Earthfire/CalArts Residency Produces Works of Artivism

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The CalArts contingent who attended The Michelle Lund CalArts/Earthfire Residency near Tetonia, Idaho, returned to California last week with a renewed appreciation for wildlife and a commitment to animal conservancy.

Students Manuel Barenboim (Film/Video MFA 13), John Martin (Art BFA 12) and Jxel Rajchenberg (Music MFA 12) and School of Critical Studies faculty member Mike Bryant received a grant for The Michelle Lund CalArts/Earthfire Residency to create projects that will further the Earthfire Institute’s mission of ecological advocacy.

They spent two weeks in the Earthfire Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the Western edge of Grand Teton National Park, to work among the animals and experience them in a natural setting.

The Earthfire Institute rescues animals—including coyotes, wolves, lynx, cougars, bears and bobcats—from injury, fur farms, from households that can no longer handle their “exotic pets” or the entertainment  industry.

The Earthfire animals can no longer live in the wild, but help create awareness of the fragile balance between people and nature.

“We met each of the animals as individuals and engaged with them in an emotional way—which is a much more intense experience than one would have a zoo,” said Martin.

While at the sanctuary, the artists collaborated with each other and with Earthfire staff, creating works that helped develop awareness for the Institute or advocated for animal rights.

We’ve posted two of the videos made at Earthfire, along with photos from the sanctuary, provided by the students and Bryant.

The video above is a poem written and narrated by Earthfire’s Executive Director Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D., with music by Rajchenberg and film by Barenboim. The video below explains the plight of the wolf.

The CalArts’ students hope to hold a full exhibition of work from the Earthfire/CalArts Residency at CalArts in the fall.

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  1. Abstract Artist // //

    This is a great idea. I will watch for the exhibition. I am curious to see how the artists depict the emotional connection between man, animals, and nature.