
New York's New Parkland: Lifescape
US, New York

Public Projects / Sustainability

04 May 2005
New British Research Program
London, UK
Cultures of Consumption is a new £5 million research programme that studies consumption in a global context. Research ranges from the consumption of public services in Britain to the consumption of drugs in East Africa, from the fashionable West End of London to the commodification of water and cosmopolitan citizenship. The research programme is funded by the ESRC and AHRC and brings together leading researchers from the social sciences and the arts and humanities.

Organizations / Sustainability
29 Apr 2005
London, UK
The WEEE Man is made from the amount of waste electrical and electronic products that an average UK citizen – YOU – will throw away in YOUR lifetime, if YOU carry on disposing of products at the current rate. Currently most of these products go straight into landfill. From January 2006 manufactures & retailers will be responsible for recycling this waste under new EU legislation called the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive.

Education / Public Projects / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Collaborative Practices in Environmental Art
by Grant Kester
A good overview of environmental art practices, same writer as "Conversation Pieces"
read article

Articles / Public Projects / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Current art to transform ecologies
This is an amazing ressource and book, there is an online version free to read.

"Coined in 1999, the term ecovention (ecology + invention) describes an artist-initiated project that employs an inventive strategy to physically transform a local ecology"

Books / Free / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Agnes Denes
Wheatfield battery park
US, New York
An impressive projects, that puts urban gardening and farming into perspective, and some good photos
read more here

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Fragile ecologies
Contemporary Artists' Interpretations and Solutions
Is an example of a book with bits and pieces that are really interesting, but as a book not quite there, this is where I saw Alan Sonfist for the first time and Agnes Denes, Wheatfield battery park.
BY Barbara C. Matilsky, Publisher: Rizzoli

Books / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Urban Catalyst
Strategies for temporary use
Europe, Various Cities
Heaps of research on temporary use of city spaces in Berlin, Amsterdam, Helsinki and more. EU funded project mainly by architechts
Strategies for temporary uses, this is the project frame

see some good examples here

Architecture / Sustainability
30 Mar 2005
Nils Norman
interview and links
Urbanist utopias and critisism with the art of Nils Norman
Interview by Knut Åsdam

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability
27 Mar 2005
Marjetica Potrc is a Ljubljana-based artist and architect.

Both micro objects and large scale urban interventions, wind energy and sustainable projects - a huge body of work

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability
27 Mar 2005
Germany, And Other Central European Countries
German Lebensreform (life reform) around 1890 till ? 1925 in Germany and Switzerland (even Belgium i just learned) a multitude moovement there was a lot of emphasis on the body, nakedness in the woods, small artists communities in the mountains, but also things which influenced the nazi moovement on hygeene and the culture of the body. But in genertal very alternative and experimental. Not so much have been written about it outside Germany
Earth reform, sexual, social and educational issues were also a part, as well as a new spirituality, and new ways of living.

A lot of present day ecological and green thinking originates from some of these currents and moovements.

text by artist Stephan Dillemuth
A Mountain For Minorities

a book (In german)

Artists / Sustainability
27 Mar 2005
US, Various Cities
A citizen-led conversion of an urban street interesection into public square

Public Projects / Sustainability
21 Mar 2005
Great ressource site, on environmental art, a kind of sister organisation to free Soil

Organizations / Sustainability
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Soil is the vital system which supports growth of plants which supply food and oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and nitrogen is a foundation of life, ...


For the Garage festival 09 Free Soil have conducted a site specific research project investigating the environment of the Baltic Sea.

We created an alternative archive of political and historical events that have occurred in the Baltic Sea region, especially Stralsund and linked these with the sea’s responses. The impact of Industrialisation, population growth and political changes has resulted in climatic and environmental changes recorded in the sea. Nature retaliates by creating new forms, one of the most significant being the spread and growth of toxic Blue Green Algae or “phytoplankton”

Images: wooden sewerage pipe from Stralsund. &
Portrait of William Lindley the designer of the first sewerage system in Stralsund, algae on paper.
Link of the Week:  
Interview with Fritz Haeg by Nato Thompson

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