Saturday, August 18, 2018

Upside Downside Outside Inside (Human) Nature

"Nature" is a cultural keyword. Nature births us and supports our outer and inner lives. What will humans become if we ignore, debase, and destroy Nature? 

In the effort to support and not sully the environment, DOEprojekts maintains contact with, and teaches at, intentional artist communities that work diligently to care for their natural surroundings (Grunewald Guild, Holden Village). Articles such as "Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change" cause us to abruptly pause and consider carefully how our daily actions, long-term choices, and art-making, support or neglect our natural environment.

During our increasingly hot summer months, we have used more recycled and "found" materials in our art-making. If recycling is not an option for a specific project, we have created unique objects that can be "staged" over and over again, in various natural settings -- like the 3D-printed "Hybr Square" shown in the photo above. 

Our "Hybr" form is meant to be an object of positive change, of hope, of transformation, and of community. This summer, we have participated in community art-making activities outdoors, such as Studio Museum Harlem's workshop on Maren Hassinger in Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan, part of Open Engagement, hosted by the Queens Museum. 

We have been using recycled and found objects in preparing for an upcoming educational series titled "Bauhaus and Beyond." As we research and experiment during our preliminary phase, we are continually reminded about the ingenuity and material-resourcefulness of the teachers and students of the Bauhaus (Germany, 1919-1933).

After WWI, Germany was economically and environmentally devastated, and yet that was the milieu in which the architect Walter Gropius, and teachers such as Paul Klee and Johannes Itten, began a new type of school, one where students studied how nature, design/art, and community could rebuild a war-torn landscape.

The Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933, and now 100 years later, is remembered mainly for its modern design aesthetic. Our "Bauhaus and Beyond" workshop series will emphasize the radical community and collaborative spirit that revitalized art and design in Germany at that time. We will explore Coreforms and Keywords, especially Nature, related to the Bauhaus and how its ideas continue to influence our environment today.

One last "environmental" note:  we were very happy to participate in the 125th Anniversary celebration of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), a Block Party that emphasized community art-making. The Modern Wing of the AIC is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified (silver level). How appropriate that art institutions like the AIC become leaders in creating buildings that support and not sully Nature.

DOEprojekts is planning a number of nature-sensitive art-making workshops in 2019, on both the east and west coasts of the US. If you would like to participate in, or host, an upcoming workshop, please email