‘The tree line, like lake boundaries, appears well-defined from a distance, but upon sufficiently close inspection it is a gradual transition. Trees grow shorter towards the inhospitable climate until they simply stop growing’.
Treeline is a Salt Road Biomimicry & Biophila art and science project, developed from an Arts Council England funded artist commissioning program, lead by Salt road artist curators Jaime Jackson and Dr. Sally Payen.
Treeline will be delivered in partnership with project hub organisations in cities in the Basque Country, Oslo, England and Wales including:
New Art West Midlands in Birmingham and the Midlands
i-DAT in Plymouth
Lavish in Wales
PNEK In Oslo (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway)
Technarte in Bilbao http://www.technarte.org/
Artists will be working with scientists and researchers across a network of universities in the U.K. Spain and Norway. University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Plymouth University, University of Wales Trinity St Davids, Oslo University, The University of the Basque BC3 the Basque Centre of Climate Change, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and the Oslo Academy of Fine Art.
Artists working on Treeline, who will be joined by artists from Norway and the Basque Country working with the universities and communities in the different countries to create artworks, seminars events and exhibitions between 2018 and 2020.
This is a socially engaged project between artists, scientists and communities, allowing artists to work with communities to articulate the bridge between knowledge and belief, and reconnect people to their own human nature. About how we adapt to the climate changing to the idea to really feel it, to collaborate, an academic and co-production perspectives to make connections between heart and head. And how scientists are affected by working with artists. From a sociological and anthropology position to see how contextual and cultural values of a community shape its environmental behaviour in view of climate action. Developing more effective communication strategies in order to engage society to take local action which will help decision makers to formulate strategies that are more effective Dr Sally Payen.
Sally Payen, Greenham Symboles (c and h), 2016
Our academy partners include The University of the Basque Country Bilbao – BC3 The Basque Centre for Climate Change University of Oslo Department of Human Geography and Sociology Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo Academy of Fine Art, UCL London Geography, University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Birmingham City University School of Art and STEAMhouse, Plymouth University.
Our government and strategic partners include Vitoria-Gastiez City Council, Birmingham City Council, the Embassy of Spain in London, the Norwegian Embassy in London and Oslo Contemporary Art.
Salt Road is bringing together Universities, arts organisations, artists, government departments and environmental agencies across the Basque Country, the U.K. Midlands and Wales, Oslo and across Norway. The program links the international Biophilic City, a European Green Capital and Euro City programmes. Artists are working with scientists to articulate and explore the gap between knowledge and belief, information and power, ecology and art, ecocide and patriarchy. Using digital and relational practice to create a touring residency lab, seminar, artist commissioning, engagement and exhibition program across the three Countries.
If you take any part of Nature and look at it, it’s edges will be ragged and twisty and not straight. So to measure parts of Nature, to make Nature accessible to linear-some would call it, practical thinking, all of us are taught to round off the edges, to create specific and distinct boundaries between one thing and the next. This actually only gives us an approximation, a guess. And no matter the power of our magnification, it remains only an estimation of the real. Stephen Harold Buhner
Arcimboldo ‘Flora Meretrix’ (detail) 1590
I’ve worked as an artist in the world of climate change for 15 years and have been part of many discussions… In moments of despair, it feels like art can’t begin to touch what needs to be done. At other times, it feels like the creative world can open out the conversation and facts in a way that transcends science and also doesn’t alienate or intimidate the casual or lay audience. Michèle Noach, Greenpeace Environmental activist & artist
Treeline moving image installation for Lavish at Latitude Festival. Waterscreen projection, Jaime Jackson 2017
We know the catastrophe is possible, probable given recent events, yet we do not believe it will really happen…. I can understand, intellectually that ‘life’ in this country might not be the same in 30 years time as it is today: that if climate change goes ahead unchecked it could in face be profoundly and catastrophically different. But somehow I have been unable to turn this knowledge into a recognition that my own life will alter. Like everyone who has been insulated from death, I have projected the future as repeated instances of the present.’ George Monbiot – ‘In Heat’
Given the large impact of human activities on climate, it follows that a better understanding of the ways different socio-cultural groups think about CC is crucial for the development and implementation of effective climate policies. For effective climate action (mitigation and adaptation) to occur, CC has to be perceived as one of the greatest challenges for society today. BC3 University of the Basque Country ‘Drivers of Climate Change Opinion’
For more information on the Biophilic city network visit Guardian
It’s only when we understand the meaning of ‘enough’ that we start to accumulate real wealth. As in nature, ‘enough’ gets the job done well; doing or having more than we need wastes time, resources, and ultimately, our lives. Andy Middleton
Jaime Jackson, Treeline moving image, 1’11’’ loop installation 2017
At the same time the arts reflect and inflect a societies shared values its culture so a investigation by artists in a period of climate change could still be worthwhile. But only without a operation of art from the global scientific academic, political economic and social systems, in between our society’s ideas values and systems and the way that they are articulated. Art inflects life as life infects art, as it is what constitutes an understanding of what is the self and what constitutes an environment underpins attitudes to, say, the land.
A value of artists and modern art is its critical distance from which dominant trends and systems informing conditioned reality constructs can be seen, and be interrupted. Modern Art’s autonomy, far from being a disabling denial of the political, is a critical dimension in which the aesthetic is a refusal of routine. That is one point of departure; political activism is another. They overlap. For that reason I do not separate art from critiques of political and economic structures; nor do I separate arguments around ecology and environmentalism from those around social justice. Malcom’s Miles Eco-Aesthetics.
Jaime Jackson Biophilic Wishing Tree, National Tree Week, Queenswood 2017