Expanding the field of Artists + Environments

Sixteen artists, art educators, museum educators, and media designers took part in a three-week long web event (March 5-26, 2009) designed and produced by smudge studio. (http://www.generativeconversations.blogspot.com).

William L. Fox, Director of the newly formed Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, convened the event as an interactive blog: “Artists + Environments: Generative Practices and Conversations."

Participants experimented with five new “elements and principles of art”: hybridity, time, space,
performance, appropriation. They used these concepts to creatively respond to their own and other artists’ works that address natural, built, and virtual environments. One of the conversation’s moderators, Susan Rotilie, Program Manager of the Walker Art Center's School Programs, has developed museum programs based on the five elements. She uses them to make contemporary art more accessible to new audiences and to students and teachers.

Our moderators kicked off each week of the event with a provocation. Participants responded with posts, uploaded works, and comments.

On March 26, 2009, smudge studio took the resulting images, ideas, and insights to Penn State’s School of Visual Arts “Web 2.0 Pedagogies” class, taught by Karen Keifer-Boyd. We had a great experience facilitating a two day design charrette with students in the class. We came away with plenty of inspirational data for designing the web exhibition about Generative Practices and Conversations that we will launch on ExtremeMediaStudies.org in May, 2009.

We'll distribute the web exhibition to art educators and museum educators. And we'll invite them to creatively appropriate it for their museum education programs, websites, courses, and events.

“Artists + Environments, Generative Practices and Conversations” grew out of our participation in the Nevada Museum of Art's "Art + Environment" Conference in October 2008. That conference provided a "360 degree view of emerging art practices and perspectives that respond to natural, built, and virtual environments. The conference both expanded and breached traditional notions of "land art" or "art and environmentalism." Participants happily resisted naming what new "movement" or "vision" is now emerging from recent collaborations among artists, scientists, experimental geographers, media producers, museums, and land use interpreters. After creating a web exhibition and about the conference for, we felt that the current moment of experimentation and discovery should be prolonged--and we initiated “Generative Practices and Conversations” as an expansive resource for the emerging field of Artists + Environments.

You can experience the archive of the conversation here. We'll announce the web exhibition's launch in May.

ARTISTS: Kim Stringfellow, Caryn Cline, The Canary Project, Chris Drury, Emily Scott
ARTIST/ART EDUCATORS: Bill Gilbert, Catherine Harris, Karen Keifer-Boyd, Julia Christensen
Colin Robertson, Curator of Education, Nevada Museum of Art
Susan Rotilie, Program Manager, School Programs, Walker Art Center
William L. Fox, Director, Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art

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