Biomimicry

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. Wikipedia 

Birmingham has more public open parkland than any other European city. Birmingham is the UK’s only city in the international Biophilic (literally love of nature/life) city network, Biophilic design aims to reconnect humankind with nature, sustaining a physical relationship in order to improve overall environmental condition as well as improving wellbeing, mental and physical health.

The Treeline program builds on the Biophilic legacy of public access to parks, the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the establishment of workers rights from the Birmingham Enlightenment period and the progressive members of the Lunar Society. It is a program of artist commissions, exhibitions and seminars, part of BCU based New Art West Midlands exchange program. Treeline sits within the European Biophilic City Network and the European Green Capital program. The project connects artists with government departments, sustainability organisations, arts organisations and universities in the U.K. Midlands with the South West, Mid-Wales, the Basque Country and Oslo.

There is no chance of change, there is no potential for movement without creative engagement, without making use of our imagination. For us to realise our interconnectivity and mutual interdependency we must shift our fixed view perspectives of nature of materiality. Treeline joins relational and multidisciplinary practice, enabling artists to work with science researchers and communities, working with people to create opportunities for Biophilic reflection. Helping to build a collective understanding of interconnectivity, now for all our futures.

It is an art partnership network between New Art West Midlands  Birmingham/ the Midlands,RAW  in Wales,  i-DAT  Plymouth, PNEK  Oslo (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway) and Technarte  Bilbao http://www.technarte.org/

When we lose our  connection to nature….then we do not know how to nurture their environment or how to govern our world. We destroy our ecology at the same time as we destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal (material) world. Chögyam  Trungpa

Artists are working with scientists and researchers with University of Wales Trinity St David and across a network of universities including University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Plymouth University, Oslo University, The University of the Basque Country BC3 (the Basque Centre of Climate Change), Autonomous University of Barcelona Instittute of Environmental Sciences and Technology, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and the Oslo Academy of Fine Art.

Strands of research linked to UN, national and Birmingham strategic natural eco assessments and the research council’s liveable cities research:
Financial reslience. Natural Capital, carbon locking and innovation opportunities in product based biomimicry, sustainability through agricultural adaption. Social sustainability, adaption and resilience – process based biomimicry in the face of climate change, social anthropology health and wellbeing – open spaces in Cities, social change.
Climate change research – dissemination and understanding of the gap between knowledge and belief, building social reslience through knowledge.

Moving image installation still, Jaime Jackson 2018.

To create engaging transformative visions of a better world, to increase our chances of solving the unsustainability of present social-ecological system dynamics….To create spaces for imagination and engagement with communities to get ownership about their climate futures at local/regional levels…. ‘Conventional science methods are not enough (to create a change in behaviour)…climate change is mostly a symptom and amplifier of impacts rather than a cause, sustainability is mostly an engagement challenge, not only a scientific one…Art based methods are uniquely placed to foster collective imagination, social energy and awareness.’ J. David Tàbara & Diego Galafasi Sustainabilogy Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & Stockholm Resilience Centre

Treeline influences how scientists are affected by working with artists collaborations with academic and co-production perspectives, to make connections between heart and head, 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 sustainability strategies that are more effective, aligning to the well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 in Wales.

 

         

Sally Payen, Greenham Symbole (c ), 2016

 

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