"URBAN ECOLOGIES" 2021 exhibition opens at Santa Fe Railyard Park Earth Day 4/22
Beginning Earth Day, April 22, 2021 Art Park 21 will host its second biennial juried exhibition of outdoor eco-centric artworks: “Urban Ecologies” thanks to the partnership of the Santa Fe Railyard Park Conservancy and the Railyard Art Project committee.
This will feature the temporary siting of several works on the railyard park grounds. The installations will have relevance to the environment of New Mexico and will be created by artists from the region. They will make use of diverse media to evoke themes such as xeriscaping vs. green lawns; natural and cultural history of the site; botany; the effects of industry; water harvesting and use; economic value of nature; history of over-harvesting of forests.
On April 24, 10 am to 2 pm, the artists will be on site to give interpretive comments to the public in compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines. Funding support for this project has been provided by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Infinite Green is a sculptural installation created with repurposed artificial grass and a reclaimed push lawn mower. What appears to be one very long strip of grass coils into two large rolls, creating an infinite loop of perfectly manicured green lawn. In the center of the two turf rolls, where the material passes from one roll to the next, sits a well-worn lawnmower, as if positioned on a hamster wheel. The material of artificial grass stirs connotations of idealized versions of natural beauty, and our culture’s tendency to plasticize what we love in order to make its beauty last, manipulating organic materials to make them more durable and impervious to death and decay. Infinite Green evolved from dialogues about what is ultimately sacrificed in an endless quest for the perfect lawn, the perfect home, and the perfect life in pursuit of romanticized versions of the American Dream. Is there a price too high, in financial or natural resources, to achieve picture-perfect curb appeal?
By Leticia Bajuyo, Tiffany Black, and
The ostensible function of this installation is to keep a small amount of water in a depression on the upper surface of a boulder. Adjacent to the boulder is a vertical construction which supports a small steel tank containing tap water and an open basin rain catchment. A solar panel provides power for a network of electrical devices – sensors, valves, actuators – that are managed by a microcontroller. Two ounces of water can be released from the catchment onto the boulder by the viewer by pressing a button on the Control Panel if rock is dry. On a regular schedule, a sensor mounted to the tap water tank will check the status of the pocket on the rock and if it is dry, it will activate the release of two ounces of water onto the rock. This work responds to environmental conditions and its construction makes use of salvage industrial materials as well as natural materials. These contrasting materials echo a theme of urban ecology – technology and biology intertwined..
A patch of Yerba Mansa, Anemopsis californica, planted within the community garden is the core of the multifaceted installation, Rootwalk, which honors relations between people and plants. The community garden is a space of nurturing; plants, community, and oneself; through symbiotic plant-human relations. Yerba Mansa will spread rhizomatically over the course of the installation, serving as a metaphor for sharing plant stories. The public may collect a zine/field guide from a library next to the Yerba Mansa patch. Dozens of community members contributed stories to the plant zine and their descriptions will prompt participants to meander through the park and learn the attributes of plant species. Flags, dyed with regional plants and printed with graphic symbols, will signal participants to various plants and the information in the zine/field guide. Over time the flags will decompose and emphasize the need to pass along plant stories, knowledge, and seeds before their meaning is lost. are.
INDUSTRY is a multi-media installation that fuses Art, Technology and Math. Contained inside the seemingly unaltered rusty water tank is a large-scale kaleidoscope, producing an illusion of a 3-D sphere. Incorporating coding, arduinos, LED’s, LCD monitor to produce the object cell, while geometry is used to create the illusion of 3 dimensional kaleidoscope. This installation does not mean to paint Industry in a negative light, it serves to encourage a dialogue on our societal values and norms. The juxtaposition of a “child’s toy” inside a mechanism of industry speaks to these values. Collectively we have lost our relationship with play, with Nature and discovery. Valuing industry over discovery, hard work over play, progress over the planet. After creating such a divisive and dangerous relationship with nature, how do we reflect, re-establish, and re-wild?
A series of approximately 300 small colorful Amenita-like ceramic mushrooms will be produced to be sporadically and secretly placed under cover of night around selected Santa Fe Railyard Park grounds, on selected Spring 2021 dates. The mushrooms are to be found, foraged and kept by those who encounter them over following days, as a gift. The stems will be hollow, containing a removable paper message, asking for locative contact. A project website and interactive map will be created to geographically track the mushrooms’ mycorrhizal economic paths, as artful representation of our community’s fungible gift economy. A public “Art + Economics” workshop and discussion will also be scheduled, attempting to make visible and visceral, economic understandings and practices for how to balance our local economy, Earth’s economy, and for re-inhabiting the original Greek radical root word ‘oiconomia’: care of home.
Track the mushrooms journey across the globe or record your own mushroom’s location at https://myco-eco.art.
How can public space be annotated to account for the complicated pasts and presents of the Santa Fe Railyard Park? With earth plinth signs, (not pictured) endeavors to make visible that which is “not pictured” in our dominant culture. The signs will encourage visitors to engage with the often overlooked layers of material and social presents, pasts, and futures of the park. Each of the five etched steel signs evoke the park’s permanent signs that tell part of the park’s story. The earthen plinths embody accounts of millennia of chemical change, soil degradation, layered histories, and riven and remade connections. The signs offer speculations in English, Spanish and another local language exploring multiple ways of being on this land of O’ghe P’oghe (aka Santa Fe), including a land acknowledgment which traces the colonial history of the railroad, its path of genocide across the so-called U.S., and the relationship of this settler park as land stolen from the Tewa people.re.
By nicholas b jacobsen,
Catherine Page Harris,
and bug carlson
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