Panel 3: Artivism
The SeaChange Voyage: Artivism in the Anthropocene
In 2014 a group of artivists crafted a flotilla of fragile paper-mache canoes and embarked down the Hudson River, following the supply chain of fracked Bakken crude oil and defending the waters as a public commons. In July 2017 a mix of First Nations, local and international artists returned to the river on a solar-powered vessel, weaving together stories of resistance and resilience in the age of the climate crisis. This piece looks at the recent SeaChange Voyage as an example of engaged arts activism and cultural organizing (“artivism”) that is both working towards addressing immediate impacts to our water and climate, and working to heal some of the colonial and extractivist relationships with the land, water and eachother.
Through a multi-layered strategy of 1) supporting the deepening of personal relationships to water, 2) storytelling along supply chains: from the frontlines of Standing Rock to the Hudson River watershed 3) and supporting relationships among local activists and local artists, the SeaChange Voyage is exploring models of activism that build community as they resist common dangers, and opens an intersectional discourse around the waters and climate as a commons.
Kevin Buckland is an independent artivist (artist+activist) who has spent the past decade working across all scales of the Global Climate Justice Movement, primarily as the Global Artivist Coordinator with 350.org (2009-2015). From UN Climate summits to squatted hospitals, Kevin uses a myriad of forms from street-theater to performance and mass mobilizations to promote the use of creativity in the work of re-creating our world, and supports the strategic engagement of artists in re-conceiving the concept of activism. Recently, he has been looking more at how we organize than what we organize. As a writer he has self-published “Breathing Gezi”, a first-hand account of the Gezi Park occupation, and published numerous blog-posts and essays with 350.org, redpepper.org.uk, counterpunch, treehugger.com, Ejolt Report and others. You can follow him on twitter @change_of_art and instagram @coloresamor
Purpose and re-purpose
A critical question that I ask myself when I perform any task is “why am I doing this?” or “What is my purpose?” As a scholar and an activist, I often wonder where my energies and talents are best spent to make the most positive impact and how my actions matter. In this presentation, I ponder the meaning of purpose and re-purpose in a meta-sense, whether it be of materials, energies, or intentions and I consider what some of the strongest actions that I can take are as we face the political, social, economic and environmental challenges that I expect that the future will continue to bring forth at an increasing pace.
Daniel M. Fernandez is a Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at CSUMB. He teaches classes in first-year physics, Sustainability Systems, Environmental Studies Capstone, and Infrastructure Systems. He also co-coordinates the Environmental Studies program at CSUMB. Dr. Fernandez research focuses on the collection of water from fog, studying techniques to assess the presence of fog and to maximize the collection of fog water. Dr. Fernandez is also engaged with campus-wide sustainability initiatives, and he manages the incipient Sustainable City Year Program.
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