Tales of Water is a collaborative visual arts show co-produced between Skye Gallery and ETHER Arts Project, in conjunction with CORE (Community Office for Resource Efficiency), in the framework of their 2nd annual Imagine Climate, a month-long initiative that explores creative perspectives on climate change.
The show, planned to be held between March 13th and April 14th 2020, examines the importance of water as a non-renewable resource through the lens of scientific data, documentary photography, painting, sculpture, and videoart.
A day after concluding the install, the WHO declares CoronaVirus as a Global Pandemic. The cases are multiplied by thousands in a matter of hours, and the programming, which aimed at attracting the community through participative events using art as a tool to deepen the connection between the viewers and the water crisis, had to be widely modified. If there is something learned from water, is that it is always transforming.
Even so, and appealing to human sensitivity in a way only art can, the selection of works and artists aims to a poetic that crosses the aesthetic experience with tangible reality. From Patagonia to the North Pole, artists of different nationalities, mediums and experiences develop a narrative about the element that joins us as humanity. The proliferation of digital media allows us to spread the message through social media, websites and virtual guided tours.
We understand that, as humans, we are mostly made of water, our planet is water, and our primitive life forms stem out of water. It is based on this primary need that we configurate our cities’ maps, towns, and settlements. We also acknowledge the vulnerability of this precious element that is under serious threat.
The Works by Tania Dibbs open like veins of the earth. Layers of imaginary maps and graphite representations overlap between arctic bubbles under the ice. This virtuous and accomplished artist explores the jagged intersection between the natural world, humanity and culture through painting and sculpture. Her works combine symbols of wealth and culture with their opposites, highlighting a bigger discussion about our fast-changing relationship with the planet and with nature in general, which claims its space climbing over technological waste and rusty remains. Is it necessary to say this is exactly where we are heading at?
The disposable culture of unproportionate consumerism finds a new manifestation in the works of Yuri Z. This American artist, long time based in Paris, works with the intersection between classical, digital and hybrid mediums. Majorly self-taught, he takes inspiration from science and literature, and a life dedicated to exploring cities and landscapes around the world. His “micro-chip painting series” use as a medium tiny motherboards, video-cards and other electronic circuit board remains that once were data connectors. The rapid advancement of technology makes these waste a pile of useless trash.
With infinite myope patience, Yuri paints over minuscule landscapes, natural and urban portraits on emerald backgrounds. The journey of a water drop and its ripple effect, a floating iceberg, an evergreen cascade, a tsunami, a demonstration against climate change, a dismembered mermaid, a hidden group of jellyfish. We need a magnifying glass to get in and discover the details enclosed in each micro-world.
Part of Yuri’s work is also to collaborate with Pauline Rrrrrrr. The French artist uses poetry, video, installation and performance to explore urban and natural settings creating new experiences on existing spaces. The strength of her words prevails over images, inverting the order of traditional visual culture.
The installation she presents for this exhibition, “Au sanglot je préfère la pluie” – which means “To Sobs I prefer the Rain” is a video poem looped under the wings of an umbrella. Inspired by stories of African migrants towards the European continent, it is a raw reflection that links water with the profound migratory crisis that makes souls circulate under the most dramatic conditions. Once again, the reality is imposed over any Romanticism of the subject. That which joins us is also what divides us, and daring to cross it can sometimes become an odyssey.
Documentary photography has always been an irrefutable discourse tool. Its condition of being a record creates a direct liaison to whoever is observing. As Susan Sontag said, “having been there” denotes a power that surpasses any representation. And Ángeles was there. From her native Patagonia to the North Pole, her journeys from inside the landscape note the vertiginous changes that happen, even over a short span of years. It is uncertain how these places might be like in the next decade.
Another way of addressing reality is through visualizing scientific data. The approach that Lizzy Taber proposes has had ecology, seafloor mapping and changing weather patterns as its main stem. The Florida-born artist who specialized in painting and printmaking, created the site-specific installation “The Earth Speaks to Us in the Grammar of Science”.
Using scientific report data – facilitated partially by CORE team members- the artist produced 120 pieces of a delicate gradient from white to navy-blue – from snow to water. That exact number is the annual average of frost-free days, which brings as consequence practically one less month of snowfall, in comparison to the 80`s. Since the decade when the artist was born until present times, winter has receded one month. If it’s about being witnesses, we all are up to some extent.
Many activities had been planned for the development of the exhibition. But nature’s wisdom displayed its maximum potential, and every plan was tested. Artist Sandy Sudar redefined her Land Art collective actions to an intimate and sensitive version. Her performance series “The Water Message” – strongly linked to the global ethos of the exhibition – aims at linking Human Consciousness through the recognition and activation of the energetic Nodes of Planet Earth. Under Adria Peralta’s art direction and Lucas De Cesco`s videography, Sandy produces four Healing Land Art actions aligned with the moon phases, in a cosmic awakening towards the Nuovo Homo.
The “Tales of Water” Project is a very well developed example of ETHER’s mission, The collaboration is a part of CORE’s 2nd annual Imagine Climate, a month-long exploration of climate art and innovation in the Roaring Fork Valley. Leading artists, inventors, and changemakers offer creative perspectives and solutions to the climate crisis through a program of events by the valley nonprofit that helps locals save energy and cut carbon emissions. A portion of the proceeds of the show will benefit CORE, whose work on CO2 reduction contributes to our shared goal of protecting our snowpack and watershed.
The change is within us, in each one of our actions. We are surrounded by it, and the scenario points at this being inevitable. The Tales of Water are as imaginary as real, and the signs on the road unlimited. A breath of nature, a pause aligned with the Universal Purpose. Serendipity and movement.
More at www.aspencore.org and #imagineclimate.