recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : restoration   17

Opinion | The Lessons of a Hideous Forest - The New York Times
"My God, I breathed. It was suddenly, momentarily beautiful. From a coyote’s-eye view, you could see what the trees were up to: Growth, failure, decay and the drip of acid water through the gravel were mixing a dirt out of the detritus. This hideous forest, I suddenly realized, was there to repair the damage done, and not at our bidding. Its intent was not to look good. Its intent was to stay alive, year by year, century by century, until at last it had recycled even the nylon stocking.

We know how long it takes most kinds of leavings to decay. Organic material goes quickly: cardboard in three months, wood in up to three years, a pair of wool socks in up to five. A plastic shopping bag may take 20 years; a plastic cup, 50. Major industrial materials will be there for much longer: An aluminum can is with us for 200 years, a glass bottle for 500, a plastic bottle for 700, and a Styrofoam container for a millennium.

A fallen willow tree sprouting new growth.

The forest does not know this. It does not think. It just acts. Because it is so good at sprouting, resprouting, reiterating, and repeating the entire process, it can keep up the living and dying for as long as it takes, even if that is a thousand years. The trees are not conscious. They are something better. They are present.

My colleague Laura met the genie of Fresh Kills one sodden afternoon among the garbage. It was not the only plastic doll’s head we had seen there, but this one was different. The cropped gray fusilli of its hair had become the matrix for a crew cut of living, growing moss. A sort of real-life Chia Pet. Well beyond the imagination of its makers — and almost in spite of them — the doll was coming to life. No human strategy of command and control had made it so, but rather the insistence of the wild.

We think of woodlands as places of beauty and repose. We are accustomed to judge a picturesque woodland as a good one and an ugly wood as bad. When Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980, there were endless plans to make it better. Instead, the rangers and scientists mainly stood back and watched. A new forest is slowly emerging. We need to change our thinking: Ask not just what these landscapes look like, but also what they are doing. Fresh Kills Landfill taught me that they may be places of struggle and healing as well, particularly when they come to restore what people have deranged."
forests  trees  nature  statenisland  nyc  anthropocene  resilience  plants  via:aworkinglibrary  2019  multispecies  morethanhuman  garbage  healing  williambryantlogan  damonwinter  mountsainthelens  restoration  growth  failure  decay  life  time  woodlands 
4 weeks ago by robertogreco
Think Like a Scientist: Renewal on Vimeo
[via: "How the Elwha River Was Saved: The inside story of the largest dam removal project in US history."
http://tlas.nautil.us/video/291/how-the-elwha-river-was-saved

"I know firsthand what a hydroelectric dam can do to the environment. As a tribal member growing up on the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s reservation, the Elwha River and its two hydroelectric dams were in my backyard. Before the dams, whose construction began in 1910, the river was rich with several species of fish, including steelhead trout, and all five species of Pacific salmon. My great-grandfather and tribal elder, Edward Sampson, shared stories with me of catching 100-pound Chinook salmon, then watching the salmon populations decline when the dams came. Salmon have always been culturally and spiritually important to my tribe. They are treated reverently, and celebrated with ceremonies after the first catch of each year.

The Elwha dams were built without fish ladders, gently sloping structures that connect waters on either side of the dam. These ladders are important for anadromous fish, meaning stream-born fish that live part of their lives in the ocean and later return to their natal streams to spawn. Salmons are anadromous, and carry with them marine-derived nutrients that are important to the entire Elwha watershed ecosystem. Salmon carcasses provide nutrients for other wildlife and fertilizer for riparian vegetation.

My work has strengthened my ties to my home.

Without fish ladders, the dams blocked access by salmon to 90 percent of their historic spawning grounds, halted the flow of marine-derived nutrients into the ecosystem, and dramatically reduced salmon populations. They also negated agreements in the tribe’s 1855 Point No Point Treaty, which stated that it would have permanent fishing rights on the Elwha River.

The history of the dam was tightly woven in the history of my own family. My grandfather worked for the company that ran the dams for his entire career, while my grandmother was an activist working to remove the dams and restore the salmon populations. Then, on Sept. 17, 2011, the largest dam removal and river restoration project in United States history was set into motion. Both dams were removed, and the Elwha River began to flow freely again for the first time in 100 years.

My realization of the role people have in ecosystem health, brought about in part by watching my tribe fight for the removal of the dams and the restoration of the salmon, inspired me to pursue a career working in natural resources. I decided to return to my home on the reservation to pursue a degree in environmental science at Western Washington University, after attending the University of Hawaii at Mānoa for two years and studying marine biology. I was hired as an intern for the tribe’s wildlife program in 2014. Four months into my internship, I was hired for a part-time position by the tribe’s wildlife program manager, Kim Sager-Fradkin, while maintaining a full-time student schedule. In addition to a Columbian black-tailed deer mortality study, this program gave me an opportunity to study Elwha river otters and to be a part of an Elwha River Restoration wildlife monitoring project.

I am particularly proud of my involvement in the three-year, collaborative study monitoring Elwha wildlife recolonization. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the United States Geological Survey, the National Park Service, and Western Washington University were all involved. The study gave me the opportunity to survey beavers, songbirds, deer and elk, vegetation and large woody debris, and small mammal trapping surveys. The experiences I’ve had during this study observing wildlife interactions with the environment over time have reinforced my desire to further my education studying population ecology. Because of this, I will be starting graduate school at the University of Idaho with a newly-funded project to study cougar population size and structure on the Olympic Peninsula.

My work has strengthened my ties to my home. In the years since I’ve returned, I’ve become closer with my tribal and scientific communities, and have grown an even stronger appreciation for the Elwha River ecosystem. The river restoration has been a major success for the Klallam people, and proves the effectiveness of methods for ecosystem restoration that will hopefully be used as a model in other restoration efforts worldwide. And for me personally, the experience of working on this restoration project and seeing firsthand the regeneration of the former lakebeds and of the historic lands of my people has been incredibly reaffirming."]
elwah  elwahiver  washingtonstate  2018  cameronmacias  rivers  nature  conservation  ecosystems  ecology  wildlife  dams  salmon  multispecies  morethanhuman  fish  klallam  olympicpeninsula  clallamcounty  restoration 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Home - SPARCinLA - Social and Public Art Resource Center | ART | COMMUNITY | EDUCATION | SOCIAL JUSTICE | SINCE 1976
"Our Mission
SPARC’s intent is to examine what we choose to memorialize through public art, to devise and innovate excellent art pieces; and ultimately, to provide empowerment through participatory processes to residents and communities excluded from civic debate. SPARC’s works are never simply individually authored endeavors, but rather a collaboration between artists and communities, resulting in art which rises from within the community, rather than being imposed upon it.

• The ideas we propagated have gained credibility over the years:
• That art was for everyone regardless of their status in society
• That the distinctions between high and low art, fine art and folk art were false
• That innovation is important only while nurturing the significant traditions in which various ethnic groups preserve their cultures
• That art should not dwell only in rarefied halls but in the places where people live and work
• That the process not only the product, is the measure of the value of an art work
• That all Americans could be participants in the making of art and that collaborations work
• And last… That the arts can have significant transformative impact on the most significant social problems of our time"

SPARC’s INHERENT NATURE
SPARC was born in a time of change – the 1970s. It has, since its inception, been a catalyst for social change through the arts and a home for artistic innovation. Being a catalyst has often meant handling the many currents that flow through historical events at the moment they are occurring and working outside of typical art venues in the places where people live and work.

SPARC is a facilitator – finding ways to tell richly textured stories that help community participants and artists achieve a measure of change and transformation. SPARC endeavors to communicate to the larger public – the means of communication may take many forms, from built architectural monuments, to murals or to new technological spaces such as the Internet. As with many organizations that articulate new visions and push the edges of content and aesthetics, SPARC is determined to be sustainable and relevant to the time we are living.

Since it was founded in 1976 by Chicana muralist and Distinguished UCLA Professor Judith F. Baca, Filmmaker/Director Donna Deitch, and Artist/Teacher Christina Schlesinger, SPARC’s artistic direction was formulated with the concept that the arts could be engaged with the most important issues of our time and that ordinary people/community members could be participants in the arts. SPARC chose to amplify the voices of those marginalized in our Los Angeles communities and to provide a new vision of what art could do: women, people of color, poor and working people, day laborers, youth, prisoners, etc became the focus in our programming. We believed, then as we do now, that art can exist in places where people live and work, therefore we are focused on a new “public art.” Our works are monuments that rise out of communities; memorializing what the people choose to remember.

Since 1976, we have taken the work to blighted streets in the inner city of Los Angeles and to concrete flood control channels; scars where our rivers once ran. We painted a 1/2-mile of the river with murals with 400 youth, built parks in vacant lots, hung photographic tapestries in senior citizens centers, and built sculptures for children to play on in vacant lots and produced hundreds of murals. Los Tres Grandes of Mexico, the popular culture of low riders, tattoos and political street writing, transformed by the aesthetics of each changing cultural group with whom we work, informed our sense of beauty and order. We continue to capture the rhythm of the streets in giant works that place an ethnic face on a city where a 129 languages are spoken in our schools but whose life and aesthetics are often not represented in the cities physical and aesthetic environments.

This concept, now more accepted, was radical in an era of “arts for arts sake” thought, during which we pioneered these aesthetic values. However, the need for our work has steadily grown with the massive demographic shifts affecting our city and country. Still today, no issue raised by a community is too difficult for us to approach with an artistic solution. In 1977, we opened the center with the ‘Jail House Break’ celebration and examined our own home, the former Venice Police Station and its historic use.

Today we have contemporized our historic processes through the incorporation of technology in our UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab where we produce large scale imagery both painted and digitally printed, work with communities across the country and internationally over the internet, and continue to innovate new materials that seek permanence in outdoor environments. Our programs have been widely emulated across the country and internationally as we continue to stay on the cutting edge of innovation of large-scale public art works and community interactive processes. Organizations like SPARC maintain the spirit and substance of transformation we need no more than ever in our city and country, by visualizing change through the arts and by engaging our communities in much needed civic discourse.

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF SPARC FROM 1976-2013
1) 1976-Present: The Great Wall of Los Angeles 1/2 mile-long Mural/Education Project is one of Los Angeles’ true cultural landmarks and one of the country’s most respected and largest monuments to inter-racial harmony. SPARC’s first public art project and its true signature piece, the Great Wall is a landmark pictorial representation of the history of ethnic peoples of California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s, conceived by SPARC’s artistic director and founder Judith F. Baca. Begun in 1974 and completed over six summers, the Great Wall employed over 400 youth and their families from diverse social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members.

2) 1988-2002: Neighborhood Pride, a program initiated and developed by SPARC and sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department produced 105 community artworks in every ethnic community in Los Angeles, commissioned 95 artists and trained over 1800 youth apprentices. In 2002 alone (the last year of the program), SPARC conducted 80 community dialogues citywide with community participants determining the placement and content of 15 new large-scale public artworks. These works confronted some of the most critical issues in our city such as; the on going migration and integration of the Central Americans particularly in the 1980’s to Pico Union from el Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the changing demographics in our schools, creating the phenomena of “ chocolate schools in vanilla suburbs” which has resulted in the demise of the age old “neighborhood school’ concept in many Los Angeles communities.

3) 1990-Present: World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear, conceived by Judith F. Baca, consists of seven 10’ x 30’ portable mural panels on canvas. This 210’ mural addresses contemporary issues of global importance: war, peace, cooperation, interdependence, and spiritual growth. As the World Wall tours the world, seven additional panels by artists from seven countries will be added to complete this visual tribute to the “Global Village.”

4) 1976-Present: The Mural Resource and Education Center (MREC): In the course of our community cultural development work we have amassed one of the country’s largest collections of written and visual information about public art, including an archive of over 60,000 mural slides. Hundreds of students, educators, scholars, artists and art historians avail themselves of the MREC’s resources each year. In addition, the MREC sponsors public mural tours, giving visitors and Angelenos alike an opportunity to view the city’s unique outdoor gallery.

5) 1976-Present: The Dúron Gallery: SPARC’s headquarters in the 10,000 square foot facility of the 1929 old art deco Venice Police Station in Venice California houses a converted cellblock exhibition space. Exhibitions take place year round in the facility, which is well known for exhibitions of socially relevant work and the work of children and youth. SPARC’s programming recognizes the vital function the arts play in any social justice movement.

6) 1996-Present: The UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab is the leading research and production facility in the country devoted to the creation of large-scale digitally generated murals, educational DVD’s, animations, community archives and digital art. In its community setting at SPARC’s headquarters in the old Venice jail, the Lab develops new methods for combining traditional mural painting techniques with computer generated imagery, collaborates across distance with local, national and international communities to create public art expressing the concerns of diverse communities, and develops new methods of preservation and restoration for mural art through use of digital prints and new materials.

7) 2005-2009: Otis School of Art & Design/Digital Media lab for High School Students @ SPARC: O TEAM: Otis Teens, Educators, Artists and Mentors: O TEAM prepares Venice youth for a productive life through skill-based art and design education and mentoring to facilitate their personal development and entry into higher education and the workplace. The O TEAM program is designed to support the aspirations of young people, instill core values, and reinforce self-esteem by providing them with the tools to succeed. O TEAM meets downstairs in SPARC’s basement; the students fondly call their group “Underground Roots.”

8) 2008-Present: Planet Siqueiros Peña, is inspired by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros and the South American musical Peñas, which produced a wave of music that utilized old rhythms to express new realities. The movement emerged during the 1960s in … [more]
losangeles  art  education  venicebeach  socialjustice  community  lcproject  openstudioproject  arts  via:carwaiseto  restoration 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Nature in the City
"Our mission is to inspire San Francisco to discover local nature

Nature in the City 2017 Annual Impact Snapshot

Nature in the City is San Francisco's first organization wholly dedicated to ecological conservation, restoration, and stewardship of the city's bioregions. Our membership reflects San Francisco's reputation as a leading center for safeguarding urban species and restoring their habitats.

Peter Brastow founded Nature in the City in 2005 as a conservation effort to protect and restore San Francisco's remnant natural habitats. The organization has been a key advocate for the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department Natural Areas Program, which is devoted to preserving the City's riparian corridors, bay edge wetlands, oak woodlands, rocky outcrops, grassland hilltops, and dune ecosystems.

Nature in the City connects with the city at large through presenting nature walks, events for children and families, eco-literacy trainings, volunteer opportunities, and resources for community groups wishing to start their own citizen science projects.

We also have major ongoing stewardship projects, including: the Green Hairstreak Corridor, Backyard Habitats & Native Plant Nursery, Tigers on Market Street, and Adah’s Stairway. Nature in the City also partners with various organizations including the San Francisco Planning Department, Walk San Francisco, San Francisco Parks Alliance, and others on the Green Connections Plan.

Our highly collaborative strategies and program areas are public environmental education, community stewardship, and ecological restoration.

We also offer habitat and native plant consultation for public and private spaces. Please email info@natureinthecity.org to learn more.

Thank you so much for your support!
nature  sanfrancisco  classideas  ecology  environment  stewardship  restoration 
january 2018 by robertogreco
You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring :: Paul Hawken's Commencement Address to the Class of 2009 — YES! Magazine
"When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there.

Let’s begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seat belts, lots of room in coach, and really good food—but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn’t afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see ifit was impossible only after you are done.

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, “So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.” There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages,campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.

There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice,” is Mary Oliver’s description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.

Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown — Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood — and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.

The living world is not “out there” somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can’t print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a … [more]
paulhawken  humanity  2009  commencementaddresses  environment  sustainability  earth  peace  deforestation  poverty  climatechange  refugees  activism  davidjamesduncan  mercycorps  strangers  abolitionists  grnvilleclark  thomasclarkson  josiahwedgewood  progressives  england  anthropocene  civilization  globalwarming  movement  bodies  humans  morethanhuman  multispecies  interconnected  interdependence  charlesdarwin  janinebanyus  life  science  renewal  restoration  exploitation  capitalism  gdp  economics  maryoliver  adriennerich  ecology  interconnectedness  body  interconnectivity  commencementspeeches 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Airbrushing Shittown | Hazlitt
"S-Town isn’t fiction—we can probably assume that the facts, as we are given them, are “accurate.” But mere accuracy doesn’t make it journalism: the private details of private lives have no clear public interest, and Brian Reed never seriously argues that they do. It’s creative non-fiction, then, a category whose very name is composed out of negations: not fiction, but not non-fiction, either; true, but created. And so the fact that he never finds anything—that nothing happened—is what he finds at the end of his investigation, the discovery that the very opposite of something happened. He finds that something didn’t happen, in a half-dozen different ways, and that it didn’t happen for everyone in a variety of fascinating ways: the murder, the gold, and the conspiracy of silence… He finds none of it, only the story of how he set out to look. And then out of this series of negations, he wraps it all up, neatly, so that we can all go home, entertained.

By the end of the podcast, you come to realize that the monologue that opened it—a monologue about clocks and how they are reconstructed—is really about Brian Reed’s own process, about reconstructing a life. “Sometimes entire portions of the original clockwork are missing,” he says, “but you can’t know for sure because there are rarely diagrams of what the clock is supposed to look like. A clock that old doesn’t come with a manual.” John B. McLemore is the clock, and the testimony Reed has gathered, over long years of work, are the “witness marks” a clock-restorer uses to guide their way, “impressions and outlines and discolorations, left inside the clock, of pieces that might’ve once been there.”

“Fixing an old clock can be maddening,” Reed says. “You’re constantly wondering if you’ve just spent hours going down a path that will likely take you nowhere, and all you’ve got are these vague witness marks which might not even mean what you think they mean. So, at every moment along the way you have to decide if you’re wasting your time or not.”

Reed did not waste his time; S-Town was a smash from the start, a career-making triumph. But in their original function, clocks are not made for entertainment. Clocks are tools that make social life possible. A clock makes time, and organizes it, and time is, ultimately, a social medium: we use it to coordinate with others and to communicate; a sense of shared time helps us meet each other and find each other and arrange the stories that we tell about each other—it allows us to take our turns speaking and listening, and it allows us to put things into their proper perspective. Without clocks—or without some sense of shared time, however constructed—society, as we know it, would not be possible.

John lived in his own time zone, literally: as Reed mentions, John B. McLemore’s house did not observe daylight saving time, so depending on the season, the time at his house might be an hour different than the surrounding area. It’s a good reflection of his relation to his world, his insistent eccentricity reflected in his own, personal, zone of time. It’s a good joke, a playful irony, even a self-consciously Faulknerian expression of being southern, a quiet little rebellion against unification under the guise of turning back the clock. It’s also totally ridiculous, which John surely understood: since all time is social, the idea of having your own time zone is absurd, only meaningful in the irony of its meaninglessness.

Moreover, for all his scrupulous attention to reconstructing the original function of a clock, the irony of clock restoration is that John didn’t repair clocks for their original function. His clocks were repaired to be old, to be antiques: the point of “restoring” them was not simply to make them work—that’s easy enough to do—but to make them work exactly as they once did. That’s why John hand-ground a gathering pallet from scratch. “They aren’t trying to simply make the clock work again,” Reed says of the fraternity of horologists. “Their goal is to preserve and reconstruct the original craftsmanship as much as possible.” Recovering and replicating the inspiration of the original clockmaker makes them valuable enough to sell, but it’s the sale that matters.

After all, clock restoration serves no useful function in a world where we all have clocks on our phones (the same phones we might use to listen to a podcast). In a world where networked clocks are everywhere, an antique clock is so big, heavy, and fragile that it isn’t useful in that sense. Instead, an antique clock’s eccentricity becomes valuable because of how odd it is, how particular, and how much work goes into restoring it. When people pay for a restored antique, they are paying for an incredibly laborious lack of useful value: so much work went into making them work again, but because that work is totally superfluous and unnecessary, it is thus, perversely, worth paying for.

If an old clock is valuable because of the perfectly recovered eccentricity of its original intention, the same could be said about John B. McLemore’s own perverse life, and for that matter, this podcast. So much work went into making it, but what, after everything, is this podcast actually for?

When John B. McLemore heard the earliest draft of Reed’s program, the story of the murder of that didn’t happen, his reaction was disappointment: “I can’t believe how much you’ve worked on this son of a bitch and at the same time,” he sighed, “my god.” Reed wanted him to be relieved, to be happy about the work, and is audibly upset that he isn’t. Perhaps John B. was in a bad mood, even a depressive episode; perhaps that was why he wasn’t sufficiently appreciative. Perhaps his original fit of enthusiasm for activist journalism had long passed—it had, after all, been years since he originally contacted Reed—and he had a different perspective on the story Brian Reed was telling. When Reed observes that “I am not saving the world over here,” John’s retort that “You are definitely not saving the world!” is delivered with a peculiar, bitter intensity, the laugh of someone who once thought it was possible, perhaps, but no longer does. What’s the point of all that work if it can’t save the world?

John B. isn’t cruel, though: “I think you’ve done pretty goddamned good,” he says, finally. And he’s absolutely right—one can only admire how well Brian Reed reconstructed his clock. But what is the point of it? What does it do?

I am writing this and you are reading it because we are sharing a moment: we have all listened to this podcast, the timepiece that Brian Reed built to bring us together. But what do we do with this unity? Across the seven hours of Reed’s production, we are told a story in which we all can understand each other, talk to each other, and hear each other: we can unite in admiration for John B., for the genius that was born to Mary Grace, for his voice, and for the power of storytelling. We can hear his voice and be united in our appreciation for his existence. Is this what we need now? Does it tell us our time? Does it bring us together? Does it help us understand what it means to have Donald Trump as president, and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as the most powerful cop in the land? Or is it simply a nostalgic exercise in anachronism, like a perfectly restored antique? Is it something we value because it does something, or because it feels old and authentic?

I don’t know. In the end, all it offers is questions."
aaronbady  s-town  storytelling  horology  clocks  purpose  journalism  podcasts  nostalgia  brianreed  johnbmclemore  restoration  accuracy  entertainment  process  criticism 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Of Challenge and Controversy (Why I Support Marylin Zuniga) | The Jose Vilson
"The third honest question for anyone following this should be, “Why this? Why not other cases that merit your attention?” To that end, we as a whole need to challenge ourselves to work through the things we consider imperfect and complicated. Race as a social construct is more complicated than Black and white, so why would we expect situations that involve race to get simpler with race as an ingrained layer? 21st century activism means delving into situations where the heroes and villains haven’t been narrated for us, or are simply ideas, and, instead, work with the given elements to restore a sense of peace, akin to the classrooms we occupy. More so, how do we demand the difficult work of working through racial situations of others when we have so much to do of this ourselves? Self-healing matters.

To paraphrase Dr. King, the ultimate measure of a person isn’t during times of comfort and convenience, but during times of challenge and controversy."
josévilson  marilynzuniga  2015  complexity  socialjustice  justice  slef-healing  education  protest  mumiabujamal  restorativejustice  rehabilitation  restoration 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Bolivia passes "Law of Mother Earth" which gives rights to our planet as a living system | Minds
"The Law of Mother Earth ("Ley de Derechos de La Madre Tierra") holds the land as sacred and holds it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation, and creates 11 distinguished rights for the environment. It was passed by Bolivia's Plurinational Legislative Assembly. This 10 article law is derived from the first part of a longer draft bill, drafted and released by the Pact of Unity by November 2010. Can we please spread this law? There has to be a way for the free market to interoperate with reverence for this planet. Period.

In accordance with the philosophy of Pachamama, it states, "She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation."

"It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all," said Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. "It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration."

The law enumerates seven specific rights to which Mother Earth and her constituent life systems, including human communities, are entitled to:

• To life: It is the right to the maintenance of the integrity of life systems and natural processes which sustain them, as well as the capacities and conditions for their renewal

• To the Diversity of Life: It is the right to the preservation of the differentiation and variety of the beings that comprise Mother Earth, without being genetically altered, nor artificially modified in their structure, in such a manner that threatens their existence, functioning and future potential

• To water: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of water to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components

• To clean air: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of air to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components

• To equilibrium: It is the right to maintenance or restoration of the inter-relation, interdependence, ability to complement and functionality of the components of Mother Earth, in a balanced manner for the continuation of its cycles and the renewal of its vital processes

• To restoration: It is the right to the effective and opportune restoration of life systems affected by direct or indirect human activities

• To live free of contamination: It is the right for preservation of Mother Earth and any of its components with regards to toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_Rights_of_Mother_Earth

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/bolivias-law-of-mother-earth_n_848966.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/science/earth/14bolivia.html

http://www.newser.com/story/116229/bolivia-to-give-nature-same-rights-as-humans.html "
bolivia  law  legal  environment  sustainability  motherearth  2014  air  water  life  biodiversity  cleanair  restoration 
october 2014 by robertogreco
River Reciprocity | The Evergreen State College
"This interdisciplinary science and visual arts program is focused on rivers, streams, and watersheds and is designed for beginning students in art and ecology. Students will explore the role of art and science in helping people develop a deep and reciprocal relationship with a watershed. We will study physical stream characteristics that affect the distributions and relationships among biological organisms. We will develop observational skills in both art and science as well as keep illustrated field journals that are inspired by a connection to a specific stream.

The first half of the program focuses on the Nisqually River watershed. Through readings and field studies, students will learn the history of the watershed, study concepts in stream ecology, learn to identify native plants in the watershed, and learn about current conservation efforts. We will work with local K-12 schools to conduct water quality testing, identify aquatic macroinvertebrates, and provide environmental education to elementary school students. The study of freshwater ecology will include basic water chemistry, stream flow dynamics, primary productivity, organic matter and nutrient dynamics, aquatic insect taxonomy, ecological interactions, current threats to freshwater ecosystems, and ecological restoration. The program will focus on current research in riparian zones, streams, rivers, and watersheds. Students will have opportunities to be involved in small-scale group research projects in stream ecology. An overnight field trip will be organized to provide in-depth experiences in the field and study of rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

Students will develop beginning drawing skills and practice techniques for keeping an illustrated field journal. They will work in charcoal, chalk pastel, watercolor, and colored pencil. They will explore strategies for using notes and sketches to inspire more finished artworks. Through lectures and readings, students will study artists whose work is inspired by their deep connection to a place. Each student will visit a local stream regularly and, in the second half of the quarter, will create a series of artworks or an environmental education project that gives something back to their watershed."
aesthetics  ecology  environmentalstudies  environment  fieldstudies  naturalhistory  visualarts  art  watershed  carrileroy  luciaharrison  evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  restoration  naturalresources  rivers  streams 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Relingos | The Brooklyn Quarterly
"Spaces survive the passage of time in the same way a person survives his death: in the close alliance between the memory and the imagination that others forge around it. They exist as long as we keep thinking of them, imagining in them; as long as we remember them, remember ourselves there, and, above all, as long as we remember what we imagined in them. A relingo—an emptiness, an absence—is a sort of depository for possibilities, a place that can be seized by the imagination and inhabited by our ­phantom-follies. Cities need those vacant lots, those silent gaps where the mind can wander freely."



"We Buy Old Books

Cities have often been compared to language: you can read a city, it’s said, as you read a book. But the metaphor can be inverted.

[painting of plan of Mexico City]

The journeys we make during the reading of a book trace out, in some way, the private spaces we inhabit. There are texts that will always be our dead-end streets; fragments that will be bridges; words that will be like the scaffolding that protects fragile constructions. T. S. Eliot: a plant growing in the debris of a ruined building; Salvador Novo: a tree-lined street transformed into an expressway; Tomás Segovia: a boulevard, a breath of air; Roberto Bolaño: a rooftop terrace; Isabel Allende: a (magically real) shopping mall; Gilles Deleuze: a summit; and Jacques Derrida: a pothole. Robert Walser: a chink in the wall, for looking through to the other side; Charles Baudelaire: a waiting room; Hannah Arendt: a tower, an Archimedean point; Martin Heidegger: a cul-de-sac; Walter ­Benjamin: a one-way street walked down against the flow.

And everything we haven’t read: relingos, absences in the heart of the city.

Guaranteed Repairs

Restoration: plastering over the cracks left on any surface by the erosion of time.
Sidewalks

Writing: an inverse process of restoration. A restorer fills the holes in a surface on which a more or less finished image already exists; a writer starts from the fissures and the holes. In this sense, an architect and a writer are alike. Writing: filling in relingos.

No, writing isn’t filling gaps—nor is it constructing a house, a building, just to fill up an empty space.

Perhaps Alejandro Zambra’s bonsai image might come closer: “A writer is a person who rubs out. . . . Cutting, lopping: finding a form that was already there.”

But words are not plants and, in any case, gardens are for the poets with orderly, landscaped hearts. Prose is for those with a builder’s spirit.

Writing: drilling walls, breaking windows, blowing up buildings. Deep excavations to find—to find what? To find nothing.

A writer is a person who distributes silences and empty spaces.

Writing: making relingos."
architecture  cities  design  spaces  space  commonplace  geography  relingos  mexicodf  df  mexico  valerialuisellu  writing  silence  via:alexismadrigal  alejandrozambra  restoration  robertobolaño  tomássegovia  gillesdeleuze  jacquesderrida  baudelaire  heidegger  hannaharendt  robertwalser  tseliot  slavadornono  walterbenjamin  emptiness  absence  possibility  possibilities  imagination  urban  urbanism  deleuze  mexicocity 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Ambitious Restoration of An Undammed Western River by Caroline Fraser: Yale Environment 360
"With the dismantling of two dams on Washington state’s Elwha River, the world’s largest dam removal project is almost complete. Now, in one of the most extensive U.S. ecological restorations ever attempted, efforts are underway to revive one of the Pacific Northwest’s great salmon rivers."
washingtonstate  elwha  salmon  dams  damremoval  via:javierarbona  renaturalization  restoration  nature  elwhariver  rivers  rewilding  olympicpeninsula 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Lives They Lived [Lebbeus Woods] - NYTimes.com
"I’ve read comparisons of Woods to John Cage and to William Blake and of his paper architecture to the designs of 1960s collectives like Archigram…He belongs to a long line of urban dreamers that includes Sant’Elia and Le Corbusier."

"The human condition was architecture’s responsibility, inseparable from the catastrophes we bring onto ourselves, and the solutions we discover for them."

"In later years, he went to war-ravaged places to draw. For Sarajevo he composed a manifesto, read in full view of Serbian snipers: “I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms.” He advocated a third way between restoring old buildings or building anew. It involved a mix of salvation and invention, memory and morality. The task of designing real buildings, he thought, belonged to local architects; his aspiration was “on the level of principle.”"

“Architecture should be judged not only by the problems it solves, but by the problems it creates."
michaelkimmelman  morality  memory  invention  restoration  principles  iconoclasm  war  responsibility  humancondition  williamblake  johncage  architecture  2012  lebbeuswoods 
december 2012 by robertogreco
EarthCorps
"You may have heard in the news recently that People for Puget Sound – the preeminent voice for Puget Sound – has closed its doors. We are honored that People for Puget Sound turned to EarthCorps to take on their habitat restoration program.

EarthCorps has worked side-by-side with People for Puget Sound for more than 15 years. We collaborated on habitat restoration projects throughout Puget Sound, led thousands of volunteers together, shared GIS interns and international “externs,” presented together at national conferences, and tapped into each other's expertise. We have deep respect for their work.

EarthCorps has 20 years experience in community-based environmental restoration and is a leader in applied ecological science…"
local  restoration  pugetsound  earthcorps  ngo  via:steelemaley  green  servicelearning  environment  seattle 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates
"Theaster Gates is an artist and cultural planner. In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions.

Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body.

When Theaster is not making art for museums, he is committed to the restoration of poor neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raising the city’s expectations of where “place-making” happens and why."
placemaking  culture  installation  space  place  lcproject  restoration  performance  chicago  urbaninterventions  glvo  theastergates  urbanplanning  urbanism  urban  art 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Nau : The Thought Kitchen » Blog Archive » Made by Hand
"We recently stumbled upon Etsy’s provocative, short film about H.G. “Skip” Brack and his 42-year quest to single-handedly recycle and restore every tool in Maine.  His goal? To help artisans, craftsmen, welders, mechanics—and anyone else who works with their hands—create beautiful things.

Of course, this got us thinking: what was the last thing we built, not for money or merit, but for the simple satisfaction of knowing we handcrafted something beautiful?"
making  maine  handmade  2011  etsy  diy  craft  glvo  satisfaction  motivation  purpose  skipbrack  hgbrack  recycling  restoration 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Magpie Studio | 
"Tae Hwang & M R Barnadas are visual artists…Their art & science relationship began as interns…at The Field Museum of Natural History…

For 10+ years they have been working & creating together in almost every conceivable sustance for many museums & independent research projects…combined skill set includes: traditional sculpting, painting, & drawing techniques, casting/mould making, metal/plastic/wood fabrication, blacksmithing, bronze foundry work, archival restoration methods, textiles, electronics/kinetics for art applications, heirloom craft processes, analog & digital print based design…

plant & animal models/illustrations, pictured…were informed by research heads of various biology disciplines. From pharmaceutical silicone (squid) to wax (cactus), new materials are used along w/ historically familiar ones, & both experimental & traditional modeling methods are applied…"
art  artists  melindabarnadas  models  animals  scale  restoration  illustration  nature  biology  sculpture  plants  taehwang  sandiego 
february 2011 by robertogreco
H. B. Industries Home Page
"Hi, I'm Bob Rowsell,

My company, H. B. Industries, specializes in beautiful Custom Motor Coach conversions and in the restoration of classic automobiles. Above are my own prize-winning 1950 Mercury and my Classic Coach. They show you the same level of care and attention to detail that your own coach, car or truck will enjoy here."
sandiego  cars  rvs  mechanics  customization  restoration 
november 2009 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read