Category Archives: Art

On Climate, Are we the 99% or more like the 1%?

Street protest in DC on Oct. 8

There’s such an upwelling of environmentalism flowing into the Occupy movement right now. My new piece on the Alternet.org site assesses what the Wall Street protests could mean to climate activism and other fights. Occupy Wall Street has not only inspired people around the world to protest against corporate corruption and income equality; It’s prompted reexamination of what “just” and “equitable” would look like when it comes to emissions cuts or the Keystone pipeline fight. Plenty of people are debating these subjects right now. I’ll just say that a sustainable economy predicated on a healthy planet seems like the kind of justice we need about now.

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GMOs + CAFOs attemp a makeover

Photo by Graham Boyle

Check out the GMO corn-fish car built by members of Washington’s intrepid artist/activist collective DC51. These local talents supply the visuals for a wide variety of environmental and human rights marches here in the nation’s capital. Usually, they silkscreen posters, banners and the occasional limited edition T-shirt. This repurposed sedan takes art-for-the-revolution to a new level. But the car is not just cute; It’s meant call attention to concerns about farmed fish raised on GMO corn.  It’s also road worthy. The corn-fish navigated the interstate highway system last month to attend a New York City protest of genetically modified organisms such as lab-altered corn and soybeans used not just to feed the fishes but in so many of the foods we find in the supermarket.

My new blog post on the E Magazine site discusses current efforts to makeover GMOs and frankenfish, among other parts of our industrial food system. here’s an excerpt:

October is proving a busy month for the country’s old guard food industries. After a decade of books and documentaries exposing the more unsavory aspects of how our food is produced, Big Ag and consumer brand companies are striking back with campaigns aimed at quelling the country’s growing disaffection with CAFO-raised beef, fake “fruit” snacks and sugary cereals.

In Washington, D.C., in recent weeks, members of the food and advertising industries urged Congress to dump a planned update to federal nutritional guidelines on foods marketed to kids. The draft rules, announced last April
 by the Interagency Working Group, made up of representatives from the Food and drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aimed at combating child obesity.

Read the rest of this post on the E site.

Not Exactly Preaching to the Choir: Can a Climate Activist Convert Immigrant Advocates?

Rev. Billy + choir via revbilly.com

I caught a rather unusual double-marquee performance art extravaganza last weekend starring art world darling Guillermo Gomez-Pena and actor/activist Rev. Billy of the Church of Life after Shopping.

Have you hear of the phony reverend? His real name is Billy Talen, and his is not religion-as-usual. He does have a terrific choir, though, filled professional singers and actors. I caught their act at a conference against mountaintop removal coal mining earlier this fall. The audience of mountain activists couldn’t get enough of Billy’s spoofy evangelism and responded with appropriately-churchy conviction.

Last Friday night at  Gala Hispanic Theatre, the reception wasn’t quite the same from the largely Gomez-Pena inspired crowd. They clearly enjoyed the Mexican/American/artist/activist’s observations, mostly on the sorry state of the country’s immigration debate. He didn’t have much of anything to say about the environment or our unsustainable consumerist ways, Rev. Billy’s two big issues. And Talen, looking very much “the white man” (even whiter than most in his impeccable suit and mane of frosted hair) steered far clear of the immigration divide.

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Art + Corporate Sponsorship II

Yesterday I wrote about the trouble with relying on corporate sponsors — be it to produce artwork or carry out environmental work. Here’s a link to a 2 minute video of the video installation, “Present Interval / Intervalo del Tiempo” that I discuss in that earlier post.
Enjoy!

The Trouble with Corporate Sponsorship

Having chronicled the corrupting influence of corporate donations to environmental groups, I found myself in uncomfortable territory last weekend while helping my husband, videoartist Alberto Roblest, produce “Present Interval / Intervalo del Tiempo,” a temporary public art installation that, for two nights, took over an alleyway in Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Even before the trouble began, I was feeling a little queasy about Alberto’s deal with Best Buy. The electronics retail chain had agreed to loan him video projectors in exchange for sponsorship bragging rights.

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