We’ve begun work on an audio book version of Pollinating Change!
It’s been several years since we published Pollinating Change – The Buzz Tour, and an audio book has been in mind for all that time but it’s finally begun. We’ll initially be releasing the chapters one at a time for you to listen to for free online and then you’ll be able to buy the whole book. We’ve recorded about a quarter of the 34 chapters so far and aim to start releasing them this winter.
As the climate talks began yesterday over 600 posters had been put up around Paris to challenge the corporate advertising messages and allow environmental messages around the COP21 to be heard. Everything from beautiful images of nature and cartoons to fake company adverts admitting deceit.
The posters received national press coverage in France, Germany and the UK and raised issues of corporate sponsorship of the climate talks, social justice and the global economy. 130 artists from all over the world submitted hundreds of designs in English and French to the organisation Brandalism for illegal distribution by about 50 volunteers. I’ve been really impressed with the effect of this project to create discussion and change, and the power of seeing these messages in a normally commercial space. If this tactic interests you there is a wealth of information on the Brandalism website. Here are just a few of my personal poster favourites to put a smile on your face.
The Reclaim Shakespeare Company is part of a growing movement of artivism – using the art form in the activism. The group challenges the sponsorship of the arts by fossil fuel companies with protest performance pieces. The subversive plays based on the form of art that is being sponsored are performed just before the official productions are due to begin. I spoke with writer, climate change researcher and artivist Danny Chivers about the group.
The Reclaim Shakespeare Company and Danny are now themselves portrayed as part of a new play about taking a stand for your conscience. You can watch performances of STAND at the Oxford Playhouse until the 8th of June.
Ugly, intrusive, negative messages in our public spaces. Commercial billboards in our towns affect us on a daily basis but we have little control over the images and messages we are exposed to. Graffiti also comes in to our public spaces, creating a variety of reactions.
Some graffiti is simple ‘tagging’ where the writer marks an area or is leaving a message for a specific audience or gang. Other graffiti may include more complex artwork or wider political messaging. Bristol is the home of Banksy, the now world known graffiti artist who’s art challenges ideas and questions the dominant culture. Around Bristol I saw different types of graffiti, some direct messages, some abstract, some subtle, some blunt.
A lot of graffiti contains sharp shapes, over sexualised or violent images. The vast majority of graffiti is done by men and perhaps for men? It can leave me feeling that the images have as little relevance to me as the billboards do, other than my empathy for their anger. Some graffiti artists like Banksy go further though, cutting through the noise of images with a counter message that makes you stop.
When a message does reach me it’s like the shock of seeing a smiling friendly face amongst a sea of angry strangers. Walking over a road footbridge someone has sprayed “Live Free” on the ground. Outside an anarchist community social center I found this:
Near the St. Werbergs City Farm were these images of bees:
There are definately a lot of things to be said and a lot of other voices to be heard, other than those who can pay for a billboard.
Thank you to Participatory Video experts Insight Share in Oxford who have donated a video camera to us for the walk! We’ll be using it to create a higher quality short documentary of the tour. The first part of which we aim to screen for the first time on 20-22nd June at the Tandem environment and music festival in Oxford.
The way we do it is straight away to hand over the camera and they tell their own story through activities and games. So they’re learning straight away. Once they have the basic skills we help them with storyboarding.
A storyboard consists of pictures representing video scenes, to help plan and visualize the shooting of the footage.
Key points raised are the threat to human life and the widespread consequences that will effect everyone on the planet. We are in this boat together, and it is sinking. The message is loud and clear that business as usual will kill us.
It is time for culture change not climate change.
If you are taking action, share your experiences with us. If you’d like to join with others to help you act we’d love to help. There are solutions everywhere we look. Our generation has a closing window of opportunity to protect life.