Travel & Environmental Art

Musings from Bob Budd, AiNIN member from UK.

Another topic which is really interesting, perhaps contentious (particularly in the light of climate change)is the whole ethos of artists going off to faraway climes (out of their regions to cross the world) in order to produce `environmental art’ or `art in nature’ (art that should respect the natural environment).

It was a main reason AiNIN was set up. But how do we square burning up a whole load of oil to get somewhere, and then say that the artwork is `eco-friendly’, even if you do only use local, natural or minimal materials.

The main reason we can do international projects is largely thanks to the growth based capitalist fossil fuel burning societies we live in (the very thing which is destroying the planet). Can we justify our participation by pointing out we are raising awareness of eco-matters or by making environments more attractive/interesting to visit/consider/value? To what degree do these arts projects actually raise original awareness, or are they just following in the footsteps of primary
research by eco-activists, scientists, journalists, field workers, farmers, conservationists? To what degree do they create value in the environment, against how much they create more tourism or travel (ie. fossil fuel consumption) on the artist’s part as  & well as visitors?

It’s a bummer of an issue, and the question is, I guess, how far is `international art in nature’ successful? And I can’t find any simple answer. Sometimes I just wonder if art is a love letter to a dying world.

Personally, I can’t bring myself to apply for projects in Austalia, Korea or the States etc as they are so far, so much oil. But that’s my choice.

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