Marfa Dialogues

Carbon 13

Curated by David Buckland. With artists Ackroyd & Harvey, Amy Balkin, Erika Blumenfeld, David Buckland, Adriane Colburn, Antony Gormley, Cynthia Hopkins, and Sunand Prasad.

31 August 2012 - 3 February 2013

Curated by David Buckland
presented in conjunction with
The Marfa Dialogues: Politics and Culture of Climate & Sustainability

31 August 2012 – 3 February 2013
Opening 6-8 pm, 31 August 2012

Ackroyd & Harvey
Amy Balkin
Erika Blumenfeld
David Buckland
Adriane Colburn
Antony Gormley
Cynthia Hopkins
Sunand Prasad

Hamilton Fish
Diana Liverman
John Nielsen-Gammon
Michael Pollan
Robert Potts
Tom Rand
Rebecca Solnit
Bonnie J. Warnock

“I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.” – Marshall McLuhan

Carbon 13 presents newly commissioned work by eight international artists who have focused the lens of their creativity to interrogate the reality of climate change. These new and daring works demonstrate that one salient image can speak louder than volumes of scientific data and capture the public’s imagination with an immediate and resonant voice. In conjunction with the opening of Carbon 13, Ballroom Marfa and the Washington Spectator are proud to present the second biennial Marfa Dialogues, a three-day symposium that includes conversations around climate change and sustainability with artists, performers, writers, scientists and entrepreneurs. Participants include: Hamilton Fish, Cynthia Hopkins, Diana Liverman, John Nielsen-Gammon, Michael Pollan, Robert Potts, Tom Rand, Rebecca Solnit and Bonnie J. Warnock.

With Carbon 13 and the Marfa Dialogues, Ballroom Marfa continues its ambitious mission of presenting art as a transforming media capable of addressing the most pressing issues of our time. In 2009, Ballroom Marfa Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fairfax Dorn, invited David Buckland, artist, Founder and Director of Cape Farewell, to curate a new exhibition with artists who have ventured to some of the world’s tipping points — the High Arctic, the Andes and Scotland’s island communities — all places profoundly stressed by our warming planet. These expeditions, each with scientists, artists and cultural interrogators aboard, are central to the Cape Farewell program. They set the artists against the backdrop of raw and wild nature, inspiring engagement to stimulate and envision the necessary cultural shift to build a sustainable society.

From the High Arctic to the High Desert, the expedition to Marfa is an extension of Ballroom Marfa and Cape Farewell’s spirit of exploration and collaboration. While Ackroyd & Harvey document a mock British trial based on an account of a major environmental disaster, Erika Blumenfeld works directly with carbon, collecting contraband to create an index of the fires that ravaged the Southwest over the past two years. Global architect Sunand Prasad uses balloons to demarcate one ton of carbon by volume, and Amy Balkin explores the damage inflicted by carbon build up in reaching out to endangered island communities to create A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting Countries. New York performance artist Cynthia Hopkins performs This Clement World, a work-in-progress musical that sails through the burning ice and myths of the high arctic. Adriane Colburn exposes the deep, dark spaces of our energy production in installations that investigate relationships between human infrastructure, earth systems, technology and the natural world. David Buckland confronts our ever-growing human infrastructure by displaying an internal combustion engine in the form of a ready-made. Antony Gormley’s iconic drawing of an abstract carbon man anchors the show — underlining the power of artistic engagement to communicate, on a human scale, the urgency of global climate change.


5:30 pm: Marfa Lights Festival parade
6-8 pm: Carbon 13 Opening at Ballroom Marfa
8-10 pm: Community dinner at the Capri

9:30 am: FarmStand Marfa
1 pm: Discussion: Art and Environmental Activism, moderated by Rebecca Solnit at the Crowley Theater
3 pm: Discussion: Climate Change and Adaptation, with Diana Liverman and John Nielsen-Gammon at the Crowley Theater
6 pm: Michael Pollan in conversation with Hamilton Fish at the Crowley Theater, co-presented with The Dixon Water Foundation

7-8:30 am: Sunrise at Chinati Foundation
9-11 am: Brunch and guided nature walk on Mimms Ranch with Robert Potts and Bonnie J. Warnock
1 pm: Reading by Rebecca Solnit at Marfa Book Company
3.30 pm: Presentation by Tom Rand at Marfa Book Company
8 pm: Work-in-progress showing of This Clement World by Cynthia Hopkins at the Crowley Theater

All events are free and open to the public. Seating is general admission and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Read the press from Carbon 13 and the 2012 Marfa Dialogues:

    “Rauschenberg Foundation Announces Inaugural Grant Winners” by Brian Boucher, in Art in America, discussing the recipients of the Rauschenberg Foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grant Program, including Ballroom Marfa for Carbon 13 and Marfa Dialogues.

    “Ballroom Marfa received AIC grant for Carbon 13” on Pinterest

    “Erica Blumenfeld and Rebecca Solnit featured in “Carbon 13” on Creative Capital

    “The Marfa Dialogues: a symposium on the politics and culture of climate & sustainability” in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 9, 2012)

    “Marfa Dialogues schedule and speakers set for Labor Day weekend” in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 16, 2012)

    Marfa Dialogues Event Preview in Tribeza (August 16, 2012)

    “Art for Change: Ballroom Marfa’s Carbon 13” blog post on 2Modern (August 21, 2012)

    “Texas state climatologist to speak at Marfa Dialogues” in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 23, 2012)

    “Ballroom Marfa’s education programming for Marfa Dialogues & Carbon 13” in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 30, 2012)

    Michael Pollan interview by Joe Nick Patoski in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 30, 2012)

    “Writer merges environment, activism, art, politics” about Rebecca Solnit in The Big Bend Sentinel (August 30, 2012)

    “Meal Times Aug.31-Sept.5” in The Austin Chronicle (August 30, 2012)

    “A Conversation with Hamilton Fish on The Marfa Dialogues: Politics and Culture of Climate and Sustainability” by Ellen Berkovitch on (August 31, 2012)

    “New and daring works by eight international artists on view at Ballroom Marfa” in (August 31, 2012)

    “Recommended: Carbon 13 & Marfa Dialogues” in Glasstire (August 30, 2012)

    Marfa Dialogues Event Preview in The New York Times (Texas Edition) (August 31, 2012)

    Tribeza, Kathy Blackwell and Farmhouse Delivery tweet about the Marfa Dialogues (August 2012)

    More coverage on Adobe Airstream, The Alpine Avalanche, Cultura 21, e-flux, Go San Angelo, Harmony Blog, I4U News, Make Art With Purpose, Mostly Marfa (written by Marfa local Mary Lou Saxon), Movie Balla, Queenli, Roadrunner, Shelterholic, Sustainable Practice,, The University of Arizona and Wertical.

    Carbon 13 and the Marfa Dialogues are supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Program, which supports fearless and innovative collaborations in the spirit of Robert Rauschenberg.

    Additional support provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, The Dixon Water Foundation, the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, the Public Concern Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Fredericka Hunter, with generous contributions by Ballroom Marfa members.

    Special thanks to Lalo Baeza, Hannah Bailey, Rocky Barnette, The Big Bend Sentinel, Jennifer Braham, Lesley Brown, Michael Camacho, Joe Cashiola, Ross Cashiola, Jon Coleman, Sally Coleman, Rob Crowley, Jennifer Bell and Tim Crowley of the Crowley Theater, Sean Di Ianni, Hamilton Fish, Cuca Flores, Food Shark, David Gouge, Betty Grajeda, Ginger Griffice, Douglas Humble, Lynn Kimmel, Connie Lipsey, Susannah Lipsey, Cory Lovell, Marfa Book Company, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Recording Company, Rosa McElheny, Luis Nieto Dickens, Dustin Pevey, Robert Potts, Sam Schonzeit, Laura Shell, Dan Shiman, the Thunderbird Hotel, The Washington Spectator, Justin Waugh and John White.

    In-kind support provided by Lance Armstrong, David Egeland & Andrew Friedman, Carolyn Pfeiffer, Charles Mary Kubricht & Ron Sommers and Joe Williams of Big Bend Coffee Roasters.