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Explorations, Collaborations, Transformations: The Artist’s Role in Raising Awareness about Climate Change

October 27, 2012 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Panel Discussion as part of (Re-) Cycles of Paradise

This panel discussion will take place immediately following the performance by Melodie Mousset and Zachary Sherrin, and is organized by LACE and ARTPORT_making waves.

Moderated by Margaret Wertheim (Executive Director, Institute For Figuring), participants include George Steinmann (artist & investigator Switzerland), Chuck Kopczak (California Science Center), Anne-Marie Melster (ARTPORT curator Spain), Corinne Erni (ARTPORT curator New York).

Read more about the full exhibition (Re-) Cycles of Paradise here.

Chuck Kopzack,
 Curator of Ecology at the California Science Center, has nearly 15 years of experience in informal science education settings. Academically, he holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Southern California with a specialization in marine community ecology. His particular research interest is the environmental control of productivity by giant kelp and phytoplankton. He also holds an M.S. degree in Science Education from California State University Long Beach. His experience in informal science education includes the design and development of the UCLA Ocean Discovery Center at the Santa Monica Pier that housed live animal and interactive exhibits to educate the public about the marine life and health of Santa Monica Bay. At the California Science Center he developed all of the interactive and living exhibit concepts and messages, all of the interactive and living exhibits, and oversaw the fabrication of all interactive and living exhibits for the 45,000 square foot Ecosystems master-planned expansion of the California Science Center. He works closely with the faculty of the Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center School to deliver ecology content to students and help coordinate outdoor field trips for the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes.

George Steinmann is a visual artist and musician based in Berne, Switzerland. He studied painting, sound and African American History in Berne, Basel, Helsinki and San Francisco. His special focus is on the relationship of Art and Science and the inter-connectedness of Art, Culture and Sustainability. In 2011, he received a Doctor Honoris Cause from the Philosophical-Historical Faculty of the University of Berne. Steinmann deals with the idea of a sustainable society and works on theoretic and aesthetic categories of cognition. He uses, especially in the last ten years, a high level of abstraction to raise awareness for delicate issues such as the industrial contamination of landscapes or the storage of toxic waste. The photographs and objects are mutually dependent and force the viewer to reflect his very own position on society and environmental topics. www.george-steinmann.ch

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally noted science writer and curator whose work focuses on the relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. She is founder and director of the Institute For Figuring, a Los Angeles based organization dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. Wertheim is the author of books on the cultural history of physics, including Physics on the Fringe, about the geniuses and mavericks who invent alternative theories of the universe. Throughout her career Wertheim has explored innovative ways of communicating science to women. In her native Australia, she wrote regular science columns for women’s magazines and created a six-part television science series aimed at teenage girls.

In 2005 Margaret and her sister Christine (a member of the Critical Studies department at California Institute of the Arts) created the “Crochet Coral Reef” project, now the biggest participatory art + science project in the world. The Crochet Reef responds to the crisis of global warming and the disappearing wonder of coral reefs by engaging tens of thousands of women in an effort to model a reef using handicrafts. The Crochet Coral Reef has been exhibited at art galleries and science museums around the world, including the Andy Warhol Museum, the Hayward Gallery (London), the Science Gallery (Dublin), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC). In 2011 the sisters’ project was honored by the Autry National Center when they were awarded the inaugural Theo Westenberger Grant for Women of Excellence, an accolade given to “a living female artist”.

ARTPORT_making waves is an international arts organization dedicated to initiating public discourse and exploring opportunities for positive change in regards to environmental issues through exhibitions, discussions, and artists exchanges. ARTPORT_making waves encourages the cross-fertilization of art, science, and politics. artport-project.org

Anne-Marie Melster (Co-Founder and Director Spain) is an independent curator, art critic, adviser and organizer of international art exhibitions focusing on social and environmental art. Anne-Marie is a guest lecturer at the Polytechnic University in Valencia, at the University of Hamburg and the Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica. She previously managed contemporary art galleries, developed artist residencies in Hamburg and Düsseldorf (Germany), organized the cultural program of the renowned Collection Falckenberg in Hamburg, and published catalogues and artist books in the context of the exhibitions she produced and curated. She was the personal and artistic assistant of Reinhold Würth, one of Europe’s most important collectors and art patrons. For ARTPORT she produces and curates several projects and exhibitions. She holds a master’s degree in Art History, Spanish Philology and Political Sciences from the University of Hamburg. She is fluent in German, French, Italian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and lives in Valencia, Spain.

Corinne Erni (Co-Founder and Director New York) is a curator and writer. She manages the “Ideas City,” a major interdisciplinary biennial festival in NYC by the New Museum, which launched in 2011 with global events in the interval years. She has produced and curated comprehensive arts festivals at dozens of prime New York venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the International Center of Photography. She managed and co-curated Extremely Hungary 2009, a contemporary Hungarian arts festival, chaired by George Soros; the European Dream Festival featuring cutting-edge performances from all over Europe, which was rated the “Best NYC Event 2006” by Newsday; and the Swiss Peaks Festival 2003, commended by U.S. Ad Review for branding a fresh ‘swissness’. She was Swiss deputy cultural attaché from 1999- 2001; and has edited cultural publications. She is fluent in German, French, Italian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from New York University.