Jane Tingley‘s digital art installation, Foresta Inclusive, is evocative of fireflies glowing in the night sky, or clusters of distant galaxies as observed through a telescope. The data visualization reveals the inner life of a tree living in Kitchener, Ontario, in real time.
Presented as part of the 2021 CAFKA biennial, the artwork has two main components: a sensor hub and an outdoor installation. The “ecosensors,” attached to the tree’s trunk and branches, gather information about the tree’s experience in its environment — such as soil humidity and air temperature — and send it to a display installed on outdoor screens in Kitchener. (A version of the installation can also be viewed online.)
The artwork is mesmerizing at first glance — but it becomes even more intriguing as a layered conceptual framework emerges. Through interactivity and sculptural metaphors, Tingley has the ambitious goal of inspiring the viewer to reconsider human beings’ place among species.
The subtle movement of trees and their surrounding ecology is often imperceptible to humans. “Trees are moving at a slower pace and it’s hard to really see something that’s on such a different time scale. It’s hard to see it as vibrant and alive,” says Tingley.
The installation is designed to raise questions about what it means to be alive and have agency. What does it mean to be in dialogue with something that does not share the same language nor temporal reality?
Tingley believes that by confronting the viewer with the dynamic nature of trees, the viewer has no choice but to acknowledge their “aliveness” and consider the ethical implications of that recognition. She is drawn to the growing body of research on tree communication that shows that trees are much more social and cooperative than we thought. Ecologists like Suzanne Simard and Peter Wholleben have shown that forest trees are communal, form alliances with other species, share resources, and warn their neighbours of impending danger like insect attacks. It’s becoming apparent that nature is being ruled by more than just competition and survival of the fittest.
The artwork’s eight ecosensors monitor wind, rain, light level, soil temperature, soil humidity, and VOCs, which are organic chemicals that act as airborne signals. (VOCs are one of the ways that trees communicate with one another.) The information gathered by the ecosensors is sent to an installation that displays the information as it’s being collected.
The econsensors, which are hollow on the inside and contain electronics, also serve as sculptural metaphors for cooperation in the natural world. Tingley carved the sensors out of cork to look like protozoa, which are microorganisms that have mutually beneficial relationships with termites. Protozoa allow termites to digest wood in exchange for a place to live. It’s one of the oldest examples of mutualism ever discovered between an animal and microorganism.
“The protozoa speaks to me. There is something about this relationship and how enduring it is that I find really compelling,” says Tingley. She contrasts this with “parasitic” interactions in which the parasite takes from the host and may eventually kill it.
“Historically, at least in the Occident, we look at nature as a commodity for exploitation. We look at trees as something we can freely cut down for timber. I find that relationship problematic. It’s a type of relationship that’s more parasitic.”
With this project, Tingley says she was studying symbiotic relationships and asking how we can shift our current parasitic relationship with nature to a more mutualistic one.
“It’s clear that we need nature and everything it provides. So then the question is: what does nature need from us? I think to shift our current relationship, we need to spend more time on protection and stewardship.”
The Foresta Inclusive sensor hub is wifi-enabled and sends live data to a platform called shiftr, an interface that helps visualize the data that’s being gathered about the tree, which can be harvested and materialized in any location. shiftr also generates a live data visualization — the image with the glowing, moving particles. For this exhibition, Tingley materialized the particles in the air, like dust and pollen, as well as the wind speed, ambient temperature and light levels gathered from the tree’s immediate environment.
“The colour of the particles is generated by light levels,” she explains. “The background colour is controlled by air temperature. The amount of particles you see are controlled by the amount of particles in the air at a given time. The wind is used to create a flow field, think of them like currents in water. The particles are pushed around by these currents.”
Interactivity is a crucial part of Tingley’s conceptualization of the artwork, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it wasn’t a part of the materialization of the project for CAFKA.
“I think if I were to do this in a gallery, post-COVID, this would be a wall-sized projection indoors and I would have some sort of touchless interface that you can move your hand around and you can move the particulates,” says Tingley.
She stresses that she’s not interested in replacing experiences outside in nature. Instead, her interactive installations are complementary, offering new ways of thinking about different kinds of intelligences and fostering a deeper sense of empathy and responsibility for the forest.
“I’m trying to create emotive spaces. I want to create spaces that the body can go into so that people can start to experience the data I’m collecting,” says Tingley. “I want to create spaces where people are actively interacting with the visual phenomenon so that they’re interacting with the natural world in a way, and are active agents in the co-creation of an experience.”
“And then maybe if you interact with it, maybe that helps you understand how alive this other entity is — this other-than human ‘person’ is.”
White House on defensive over Hunter Biden art sales – FRANCE 24
Issued on: 24/07/2021 – 01:08
The White House assured Friday that necessary ethical precautions would be taken around any exhibitions and sale of artwork by President Joe Biden’s son, whose personal life and professional career have been peppered with controversy.
Asked by reporters about upcoming exhibitions of Hunter Biden’s artwork in New York’s Georges Berges Gallery, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s son would be “attending gallery events.”
The discussions about sales “will be happening with the gallerist” and not Hunter Biden, she said.
“That is different than meeting with prospective buyers.”
Psaki had announced July 9 that a system had been established allowing Hunter Biden to practice his profession “within appropriate safeguards,” including the confidentiality of any transactions and no contact with buyers.
At exhibits of Hunter’s work, “the selling of his art will all happen through the gallerist and the names and individuals will be kept confidential,” she said.
When pressed that a buyer could simply tell the artist that he or she is purchasing his work, Psaki stressed that a strict rules structure will be in place.
“He will not know, we will not know who purchases his art,” she said.
Contacted by AFP, the gallery did not immediately provide any comment or details.
The Biden administration, which seeks to present itself as ethically unblemished, has been repeatedly questioned about the artistic career of the 51-year-old lawyer and businessman-turned-painter.
US media point out the obvious risks of businessmen or others purchasing the artwork with the sole aim of winning access to or influence with the White House.
Press reports have said the paintings by Biden, who has had no formal training, could sell for up to half a million dollars.
Hunter Biden is one of former president Donald Trump’s favorite targets.
During the 2020 presidential campaign Trump and his supporters regularly criticized Hunter Biden for his economic interests in Ukraine and China when his father was vice president under Barack Obama.
Hunter is also the target of a federal investigation into possible tax crimes.
In a memoir published earlier this year, the president’s youngest son recounted his struggle with addiction to cocaine and alcohol.
© 2021 AFP
Art exhibits return to Callander’s Alex Dufresne gallery – BayToday.ca
After a long hiatus, art shows are returning to the Alex Dufresne Gallery at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum this Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sara Carlin-Ball are highlighted in an exhibit entitled “Journeys to a Conversation with Nature.”
In a release promoting the show, Davidson and Carlin-Ball explain the “works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.”
Their goal in selecting the pieces for the exhibit is to capture “the luscious spectacular that is Nature, Muse, Essence,” and emphasize how these “inspire the audience to revision their place – their gratitude and responsibility – on this Earth.”
“It feels absolutely wonderful to have art back on the walls,” said Natasha Wiatr, the gallery’s curator.
The last show was this past April but did not last long before Covid regulations closed the event. Since then, “the walls have been empty.”
“We haven’t consistently had shows in what feels like so long,” she said, and is pleased to launch what will hopefully be a long stretch of exhibits.
Currently, the gallery is booked until 2023, “and we’ve added two more shows per year,” Wiatr explained.
“We see ourselves as a community-based gallery,” she said, and as such, strive to present as many local artists as possible.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The gallery can hold 14 people at once, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can also be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery.
Staff remind to you please wear a mask when you visit and maintain social distance.
Admission to the museum is $5 for seniors and students, $4.50 for kids 6-12, free for children under 6 and adults pay $5.50. Family rate for 4 is $15. Entrance to the gallery is by donation.
Callander museum reopens with art show – The North Bay Nugget
The art show Journeys to a Conversation with Nature will reopen the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sarah Carlin-Ball will remain on display to Aug. 20.
“There is an essential longing for life that erupts in a luscious spectacular that we call Nature,” the artists said in a statement.
“The human animal is a part of this longing for life that some might call a Muse – a Muse for artists of every passion and discipline. Artists are at the mercy of their muse and transcribe whatever is whispered to them about life, people, and the compelling natural environment they belong to.
“One may be a studied artist haphazardly trained while another may be an experimental soul, interpreting the ever-changing environment around her.”
Influenced by the gifts of their lives and the natural offerings around them, each artist interprets what touches her soul. Each piece of art tells a portion of her journey, calling to the viewer to look more closely at what life has to teach us.
Carlin-Ball’s muse slumbered as she was raising her children and working. As soon as she could make time, there was an explosion of experimentation driven by her mantra ‘What would happen if…?’
Mistakes happily romped with successes. Now, her careful, unique presentations interpret life and nature, and challenge one’s imagination.
As she learned of the melting of the muskeg and the possibility that Canada will soon lose that habitat and vibrant spring bloom, Carlin-Bell felt the compulsion to replicate that vital image with unexpected media: patinated and fired copper was punched and threaded through with fibre knotted to create the blooms and surface stems.
Eventually, the vibrant muskeg spring emerged.
For Davidson, nature was a refuge she quietly celebrated with natural and cultivated talent for art and writing. A busy and brief career in graphic design took over until disabling MS symptoms forced (or allowed) her to slow down.
She began a meditation practice to cope with symptoms and immediately began painting again.
Her creative work parallels her spiritual path and the subjects of her study get smaller and smaller as she has the opportunity to stop and notice. She finds joy in a yellow spider on a sunflower or a nest full of baby robins.
Together, their works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery and the museum and gallery also welcome same-day walk-ins.
Those visiting are asked to wear a mask and social distance.
The museum and art gallery are located at 107 Lansdowne St. E., Callander.
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