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Photo: Pedro Alvarez for the Observer
Øvre Forsland hydroelectric station in northern Norway.

So while we’re on the subject of removing pollutants using artistic sculptures, how about an article on creating clean power in an artistic energy plant?

Stuart Dredge writes at the Guardian about “an unusually handsome hydroelectric plant” on the edge of a forest in northern Norway.

“Located in the Helgeland district in northern Norway, [Ovre Forsland is] a small hydroelectric power station capable of supplying 1,600 homes with power.

“Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Stein Hamre Arkitektkontor, it sits on a riverbed at the edge of a forest, with an exterior that aims to reflect the irregular shapes of the spruce trees forming its backdrop. …

“Says Torkil Nersund, production manager at the plant’s owner, energy company HelgelandsKraft … ‘This region is known for its spectacular nature, so we thought the building should try to live up to the surroundings.’ …

“ ‘Øvre Forsland does not only serve hydropower to people in the region. Its purpose is also to bring attention to hydropower, the history around it and the benefits,’ says Nersund. …

“Øvre Forsland is also angling for the attention of people who come to Helgeland for its hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Those visiting the power station can look through a tear in the building’s exterior that reveals its innards: the turbines. …

“The emphasis on this harmony, and on renewability in general, can be seen in the fabric of Øvre Forsland itself. The architects used Kebony wood, sustainable softwood that has been treated with a bio-based liquid to make it more like hardwood. …

” ‘We hope that the Government also sees that hydro power has a great future ahead and that they facilitate the development of Norwegian hydro,’ says Nersund.”

More here.

Hat tip: @VictoriaLynden on twitter.

 

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Jose-Olivarez-MBTA-poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was always impressed when I saw a poem in the place of an ad in the New York City subway. Now Boston has caught on.

Martine Powers wrote recently at the Boston Globe, “Finally, Bostonians will have the chance to experience the pleasures of poetry on the MBTA.

“Mass Poetry [is] bringing poems to advertisement spaces on subway cars. The initiative, dubbed PoeTry, is part of the organization’s Poetry in Public Spaces initiative, which began last year, said Mass Poetry program director Laurin Macios…

“ ‘Contemporary poetry is barely taught in schools, and often when it is, it is taught in a very scholastic sense instead of an artistic one,’ Macios said. “People often grow up without ever realizing there is poetry out there that can speak to them, or that they can speak back to. …

“Each appearance of a poem includes a tearsheet on the corner of the sign, allowing passengers to take a copy of the poem with them if the spirit strikes them.”

One poem in the series, says Powers, “What Travels,” by Joseph O. Legaspi, takes place on a subway car. “What travels beneath their secret faces? What is train but transport to other lives?” More at the Globe.

See also http://masspoetry.org.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Poem: “Bulls vs. Suns, 1993,” by Jos
é Olivarez

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It’s amazing how much the arts can help people.

I have blogged about programs that use the arts to turn convicts toward something positive, to build up the self-worth of the homeless, to turn Brazilian slums into more hopeful places. The list goes on.

Recently ArtsJournal.com alerted me to a BBC story on an arts initiative that helps veterans reacclimate to civilian life.

“Many veterans are turning to charities for help. One is using the unlikely weapon of art to help fight the psychological wounds of war, while another organisation is actively encouraging artwork in the army. Outside of the [national health service] the charity Combat Stress is the biggest provider of support to armed forces veterans with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.

“Art therapy is one of the treatments it uses. Drawing, sculpting and painting are helping patients manage their symptoms with great success.

” ‘Traumatic memories take a different path from our normal memories and tend to be frozen in the body in the central nervous system,’ explains Janice Lobban, who has been a trauma therapist at Combat Stress for the past 10 years. …

“Group sessions typically begin with the therapist giving a one or two word brief to inspire creativity before veterans are given a selection of materials for painting, modelling or writing. After 45 minutes of quick work, the group then get together to talk about and describe what they’ve just created.

” ‘I try to keep a blank mind and just let images and feelings rise out from my unconscious to my hand and things start appearing,’ says Richard Kidgell … who served in the Royal Air Force from 1978 to 1985. ‘What surprises me is that while I’m drawing I don’t know what it is — they’re just images, but by the end of the session I’ve made a complete story. It’s quite enlightening as sometimes I’m not entirely sure what I’ve drawn until I speak to others about it.’ ”

Read more of Genevieve Hassan’s story on arts therapy for veterans here.

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I met my friend Mary Ann at the famous management journal where I met Asakiyume. Like Asakiyume, Mary Ann has too big a spirit for business management articles and has for the last 10 years been in a more artistic field. From soup to nuts, she edits craft books for Quarry — that is, she finds the authors and designs and edits the books all the way through page proofs. She has been instrumental in moving the field from how-to manuals for specific projects to a broader and more intriguing perspective. Her approach can be summarized as “here are some ideas about how to do a creative project; take the ball and run with it.”
        Mary Ann was in the area last week to check in at Quarry headquarters. We arranged to meet yesterday in a suitable venue — an independent book store, with a nice coffee bar and extras like muffins and Vietnamese salad rolls.
        It sure is fun to talk to artistic friends. Mary Ann gave me some great leads on websites that I have already shared with friends. Here is a fun one belonging to Massachusetts-based artist agent Lilla Rogers. Another one, Urban Sketchers, contains wonderful sketches from all over the world. (Perhaps you would like to add your own.)
        Mary Ann’s latest craft book is Playing with Books, by Jason Thompson, and it looks wonderful. Check out the book on Jason’s website, Rag and Bone.
        Mary Ann and I were happy to see that the book store we chose to meet in had some Quarry books. But later in the day I checked out a craft store in Concord (MA) and was disappointed that their books were mostly from another company.
        In spite of my disappointment about the books they carry, I love this craft store. It has a great new concept. You can work on crafts there and just dabble, just try things out, while having a nice sandwich or George Howells coffee. Because the idea is to try out the equipment and materials and find out if you want to go deeper after some dabbling, the store is called Dabblers.
        This blog is a project of birthstone jewelry company Luna & Stella. I will post comments of readers who contact me at suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com.

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