RIT alumna launches fundraising effort to photographically document and interpret sustainability efforts
Project will spotlight use of green-energy technologies in Malmö, Sweden
Aug. 9, 2012
by Vienna McGrain
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Seven days and counting. That’s how long RIT alumna Sarah Newman has to collect $7,500 in donations to fund her imaging sustainability project in Malmö, Sweden. Coordinated through the Kickstarter program—an online fundraising platform for creative projects where donations are given in exchange for rewards like original artwork—the project has already received more than $6,000. However, the project will not be funded if Newman doesn’t reach her financial goal by Aug. 22.
This fall, Newman ’12 (MFA, imaging arts), will be a visiting artist at Malmö University’s College of Culture and Society in Sweden, where she will photograph green-energy technologies, like wind and solar power, and their integration in an urban environment. Newman, from Berkeley, Calif., plans to pair her photography with research on the aesthetic implications of environmental and social sustainability.
Much of her current work explores ways in which humans interact with, define and relate to the natural world.
“This project builds upon my previous work, which explores human marks in the environment across various landscapes and cultures,” Newman explains. “Here, in the United States, renewable energy is often kept outside of the energy-consuming cities, making energy production and consumption less visible in our landscape and in our consciousness.
“Malmö is an interesting place because it was formerly a industrial city that has reinvented itself as a green city,” she adds. “A lot of old buildings have been repurposed. The city is also committed to social sustainability where diverse neighborhoods are connected through pathways, parks and other public spaces. Sustainability is part of everyday living in Malmö.”
Upon completion of the project, Newman will present a series of lectures and exhibitions of her work.
Newman received a start-up grant from The Swedish Institute to begin the project and the Kickstarter donations will supplement the grant to enable her to spend four months in Malmö. Funds raised for the project will be used for living and studio expenses, equipment and printing costs. As a token of appreciation, Newman will send each donor a signed photograph taken during her time in Sweden.
Newman has exhibited her work in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Berlin and other cities for 15 years. Currently, her art installation, “Between Lines,” is on display in the RIT Library Sunken Gallery.
RIT continues to forge connections with Malmö University in Sweden, focusing primarily on issues of social sustainability and on developing curricular, faculty and student exchange between the two universities.
For more information about the project and to contribute to the fundraising campaign, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/photo-sustainability/imaging-sustainability.