Encountering the Elephant Parade: Intersections of aesthetics, ecology, and economy’ by Elizabeth Grierson, examines Singapore’s Elephant Parade, a global art event that has occurred in a range of cities since its inception in 2006. The setting for the discussion is the urbanizing world of the twenty-first century in the context of the broader setting of economic globalization dominated by excessive consumption, fast economic transfers, reduced biological diversity and reductive reactions to global uncertainties. In this context, the artist or designer acts as a conduit for raising aesthetic, economic and ecological issues concerning an urbanized and globalized world.
The chapter tells of encounters with 160 designed and decorated elephants placed around Singapore in 2011. It examines the vested interests, aims and intentions of this entrepreneurial, global and urban event that has come to fruition through significant partnerships between art and business in the interests of biodiversity. The interlinking narratives of aesthetics, ecology and economy bring specific attention to the plight of the Asian elephant: its damage and destruction in the path of urbanization. Ultimately the discussion is showing how an entrepreneurial art event can act as a re-imagining process for city-dwellers.
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