Eco-Art Manifesto (2004)

by Linda Weintraub and Skip Schuckmann
12th February 2004

An Eco-Art Manifesto


The act of making art is willful and intentional.
Art is not created “on automatic” or on “remote control” or on “cruise control”.
Artists sculpt their impulses.
Eco-artists are distinct from other artists because they sculpt their impulses with consciousness of the effect of their work on the environment of the planet (temperature, moisture, sunlight, wind, water flow, topography, compaction, chemical change, and so forth) and the distribution and abundance of organisms that inhabit it (plants, animals, protists).


Eco is a Greek word meaning ‘home.’ Watersheds are the ecological homes for all forms of life. Eco-art, therefore, engages the intimacy of home (here) and the immediacy of time (now). It specializes in here and now by valuing indigenous materials, locally generated energy sources, sustainable procedures, and topical themes.

Eco-artists are mindful of our universe, galaxy, solar system, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. They consider the mutuality and interconnectedness of all forms of life. Thus, eco-artists are simultaneously aware of active and inert substances, origins and residues, processes and formations, locales and the cosmos, objects and forces, intentional events and chance events, understandings and ambiguities, nature and invention, theories and practices, evolutions and devolutions, the visible and the invisible, the apparent and the latent. The scope of ecological science means that it cannot be limited to laboratory procedures. Similarly, eco-art is not confined to the studio.

Everyday life transpires in the region between the micro or macro scales of human experience, thought, and perception. These scales are abstract. It requires either a telescope, a microscope, or a mathematical model to encounter them. Muckro is a term invented to honor the middle zone in which people actively engage the complex “muck” of everyday life. “Muck” is dense and murky. It is difficult to comprehend and navigate. It is also a massive ecotone of human potential. Eco-artists “muck” with geological, atmospheric, and biological phenomena. They “muck” with social interactions, human behaviors, thought processes, and motives. Life originated and continues to evolve in a fecund pool of muck.


The goal of eco-art is to develop functional awareness of the proximal and distant impact of human behaviors on the living and non-living environment, and the environment’s impact on human beings. It considers the health of our bodies, our local biomes, and global eco systems.


Eco-art inspires conscious actions.
Eco-art is responsive to environmental conditions.
Eco-art incorporates time and evolution.
Eco-art may be beautiful, but it is never simply decorative.
Eco-art may be self-expressive, but it is never exclusively self expressive.
Eco-art directs attention to here and now; it is never escapist.
Eco-art adds imagination, aesthetics, excitement, and commentary to the controlled experimentation and empirical objectivity of eco science.
Eco-art augments eco-science by expanding its public accessibility and developing its functional potential.


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