Dateline : September 21, 2014 Posted by writer in residence

Environmental Poetics

James Sherry

Ligonano and Reese’s art renders envionmental risk as an immediate message that we all understand, THE FUTURE melting_away. But the practical solutions beyond art engage the primary cause of global warming, HUMAN DESIRE, that doesn’t melt. Desire continues.

We have the technology to arrest climate change. We have the political systems to transform society. But we lack the will to change. Art, poetry, music supply our will, the justification, if you will, to change. Environmental change engages human endeavor broadly: political change, social change, change in how we imagine ourselves in the world, economic change, new art, more realistic views of risk. The list is thorough. Our understanding is partial and filled with error. Error is why we cannot rely on a moral principle to arrest climate change. We must deal with each component and model it against a world art and poetry imagine. And at each step in imagining we compare what we have made to the model. Is it working, what are the consequences, whose interest is served, how can we distribute the risk?

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    Dateline : Posted by writer in residence


    James Sherry

    Have we made mistakes? Every day is imperfect, every action fraught with the terror of error, yet we persist. In the Climate March, artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese destroy THE FUTURE. Well, they more let it melt_away. And the people coming to see it at the Flatiron building on 23rd & 5th today September 21st, get the point, but the point is different for all of them, yet they all get it. That’s environmentalism–they’re all different and they all get it, for themselves, for us, for the same presence ourselves and various collective pronouns. Yes the climate is changing, but to arrest climate change we have to change, each and all.

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      Dateline : Posted by writer in residence

      Welcome to THE FUTURE (ice sculpture at the Flatiron)

      James Sherry

      I’ve known Marshall and Nora since the early 80s. This project is the first time our detailed interests in environment have crossed, so I’m pleased to be typing while looking at the dripping ice sculpture: THE FUTURE. Their art plays with time by moving faster than time, because the scale of art is small and quick. The planet is moving slowly but that is deceptive, because it is moving as a result, partly, of our actions. What are we doing?

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        Dateline : Posted by writer in residence

        1 drop, 2 drop, 3 drop, 4 drop, 5

        Paula Z. Segal, Director, 596 Acres

        photo 1

        At 11:21am, the T cracked. If you hadn’t been watching for it, you could have missed it. The rupture was completely silent. A crack like this, it’s irreversible.

        photo 2

        In 2006, I stood on the deck of a cruise ship that had set out north from Ketchikan, Alaska, to get as close to the glaciers as possible. Huge sheets of ancient ice, 500 feet tall or more, slid off the edge, dwarfing our 1,000-person ship. “They’re making more at the top of the world, right?” a little boy standing nearby asked. “Yes,” his mom said, tentatively.

        It’s clear that the disappearance of the glaciers is irreversible.

        photo 3

        In 60 seconds, between 10:46 and 10:47am on September 21, 2014, I followed the path of 45 separate drops of water as they traveled through their separate airspaces towards the ultimate splash. It was an ocular workout, darting so fast, left to right to left to right. And I missed about half of them or maybe even 9/10ths. The Future is melting so fast, from so many points on its surface, my single set of eyes, yoked together, couldn’t follow each drop.

        Overheard, 11:42am, at 23rd Street and Broadway, Manhattan: “It’s supposed to be, like, the future melting away.”

        photo 4

        Yet there’s so much good news from the organizing planet. Groups of neighbors are creating rain gardens, installing solar panels, disconnecting from the carbon-generating infrastructure one tiny step at a time, all over the planet. Little drops that are hard to track. Impossible to see them all.

        And at the same time, the virtual pipeline for bringing crude oil from North Dakota to Canada for refining is being constructed as individual bits – transfer stations, rail lines, metering devices, screens and knobs manufactured all over the world. Irreplaceable forests are are being cut down for fuel. And even “green energy” power generation is being centralized and built on indigenous people’s land, replicating the harms of our already existing centralized power infrastructure. With The Future melting so fast, it can be hard to focus.

        photo 5

        Which drops will make the biggest puddles? What matters more, what we’re losing every day or what we stand to gain? I am choosing hope, enjoying the cool breeze that wafts from the Future, and the faces of children who discover they can see the City through its base. On a muggy day, The Future is refreshingly cold.






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          Dateline : Posted by Ligorano/Reese

          Building the Future

          Here at the Flatiron – building the Future with Regen, Luke, Shintaro, Nica and Libby.

          We will unveil the sculpture at 10 AM. Very exciting day and an emotional one.

          It’s been hard to wrap our heads around the seriousness of this action – melting the future.

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            Dateline : Posted by Ligorano/Reese

            Dawn of the Anthropocene – LIVE

            Dawn of the Anthropocene is LIVE at Flatiron North Plaza in New York City.

            Over the next several hours, you can see how long the Future will last, if the world’s leaders don’t take effective action to control carbon emissions.

            Today we’ll be joined by writers, artists and the public at our site at 23 Skidoo.

            This is what the future looks like:

            Streaming provided by livestream.

            Streaming Partners

            Musagetes Cities for People

            Please support this project

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              Dateline : September 19, 2014 Posted by Ligorano/Reese

              Ars Longa

              Carving F at Okomato Studio

              In many ways our present is future to the past.

              The changes we’re seeing in our world stem from the rapid growth and expansive trade during the post-war era. Predictabilty of seasons and climate has lost its validity as the weather turns anew. Much of this unpredicatability is based on past human actions driven by deforestation, industrialization, pollution and population growth.

              What is the future from such a vantage point – how can we, as artists, stage a symbolic action to encompass the idea of change? Even of thinking that the future may be lost? For many years, we’ve made artworks with extended duration and open form. These pieces can last several hours and even though they have a beginning and end, they have an ability to be open.

              In the case of the ice sculptures, they go through an incredible metamorphosis from solid to liquid. We know they will disappear, but we don’t know how they will do that. What letters will vanish first or even the length of time it will take for them to melt away. They have an astounding sense of physicality, which much of us in our daily lives are largely divorced from; they have weight and scale, temperature and a sense of fragility.

              Since they exist in time, there’s the need to capture their transformation and for that we use video, digital photography and other tools. The question remains: how do we enlarge their presence? How do we expand the socius of the sculpture to other audiences?

              Inspired by Nam June Paik’s live TV and the pioneers of video art with closed-circuit video systems, today we’re using the internet and streaming to recapture and transmit the live event – the disappearance of the future.

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                Dateline New York City: September 15, 2014 Posted by Ligorano/Reese

                Hot off the Press

                Just finished printing this beautiful 18 x 24 inch full-color offset broadside for the Dawn of the Anthropocene Future ice sculpture this Sunday, September 21.

                We’re giving the poster away for free during the event from 10 AM to 10 PM.

                As the Future disappears, we felt the need to leave behind and give a message to inspire others for continued commitment to solving the climate crisis.

                We found a wonderful passage from Rachel Carson, author of the pioneering book Silent Spring which ignited environmentalism and a statement from Rebecca Solnit on the importance of amplifying individual actions into the power of many.

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                  Dateline New York City: September 11, 2014 Posted by Ligorano/Reese

                  The Future In Ice – Launches 9.21.14

                  Dawn of the Anthropocene Rendering

                  On Sunday, September 21, 2014 we’re launching Dawn of the Anthropocene a 21-foot wide ice sculpture weighing 3,000 pounds of the words “The Future.”

                  We’ll be filming and photographing the temporary monument as it melts away and will stream the video live on this website meltedaway as well as provide the video for other organizations to embed.

                  Journalists, poets and writers will be participating in short term residencies throughout the day.

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                    Dateline New York City: August 29, 2014 Posted by Ligorano/Reese

                    New Ice Sculpture NYC September 2014

                    Dawn of the Anthropocene

                    On the morning of September 21, 2014, we will install a 3,000-pound ice sculpture of the words The Future at the intersection of Broadway and 23rd Streets at Flat Iron North Plaza in New York City. This public art work coincides with the U.N. Climate Summit and the Peoples Climate March to underscore the necessity for immediate action to confront global warming.

                    We plan for The Future, measuring 21 feet wide and 5 feet tall, to melt away. During this process we photograph and film the installation’s disappearance posting it on the internet in real-time. This event overlaps many art forms, it’s part sculpture, part installation, part performance, and an internet media event. But most of all, we make art for social change installing temporary public sculptures to mark important historical events. The Climate Summit is that and more.

                    We’re calling the piece, Dawn of the Anthropocene to describe the effect of humanity on the Earth’s systems. The term comes from Nobel prize scientist Paul Crutzen. In his and other scientists’ view, humanity has entered an age when the power and impact of humans is as great, if not greater, than nature’s.

                    When you begin to witness the rapid changes occuring on the planet, rising températures, increasing droughts, the extinction of vast numbers of species, you think about loss and disappearance. Ice is the perfect material for bringing awareness of what that kind of change means.

                    This project follows our earlier ice projects which we call “temporary monuments.” In 2008, we installed ice sculptures of the words Democracy at the political conventions, Economy on the 79th anniversary of the Great Depression, and Middle Class in 2012 in Charlotte and Tampa. (World Policy Institute.) These ice sculptures materially underscore the impact of political and social ideas that often escape the public’s attention.

                    Please support this project

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