March 3, 2014

Martha is Making a Comeback! (Maybe)

How does a bird that once numbered in the billions disappear over the course of a few decades? The birds were shot and trapped. Beds and pillows were stuffed with their feathers. Their fat was used in shortening and soap. When huge flocks of the pigeons passed overhead, people would open fire on the poor creatures from their rooftops.

NORTH WIND PICTURE ARCHIVES/VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS - A woodcut from the 1870s shows passenger pigeons being shot in Louisiana.

On Sept. 1, 1914, Martha (named for George Washington’s wife), the last captive passenger pigeon, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She outlasted George, the penultimate survivor of her species and her only companion, by four years. Don’t the women always outlast the men…

“Martha,” the last known passenger pigeon. Photo by Carl Hansen, Smithsonian Institution, 1985

Plans are in the works to possibly bring the bird back by way of “de-extinction.” Ok, de-extinction…here’s our layman breakdown:

So the DNA of a passenger pigeon and the fragments of an existing band-tailed pigeon meet at a bar. They get together. Insert what results into a band-tailed pigeon stem cell. It becomes a germ cell. Inject these germs cells into developing band-tailed pigeons, and voila! They start mating with each other, and eventually their offspring become more and more passenger pigeon-esque.

Want a more scientific explanation of the process? Check out this article from The Washington Post.

Oh, and check out this awesome song about Martha from the upcoming production of The Great Immensity!

 


March 27, 2012

The Next Forever

This is an original music video from the song “The Next Forever” in The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. He was there with Steve Cosson (the play’s playwright and director) and Michael Friedman (the composer and lyricist) while they were conducting research and interviews for the play. This footage provides an incredible look both at the experiences that shaped the play and at the gorgeous tropical environment and wildlife of Barro Colorado Island.

 

Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Performed by Trey Lyford
Directed & Produced by Alix Lambert
Film Footage by David A. Ford
Edited by Brian Young

To view other music videos for songs from The Great Immensity visit our Video Gallery HERE!


March 2, 2012

Skype Interview with Dan Domingues, Actor in The Great Immensity

The next interviewee in our Skype Interview Series is Dan Domingues, a Civilians Associate Artist and an actor in The Great Immensity at Kansas City Repertory Theatre! He’s been with the project since its first reading at Princeton (that The Civilians did through a cross-disciplinary residency in the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Atelier). Hear his insights into the development of the show, and how working with this material has affected his commitment to the environment!

DAN DOMINGUES

Interview conducted by Alix Lambert. Alix Lambert is an artist, author and filmmaker. She is an Associate Artist of The Civilians and is conducting this ongoing series of interviews for The Great Immensity. Please click HERE for more of her interviews in this series!


February 6, 2012

NASA is freaking me out

In a good way, of course.

Normally, my friends, I like to pay attention to very, very long periods of time, and the big picture.  But you know, I saw something last week that I keep thinking about.  One of my colleagues sent me a link to this video from NASA, which shows what has happened to the earth over what most people nowadays think of as “a long time”.  It’s a video showing how temperatures all over the world have changed since people started keeping track of these things in the late 1880s — the Industrial Revolution, basically.  In 26 seconds, you can see how the temperature of the Earth has risen since then.

Screenshot of NASA's climate measuring video.

(The video is in Flash; iPhone or iPad users should use this YouTube link instead.)

Climate Central, where the link Flash link is posted, has an excellent explanation of how the scientists at NASA figured out the data, and some of the comments are helpful, too. (Some, maybe not so much.)

This is a fairly compelling thing to see, no?  So much happens in such a relatively short time, when you take into account the fact that the Earth is several billions of years old.

Of course, the heat generated from Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show has not been factored into the computations (yet).  I must confess to you, my friends, it absolutely knocked my socks off.

Time for a bowl of leftover sancocho, then back to analyzing my phytoliths.


January 20, 2012

Making It Work: Karen Stewart Brown and Sustainable Fashion

We’re back with another Skype Interview Video! This one features Karen Stewart Brown, who co-founded Stewart+Brown with her husband, Howard Brown. Stewart+Brown believes in optimizing their designs and lives to attain the highest standards of quality and functional style while extracting the bare minimum from Earth’s precious capital. Stewart+Brown practices and promotes a symbiotic and harmonious relationship between business, community, and nature. They aspire to apply the wisdom of sustainability to everything we do while inspiring others, just as we have been inspired, to do the same. For more information and to see the designs, please visit stewartbrown.com/.

KAREN STEWART BROWN PART I

 

KAREN STEWART BROWN PT. 2

 

Interview conducted by Alix Lambert. Alix Lambert is an artist, author and filmmaker. She is an Associate Artist of The Civilians and is conducting this ongoing series of interviews for The Great Immensity. Please click HERE for more of her interviews in this series!


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    "The Next Forever" is a song from The Great Immensity. The footage was taken on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal by videographer David Ford. Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
     
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