It’s hard to articulate ecological values with a vocabulary inherited from the industrial age. The Lexicon of Sustainability, an exhibition co-curated by Dan Dixon and Still Water’s Joline Blais, aims to change that.
In honor of Earth Day 2015, Still Water Co-Director Joline Blais collaborated with New Media students from her NMD 206 class and Dan Dixon of the UMaine Office of Sustainability to present a pop-up art show on the language of green design.
The goal of cultivating a new generation of green designers shaped the unique format of the show. A series of striking visual images, each depicting a particular dynamic or technique of green design, offered a crash course in ecological literacy. Gallerygoers left with an appreciation of terms like “food miles” and “edible schoolyards.” The show was part of a national movement to spark a dialogue about sustainable farming and local food.
The exhibition traveled to the IMRC (Innovative Media Research and Commercialization center) in Orono in April, and to Waterfall Arts in Belfast and Tiller & Rye in Brewer in July.
At Waterfall Arts, the Lexicon of Sustainability was accompanied by a thought-provoking exhibition inspired by the process of fermentation in its many forms. Fermentation featured sample foods from local farmers and beverages from Marshall Wharf Brewery as well as poetry readings and dance performances. Twenty artists contributed paintings, sculptures, and interactive sound art.
Among the more provocative works in the Fermentation show was a “drawing” Maine artist Mark Kelly made with the help of some cooperative yeast buds. The artist lined up a row of elderberries along a coil of string whose end was dipped in a jar of water. As the berries decomposed, they left an imprint of the spiral on a piece of paper underneath.
The Waterfall exhibitions were sponsored by the Belfast Coop, Seebreeze Eye Care, Sam Mitchell, Marshall Wharf Brewery, the Maine Arts Commission, and Revision Energy.
Blog post by Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais.
Jon Ippolito is an artist and curator at the University of Maine who aims to expand the art world beyond its traditional preoccupations.
Joline Blais, Associate Professor of New Media at UMaine, co-directs Still Water, a research arm of the New Media Department, dedicated to studying and building creative networks.