A surge in new members this summer and fall has put Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in position to build its Common House and complete its ambitious project to build a sustainable community on the coast of Maine.
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As a “new media specialist,” Still Water Co-Director Jon Ippolito gets called upon to explain plenty of weird Internet memes. But this Public Radio story on the tingling sensation known as ASMR has got to be one of the most bizarre.
According to Streetsblog Los Angeles‘ Sahra Sulaiman, Still Water Fellows Vanessa Vobis, Craig Dietrich, and collaborators are “saving the world, one garden at a time.” Their project LA Green Grounds continues to dig up both lawns and publicity on its mission to turn Los Angelenos into gardeners.
There are challenges to forming a harmonious community. But one thing everyone can agree on is the importance of food.
While the local food movement encourages us to shop within a hundred-mile radius, at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, we have the opportunity to produce hundred-yard food. If we wanted to, we could plant raspberry ‘sharing’ bushes between neighbors yards, spiral herbs outside our kitchen doors, alternate apple and peach trees along the driveway, and dangle grapes and kiwi from the Common House trellis. And if knowing your farmer is key to food security, being your own farmer (even for just a blueberry bush or apple tree) is even better, because then we know what it means to generate life, food and community.
The Still Water Senior Researcher and USC digital studies professor argues that run-of-the-mill citation methods don’t cut it in today’s connected world, where technologies like RDF can provide a far richer context and encourage reuse of online scholarship.
Figure 1. Vanessa Vobis, Crystal World (2008), Legion Arts-CSPS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
|Figure 2. Vanessa Vobis, Mars Attacks Fragonard (2009), (106) Gallery, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA||
Figure 3. Julian Epps, The Cave (2008), FreesePop, Bangor, Maine, USA
Still Water Fellow Vanessa Vobis has a history of combining installation art and ecology. In 2007 she filled sandwich bags with tap water and after a couple weeks they burst with algae growth under natural light. This discovery led to her MFA thesis show, Nitpickers, at Legion Arts-CSPS in 2008 (Figure 1) and gallery shows including Mars Attacks Fragonard at Grand Rapids’ (106) Gallery (Figure 2). Later in 2008 she taught the inaugural installation class at UMaine’s Intermedia graduate program, prompting a student show at Bangor’s historic Freeses Building featuring a community theme and materials including pancakes, wheatgrass, and projections inspired by bioluminescence (Figure 3).
After moving to Los Angeles in 2009, Vanessa is continuing to connect people and natural resources, helping found the volunteer corps LA Green Grounds, working as a gallery interpreter and Master Gardener at LA County’s Natural History Museum, and creating an edible and native garden in her South LA backyard. Vanessa’s activities were toured last week by Still Water co-founders Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito, in Los Angeles for an ecology-themed set of activities at nearby University of Southern California.
The week culminates on Friday 2 March at the School of Cinematic Arts with Redesigning Reality, a hands-on session in hacking the “scripts” that govern us to make everyday life more sustaining and sustainable.
Workshop participants redesign their favorite foods and Web sites, looking to nature as a model for the victual and virtual.
How can rural economies and ecologies benefit from wired citizens? Still Water Fellow Miigam’agan and co-director Joline Blais tackle the subject along with New Media colleague Bill Kuykendall at two conferences organized by Maine Rural Partners and Portland Maine Permaculture.