Issue 25:4 | December 2005 | Ecology: Everyone's Business
Ecology: Everyone's Business
Issue 25:4 | December 2005


Keeping the Wanjinas Fresh
Keeping the Wanjinas Fresh by Valda Blundell and Danny Woolagoodja Fremantle Arts Centre Press 2005, RRP $35
Picturing Climate Change
CSIRO science writer Simon Torok summarises the facts about how global warming is affecting every one of us in Australia. The marks of climate change, so far, are less tangible and Torok proposes that it is the challenge for art and science to help people see it. Torok initiated a project during his time in England which aimed at bringing art and climate science together through the use of objects and images to visualise our future climate and in turn provoke a strong emotional response amongst audiences.
Overtaken by Glaciers: The State of Eco-Architecture
Downton and Prelgauskas are advocates for ecological architecture and urbanism and through this article explore a little of what is happening in Australian architecture and compare overseas experiences. Australian progress in the art of ecological living has been fairly slow and although it hasnt matured yet, this article is optimistic in its exploration of some of the encouraging signs. What is missing they say is sufficient enlightened clients and a culture that is ecologically attuned to the artful songs of the biosphere.
Chris Mulhearn: Stand of Trees
Chris Mulhearn is an Adelaide-based artist who breathes the world around him. Where some artists make work in the bush, others like Mulhearn bring elements of those places into the heart of the world of constructed reality, the art gallery, and successfully. His work is recycling to die for.
Black Death: Species Extinction in WA
After 25 years of living in Victoria, Gregory Pryors rediscovery of and new found appreciation for the Australian landscape came about due to his relocating to Perth. Subsequent to this profound experience whereby he felt he was viewing the Australian landscape for both the first and last time, Pryor set out to create a body of work which entailed around 200 detailed drawings made from the Western Australian Museums archives. Through detailed examinations of individual flowers and specimens, Pryor was able to metaphorically travel across a huge amount of Australia and locate specific relationships between these flowers and the lands ancient human inhabitants.
Wetland (as in Disneyland)
In his 2004 gallery installation Wetland, Michael Harkin used the familiar imagery of rainwater tanks and the gentle notes and timbres of water whooshing and gurgling to highlight to audiences the consequences of turning on the tap or flushing a toilet within the area covered by the local water authority. Harkin has based this project on some of the important issues surrounding water commoditifaction and consumtion as well as being developed within a framework based on the ideas of theorist Jean Baudrillard.
Sweet Revenge: An Interview with Ken Yonetani
Ken Yonetani is an artist born and raised in Japan, and now practising in Sydney. Much of his recent work explores the intersections between consumption, desire, and human impact on our environs. He talks here with Julia Yonetani, who, apart from being Kens partner, is a lecturer, translator and writer on art, history, and things Japanese. This interview was conducted in Japanese and translated into English by Julia.
Stepping Lightly: The Art of Melissa Hirch
Byron Bay-based fibre artist Melissa Hirsch is the first artist to achieve climate neutrality through her involvement with Climate Friendly, a goverment-accredited Australian company which allows businesses and individuals to calculate the climate impact of their energy use. As a result she plans to promote her climate neutral art to corporate clients seeking a more eco-friendly image. Environmental sustainability was the impetus in Hirschs choice of career and has been the guiding force in the trajectory of her development as an artist; to produce art in nature, with nature, about nature.
Artists' Footprints (Sustain ability labelling and artworks! What's that?)

Smith offers some suggestions for those interested in the ecological (and social) sustainability of an art work and introduces the notion of EarthLabel as a way of making artworks ecologically and socially accountable - and maybe even more marketable. For more information visit:

Framing The Colour of Infestation: the work of Liz Woods
Liz Wood is a landscape installation artist whose work over the years has included covering rocks with wallpaper and embellishing tree trunks with roses. In July 2005 Woods was selected to be a part of Farming with Mary, a collaborative project which took place along the Mary River in four agricultural communities near Gympie in Queensland. In the case of Woods large-scale works in the landscape, their ephemeral existence has the advantage of avoiding a harmful environmental impact, whilst the visual impact is clearly assertive.
Bowerbirds and the Art of Ian Hamilton
Ian Hamilton has approached some of the ideas surrounding sexual and asexual reproduction amongst organisms from a different perspective to those of biologists in his ongoing artistic studies. Hamilton began his work on bowerbirds when he was an Artist-in-Residence at Griffith University in 1976 during a visit to OReillys national park south of Brisbane where he filmed and videotaped Satin Bowerbirds as they worked upon their bowers. He has drawn many parallels between the creative processes of Bowerbirds and artists and over the years the ongoing extinction of these birds has come to be a symbolic representation and reminder of the harsh ramifications of human activity on the natural world. Hamilton is based in Adelaide in South Australia.
Remediation as art with Gavin Malone
For a decade the art practice of Gavin Malone has been concerned with ecological rehabilitation and cultural interpretation. A former grazing property and thus a degraded ecosystem, the 185 ha property belonging to fellow artist Greg Johns overlooking the plains of the River Murray, has been transformed into what Malone suggests is not just a sculpture park with a Landcare project but actually reconceptualises art as ecology.
From the River to the Source: Lloyd Godman's Ecological Explorations
Lloyd Goldman's twin careers of serious and successful organic gardener and practising artist of great creative energy converge in new and constantly surprising ways to make art about the ecological concerns that underly his gardening. Over almost three decades his art has widened out from relatively traditional landscape photography to include elements of performance, audience participation art and multimedia installation to explore the tensions between electronic consumer society and the ecosystem.
A Torn Parchment: The Murray Darling Palimpsest
Since European settlement the Murray Darling district has been a major site for irrigation and has been established as an important agricultural centre. In 1956 a valuable collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century art was bequeathed to the city and a new gallery was built to display it. Over the years the Mildura Sculpture Prize has progressed to become a non-competitive event and in 1973 for the first time, environment was the theme. With the launch of Mildura Palimpsest, Mildura once again emerged as a central location for experimental art that tackled ecological issues.
TeATR'ePROUVeTe: Social Ecology in French Villages
Jean Bojko is the founder of TeATRePROUVeTe, a project created in response to a desire for a socially inclusive cultural event to be held in the Shire of Nievre in regional France in 2000. Bojko came up with the idea of marrying the 32 smallest villages of the shire with thirty-two artists. The aim was to get the villagers to see their own potential and to build a network with others. The event involved mock burials which took place in the local cemeteries as well as numerous events focused on environmental viability and sustainability as a way to symbolically reinforce the transition of these individuals from craftsmen to members of common life.
EcoTV: A South Australian Experiment
As part of the 2005 Adelaide Film Festival, the inaugural EcoTVC competition for a 30-second television commercial was held to create greater public awareness of key environmental issues. The winner was Peter Miller, a 22-year-old superannuation administrator and writer whose entry showed people hopping around dressed ridiculously as endangered native animals. The commercial ended with the slogan Youll appreciate the real thing...once theyre gone, together with a final shot of a Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby as an example of the real thing that could become extinct.
Drawing on the Earth: Bronwyn Wright's 'Running Dog'
Photographer Bronwyn Wright has been visiting the local swamp lands northeast of Darwin with her dogs for about fifteen years. Her latest artwork at The Swamp draws on her knowledge of this piece of land and on her Spatial Sciences (GIS and Remote Sensing) studies at Charles Darwin University. It is a geoglyph, an earth drawing of a dog that is ecological because it treads lightly on the earth by using only human footprints to make marks that are visible from space.
Drought and Art: 10% and Falling
On 2 July 2005 Goulburn Regional Art Gallery held a community forum to discuss the water crisis in the region. The all-important forum only happened because of art, or more specifically because Goulburn Regional Art Gallery had organised the exhibition Water Works of 16 regional artists works about water sustainability and survival. Gallery director Jennifer Lamb tells the hair-raising story of a town learning to do without water and the role of artists in coming to terms with this.
John Dahlsen: Plastic Arts
John Dalsens work, utilising found plastic beach rubbish, is seen as environmental art. Art debates aside, he has collected mountains of rubbish and transformed it into artworks that really do captivate people. Recognition of his collecting has been made by the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns by naming Dahlsen as their official artist. Through the material he finds Dahlsen depicts various landscapes and the multitude of objects create a dialogue about our use, and abuse, of the environment.
Performance art and Plastic Bags in the Pacific
The scourge of non-recyclable waste devastating the precious land of the Pacific Islands has become a new subject matter for some of the local performers. A play put on in front of the newly built Parliament House on the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu marked the islands transition to becoming the worlds first plastic shopping bag free country. Campbell looks at some of the ecological and economic crisis in the South Pacific Islands in the year that was declared The Year of Action Against Waste and the methods which are employed to assist with the educating of such issues.
The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize Under Scrutiny
Osborne examines and questions the validity of the South Australian Museums Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize in terms of its proposed intentions which lie in the educating of issues concerning Australias natural heritage and ecology. With a prize pool of $85,000 in total the event certainly offers incentive to artists and attracts many of the countries most prolific artists but in turn fails to provide any intrinsic value in terms of art or natural history. As Osborne concludes neither sales, nor attendance figures are sufficient to justify the museum devoting its space, resources and prestige to this ill-conceived event.
Ecology Network
Free soil is an international collaboration of artists, activist, researchers and gardeners who take a participatory role in the transformation of our environment. Founded in 2005 by Amy Franceschini (USA) Stijn Schiffeleers (Belgium), Nis Romer (Denmark) and Joni Taylor (Australia), it aims to foster discourse, develop projects and give support for art practices that reflect and often change the urban and natural landscape by working on issues such as sustainability, environmental art and greening cities.
Finsbury Green Printing - The Story of the First Carbon Neutral Printer in Australia
Finsbury is the only printing company in Australia to successfully establish an environmental printing brand, and over the years their environmental credentials have become so strong that they can legitimately call everything they do green. They are also the only commercial printing company in Australia to volunteer for the Federal Goverments Greenhouse Challenge Plus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This article looks at some of the developing methods and strategies Finsbury Green Printing are dedicated to year after year in an attempt to become as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Red Shoe Delivery Service
Melbourne International Arts Festival George Adams Gallery, the Arts Centre and various locations around Melbourne 7 - 22 October 2005
David Martin: In Visible Light
Burnie Regional Art Gallery, Tasmania 8 July - 7 August 2005
White Noise
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne 17 August - 23 October 2005 Curated by Mike Stubbs
Space Between Words: A Collection of Subjective Narratives
Queensland Centre for Photography 17 September  16 October 2005
South Australian School of Art International Drawing Conference: Drawing is Everything
South Australian School of Art International Drawing Conference Drawing is Everything Adelaide 4 September - 9 October 2005 Ruth Hadlow: Patternbook South Australian School of Art Gallery Dialecticaline Prospect Gallery Drawing is a Verb Adelaide Central Gallery2
Mark Siebert: Out of Circulation
Downtown Artspace, Adelaide 7 - 24 September 2005
A Silent Walk: The Sculpture of Stephen Hart
QUT Art Museum, Brisbane 4 August - 23 October 2005
Trudi Brinckman: White Plastic Cup
Trudi Brinckman: White Plastic Cup Kelly's Garden Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart 24 - August - 30 September 2005
Adam Cullen: Maintaining the Rage
Adam Cullen: Maintaining the Rage Kaliman Gallery, Sydney 1 - 24 September 2005
Flux2: New Art from Western Australia
Flux2: New Art from Western Australia Brendan Van Hek, Ben Sullivan, Bennett Miller, Helen Smith, Pilar Mata Dupont and Tarryn Gill Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth 18 September - November 2005
National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition 2005
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 15 July - 9 October 2005
Brook Andrew: Hope & Peace
Stills Gallery, Sydney, 3 August - 3 September 2005 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, 5 July  - 7 August 2005 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, 23 November - 18 December 2005
Alex Spremberg: Paint-Works
Gallerie Dusseldorf, Perth 25 September - 16 October 2005
Ecology: Everyone's Business
What does the onset of climate change mean to an artist today? We have known about species extinction for decades, and the death of ecosystems; artists whose work evolved around these issues first emerged during the sixties.
XSProject: From the (Dirty) River
Artist Ann Wizer has been on a mission to protect the environment and reduce poverty in South-East Asia for many years. She has battled against indifference of the most callous variety. Undaunted she continues to find creative solutions to make a difference. Here she shares the trials and tribulations of working long-term and hands-on with consumer waste in Jakarta - complete with the stench of landfill.