FROM THE EDITOR
Let's take a moment to remember Terry Hall, the famously deadpan* singer of The Specials who just died of cancer at 63. While in later years he said 'we didn't fix shit' in what is still a very divided Britain, from their debut in 1979 - as a band fronted by 'a Jew and two black guys' - they undoubtedly took a stand against racism and fascism in a gritty society roiling from both. Their early UK gigs were often targeted for attacks by skinheads and National Front types.
Their sound combined ska with punk energy and often biting social commentary, as a punchback to the bleak Thatcher era they were living in. Just by existing they offered a kind of light in the darkness. When I was a mod in my teens, Hall was a huge influence. When you get a chance, just listen to that first album. Still bracing stuff, maybe one of the all-time greats and utterly relevant. Not just then but now.
I do think that these days, in a way, becoming a kind of warrior (gentle or otherwise) for nature, the planet, and the future is the new punk stance. Just as bands like The Specials sought to break the hold of complacency and the status quo, and showed how artists can play a role in that.
Put another way, beauty - along with community, resilience, solidarity with nature and each other - is the new punk rock. I suspect Terry Hall might agree with that.
[*It should be noted that his dour persona - he rarely smiled, on or off stage - was likely due in part to life-long mental health struggles. As a young teen he was abducted and sexually abused by a teacher, who punched him in the face and left him on the side of the road. It was a trauma he came to speak openly about, and even to a casual viewer he seemed like someone carrying a great weight throughout his life.]
Franconia, New Hampshire - Anna Te
“The complexity of nature.”
Rhinebeck, New York - Keith Kozloff
“I made portraits while participating in a residential workshop at Omega Institute called ‘Photography and Forest Bathing.’ I asked for volunteers to pose with a tree of their choice that reflected their relationship to the tree. Some offered comments on the experience — ‘I was trying to listen to the tree. I've been on a quest to find old trees and wonder what they have experienced […] Mature trees like this one must have their stories.’
It’s ironic that we are threatening many tree species with extinction at the same time we are learning more and more about their complex (above and below ground level) forms of communication.”
Takoma Park, Maryland - Bill Crandall
“Two-mile hike yesterday along the creeks bordering my neighborhood. I often give my photo students an assignment called Human Nature, with a ‘vs’ implied in between. A landscape that shows the intersection of nature and the human-built. The creek ravines bring wild nature right to our doorsteps. You go down and it’s like you've crossed a border into another world looking back at ours. It’s actually not pretty down there (and you secretly hope you make it out ok). But the rough tangle offers something new every time if you look - which I almost didn’t do, this is right at the end of the circuit.”
An absolute masterpiece of minimalist visual storytelling. Please watch.
Phyllis Shafer - (1958, USA)
Her art is a lyrical expression of her innate awareness of her environment and her love of nature. Whimsical landscapes draw the attention of many artists and collectors, who consider Phyllis to be one of the greatest landscapers of our time. [...] Most of Shafer's landscapes take place in Lake Tahoe and the Arizona desert where she draws her inspiration. The final result is a vivid painting that dances in rhythm with her obvious deep connection with nature. Expressive landscapes are punctuated with characteristic movement and animated clouds. This is a very refreshing touch to the traditional landscape paintings that we often see.
Dr. Sarah Myhre is a climate scientist, environmental justice expert, and fifth-generation descendent of the violence of the colonial project of the American West. Her creative work is an expression of the struggle to understand and make meaning from the climate crisis, through the lens of accountability, reparation, and love. Each of her block prints records ongoing climate events, including heatwaves, floods, negotiations, and scientific assessments.
At the core, Dr. Myhre’s work is an expression of love and grief together, with the raw tenderness and courage to bear witness and be curious.
How do we live through moments of such perilous loss? How do we love a beautiful, vulnerable world?
CLIMATE-ART RESIDENCIES + COMPETITIONS
Deadline: January 13
Deadline: January 3
Tricycle | Oct 22, 2022
A therapist shares his insight on how we can embrace our imperfect selves in our hypercompetitive society.
Nice that they used an image of a cup with very 'wabi-sabi' mended cracks and other imperfections. Wabi-sabi is an old Japanese concept that has to do with the beauty of imperfection and decay (to way over-simplify), but I just noticed the Wikipedia description has a section on how wabi-sabi also relates to mental health and perfectionist thinking.
The 4th season of my conscient podcast (exploring art and the ecological crisis) is ‘Sounding Modernity : weekly 5 minute sound meditations’ unfolding from 1 January to 31 December 2023 about what modernity sounds like and what we can do about it.
Climate-focused Twitter alternative on Mastodon.