Theatre becomes first UK arts org to complete a year of carbon emission cuts

From The Stage, January 21, 2011

Hall for Cornwall has become the first arts organisation in the UK to complete a year of carbon emission cuts as part of the nationwide "10:10" campaign, breaking its 10% target and achieving CO2 reductions of 17%.  Launched in September 2009, 10:10 was set up to encourage businesses, schools and individuals to commit to cut their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. More than 100 arts organisations have signed up, including the Royal Opera House, National Theatre Wales, BAFTA and all the theatres owned by Ambassador Theatre Group. Based in a 19th-century building in Truro, Hall for Cornwall cut its gas consumption by 40% and its electricity usage by 7% as part of its overall 17% reduction in carbon emissions.  The 10:10 campaign has now been extended indefinitely and organisations and individuals can still sign up to try and achieve a 10% reduction in their carbon emissions over a year. It is estimated that the total commitments of people and organisations who have already signed up amounts to one million tonnes of CO2.


Commentary: In London next month, 2 plays about climate change skepticism

Posted on, January 24, 2011

The issue of climate change is getting into the culture: London has seen four plays on the issue this year, and two more are on the way -- Greenland and The Heretic. Since conflict is at the heart of drama, it's not surprising, though nonetheless disappointing, that both are using climate change scepticism to make an impact.  But at least Greenland will be at the National Theatre, so it can be said the issue has really gone mainstream. The NT "asked four of the most distinct and exciting playwrights in British theatre to collaborate on a new piece of documentary theatre. The team has spent six months interviewing key individuals from the worlds of science, politics, business and philosophy in an effort to understand our changing relationship with the planet."  A programme of free events will accompany the production, which is great...[but] much public debate about global warming is still frustratingly stuck on the "Is it or is [it] not happening?" level, rather than the more serious matter of how we deal with it. The "divisive issue of climate change" is at the heart of The Heretic (Royal Court, February), a black comedy that "dares to question whether the science is settled, what we think we know and whether the science really is settled."


Commentary: Climate activism and the paintings of Alexis Rockman

Keith Harrington, writing on The Huffington Post, January 19, 2011

What role should art play in efforts to inspire people to fight climate change?  As the climate movement struggles to regain its bearings and look for new tools to reinvigorate itself after the failures of the 111th Congress, Copenhagen and Cancun, this question may be as relevant as any other that movement leaders and activists are asking themselves, especially given the unique role of art as a political and cultural magnifying glass.  It's also a question one can't help but ask after visiting painter Alexis Rockman's exhibit, "A Fable for Tomorrow", now showing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through May 8th, 2011. Many of the works in the exhibit seem to inhabit a zone somewhere between art and activism. They possess an energy that seems to reach out and pull you into the twisted and ruined worlds Rockman has documented and envisioned, before throwing you back again with a heightened urge to do something to stop the trajectory of destruction.


Giant pink snail sculptures bring message of environmental responsibility

Posted on the Art Threat blog, January 18, 2011

An escargatoire (yup, that's what it's called) of giant pink snails is wrapping up their visit to Miami Beach this month, preparing to migrate towards other parts of the United States.  These colourful invertebrates - the largest of which measure 8 feet tall - are made entirely of recycled plastic and are intended to pique curiosity and encourage conversations on recycling and other issues of environmental   sustainability. The forty-five snails are part of a larger initiative known as the REgeneration Art Project, which places big, bright animal installations in unexpected locations across the globe, including Rome, Venice, Prague and Paris.  Why snails?

"Cracking Art Group chose the snail -- a symbol of nature created from recycled, artificial material with a minimal carbon footprint -- for a variety of metaphorical reasons: First, it calls to mind the sense of hearing, as its shape resembles the human ear. Second, it alludes to the concept of housing, since the snail carries its house and is virtually enclosed in it when necessary. Third, it evokes the ideas of modernity and communication as represented by the snail's antennae."

To find out where the snails will strike next, visit

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