Lowering Our Carbon Footprint

Kelowna environmental artists take a large step beyond ballet on the International stage.

Kelowna based Artist-Scholar Jeannette Angel will be presenting her work “ Lowering Our Carbon Footprint” in collaboration with Landscape Architect Shasta McCoy at “Walk 21” the 2012 International Conference on Walking and Sustainable Cities in Mexico City from September 30 – October 4.

Premiered last year at the Fine Arts Gallery at UBC Okanagan, this interactive piece blurs the boundary between art and environmental understanding by metaphorically re-creating both a physical awareness of the difficult lifestyle choices we face in creating a sustainable society, and a shared awareness of how we must support each other as we do this work.

“This work encourages the participants to actively engage”, states Ms Angel, “first, by walking barefoot, second by tiptoeing and finally by wearing actual ballet shoes and attempting to walk on pointe down a canvas runway scroll. Carbon footprints leave a record of the experience. The resulting scrolls will be hung and displayed as both art and documentation”.

Over the course of the Walk 21 event the artists will lead performance workshops for conference participants in the streets of downtown Mexico City. After trying the walk, participants will be asked to speak about their knowledge of behavior, policy and infrastructure adaptations to the urban environments regarding the lowering of their own carbon footprints. The intention is that as each person comes up with embodied solutions, they will take ownership and go on to be the change that they describe.

“Since most people have no training in ballet, they are unable to walk on point unassisted,“ notes Ms McCoy ”and even the most seasoned dancer will tell you that pointe work is a painful experience”. ”Lowering Our Carbon Footprint is a call to action through the experience of sacrifice and changing support structures” explains Ms Angel, walking on pointe lowers your carbon footprint, but it can’t be done alone”.

The artists would like to thank the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, who with a commitment to resource re-use, have generously donated dozens of pairs of decommissioned ballet shoes for this event, allowing conference participants a chance to “walk a few steps in someone else’s shoes.”

Walk21 exists to champion the development of healthy sustainable and efficient communities where people choose to walk. The Conference on Sustainable Transport is the forum on sustainable transportation in the country, encouraging more communication and promotion of sustainable projects in transportation, air quality, urban development and public policy.. More information on both the conference and the organizations can be found at their websites. http://www.walk21.com and http://www.congresotransportesustentable.org/english_2012/

Contact Info: 250-681-3692, jeannetteangelfox@gmail.com

Jeannette Angel MA is an Interdisciplinary PhD Student in Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research focus is participatory performance, embodied knowledge and climate change communication. She has an extensive performance background in dance, theatre and performance art. Shasta McCoy L. Arch is an urban design and landscape architecture consultant with advanced degrees in environmental studies and landscape architecture. Her work focuses on creating public infrastructure for active transportation and water quality in western Canada.



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