Finally, three days after registering for the symposium on Wednesday, I made it back up to ISEA to catch two panels. The first was FARFIELD1: New Environmental Art Practices on Landscapes of the Polar Regions; Politics, Emotion and Culture. Lisa Bloom a culture historian from San Diego presented an updated version of her Disappearing Ice and Missing Data paper from last year with Contemporary Art and Climate Change: The Aesthetics of Disappearance at the Poles, which was very captivating. She focused on three women who have participated in residencies at the poles including Judit Hersko, Anne Noble, and Connie Samaras. Her interest is primarily gender although she questions all interventions at the poles, which has always been my concern about "going there."
The second panel was titled Nature, Human, Machine and included 4 presentations mainly by artists. After talking about anthropomorphizing nature with the second speaker, a German artist couple,
presented the most humorous human projection project I've seen in quite awhile. The project is called BotanoAdopt and they are promoting the capture and rehabilitation of neglected plants. They give them names and "human" identities with characterizations projected on them based on their vitality. This seemed to bother one of the participants who went on to call this a hobby and not art. They also used the news media to deliver their message, doing a satirical television report about the project focusing on the value of plants, whether medicinal or environmental, and how it is lost on most people today; knowledge that many people used to know and now seem to have no need for. That would be called baseline shifts.
I then took the Metro, which is so clean and easy by the way, to Taskim Square to meet up with my panel chairs Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian and fellow panelist Glen Lowry (not the director of MOMA, he uses two nn's). We walked to Galata Tower and winded down very small streets that were chez hip to a Georgian restaurant Galeta Evi. There we met up with Treehugger contributor Jennifer Hattam from the Bay Area who has been living in Istanbul for three years now. The food was really great, wine excellent, felt like we were visiting a family residence (which I believe it was). Definitely want to return to this area of Istanbul.