Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Died|| May 15, 2015 (aged 69)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
Jackie Brookner (1945 – May 15, 2015) was an ecological artist, writer, and educator.She worked with ecologists, design professionals, engineers, communities, and policy-makers on water remediation/public art projects for parks, wetlands, rivers, and urban stormwater runoff. In these projects, local resources become the focal point of community collaboration and collective creative agency.
Urban runoff is surface runoff of rainwater created by urbanization. This runoff is a major source of flooding and water pollution in urban communities worldwide.
Brookner lived in New York City and worked and lectured internationally.
Brookner was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and received her B.A. from Wellesley College. She completed all work for a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard University, except the dissertation, as her focus shifted to making sculpture in 1971.In 1975 she assisted steel sculptor Isaac Witkin in Bennington, Vermont. The following year, she moved to New York City and attended the New York Studio School, where she studied drawing with Nicolas Carone.
Providence is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a Reformed Baptist theologian and religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay.
Wellesley College is a private women's liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, it is a member of the original Seven Sisters Colleges. Wellesley is home to 56 departmental and interdepartmental majors spanning the liberal arts, as well as over 150 student clubs and organizations. The college also allows its students to cross-register at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis University, Babson College and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Wellesley athletes compete in the NCAA Division III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.
Brookner’s landscape-scale ecological art evolved from her sculptures and installations from the 1980s and early 1990s. In the early 1980s at Oscarsson Hood Gallery in New York, Brookner exhibited cast bronze sculptures that were based on the movement of water and growth in plants.In 1987, she began juxtaposing materials such as soil, velvet, inner tubes, pillow stuffing, exhaust pipes, and chiffon to explore the psychological and gendered associations these materials carried.
In the early 1990s, Brookner's writing focused on how our materialistic culture could be so at war with the matrix of its own matter, the Earth.Using soil as a metaphor for raw matter in her wall pieces and Soil Chairs, she investigated the cultural associations of dirt, excrement, sex, and death. In her museum installations, Brookner focused on historical relationships of soil in particular regions.
This project traveled from 1994 to 1998 to the following venues: McKissick Museum, Columbia, South Carolina (1994); Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina (1995); The Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee (1995); The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia (1995); University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas (1996); The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee (1996); Gallery 210, University of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri (1998). The project evolved as it crossed the southern U.S. to follow the migration of the Cotton Belt from the Carolinas westward. At each location, Brookner spoke with former cotton farmers who hand-picked cotton in the 1930s and 1940s, as she modeled portraits of their feet with local soil. These became the focal points of installations where they rested on 60-tons of soil or 2,500-pounds of ginned cotton. Accompanying the installation was a video documenting Brookner’s conversations and forty Farm Security Administration photographs from the 1930s (selected by Susan Harris Edwards)depicting the living and working conditions of cotton farmers during the Depression.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a New Deal agency created in 1937 to combat rural poverty during the Great Depression in the United States. It succeeded the Resettlement Administration (1935–1937).
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.
While listening to the Castillian (Spanish) and Catalan languages, Brookner imagined the shapes of the tongues speaking them. She then sculpted Castillian and Catalan tongues from soils collected in central Spain and Catalonia, respectively. The same soils were used to make a 50-foot wall-drawing based on phonetics diagrams that map where the tongue is placed to make specific sounds.This sound, sculpture, and drawing installation explored the corporeality of speech in the context of Catalonia where regional languages, prohibited and politicized under Franco’s regime, intersect with homeland, territory, and power.
Language politics in Francoist Spain centered on attempts in Spain under Franco to increase the dominance of the Spanish language (Castilian) over the other languages of Spain. The regime of Francisco Franco had Spanish nationalism as one of its bases. Under his dictatorship, the Spanish language was declared Spain's only official language.
Brookner was guest editor of the College Art Association’s Art Journal on “Art and Ecology” (1992). Her research for this issue inspired her to develop a practice that could provide ecological benefits and help transform cultural values.
This research led Brookner to develop her Biosculptures: living water filtration systems that unite the conceptual and aesthetic capacities of sculpture with ecological function. These sculpted wetland ecosystems are made of mosses and plants growing on stone and concrete substrates, while the water they filter is inhabited by fish, snails, plants, and other organisms. Together they form a complete ecosystem.The plants and the bacteria that live in their root zones convert waste and pollutants in the water into food for their own metabolism, demonstrating that in healthy natural systems there is no waste. Conceptually, the entropic, symbiotic relationship serves to reveal "the creativity of detritus, showing that decay is part of creation.
The first Biosculpture, Prima Lingua, was commissioned in 1995 by Appalachian State University for the exhibition “Views From Ground Level, Art and Ecology in the Late Nineties.” It is a large tongue that licks and cleans the polluted water in which it stands. I’m You, commissioned in 2000 by Wave Hill, Bronx, New York, for the exhibition “Abundant Invention,” resembles human hands but is based on microscopic moss structures.
In her Biosculptures and other works, Brookner frequently uses imagery where parts of the body stand for the whole. This reflects the paradox of how humans consider themselves as independent wholes even though we are actually parts of an interdependent universe.
Since 2002, Brookner has been collaborating with ecologists, engineers, policy makers, design professionals, and community residents to create multifunctional water remediation/public art projects. These landscape-scale public projects demonstrate how stormwater and other polluted waters can be reclaimed and used to restore habitat in parks, wetlands, rivers, former sewage treatment lagoons, and other contexts.
At the time of her death Brookner was working on a pilot project with The City of Fargo, ND, Fargo residents, and local artists to transform an 18-acre stormwater detention basin into a multifunctional neighborhood commons through a process intended to catalyze collective creative agency within Fargo's diverse population. It will include restored prairie and wetland habitats, an orchard, natural play areas, an amphitheater, festival spaces, gathering areas, and community gardens that will feed 50 families. This pilot project will be a model for 19 other neighborhood basins throughout Fargo.
Veden Taika consists of three floating islands that provide safe habitat for nesting birds, improve water quality through phytoremediation with native wetland plants and subsurface aeration, and create an aesthetic focal point in a former sewage treatment lagoon. The project was conceived in consultation with local ecologists and artist/project manager Tuula Nikulainen, engineered with Biomatrix Water, and implemented in collaboration with high school students, local artists, local scientists, volunteers, and city agencies. One of the successful goals of the project was to create collaborations between city agencies, who have not worked together before, to provide solutions to local environmental problems.
Brookner’s work at this LEED gold-certified building captures stormwater runoff from the roof with two sculptural rock filtration systems: the Coyote Creek and Thumbprint Filters. Urban Rain reduces the volume and improves the quality of the water entering into the stormwater sewer system and the Coyote Creek Watershed. The Coyote Creek Filter contextualizes the building itself as a watershed within the larger Coyote Creek watershed and reveals infiltration processes that normally happen underground. The imagery of the Thumbprint Filter is based on the spiral pattern of a real thumbprint, and echoes the spiral eddies of wind, water, and galaxies.
Brookner and Ciotti were part of the design team to enhance water flow, flood control systems, and recreational facilities for the redesign of Dreher Park.They conceived the Elders’ Cove landscape complex to feature the then-underutilized Northern section of the park. Elders’ Cove includes a 14-foot Biosculpture in one of the new detention ponds, a viewing and fishing dock, wetland habitats, mounds that reclaim and sculpt soil from the lake excavations, and a gathering area that draws on the area’s Seminole history.
This project consists of over 100 Biosculptures in constructed wetlands that treat stormwater runoff from 3 acres of ballfields and parking lots to lessen pollutant impact on the adjacent endangered Mill Creek.The stormwater, collected in a 10,000-gallon underground cistern, irrigates the Biosculptures. The water cycles repeatedly through the wetland until the next large rainfall, when it is released into the creek. The entire system is solar powered. The Biosculptures are shaped like hands that gradually transform into six species of fish that would inhabit the river if it were healthy. Brookner collaborated with the Mill Creek Restoration Project and Human Nature Landscape Architects, local artists, high school students, and other volunteers to build, plant, and maintain the project.
Brookner and Susan Steinman were selected to be artists in residence with the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance program through a National Endowment for the Arts and National Park Service partnership called “Art and Community Landscapes.” Working with three towns, Tillamook, Oregon, Puyallup, Washington, and Caldwell, Idaho, to build communities of support for local creek daylighting and trail projects, they created concept plans and guided public ecological art projects. They also started annual river celebrations that continue today and fostered many new partnerships between different interest groups in each city.
This Biosculpture is part of a wetland pond that provides natural filtration for a large public swimming complex used daily by over 1,500 people. Two large moss-covered hands reach from the bank of the wetland into the pond, cupping the water in which they are immersed.
Brookner taught at the University of Pennsylvania,Harvard University, Bard College, the New York Studio School, and Parsons The New School for Design, where she continued to teach until her death.
Maya Ying Lin is an American designer, architect, and artist who works in sculpture and land art. She achieved national recognition at the age of 21 while still an undergraduate at Yale University, when her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. was chosen in a national competition. It is considered one of the most influential memorials of the post-World War II period.
Marie Watt is a contemporary artist living and working in Portland, Oregon. Enrolled in the Seneca Nation, Watt has created work primarily with textile arts and community collaboration centered on diverse Native American themes.
Environmental art is a range of artistic practices encompassing both historical approaches to nature in art and more recent ecological and politically motivated types of works. Environmental art has evolved away from formal concerns, worked out with earth as a sculptural material, towards a deeper relationship to systems, processes and phenomena in relationship to social concerns. Integrated social and ecological approaches developed as an ethical, restorative stance emerged in the 1990s. Over the past ten years environmental art has become a focal point of exhibitions around the world as the social and cultural aspects of climate change come to the forefront.
One of the wide variety of soil-absorption/filter systems, a rain garden, also called a stormwater garden, is a designed depression storage or a planted hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. The primary purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water and to ensure that rainwater becomes available for plants as groundwater rather than being sent through stormwater drains straight out to sea. In fact, it can actually reduce rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground and cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.
Stacy Levy is a sculptor who works in sculptural media suggestive of ecological natural patterns and processes using water and water flows as a medium. Her studio is based in rural Pennsylvania, but she works on projects around the world.
Green Infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure is a network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include stormwater management, climate adaptation, less heat stress, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and providing shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. Green infrastructure also serves to provide an ecological framework for social, economic and environmental health of the surroundings. Green Infrastructure is considered a subset of Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, which is defined in standards such as SuRe - the Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure. However, green infrastructure can also mean "low-carbon infrastructure" such as renewable energy infrastructure and public transportation systems. Blue-Green infrastructure can also be a component of 'sustainable drainage systems' or 'sustainable urban drainage systems' designed to manage water quantity and quality, while providing improvements to biodiversity and amenity.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the city. Work is conducted primarily in the regional parks of Pittsburgh: Frick Park, Schenley Park, Highland Park, Riverview Park, Mellon Square, Mellon Park, and Schenley Plaza although the Parks Conservancy works in other city parks as resources permit.
Tholkappia Poonga or Adyar Eco Park is an ecological park set up by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the Adyar estuary area of Chennai, India. According to the government, the project, conceived based on the master plan for the restoration of the vegetation of the freshwater eco-systems of the Coromandel Coast, especially the fragile eco-system of the Adyar estuary and creek, was expected to cost around ₹ 1,000 million which will include the beautification of 358 acres of land. The park's ecosystem consists of tropical dense evergreen forest, predominantly comprising trees and shrubs that have thick dark green foliage throughout the year, with over 160 woody species, and comprises six vegetative elements such as trees, shrubs, lianas, epiphytes, herbs and tuberous species. The park was opened to public by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on 22 January 2011 and named after the renowned Tamil scholar Tholkappiar. About 65 percent of the poonga is covered by water and artefacts and signages. In the first 2 months of its inauguration, nearly 4,000 children from several schools in the city and the nearby Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts have visited the park to learn about wetland conservation, eco-restoration and water management. While the first phase of the eco-park covered about 4.16 acres of CRZ-III area, the entire area covered under the second phase falls under this category.
Agnes Denes is a Hungarian-born American conceptual artist based in New York. She is known for works in a wide range of media - from poetry and philosophy writings, to complex hand and computer rendered diagrams, sculpture, and international environmental installations, such as Wheatfield -- A Confrontation (1982), a two-acre wheatfield in downtown Manhattan.
Patricia Johanson is an American artist.
Sigalit Landau is an Israeli sculptor, video and installation artist.
Heather T. Hart is a visual artist who works in a variety of media including interactive and participatory Installation art, drawing, collage, and painting. She is a co-founder of the Black Lunch Table Project, which includes a Wikipedia initiative focused on addressing gender gap and diversity representation in the arts on Wikipedia.
Ecological art is an art genre and artistic practice that seeks to preserve, remediate and/or vitalize the life forms, resources and ecology of Earth, by applying the principles of ecosystems to living species and their habitats throughout the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, including wilderness, rural, suburban and urban locations. It is a distinct genre from Environmental art in that it involves functional ecological systems-restoration, as well as socially engaged, activist, community-based interventions. Ecological art also addresses politics, culture, economics, ethics and aesthetics as they impact the conditions of ecosystems. Ecological art practitioners include artists, scientists, philosophers and activists who often collaborate on restoration, remediation and public awareness projects.
Above and Below is an installation by American artist Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is on display at and owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The artwork was inspired by underground water systems in Indiana.
Marina DeBris is the name used by an Australian-based artist whose work focuses on reusing trash to raise awareness of ocean and beach pollution. DeBris uses trash washed up from the beach to create trashion, 'fish tanks', decorative art and other works of art. She has also used beach trash to provide one perspective on what the earth might look like from space. As well as creating art from debris, DeBris also is a fund raiser for environmental organizations, and collaborates with non-profit organizations and schools to educate children about ocean pollution. DeBris is also a social activist, for example, participating in a panel on how artists can contribute to environmental public policy, promoting clean energy and curating eco-art exhibitions. DeBris's work is not just in pollution, but also works with non profits to raise funds for art education. DeBris is listed with the Women Environmental Artists Directory, has been cited by EcoSalon as one of four artists whose work raises awareness of environmental concerns, and has been listed as one of ten key eco artists. DeBris is also listed as one of the 30 most influential contemporary women artists, and as one of 10 eco friendly artists who will blow your mind.
Laguna Seca is a seasonal lake located in south Santa Clara Valley in the Coyote Valley, an area critical to wildlife as the narrowest corridor connecting Mt. Hamilton and the Diablo Range on the east to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. It is the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, California and lies between Tulare Hill and the Santa Teresa Hills just west of Santa Teresa Boulevard and north of Bailly Avenue. Laguna Seca is fed by Fisher Creek. A man-made channel extends Fisher Creek to Coyote Creek.
Mary Miss is an American artist and designer whose primary interest is the public realm. Her work has crossed boundaries between architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and urban design. Her installations are collaborative in nature: she has worked with scientists, historians, designers and public administrators. She is primarily interested in how to engage the public in decoding their surrounding environment.
Ecofeminist art emerged in the 1970s in response to ecofeminist philosophy, that was particularly articulated by writers such as Carolyn Merchant, Val Plumwood, Donna Haraway, Starhawk, Greta Gaard, Karen J. Warren and Rebecca Solnit. Those writers emphasized the significance of relationships of cultural dominance and ethics expressed as sexism (Haraway), spirituality (Starhawk), speciesism, capitalist values that privilege objectification and the importance of vegetarianism in these contexts (Gaard). The main issues Ecofeminism aims to address revolve around the effects of a "Eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of nature, and the domination of woman 'as nature'. The writer Luke Martell in the Ecology and Society journal writes that 'women' and 'nature' are both victims of patriarchal abuse and "ideological products of the Enlightenment culture of control." Ecofeminism argues that we must become a part of nature, living with and among it. We must recognize that nature is alive and breathing and work against the passivity surrounding it that is synonymous with the passive roles enforced upon women by patriarchal culture, politics, and capitalism.
Eve Andree Laramee is an installation artist whose works explores four primary themes: legacy of the atomic age, history of science, environment and ecology, social conditions. Her interdisciplinary artworks operate at the confluence of art and science. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Pace University. Laramee currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Santa Fe, NM. She is also the founder and director of ART/MEDIA for a Nuclear Free Future.
Shai Zakai is a photographer, artist, and ecological activist known for her artworks involving water reclamation.