If ecocentric art were compared to a food, it would resemble thick aromatic gravy, not a single food like a carrot or milk. Ecocentric art is an art of merger, subtlety, and richness. It has little in common with simplifying distillations and isolating separations. It is comparable to a symphony, an alloy, a conglomerate.
Art conjoins with ecology each time artists synchronize nonhuman organisms, the non-living environment, and human actions. This encompassing mandate revamps, and sometimes reverses, cherished cultural values and entrenched cultural norms. Thus, although all 10 artists and groups discussed in this textlet address conventional concepts, the content is not conventional. Their ecocentric interpretations constitute an exciting, and sometimes daring, arena of artistic exploration. This volume offers the few categories that might appear among many others on a vast spreadsheet of thematic opportunities awaiting adoption by eco-artists.
Desire: The Reverend Billy Talen explores how ecocentric consciousness might break the habit of shopping to fulfill desires.
Newness: Rob Fischer demonstrates that our desire for newness might be satisfied by inventing new uses for old stuff.
Power: Superflex directs its own powers to empowering others so that people can manage their own lives and the destinies of their own habitats.
Nature: Dave Burns and Matias Viegener invent an amusing metaphor for the current unnatural state of nature.
Globalism: Shelley Sacks portrays globalism as a network of resource and energy exchange that enriches some populations and their habitats, but depletes other populations and other habitats.
Diversity: Eduardo Kac proposes that diversifying life forms by mixing the genetics of different species enables humans to compensate for species extinctions.
Mercy: Jean Grant demonstrates the biological and psychological drawbacks of mercy, even if it is intended as an act of kindness, by applying the principles of natural selection to plants and to humans.
Death: Catherine Chalmers stages cockroach executions to expose idiosyncratic attitudes toward death that reveal the alienation of contemporary civilization from biology.
Decay: Damien Hirst relishes the mess that follows death but precedes the formation of new life.