Environment / Natural Systems

Weaving Nature

Team Weaving Nature envisioned a sustainable cycle of growing, using, composting, and regrowing natural dyes for local artisans, globally.

They speculated that their model could be replicated for textile artisans anywhere, and chose Guatativita, Colombia for this iteration.

"We had a very interdisciplinary team consisting of many different abilities and worked quite well together. We had builders, writers, and textile artists. Working together as a team was challenging at times when we all had different perspectives. We learned to come up to agreements in these situations and matured along the way."

The team developed dye recipes using easily accessible vegetables, spices, and food waste, compiling them into a bilingual Spanish/English book to distribute to the Guatativita artist community. They also designed and fabricated a compost bin for waste leftover from dye extraction. The compost would go on to fertilize the next generation of plant dyes.

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Puerto El Morro

Puerto el Morro Pig Project created a communal pigpen that reduced environmental hazards to the elderly and children, while allowing Puerto el Morro to retain its cultural relationship with the pigs.

Project Overview:

Puerto el Morro Pig Project is a public space project that responds to the sanitation issue of free roaming local pigs in the town of Puerto el Morro, Ecuador. With the support of APROFE, a non-profit association dedicated to the welfare of Ecuadorian families, Team Puerto el Morro facilitated dialogue within the local community about the day-to-day health impacts of free-roaming livestock. Through community meetings, site-specific design sessions, and collaboration with local builders, Puerto el Morro Pig Project created a communal pigpen that reduced environmental hazards to the elderly and children, while allowing Puerto el Morro to retain its cultural relationship with the pigs.

Outcome:

Team Puerto el Morro sourced local material and collaborated with local farmers and community members in Ecuador to build the communal pigpens. The final pigpens are easy to maintain as well as readily accessible. They are located 2 minutes outside of town, on a site secured by the local agricultural association. This project was developed to address the specific pig culture of Puerto El Morro, but can be used as a model for other sites with similar environmental concerns, as well as modified to house other livestock.

 
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KVAK TV

KVAK TV uses storytelling to address pressing local themes of isolation, location, and cultural shifts in the isolated community of Kivalina, Alaska

Project Overview:

KVAK TV is a youth-oriented media project that stands for Kivalina, Alaskan Television. The project uses storytelling to address pressing local themes of isolation, location, and cultural shifts in Kivalina. The tiny coastal village is threatened by rising sea levels that are a result of climate change, and relocation is an imminent reality for Kivalina residents.

KVAK’s youth focus is a direct response to Kivalina demographics: over 50% of its population is under the age of 25. The village’s geographical isolation creates many challenges for its youth, including high suicide rates. In response to these conditions, KVAK TV partnered with The Alaskan Design Forum to use social media and television programming as a means for Kivalina youth to connect with the outside world and to relieve feelings of isolation. KVAK TV hosted a series of after school workshops to instruct youth on camera and interviewing techniques, and provided an equipment library for use outside of workshops.

Outcome:

Participating youth created a video-based portrait of their coastal village in Kivalina, Alaska, sharing their village games and their day-to-day lives. In collaboration with KVAK TV, they created 3 episodes of a live performance television show. These were aired on Alaskan public television, and formed part of the True North exhibition at the Anchorage Museum.

The imminent relocation of the village makes the material produced through KVAK TV’s workshops an important platform for Kivalina’s youth to share site-specific stories of home. The geotagged Youtube videos were compiled onto a website and grouped into the narrative categories: “Being Young in Kivalina,” “Current Events,” Tradition,” and “Relocation.”

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Año Nuevo Island

An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA.

Project Description:

An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA. Oikonos Wildlife Restoration sought a durable, ecological solution to the destruction of nests for the Rhinoceros Auklet, an endangered bird species whose traditional habitation beneath the sand is often crushed by sea lions that share the beaches of Año Nuevo Island. Working with Matthew Passmore of Rebar, an expert in tactical urbanism and sustainable design, CCA students created ceramic nesting modules to protect incubating Rhinoceros Auklet eggs.   This class provided students with an opportunity to explore ceramic materials while having a tangible impact on the local environment through their creations. The experience on Año Nuevo Island also introduced students to unique career trajectories, as well as helped illuminate the versatility of the skill-sets gained through their arts education.

Project Outcome(s)

Students in the Spring 2010 course crafted a total of 10 nesting modules. Oikonos ecologists continue to maintain and monitor these modules, resulting in a marked uptick in the survival of Rhinoceros Auklet chicks. In addition to making a positive environmental impact, participating students gained studio-to-real-world connections and built relationships with the ecologists on Año Nuevo Island, exemplifying the potential of merging the fields of Art and Science. The Año Nuevo Island class was such a success that Oikonos asked Professor Lynch and Matthew Passmore to return in 2015. As such, the CCA Ceramics program, MoreLab, Oikonos, and CAPL have entered into a partnership in 2015 to build upon the success of the first two classes.

Highlights:

Año Nuevo Island has received the attention of the American Craft Council Magazine and The Atlantic Cities.

While commenting on his ENGAGE class with the American Craft Council Magazine, Associate Professor Nathan Lynch shared:

“There are all these other ways of using the skills they learn in art school to do interesting things. We try to stress agility, being nimble in the way they approach life after school.” American Craft Council Magazine, November 2011

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