Sustaining All Species: Ecological Art as a Resource for Environmental Sustainability and Community Participation
The Wildlife Viewing Screen is an ecological art project that has used sustainable building techniques to create an aesthetically pleasing structure with a dual purpose: it is safe for both humans and animals, and allows them to share a space in which animals can be observed without being disturbed. In addition to serving both humans and non-humans, it encourages a strengthened connection between them. The Wildlife Viewing Screen has a significant presence – 20 feet long and six feet tall – but does not disturb nature. In this project, a professional green-building designer and an eco-artist were involved. It also involved the help of thirty-five volunteer participants, aged from eight to sixty-five years old. Each participant learned how to create durable and sculptural building materials using clay, sand, straw, wood, stone, and broken branches. In essence, the Wildlife Viewing Screen was constructed using an organic building technique that was employed by our ancestors in the past. It alerted the participants and other outside viewers to the building techniques that integrate aestheticism and sustainability in building other outdoor structures. This project allows one to reflect on its educational impact as well. The process of constructing public ecological art serves as a vehicle for raising environmental consciousness and building communities. It also highlights several aspects of education that ensue from participation in this project – aesthetically, experientially, and cognitively.
Keywords: Environmental Sustainability & Art, Ecological Art, Community Participation, Green Building Technique
Dr. Young Imm Kang Song
Assistant Professor, Creative Arts in Learning Division, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lesley University