Direct from Copenhagen, Denmark - 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference - (8 – 18 December '09)

Acting as the official High Tide COP15 envoy, distinguished ecological artist Aviva Rahmani will be immersing herself in the burgeoning eco-political activism in the city and sharing her experiences with us via this daily blog.

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Produced in association with FACT

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Between James Brady and myself, we calculated close to 1 million people are engaged directly or indirectly in ecological art or audience members for it's ideas.

This is how we estimated it:

1. How many schools/ museums/ books-journals internationally the ecoart list serve alone (about 100 invited members) represents (ie., including residencies, publications, group & individual exhibitions)?

2. Estimate 2,000 audience venue impact total (av. 20 times 100 per person, a conservative figure I think)

3. Each venue represents about 200 min audience access per... = 400, 000 if my math is correct...+ secondary effect has to double that figure = close to 1 million (chatter with family members & friends assuming at lease one conversation per person and then there are workers for each venue: guards, bookkeepers, etc)

That's a mighty constituency.

Can Haste Make Waste when time is of the essence?

I love
The magic number of 350 is critical.

But the devil is in the details. I worry about adequate oversight in allocations.
I worry about vague language based on differing carbon emissions models.
I worry about adequate transparency.
I worry about small successful programs becoming engulfed in flashier ones with better photo ops but less track record.
I worry about all the ways movements have tripped on ourselves in the past.

End of Day 9 Copenhagen Day 8 COP15 Narrowing my Focus

My focus has narrowed down for the next 30 hours to being in the right place at the right time, being a conduit for what's going on and what I have to present and maybe, just maybe getting some good rest.

The title of my Press Conference was:

SOS Gulf to Gulf Gulf Degradation Internationally and a Model for the Role of Art at COP15

Then I changed it to:

Art can help build the capacity and facilitate adaptation needed at COP15;
SOS Gulf to Gulf is a virtual model for the role of art

I changed the body of the text to first clarify the role of art.

Confirmation has arrived for delivering my press conference 3:30 PM at COP15 Bella Center and I have access to a badge to get into the Bella Center tomorrow afternoon. The press release & info sheet is completed. Now I just need to get from the morning workshop I'm leading at the North end of town to the Bella Center on time, look & act presentable (despite my bad cold and no chance to wash my hair), deliver my materials, present clearly & convincingly, get something to eat and then find my way back (to a new venue) by 5: PM in the evening to show my films. We have changed the venue for fear of violence at Christiana.

Day 9 Copenhagen Day 8 COP15 Day 2 workshop on Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism

The seasons's first heavy wet snow is falling in Copenhagen. There are reports of violence against the demnstrators on the part of the police but I have no details. This is the first day I have no access to the Bella Center. Many have given up and gone home. The NY Times, from who Andrew Revkin is depating for a life in academia, reports that China & USA are at an impasse. There was an announcement of an intercession by Ban Ki-Moon for all parties to discuss calmly ("can't we all just get along?"). The press office is trying to help me make an alternative time for tomorrow to re-schedule my press conference and I'm waiting to hear back.

The third day of my workshop on Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism, has been really exciting. We began yesterday, by my outlining how my theory developed, how it works and how it could applied to any problem solving.

Today, we focused on three problems brought to the workshop. Fabian, one of the Climate Pirates who brought 5 ships to Copenhagen, saw his colleagues surrounded by the melee of violent police on the way to the World Culture Center where we are working. He perceives that the police are deliberately sustaining the high tension of the situation by making arrests and quick releases.

Andrew, from the University of Copenhagen, perceives that the rigidity of separations between scientific disciplines makes it impossible to great a useful knowledge base. Oleg is concerned with the empty spaces between gathering places that create social isolation.

Our task in this second day, was to overlay these individual concerns with the larger matrix of the earth, global warming and my theoretical approach and begin to see new constellations that lead to solutions. We generated about 20 large drawings and tomorrow will move on to the problem of identifying one small point of leverage, a "trigger point," which will allow us to move to a position where we can heal the disruptions that concern us each.