International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Contextualizing Ecological Restoration through Art
Eric M. Nay

While sustainability as an identifiable theme is both fashionable and pervasive, it is simply not substantive yet. It is meta-fiction written as cultural rebranding. The shift in plausibility needs to be witnessed in new perceptions of discarded and modified practices. In this paper I will propose that such a rich discourse can be created by using the pre-existing public and critical discourse mechanisms of art and observe this discourse transform into scientifically sound and effective design practices and projects through historical and current projects that present themselves as sustainable design, particularly paying attention to ecological restoration as one of the clearest examples of sustainable actions utilized by artists and designers currently and in historical precedents. I will discuss the historical (and political) trajectory of earth art, the recent work of Mel Chin as a key example of sustainable art activism and demonstrate through a global sampling of contemporary art as design intervention solutions that art and design methodologies can be used to manufacture functional and practical solutions to real problems caused by global warming, pollution, erosion, etc.

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