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Wednesday, August 20,2014

Seeds of thought

Thursday, Aug. 28

by Jonathan Griffith
The Broad Art Museum's "Land Grant" series is ready to play another thought provoking riff on the land-grant origins of MSU, a multi-media meditation on wealth, exploitation and natural resources called "Forest Law."

“It’s in our tradition of addressing global issues with an open and experimental nature,” says Yesomi Umolu, assistant curator for the Broad Museum and curator of “Forest Law.”

“Forest Law” is a collaboration between Swiss filmmaker Ursula Biemann and architect Paulo Tavares. The exhibit reflects Biemann's long-term research in the rain forest of southern Ecuador, a region fraught with public and private conflict.

“The region is home to a huge amount of untapped natural resources,” says Umolu. “There is a lot of tension between corporate entities, the government and the public.”

Through Biemann and Taveres’ collaboration, visitors are meant to understand the far-reaching consequences of the region's tumult. This is not some hypothetical Butterfly Effect, but something far more tangible and less mystical.

“The Ecuadorian Amazon contributes to the balance of the ecosystem of the entire world,” says Umolu.

Visitors can expect a variety of thought provoking artifacts and works of art. The exhibit will include maps and other samples collected from the region. It will also include video installations exploring the intricate web of resources, people and money that shape the region, from indigenous shamans to activists to botanists looking at flora samples.

The exhibit is part of the new “Land Grant” artist commissioning and residency program at the Broad. “Land Grant” celebrates the history of MSU as a pioneering land grant university and one of the country’s foremost centers of agricultural study, but it's not a series Big Ag will be in a hurry to sponsor. “Land Grant” artists raise issues of sustainability, ecological devastation, and the perils of monoculture. The series gives artists, architects, and collectives unprecedented resources in creating a perfect marriage of art and environmental study.

“Forest Law” is only the first exhibit in the “Land Grant” series for the new school year. In early September, the Broad will open “The Land Grant: The Flatbread Society,” an exhibit on the public art project consisting of creatives of many trades that share an interest in grain.

As with all of the art at the Broad, the aim of “Forest Law” is to project the angled walls of the rhomboid silver gallery, with its possibilities, into the tilled fields of mid- Michigan and beyond.

“I hope people learn about a part of the world they’re not familiar with," Omolu says. “It’s not necessarily about acting on the issues you learn from the exhibit, but knowing where you stand.”

—JONATHAN GRIFFITH

Exhibition Opening: “The Land Grant: Forest Law”

6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28 (runs through Jan. 11, 2015) Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum 547 E. Circle Drive, MSU Campus, East Lansing (517) 884-4800 broadmuseum.msu.edu


FRIDAY, AUG. 22-24 >> MASON SUNDRIED MUSIC FEST

Summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22, but with most schools starting back up in the coming weeks, it can certainly feel like the curtain is unofficially falling on another season of endless sun. Fortunately, Mason hosts the fifth annual Sundried Music Festival in downtown Mason, so you can squeeze in one last outdoor music festival. The threeday fest includes a Friday night street dance from 7-11 p.m., continuous music from noon to midnight on Saturday, activities for the kids all weekend long and plenty of beverages available for purchase from the beer and wine tent. The fest’s musical offerings features an eclectic lineup with Root Doctor, Assume Nothing and more. See the website for full festival schedule. FREE. Downtown Mason. masondda.com.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22 >> THE ART OF: GARDENING

“The Art of…” series is back with the exploration of creative container gardening. Daedre Craig, annual trial garden manager at the MSU Horticulture Gardens, will explain the benefits and versatility of this distinct type of gardening. Container gardening is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. This event allows you to let your imagination sprout and take your own jab at container gardening by incorporating design elements like plant color and texture into your garden. Cost is per person and includes food, two drink tickets, flowers and planting materials, and professional instruction as you make your container arrangement to take home. Space is limited. 6 p.m. $45 for public, $35 for members. Broad Art Museum, 547 East Circle Dr, East Lansing. (517) 884-3900, broadmuseum.msu.edu/programs-events/programs-events/listing.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24 >> AUTHOR TALK WITH RUTH EBENSTEIN

Ruth Ebenstein is an American-Israeli writer and activist for women’s health. The Southfield native will present “Transforming Darkness into Light: Breast Cancer Survivors Transcend the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” In her presentation, she will share her uplifting story about her unexpectedly close friendship with a Palestinian that emerged out of breast cancer. Ebenstein’s work has been covered by the BBC, The Atlantic and NPR. 2 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove St., East Lansing. (517) 351-4081. uulansing.org.


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