Sierra Magazine

The Earth is sexy. Annie Sprinkle had a sense of that even as a child, skinny-dipping in the glacial lakes of the High Sierra. Beth Stephens felt those same stirrings as a kid growing up in Appalachia, when she straddled bucking horses for rodeos. In 2008, Sprinkle and Stephens made that relationship official—the couple symbolically married the Earth.

“We thought, who needs the rights and protections of marriage? The Earth,” says Stephens, today a professor in the Art department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

Their resulting performance piece, “Green Wedding to the Earth,” was equal parts earnest, playful, and avant-garde. Guests were given bags of soil to breathe deeply from during the ceremony. Soprano Emma McNairy performed an operatic striptease. The ceremony kicked off a new environmental movement: ecosexuality.

More on the article here.

The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

BD Owens Reviews “Assuming the Ecosexual Position” by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle

Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle collaborative art and activism practice has reached a broad range of audiences through their feature length films Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story (2014) and Water Makes Us Wet: An Ecosexual Adventure(2017). Their performance works, and happenings, have been presented at documenta 14, the Venice Biennale and many other art festivals, galleries and venues across the Earth. Their socially engaged performances have included: Ecosexual Weddings extravaganzas, Sidewalk Sex Clinics, Ecosex Walking Tours, Cuddle sessions and Extreme Kissing. The stories in Assuming the Ecosexual Position: The Earth as Lover detail some of their behind-the-scenes adventures while making these projects. Readers from Scotland will be thrilled that the Glasgay! Festival (and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow) played a “juicy” part in their love story. Stephens and Sprinkle have been in a relationship, and collaborating, since 2002. The founders of the E.A.R.T.H. Lab at UCSC, describe themselves as, “two ecosexual artists in love, in a relationship with each other as well as with the Sky, Sea, Appalachian Mountains, Lake Kallavasi in Finland, the soil in Austria, the Sun, the Moon, Coal, [their] late dog Bob and current dog Butch, and other nonhuman and human entities.” Although they acknowledge the long-established position framing the Earth as mother, they assert that the Earth can also be a lover. Reconsidering the Earth as a lover, creates a shift in the dynamics of responsibility and mutual respect.

More on the review here.

 

Co-Directors Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle go viral after appearing on England’s #1 morning talk show!

When Beth and Annie appeared live on the most popular morning talk show in England, the expected the worst, as most talk show hosts don’t appreciate conceptual art. However, the hosts were kind and enthusiastic. Over the next few hours, many newspapers had stories written and Beth and Annie and their messages of loving the Earth went viral. From the national Daily Mail to the a slew of tabloids. Earth Lab SF was mentioned in some of the stories, and the interview was a hoot.
JUST A FEW OF THE HEADLINES:
“Morning viewers are left baffled by ecosexuals.” Daily Mail.
“Meet the couple that really, really love the planet!’ ITV.com
“Ecosexual couple recall perfomring oral sex with grass.” Metro UK.
“ITV morning fans gobsmacked by ‘bonkers’ X rated interview.” Birmingham Mail
“We kiss for an hour, and lay on the beach naked as we make love to the planet, say Ecosexual Couple on This Morning.” The SUN.
Etc etc…
 
Watch the fabulous interview here.
 

‘Queen Green’ by Susie Green

Water Makes Us Wet Film Screening

When: Friday 28th January, 6-8pm
Where: Woodend Gallery, The Crescent, Scarborough, YO11 2DF
Tickets: Tickets on a sliding scale. Click here to get tickets for event.

This screening is in response to the current exhibition, ‘Queen Green’ by Susie Green currently on show at Woodend Gallery. The exhibition was partially inspired by the book ‘Assuming the Ecosexual Position: The Earth as Lover‘ by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens with Jennie Klein. 

 

Who is it for?

The film is aimed at 18+

There will be a small selection of drinks available by donation.

Where will it take place?

The screening will take place within the gallery space at Woodend Creative Space, YO11 2PW. The gallery is fully wheelchair accessible and disabled parking available, for more information about the venue follow this link: https://www.woodendcreative.co.uk

Online version: An online version of the film will be made available for those who are unable to attend the event in person. 

About the Exhibition

Queen Green is an exhibition of new works by artist Susie Green inspired by her residency at Dalby Forest in the North Yorks Moors. The exhibition celebrates erotic encounters with nature, and moments of confidence and fragility, growth and decay, lightness and dark. Works on paper and large cut-out mixed forms mounted onto wooden trellis portray powerful, blossoming, shapeshifting bodies.

Queen Green is supported by Crescent Arts, Scarborough Museums Trust, Arts Council England and Forestry England.

Curated by Martha Cattell and John Heffernan

San Francisco Chronicle

The Earth Lab SF got some great newspaper coverage in December 2021 when a fabulous man about town, staff writer Tony Bravo imbedded with us for three days. Award-winning photographer Lea Suzuki did a photo shoot in Holly Park in the Bernal Hill neighborhood. Tony Bravo managed to credit all the right people and places and we couldn’t have been happier with the piece. Click here to see the whole piece by Tony Bravo.

CNN

CNN gave us huge exposure with a really fantastic article about the Ecosex Wedding Project, using many of our great photos by our talented photographer collaborators. People saw and read this piece all around the world. We hope we planted some seeds in some people’s heads, that they can have a wedding to a non human entity they love too. Hoping for lots of copycats. The more love generated for the Earth, the better. 

Read the article.

Grist wedding cake image

Grist

It might be time to rethink our relationship with ‘Mother Earth’

When I was a little kid, a very close friend had a very cute oversized T-shirt with a childlike drawing of the Earth printed on it and the sweetly scripted commandment: “Love Your Mother.” The shirt was a tent when we were fourth-graders, billowing over primary-color leggings and dirty sneakers. But by high school, it had become soft and a little snug and more than a little ironic given that we, as teen girls, were inexplicably and consistently mean to our actual mothers.

Many would agree that the idea of “Mother Earth,” that dear old cliché of the environmental movement, has become equally worn out. There’s little doubt that the concept of “Mother Earth” is well intentioned: Think of the Earth as someone you love — your mother! Who could you love more than that? Treat her with respect and care and she will provide for you in perpetuity.

That advice immediately begins to fall apart, however, when you consider the societal-level sacrifices climate experts say we humans need to make in order to avert the worst consequences of global warming. Thinking of Earth as a mother hasn’t inspired much in the way of filial piety. You might even say the relationship has become toxic — or at the very least, extremely one-sided.

But if our view of Earth as a mother hasn’t done her any favors, what are our alternatives? One option is to think of the planet in slightly more intimate terms. Environmental activists, artists, and romantic partners Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle are considered to be the cofounders of the ecosexual movement — a philosophy in which we cherish the Earth as a kind of romantic life partner. In their new book Assuming the Ecosexual Position, they urge you — yes, you, inhabitant of this planet — to consider taking the Earth as a lover. My own personal aversion to the phrase “take [x] as a lover” aside, the intention here is pure. If you develop a relationship with the earth as intimate and caring as one you might have with a significant other, you’ll care for it.

Here’s where things get a little bit alternative, even for the Savage Love devotees among us. Ecosexuality is more than a thought experiment: Stephens and Sprinkle have held wedding ceremonies between themselves and the Appalachian mountains. They’ve married the moon, the soil, the sky. Relationships with the earth are meant to be polyamorous and sensual; the definition of a sexual experience, for example, should extend beyond whatever happens between two human bodies to what happens between a human body and the springtime sun, morning air, alpine lake water. If there’s not sufficient pleasure in the relationship, after all, there’s less incentive to preserve it. The artists “think about sustainability a lot differently than other people do;” in that if a particular practice isn’t at least a little bit fun, you won’t keep doing it.

So why the emphasis on a romantic, sexual connection? “There’s an urgency to please one’s lover, where there’s not so much with your mother or friend,” explains Stephens. “I feel like with a lover, I’m more aware of my missteps. A lot of people take their mothers or friends for granted.”

Stephens and Sprinkle elaborated on their approach during a long phone conversation over breakfast in their San Francisco kitchen. They said they consider themselves “matchmakers, trying to help people fall in love with everything around them.” Sprinkle pointed to the recent oil spill in her native Southern California to illustrate their point.

“If you really really deeply love the beach, and feel a real heart connection and concern, and imagine the beach is alive and it’s sentient, you’re gonna be more heartbroken and want to protect that beach from the horrible tar,” she said.

There is certainly something appealing about this ideology. The world is your love, your love, the world; sounds like a nice life! (As Sprinkle says: “When you’re an ecosexual, you’re never alone!”) We have to admit that over the history of humans on Earth, the bar for “environmental care” has been lowered so far it’s in hell. Any meaningful improvement would require a real transformation in how we see the ecosystems and natural features around us, and believing you can fuck a mountain would certainly constitute a significant transformation.

 

PDF of the article here.

Assuming the Ecosexual Position Book

Franconia Sculpture Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 26, 2021

Franconia Sculpture Park

Contact: Alyssa Auten, Communications & Creative Director

alyssaauten@franconia.org | www.franconia.org 

 

FRANCONIA SCULPTURE PARK HOSTS OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH FOR ASSUMING THE ECOSEXUAL POSITION: THE EARTH AS LOVER AND US PREMIERE OF THE ONE MINUTES—IMAGINE THE EARTH IS YOUR LOVER WITH ANNIE SPRINKLE AND BETH STEPHENS

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Franconia Sculpture Park in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Press and The One Minutes is pleased to present the official book launch for Assuming the Ecosexual Position: The Earth as Lover by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens with Jennie Klein. Published August 15, 2021 by the University of Minnesota Press, the book presents the story of the artistic collaboration between the originators of the ecosex movement, their diverse communities, and the Earth. Assuming the Ecosexual Position tells of childhood moments that pointed to a future of ecosexuality—for Annie, in her family swimming pool in Los Angeles; for Beth, savoring forbidden tomatoes from the vine on her grandparents’ Appalachian farm. The book describes how the two came together as lovers and collaborators, how they took a stand against homophobia and xenophobia, and how this union led to the miraculous conception of the Love Art Laboratory, which involved influential performance artists Linda M. Montano, Reverend Billy Talen, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, theorist Paul B. Preciado, and feminist pornographer Madison Young. Please join Franconia on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 for a meet and greet and book signing with the artists, an outdoor book hunt throughout the sculpture park, and a night of ecosexy short films which explore mad, passionate, and fierce love for the Earth.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at Franconia Sculpture Park

An Ecosexy Book Launch Happening with Annie Sprinkle, Beth Stephens, and Jennie Klein

6pm-6:30pm: Meet & Greet, Book Signing, and Drinks with Annie Sprinkle, Beth Stephens, and Jennie Klein at Franconia Commons 

6:30-7:30pm: Assume the Ecosexual Position: A Peripatetic Walk and Book Hunt through Franconia Sculpture Park

7:30-8:30pm: The US Premiere of Imagine the Earth is Your Lover, a document of the Ecosex Movement. 23 one-minute films and other ecosexy shorts from around the world curated by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle.  Watch the trailer at: https://vimeo.com/463829285

8:30pm-9:00pm: Q&A and Discussion

For more information on Assuming the Ecosexual Position, please visit: https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/assuming-the-ecosexual-position

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens have been life partners and 50/50 collaborators on multimedia projects since 2002. They are authors of the Ecosex Manifesto and producers of the award-winning film Goodbye Gauley Mountain and Water Makes us Wet, a documentary feature that premiered at documenta 14 and screened at MoMA in New York. Sprinkle is a former sex worker with a PhD in human sexuality. Stephens holds a PhD in performance studies and is the founding director of E.A.R.T.H Lab at University of California at Santa Cruz.

Sprinklestephens.org

Jennie Klein is professor of art history at Ohio University. She is editor of Letters from Linda M. Montano and coeditor of Histories and Practices of Live Art and The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art.

About Franconia Sculpture Park

The mission of Franconia Sculpture Park is to foster an inclusive community to create and contemplate contemporary art inspired by nature and our ever-evolving world. Founded in 1996, Franconia operates a 50-acre outdoor museum, active artist residency program, and a depth and breadth of arts programming for a diverse and engaged public.

Franconia is located at 29836 St. Croix Trail in Shafer, Minnesota, and is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm. Please visit us at www.franconia.org.