What makes art or design both amazing and green? Sustainability is a factor, but so is style - and the degree to which something is integrated with its environment. From transforming green boxes to rotating dome homes, creative eco-art to exotic eco-landscapes and dizzying tree houses to dazzling tree sculptures, here are twenty of the greatest (and strangest) works of contemporary green art, architecture and design.
Green art and environmental design are often thought of as pragmatic strategies for promoting sustainability such as guerilla gardening. However, these terms can also refer to a variety of creative art from colorful plantings to amazing living walls. Here are seven examples of green creativity that involve alternative uses of natural materials.
Selectively grown plant art is perhaps the antithesis of the strange crop circle phenomenon. The above was accomplished by carefully planting and cultivating a broad variety of species. However, on the more practical side of things, adding extra fertilizer to selected areas can also create interesting patterns without compromising the viability of crops.
Grass covered architecture can be both artistic and pragmatic. The first image above depicts an art installation project complete with acoustical accompaniment and set in an abandoned church. The latter building is a working theater, and the grass exterior actually provides shade for the structure, though it is less practical than other examples of living walls.
Grass photography takes advantage of that unique property of living things: growth and change over time. By planting a canvas and then selectively allowing light through, grass photographers create grass images that are at once richly textured and inherently temporary.
Moss graffiti, like guerilla gardening or grass photography, can have a strong element of time - a period of waiting for the art to come fully to fruition. However, some moss graffiti artists also attach their creations in a ready-made form. Still, whatever the process, using moss as art invariably means that the nature of the art will change over time.
As water becomes more and more scarce, an amazing niche has appeared and quickly been filled: grass painting. It might sound ridiculous but there are actually businesses that paint grass professionally. The idea of the green lawn, it would seem, really is tied into many Americans’ dreams of the single family house with its picket fences.
Even in the desert of Nevada people have found creative ways to toy with nature, importing grass to one of the hottest and driest regions of the world for one week a year during the Burning Man Festival. This is, however, perhaps not what the festival’s creators meant when they established the Black Rock City 2007 Green Man Theme.
Burning Man Festival & the Black Rock City 2007 Green Man Theme
The dust has finally settled in the Black Rock Desert, both literally and otherwise. Black Rock City, the largest temporary urban encampment in the world was 45,000 strong this year and for the first time made a fullÃ¯Â¿Â½ official effort to go green.Ã¯Â¿Â½ From the unfortunate hanging suicide of a participant to the surprising and subversive early burning of The Man, the festival was even more out of the ordinary this time around.
Crude Awakening was the most talked about art piece related to the Green Man theme. The above images, by Marc Merlins, show the breathtaking view-at-night from on top of the oil platform down on the fire-breathing sculpures below, as well as the sculptural set during the appearance of a strange series of rainbows across the Playa.
However,Ã¯Â¿Â½ critics have suggested that Burning Man 2007 failed to go green, despite the organizers’ best intentions. Though the event has always been indirectly funded by corporate money (indirectly during the Dot Com boom) this year corporations were allowed to directly supply the event with materials and structures, which has also aggrevated some participants.
It is easy, though, to either wax ecstatic or blindly criticize the festival without seeing it in its true shades of grey. At the end of the day, picturesÃ¯Â¿Â½ of Burning Man reveal it to be filled with creative and bold art and art cars alongside serious attempts at environmental sustainability. So long as it remains an ongoing social, cultural and environmental experiment, it will hopefully remain interesting and dynamic, evolving to test new boundaries andÃ¯Â¿Â½ raise newÃ¯Â¿Â½ questions.
Burning Man is an amazing annual event that takes places for one week a year in the remote Black Rock Desert. This location, also dubbed Black Rock City, is home to art and artists from around the world. While it lasts, Black Rock City is the 7th largest urban environment in Nevada. Burning Man is both an art festival and survivalist experience, and has been compared to Mardis Gras and Rainbow Gatherings. This year, however, sustainability has become the focus, epitomized by the theme: The Green Man.
The Burning Man festival has a dubious reputation at times, promoting a leave-no-trace ethos of environmental sustainability, while drawing crowds by carbon-producing land, sea and air vehicles from around the world. Starting today, however, participants are working to offset the environmental impact of the event in a variety of innovative ways.
Projects like The Cooling Man have been raising participant awareness about ecological impacts for some time. With this year’s theme, however, the interest in environmental activism has spread to on-site art projects like Mechabolic. This interactive piece of art allows people to walk through it while it processes festival garbage into biofuels.
As Burning Man continues to grow and become a recognized wonder of the world, will the festival be able to keep up with environmentalist criticisms both from participants and the outside world? It is hard to be sure, but The Green Man theme seems like a good place to start. For more art related to this year’s theme visit the Burning Man website. Also check out this book of amazing Burning Man photography.