Ongoing and Occasional 4
Dear Fourth Door mailing list folks
Here’s another, indeed the fourth, of these occasional informational missives tumbling through the electronic ether and arriving into your virtual lap. This time round summer (albeit early summer) is definitely here. Outside, the green has blossomed and trees are leafing. The traffic is also back though, while birds still sing. So, hoping these words and leads fall on interested eyes.
An upping of the ante in the pace of preparation for Glasgow’s COP conference seems to leap out of every other green related webpage on an hourly basis, as the COP 26 countdown to zero ticks away. Here’s a couple of instances.
Bricklands – so many commitments, so much to deliver. So where will things be in five years’ time? Something along these lines of thought tripped through me as I brought myself up to date on yet another major construction materials company launching their bespoke Zero Emissions project. This time it’s Ibstock bricks, whose first pathfinder net zero emissions facility is to be trialled at their Atlas factory in Dudley. According to an Edie report Ibstock is targeting a 50% cut on the ground, the remaining half being met through offsetting.
Will they be the good or the bad brick though? At the Louisiana art museum outside Copenhagen, Taking Time, an exhibition on the work of Indian architect Anupama Kundoo is in its final week. Kundoo has long explored the yawning space between traditional village culture and modernity, expressed through brick-making and modern automated brick manufacture. The village kiln and brick maker are a feature of traditional village life across the sub-continent, which, if one is to go by LEED carbon assessments (the US carbon footprint regime which the Indian construction industry is signed up to) are the bad brick. The automated brick factory bricks are, if one goes by LEED, the good brick. Kundoo, entertaining shape shifter that she is, makes an arresting case for turning these assumptions upside down. Check a video lecture, like though not necessarily, this one, where she expands on her good/bad brick ideas into the terrain of time regimes and cultural tempos.
Alternatives to Crisis: Campus for Climate Action - Clive Adams, he of the rather wonderful, if no longer with us Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, sends word of a sizeable art and ecology bash (aka online conference) organised out of Bath Spa University. Campus for Climate Action began on Monday and continues through to May 26th. Deep in at the activist end of the arts and ecology spectrum, the list of on-line events and speakers spans the globe, speakers include Mr Against the Anthropocene, prof TJ Demos, and it’s a line-up heavily weighted towards the academic activist scene – so dominant in this nook of the green world.
Woods and Trees I – Heavy hints are finding their way into media (the Sunday Times to be precise) regarding soon to arrive announcements about “the biggest tree-planting programme in 50 years.” While welcome, actual recent realised tree planting efforts have been utterly dismal, leading many to scepticism at actual delivery. A new Woodland Trust report, State of the UK’s Wood and Trees 2021, tells the reader that it looked in depth at ancient woodlands and found that only 7% are in good health. Pests, diseases, pollution, and other stresses brought on by changing weather patterns are together creating a minor perfect storm of woodland destruction. So much so that if current tree planting efforts were met (which, year on year they haven’t been) this would only equal these losses, and then only in forest cover, rather than biodiversity and overall woodland health. So, when the announcement come read the small print on the tin.
Wood and Trees II – not to be unremittingly negative, the coming weekend is the weekend of the Urban Tree Festival, running from Saturday 15th through to the following Sunday, the 23rd. All sorts of activities, events, workshops and talks happening in all sorts of places. Check the whole caboodle programming here.
Woods not Trees – the wonderfully strangely named Dylan Marx Wood sent news that he had finished and was presenting his PhD this week on curved CLT and the resulting live project, the Urbach tower, in burgherly Baden-Wurttemburg, South West Germany. A window into the possible future of wood manufacture, Dylan, and colleagues at the Institute of Computational Design and Construction (ICD) within Stuttgart University, model and manipulate wood’s moisture content to help (improve?) how the lignalose self-shapes and shrinks as it dries, meaning that the curves turn out exactly as computationally ordered. The result is the first ever curved CLT’s panels, up to 14 metres long. There’s talk that this is answer in search of question but one can’t help but wonder what comes next.
Confused by Data department – meanwhile over in watery Holland, anarcho-dada citizen scientists Diana Wildschut and Hermann Zijp, co-creators of the world’s first grassroots Fab-Lab, De War (de war is Dutch for ‘confused’) are running Datakoppel ‘21, their first unconference on community groups and the possibilities of the vast invisible world of data out there. Running over the May 28/29th weekend and only online, Wildschut and Zijp are aiming to broaden how and in what ways citizen data scientists can expand on how these data universes can be used in meaningful and community supporting ways.
data-verse in the year zero – different yet somehow similar, it’s hard to believe that Ryoji Ikeda, the Japanese multimedia and electronic musician and multi-media artist has been exploring his variant of immersive data-art for over a quarter of a century. This summer Ikeda is in central London showing, amongst various works, a new data-verse trilogy. For those up for diving into the spaces between zero and one in the binary ocean, Ikeda provides you with the wherewithall. At 180 the Strand until August, see here.
Our friends in the North (kind of) – a small flurry of Don Cherry esoterica are currently wafting into the world. Cherry was a luminous musical presence from his time in Ornette Coleman’s band helping bring on the free jazz revolution in the 1950/60s through to his 1980’s pioneering exploration of world jazz, up until his death in 1995. Though Cherry’s music story is well known across music circles, I’ve not seen much – though maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places – about his long-term collaboration with his wife, Swedish artist Moki Cherry (1943-2009) and their remarkable experiments in alternative culture; a living caravanserai joining communal art to social and environmental activism and children’s learning and what they came to call Organic Music.
Now New York’s Blank Forms are releasing two ‘lost albums’; The Summer House Sessions, and Organic Music Theatre: Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972, next month, Cherry’s grand-daughter Naima Karlsson (along with artistic director Lawrence Krumpf, and Magnes Nygren) has produced what looks like a lovingly put together book Organic Music Societies (note the plural), documenting her grand-parents world, and the Blank Forms Brooklyn space is showing a retrospective on Don and Moki’s art world until late June.
(“It is Not My Music” - an absorbing if old Swedish documentary on Cherry can be found here (in English.)
Fabric over farming? – The latest edition of Aeon web-magazine includes a thought-evoking essay by Australian archaeologist Ian Gilligan, in which Gilligan floats the question of whether clothing rather than climate was key to our nomadic forefathers, or likely foremothers, settling down to learn the plants and begin the first monumental moves in becoming farmers. For those armchair nomads who find these origins questions super-interesting, this shift in emphasis feels like quite a sizeable ‘what if’ regarding what was going on back in our kind’s deep past.
Our friends in the South East – kin’d and kin’d –novelist Kay Syrad and artist Clare Whistler, poets both, have been co-creating their eco-art and poetry Changing Everything Carefully courses in collaboration with Brighton ONCAgallery across this neck of the South East woods for the last few years. Last year the course went online, and now some months later a book has been carefully made and is launched in yet another online event on May 20th, as part of their third Change Everything Carefully residency. Sign up via Eventbrite here.
Happy birthday Bob! – and not forgetting Bob Dylan’s birthday, which will, sure as the sun rises in the morning, be super-splurged all over the media on and around May 24th (and gone the next week.) If you’re a Bob person but don’t know about the ab-fab Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan podcast, begun and run by two thespian Bob obsessives, Lucas Hare and Kerry Shale, check it out, like now. All sorts of passionate Bob proselytizers have trodden the fibre-optic boards, from Billy Bragg to Paul Morley to the eminence grise of Dylan studies, Michael Gray. The most recent offering, with Dylan’s long ago Blonde on Blonde/John Wesley Harding Nashville session man, Charlie McCoy, a straight-talking southerner, equals all the early guests in revelatory fascination about those already long ago times.
Meanwhile – overheard in the Lewes Aldi car park, one young woman to another: “you know all these recycled saris, where do you think people are getting them from?”