Artists Probe Ecology and Ethics

This marks the 275th event the Okanagan Institute has held since the Express series got underway in 2007.

On Thursday, Sept. 11 at 5 pm the ongoing Okanagan Institute Express series at the Bohemian Café, 524 Bernard Ave. in Kelowna presents The Ethics of Art: Ecological Turns in the Performing Arts, with Guy Cools and Denise Kenney.

There is a growing ethical consciousness within the arts, both in the way it relates to the larger social, political and economic challenges and in how it reflects on its own production and distribution mechanism.

The new book The Ethics of Art attempts to describe how artistic imagination can produce new situations, based on the potentials and limits of the singular “body” within its environment. The book doesn’t wish to propose a new politically correct agenda of right behaviour but rather to show how the artistic community as a whole as well as individual artists engage in a creative dialogue with society and how, as a result of this dialogue, they make personal ethical choices. Visiting Belgian dramaturge Guy Cools, co-editor of the book, will speak at this event with UBCO professor and performance practitioner Denise Kenney, who contributed a chapter to the book discussing the work being done here in the Okanagan. There will be books for sale at the event.

Guy Cools, after having trained as a dramaturge, became involved in the new developments in dance in Flanders in the 1980s, initially as a dance critic, and from 1990 onwards as a theatre and dance director of the Arts Center Vooruit in Ghent. He curated dance events in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Venice, and Montreal. In 2002, he left Vooruit to dedicate himself full-time to production dramaturgy with, amongst others, Koen Agustijnen (B), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (B) and Akram Khan (UK). He regularly gives lectures and publishes in Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Greece, and Cyprus. His recent publications include the series ‘Body: Language;. Since 1012 he is Associate Professor at the Institute Arts in Society at the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Denise Kenney lives in Kelowna with her daughter Mae and her husband Phil. She studied at the Lecoq Theatre School in Paris, and has her MFA in film directing from UBC Vancouver. In addition to being an Associate Professor at UBC Okanagan, she is also Co-Artistic Director of Inner Fish Performance Co. She has worked as a performer/creator for theatres in Canada and the U.S. committed to devised work and has written, directed and produced narrative and documentary independent film and lifestyle series television. Her creative research in eco art examines indoor and outdoor public spaces as performance venues for live and media art that is designed to be interventionist in nature and to challenge sanctioned cultural products and performance venues. Her recent research project The Eco Art Incubator, designed in collaboration with Nancy Holmes, fosters research, production, documentation, and dissemination of eco art in collaboration with community members, ecologists, activists and scientists through a comprehensive series of place-based resources and projects.

The Eco-Art Incubator Project is an arts initiative designed to renew attentiveness to place by situating itself at the intersection of human activity (the sensory body) and the Okanagan. Drawing on the idea of technology or business incubators, the Eco-Art Incubator was created to re-configure artistic practice out of our identification of our region’s unique geography and its rural location. The project’s goal is to not simply generate a series of works of art, but to seed long-term practices and to create case studies and models that can be used for future communities and art-makers. Various projects developed, produced or disseminated under the umbrella of the Eco-Art Incubator will be discussed, including: Dig Your Neighborhood, Social Potluck, Turf the Turf, Bee Line, Vivarium, People On the Pipeline, Daylighting Fascieux Creek, The Ethel Lane House and New Monaco.

The Ethics of Art: Ecological Turns in the Performing Arts takes place at the Bohemian Cafe, 524 Bernard Avenue, Kelowna. This marks the 275th event the Okanagan Institute has held since the Express series got underway in 2007.

Advance registration is required at

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