Ballroom Marfa Art Fund
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Marfa DialoguesVisual Art

Carbon 13

31 Aug 20123 Feb 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.