Organised by Silvana Taher & Matilde Cassani; Michael Smythe and Thomas Thwaites
Session 3: What is a state of nature? - Green is not a colour
Date: Monday 21 October 2019
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Green is not a colour will look at the moment where art and the natural world come together, asking how it is that the artist can provide an alternative view and mode of engaging with the environment. As a starting point of discussion, we will ask the speakers to respond to the provocation that the ubiquity of environmental concern has lead to an often flippant quality of discussion, whereby ‘being green’ becomes a political tool aimed almost exclusively at garnishing support. In this session of Plan the Planet, we will discuss the downsides of mainstream environmentalism, with artists who have helped humankind reconceive of nature and our relationship to it.
Michael Smythe is an artist, campaigner and creative director of Nomad Projects, an independent arts foundation that develops experimental projects across digital and location-specific spaces. Nomad Projects critically engages with issues surrounding environmental and social justice within the urban landscape. Recent projects include Phytology (www.phytology.org.uk), an urban physic garden and research institute in Bethnal Green (East London), Urban Mind (www.urbanmind.info) a global research project investigating the relationship between the landscape and mental health, and So Below (www.sobelow.org), a cartoon essay exploring our current and historic relationship to the land. Michael studied installation, performance and art history at the Australian National University, Canberra, and Hochschule Der Künste, Berlin.
Thomas Thwaites is a designer interested in the social impacts of science and technology. He holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, and a BSc. in Human Sciences from University College, London. His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is exhibited at major galleries and museums worldwide. He is the author of two books; The Toaster Project, and GoatMan.
Thomas Thwaites: Introduction to Works
1. How I built a Toaster - from Scratch
2. A Holiday from being Human
1. Seeding the City https://youtu.be/5rM5PVhPEls
1. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
Recommended reading: Drawdown (2017) Penguin Books “Alexander von Humboldt” (pages 24-25)
2. The Shock of the Anthropocene by Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz
Recommended reading: Part One: What’s in a Words (pages 3-44)
All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.