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Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal

Abstract

Standardized mass-produced commodities, reliance upon electronic data-gathering, and sanitized material manipulations are so pervasive in contemporary industrialized societies that today, ‘exotic’ experiences activate sensory interactions with the substances and conditions of planet Earth. ‘Plugging in’ to the international flow of goods and information commonly results in ‘tuning out’ connections with the immediate surroundings. This essay highlights the capacity of the un-aided mind and body to explore the wondrous complexity of planet Earth. The first part presents four artists who, by engaging geological, biological, and meteorological components of their surroundings, exchange dematerialized surfing activities offered by the World Wide Web, for material actualities. The second section proposes an ecologically responsive regimen for our sensory apparatus, which has grown flabby with disuse. These exercises not only promise the rewards of a good work-out, they simultaneously benefit ecosystems. This paper is related to my forthcoming book, is WHAT’S NEXT? Eco Materialism and Contemporary Art (Intellect Books). The text explores vanguard art in which material interactions are participatory, sensual, and respectful.

 

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