In which ways does public art contribute to our social well being and economy?
I have some questions about this question. Who decides to choose public art? In what ways are we refocusing public art to contribute to our ecological well being and Thought Economy? How can we be more ecologically friendly and stop using petroleum based products and stop generating waste?
Lets start with the Thought Economy and how Public Art contributes to social and economic norms:
I believe we have to first be attached to place to understand how what we create is going to contribute to our wholistic social well being. We lose balance in the Thought Economy when glorifying manufactured objects.
Lets observe Rhapsody – The Dolphins.
I did a google search and found this
The Work Monumental fibreglass dolphins play in a large fountain. This sculpture and plaza was a joint project between the developer of the Grand Okanagan Hotel and the City.
The Artist Robert Dow Reid was born in Scotland and has always drawn inspiration from the sea and aquatic life. His grandfather was a sea captain, and the artist also travelled the seas on whaling vessels in the 1940s and 1950s.
He met his wife, Isobel in 1956, and they immigrated to Canada in 1958. The artist and his family have lived in Kelowna since 1964.
Reid has created two iconic, large-scale works in Kelowna: the well-known ‘Spirit of Sail’ at the foot of Bernard Avenue in Kelowna, and ‘Rhapsody’ in the fountain at the Waterfront Park Plaza. He has also completed other large scale sculptural installations in Vancouver, Surrey, Regina and Kasugai, Japan.
Reid also works on a much smaller scale in rare and luxurious materials such as antique ivory, teak and honey onyx. His creations are in collections worldwide, including those of Queen Elizabeth II and King Hussein of Jordan.
What does this piece make you think?
How many artists believe in the power of thought? How many people believe in the power of thought?
What is the intent of the artist when they think about the thoughts that will be generated by their public art?
Does the artist think about the negative consequence of long term created works to commuter/local/’passing through’ community and it’s effects on pedestrian traffic?
How do the locals feel about public art over a long period of time?
What does mass thought thrown into the universe create?
Who agreed this was a good idea?
Who’s thoughts are being brought to this place?
What do we invite when we open the vault of unnecessary thought?
So a developer and the city agreed that it was appropriate to gather thoughts of the Okanagan as a place where dolphins are, by a guy who dreams of the sea, while it sits at the bottom of an ancient ocean that is currently experiencing a drought but you know, don’t worry about that now because we’re bringing loads of thoughts to the issue. Bringing loads of energy to the valley. More thoughts growing. Ironically Kelowna is growing which contributes to climate change, which will assist in melting all the earth’s water, which will therefore put Kelowna back at the bottom of the ocean.
Was that the intent of the Artist/Developer/City?
What happens when people start thinking about the Okanagan being under water?
Did the artist know we are actually sitting in the bottom of a very large ocean?
I think they got the intent wrong.
I know this place, I know the history and that history repeats itself so the idea of coming to Kelowna scares me now because I don’t want to think about Kelowna being at the bottom of the ocean, but they’re inviting floods of thoughts about dolphins.
No thanks, I’d rather stay down at my end that looks as if a flooding would be much slower because it is located at the shallower end of the ancient ocean.
But whoa, that’s crazy responsibility to lay on just one artist even though it is known that art evokes thought and humans have this way of first thinking then creating and building, amassing, accumulating. If the creating is first brought by the thought than as artists shouldn’t we be thinking about everything intended to be thought of, before engaging in public art?
Lets rephrase the question
What is our responsibility as artists to create public art that contributes to our whole social well being and economy?
How do Dolphins contribute to our economy? They don’t but apparently the developer and the city do so they get to decide who the artist is and what the artist does. In my Art History class I learned that Renaissance art was used by “Patron Saints” as propaganda. Today’s public art feels like a New World Renaissance to me.
Public Art is like Recolonizing thought about place.
As artists we have great capacity to create unnecessary thought about something artificial and imposed instead of contributing to help think about the things that matter to place. I see no value in bringing people to think about what it would be like if dolphins were in the Okanagan Valley.
Art’s economy is in provoking thought. Artistic thoughts articulated can be turned into Earning thoughts. So what can we do as artist now, to generate new thought to rethink the Earning Economy? Everything in nature is a part of a functional work of art. Math and science are proven to exist in nature by the fibonacci sequence and yet by recreating nature, we are actively working to take our eyes off the art that is around us and fabricate thoughts around an idea, an image.
We have no solution to this collapsing society and often Art is used to open the mind to solutions, like knowing for every sickness there is a plant. What better use of Ecology could the developer and city used to help to conceptualize a more sustainable Kelowna? Giant Cattails would have generated thought on the importance of wetlands to the region, it would have made people aware of what was already here, not what we can bring to it.
I believe Art has the intent and ability to evoke thought which has the ability to influence how one thinks about our environment and the world we live in.
It creates intent because it creates thought. That is how we value art, for what it makes us think and feel in its presence. What thoughts are we inviting into our place? The air that surrounds us? The atmosphere it creates?
I like to bring story back to place. It is a practice that is rooted in captik – animal stories
I want my art to grow change. To speak to how place organizes itself and how we can co create functional art. Art with purpose to enhance the Thought Economy. I ask How do we create art with youth to get them to think about their connection to place and work towards putting value in place with only minor adjustments. To think about industry from a wholistic perspective. Art is a framework for creating Thought ECOnomy.
I am currently working towards putting a multidisciplinary framework into practice, an artistic way of being of both minds, si-wash, living in both worlds. What is my best practice? Part experimental living, part hybridizing oral storytelling connected to place described by words specific to the land.
This summer I curated and created the framework of what each artist and elder would contribute to finding song in the mountains and making ourselves known to the three major areas in our Northern Territory. We created Found Object public art. “Pulling Threads” was funded by First Peoples Cultural Council http://www.fpcc.ca
When you use renewable resources in your art you first observe the diversity of the plant. I found the rock in it’s found location and wove flowers together to signify the different ways of thought that flow through me, from different genetic experiences. It could also be viewed as an offering to Deer Woman, she who sacrificed herself to ensure our sustenance. I honoured her by leaving an offering. That was my art and my prayer. I am a believer that we ingest the health of the land when eat foods from our own land and I try to work the teachings into all aspects of my practice as artist and instructor. I teach artists to value tradition and practice as it connects to place. These are sacred places and we should remember to honour the fact that we are living amongst the most sustainable, all we have to do is mimic them. What art can we create to provoke these thoughts? #ThoughtECOnomy #SqilxwWoman #Captilk