‘We are all artists of the Anthropocene. We inherently are because this is the world that we’re living in right now. There’s no other world. We were down earlier at Robert’s Creek (BC) and it’s a salmon bearing stream. I think of it like we’re artists in the Anthropocene, like fish would be in the ocean: the water is all around us and the Anthropocene is all around us. I think it may be what Ben Okri is tasking us with is: can you describe the water? It’s all we know, but we need to be able to look from this moment now into the future and maybe that’s the job of artists. We’re the visionaries, we can see the future and we can envision it in different ways. I think he speaks to that too at the end of the article about saying part of why we need to talk about the times we’re in now is in relationship to a future, whatever that future looks like. And I do spend a lot of time trying to negotiate my belief in the future.’
My 2nd #conscientpodcast conversation with theatre artist and art + climate activist Kendra Fanconi in Robert’s Creek, BC about the ‘Artists Brigade’, Ben Okri, eco-restoration, eco-grief, eco-anxiety & reauthoring the world, with excerpts from e43 haley, e30 maggs & é37 lebeau.
‘I’m interested in what we can do to both mitigate the climate emergency and adapt to it but there’s another level which is revisioning the world and maybe that’s the one that’s most interesting, because unfortunately it’s going to be rough for the foreseeable future on earth, but life will go on, with or without humans. I think humans have a place in it, but then we have to figure out how we’re going to live with much, much less resources and all the damage that’s been done and have a positive view of that. So rethinking and reauthoring the world. David Maggs wrote a really interesting paper about that. There was a paper recently by a Nigerian writer, Ben Okri. I’ll put the link in the chat. He talked about how artists must confront the climate crisis and that we must write as if these are our last days. That’s where I’m at.’
My #conscientpodcast conversation with Robin Sokoloski, Janis Monture and their students as part of a class in Art Policy, Equity and Activism at Centennial College in Toronto. This episode includes quotes from e40 frasz, e82 washable paint, e05 carruthers, e73 judith marcuse – finding the energy to keep moving and e85 tracey friesen – narratives of resilience for a post carbon world.
‘What’s starting to interest me is stories of resilience for a post carbon world. What are we going to need for our emotional well-being? It’s going to be a different world not long from now. If we do this, and we must do this, this transition has to happen and there’s going to be a sense of loss and sacrifice and challenge, not just with what’s happening externally from a climate point of view, but in how we’re going to have to make changes to our lives and reorient our energies in terms of our advocacy. I feel like there’s an opportunity for artists – I’m more connected to the film and television sector and the documentary community – throughout the system, to be able to provide realistic and yet reassuring narratives about what the upside of all this might be.’
My #conscientpodcast conversation with media producer and cultural impact leader Tracey Friesen of Vancouver about increasing the power of media to affect social change, her book and organization Story Money Impact, and the good work of Good Pitch. Including quotes from e26 klein and e54 garrett.
‘Museums have been very good at normalizing social values and so when you have this shift and the government is seeing it, we have to change behavior, the museum can create that space where people can rethink some of their conventional thinking about consuming, for example and there’s all kinds of ways, like we were saying earlier, of integrating this kind of knowledge, not in a lecturing way. I think that’s the key word, is we can be cheeky. This is a social activity. Nobody is forcing anyone to come to the museum and so when people come, they want to be intrigued, surprised and they love it. If you look at exit surveys, they love to come out thinking it’s like: I had no idea that I can make this kind of change and have this kind of impact.’
My conversation with Viviane Gosselin, Director of Collections & Exhibitions, Curator of Contemporary Culture and Mauro Vescera, Chief Executive Officer of the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) about greening their operations and addressing the climate emergency and issues of climate justice through their exhibitions.
‘This episode lasts 59 seconds. I want to share a November 13th, 2021, tweet by British writer and climate activist George Monbiot: ‘Now we have no choice but to raise the scale of civil disobedience until we have built the greatest mass movement in history. We do not consent to the destruction of our life support systems’.’
e83 is my reading of a November 13th, 2021, tweet by British writer and climate activist George Monbiot about ‘raising the scale of civil disobedience until we have built the greatest mass movement in history’. I agree and thank George.
e82 is an unedited, 20-minute soundscape recording, without narration, of a climate emergency rally and march on Friday, November 12, 2021, in Vancouver and an incident with police. The recording includes songs, speeches and chants about climate action and social justice.
‘We, the undersigned, declare that people, their cultures, and the natural and cultural heritage of the earth are profoundly at risk from human-caused climate change and the climate inaction that is deepening the unfolding climate crisis even while we reaffirm the immense power of arts, culture, and heritage to inspire climate action and enable a just transition to low carbon, climate resilient futures.’
e79 is my #conscientpodcast reading of the ‘Accelerating Climate Action through the Power of Arts, Culture and Heritage’ manifesto developed by the Climate Heritage Network to summarize key cultural messages for COP26 and activate the arts, culture and heritage sector. You can find more information on the origins and the co-authors of the manifesto at cultureatcop.com.
‘I think art needs to get on the street, because raising awareness in a gallery is really speaking to the choir. I’ll leave raising awareness, because we both agree that the time for that has passed, but I think art needs to revert back to artisan and crafts, in the sense that imagination can lead to crafting things that we will actually need for survival. I think that – and again, this is my radical rant – I think that one of the reasons why we’re seeing these unprecedented amounts of anxiety and even this new term ‘climate anxiety’ that we have, which is almost probably about to be defined as a kind of mental health condition, is because we are so profoundly disconnected from our own means of existence.’
e78 is my #conscientpodcast conversation with acoustic ecology colleague Dr. Milena Droumeva on November 3, 2021 in Vancouver about multiple points of ‘listening’, thoughts about radicality, that imagination can lead to crafting things that we will actually need for survival and how to address profound disconnections.
‘I think the same model (climate emergency coalitions) could and should be used by SCALE to have these arts and culture groups come together, identify a shared vision and a shared set of actions that together constitute a true climate emergency agenda for the arts and culture sector. That’s step one and then agreement to jointly campaign all with your individual constituencies on that declaration on that list of actions so that if you are the federal minister of culture or provincial minister of culture, you keep hearing over and over again from all of these different groups that are part of your portfolio. This is what we want.’
This is my second #conscientpodcast conversation with seth klein (see e26 klein) where we get an update on the Climate Emergency Unit and a suggestion on how the #arts and #culture sector can identify a shared vision and set of actions that constitute a true climate emergency agenda and how to create a joint campaign. This episode includes an excerpt from e41 rae, with Jen Rae, in response to e26 klein.
‘I wrote an article called Seeding a Green New Theatre in Canada that is drawing on a lot of principles of conversations happening around a green new deal in the United States and elsewhere, as well as other kinds of social justice movements happening on both sides of the border and thinking through what’s the kind of theatre and what are the plays that already existed in Canadian theatre history and what are more of the kinds of stories that we need to be telling and sharing and how to think about the transition that we’re facing socially from a justice perspective that really advances and brings forward the impact of the existing system by racialized communities, low income communities, the people who work within the energy or extractive development sector. There are a number of really quite remarkable pieces of work, many of which hadn’t been produced a whole lot of times that addressed those issues.’
e76 kim richards – – seeding a green new theatre in canada is my #conscientpodcast conversation with Dr. Kim Richards, a post-doctoral fellow in public energy humanities at the University of Alberta, about the role of theatre in the climate emergency during a soundwalk around Trout Lake Park in Vancouver on Monday, November 1, 2021. With excerpts from e44 bilodeau, e59 pearl and e36 fanconi.
‘To me, radical listening is about stepping out of our comfort zone when we listen. Radical listening about thinking beyond what we think we know when we listen. Radical listening is about recognizing our biases, both conscious and unconscious. It’s about listening actively and sincerely. Ultimately, it’s about getting to the truth and facing reality.’
e75 radical listening as climate action is my presentation and Q&A period at the FKL’s Unheard Landscapes Symposium on October 29, 2021 about ‘music as acoustic ecology’ and ‘radicality’ in the context of listening and the climate emergency, with excerpts from e54 mahtani, é55 trépanier and e22 westerkamp
‘I’ve come to realize that the main barrier to my re-education, and I might not be the only one in this situation, is… ‘me’. My personality, my baggage and that the solution, simply, is to let it go. To release it.’
e74 letting go – laisser aller was recorded on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 6.40am. It’s a bilingual monologue about how I’ve come to realize that the main barrier to my re-education is… ‘me’, and that the solution, simply, is to let it go… A soundwalk around the neighbourhood follows.
‘I feel really at the base of myself that creating anything, art, sofas, whatever it is, allows us to give of ourselves to something that may not be lasting but in the moment, that act of creation can engender hope, can engender a sense of autonomy, a sense of possibility and we can’t despair right now, we’re at a tipping point, as everyone is saying and the question for me is how do we find the energy alone and collectively to keep moving in this urgency that we’re all feeling without drowning in despair. I think art has an essential role to play in that agenda.’
e73 judith marcuse – finding the energy to keep moving is my conversation with arts for social change activist and dance artist Judith Marcuse on October 24, 2021 about ‘radical listening’ and her work as executive director and founder of the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) and the upcoming Arts for Social Change Network
‘It’s 2.29am on Sunday October 17th, 2021. I can hear the rumble of the city in the background, but the rain has stopped for a few minutes. Yesterday, I walked by the People’s Coop Bookstore on Commercial Avenue in Vancouver and thought I saw a new book by Richard Wagamese in the corner of my eye. How could this be? The title was What Comes From Spirit. My heart was pounding. Could this be a new book from my favorite author, who tragically passed away in 2017?’
e72 richard wagamese’s what comes from spirit is my monologue about my excitement when I found a copy of a posthumous book, What Comes From Spirit, by my favorite writer, Richard Wagamese, at the People’s Coop Bookstore in Vancouver and my reflections on Drew Hayden Taylor’s touching introduction.
‘The Green Sessions was invented because this small group of people got together and decided we wanted to do something that created impact. I’m really interested in new and more opportunities for us to collaborate as a sector and putting people into focus and a place of knowledge on this agenda’
– Emma Stenning
e71 green sessions debrief are highlights from the 2021 Green Sessions organizing committee : Philippa Domville, Sandy Crawley, Robyn Stevan and Liisa Repo-Martell of Artists for Real Climate Action, Emma Stenning and Rohan Kulkarni of Soulpepper Theatre and myself from SCALE. We talked about the Canadian arts sector can step forward with impact to address the climate emergency.
‘We make choices by not making choices
And we live with unbearable consequences
We hear alarm bells, but do not respond
We cling to uncertainty like a sad song
We act as if unaware and innocent We are cognitively dissonant’ …
e70 one step at a time is a monologue that I recorded on September 28th, 2021, in one take, while walking in the forest in Duhamel Québec where I talk recite a poem that I wrote earlier that day about making choices and moving forward one step at a time in ‘radical listening’ mode, which is the theme of season 3 of #conscientpodcast.
‘It’s 4 56 am on Tuesday, rather than Wednesday, September 29th. I’m about to do something I’ve never done before, a soundwalk in the dark. I wanted to share with you this experience of walking in the dark and see what happens.’
e69 soundwalk in the dark is a monologue that I recorded on September 29th, 2021, from 4.56am to 5.25am, in one take, while walking around our cottage in Duhamel Québec in the dark. I talk about soundwalking, listening, reconciliation, John Cage, dancing, etc., including quotes from #conscientpodcast season 2: ‘do not listen to this episode’ and e22 westerkamp. Note: I miscalculated the time that the sun would rise and ended up walking in the dark for the entire time !
‘I think the transformation of knowledge is really important. What we can do from our generation to the next is try and help prepare them for the impacts of climate change, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom…’
– andrew davies
e68 andrew davies and no. 9 gardens is a #conscientpodcast conversation that I recorded on September 26th 2021, in one take, while in a yurt with Andrew Davies, Director of No 9 Gardens, near Kingston, Ontario. We talked about the art and environment, reconciliation, yurts, education, passing on knowledge and the joys of farming and art making.
‘I’ve been thinking about decolonization and reconciliation and other issues in our relations with indigenous communities. I was reading the ‘wanna be an ally’ poem the other day that really affected me positively but also emotionally and I wanted to read it to you.’
e67 wanna be an ally is a reading of the poem ‘wanna be an ally’ from Towards Braiding by Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti written in collaboration with Sharon Stein and published by the Musagetes Foundation. Used with authors’ permission.
‘I’m interested in doing episodes that are in the moment, unedited moments of thinking out loud and not thinking too much because the rest of my body is working at soaking in this space.’
e66 stillness is a monologue that I recorded on September 14th, 2021, in one take, while sitting still in a kayak in a shallow bay on the Preston River, in Duhamel Québec where I talk about stillness, not-thinking and what I am hearing and feeling at that moment. This recording includes quotes from an unpublished episode of simplesoundscapes from 2016 and #conscientpodcast e19 reality.
‘What I’m looking for, ultimately, is an anchoring point: where are we at and what can we do to ensure the continuation of life?’
e65 drifting into season 3 is a monologue that I recorded on September 13th 2021, in one take, while drifting in a kayak on the Preston River, Duhamel Québec, that explains what season 3 of the #conscientpodcast (on the theme of ‘radical listening’) is about, including quotes from e21 (Dr Todd Dufresne), e23 (Anjali Appadurai) and a zen teaching.
‘Welcome back to the History of 2021 in Canada seminar. We’re going to conclude our case study today of the 2nd season of the conscient podcast.’
episode 64 is part 2 of a bilingual speculative fiction radio play set in an undergraduate university history seminar course about the arts scene in 2021 in Canada that launches season 3 of the #conscientpodcast.
L’épisode 64 a case study (partie 2) est une création radiophonique spéculative, bilingue, en deux parties qui se déroule dans le cadre d’un cours de séminaire universitaire de premier cycle sur la scène artistique en 2021 au Canada et qui lance la saison 3 du #baladoconscient.
‘Welcome to the History of 2021 in Canada seminar. We’re going to do a case study today of the second season of the conscient podcast.’
episode 63 is part 1 of a bilingual speculative fiction radio play set in an undergraduate university history seminar course about the arts scene in 2021 in Canada that launches season 3 of the #conscientpodcast.
L’épisode 63 (partie 1) est une création radiophonique spéculative bilingue qui se déroule dans le cadre d’un cours de séminaire universitaire de premier cycle sur la scène artistique en 2021 au Canada et qui lance la saison 3 du #baladoconscient.
‘I think capitalism is over, but the problem is we have nothing to replace it with. Here’s when we need artists, and others, to tell us what kind of vision they have for a future that is different than that: a future of play and meaningful work would be one future that I think is not just utopic, but very possible. ‘
– dr. todd dufresne
41, 1m excerpts from season 2 of #conscientpodcast
41 extraits de 1m de la saison 2 de #baladoconscient
‘We need greater capacity within the art sector for research to action : tools, understanding, training and connections to truly impact policy. ‘
– robin sokoloski
My #conscientpodcast conversation with arts leader Robin Sokoloski about cultural research, arts policy, climate emergency, community-engaged arts, creative solution making and how to create equitable and inclusive organizational structures
‘SCALE (Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency) is a national round table for the arts and culture sector to mobilize around the climate emergency. A few months ago, you and I, and a few others were all having the same realization that while there was a lot of important work and projects happening at the intersection of arts and sustainability in Canada, there lacked some kind of structure to bring this work together, to align activities, to develop a national strategy, and to deeply, deeply question the role of arts and culture in the climate emergency and activate the leadership of the sector in terms of the mobilization that needs to happen in wider society. SCALE is really trying to become that gathering place that will engender that high level collaboration, which hopefully will create those positive tipping points.’
My #conscientpodcast conversation with arts and climate organiser Judi Pearl about theatre, climate emergency, collaboration, arts leadership, intersection of arts and sustainability and the newly formed Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency (SCALE)