5 Questions With Cornish Graduate Alyssa Norling

Alyssa is a theatre and movement artist currently based in Seattle. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 2015 with a BFA in Theater and a concentration in Original Works. Recent credits include A Great Hunger (On the Boards), Christmas is Burning (Café Nordo), and To Savor Tomorrow (Café Nordo). She is currently in collaboration with Jeffrey Fracé and an ensemble of diverse artists to develop Nightswimming, a new original theatre-dance-opera and is excited to tour her original performance of “The Gas Trap” with Coltura this summer.

1. What kind of artist are you and how might people know your work?

I’m a theatre artist with a background in dance. I received my BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Original Works (playwriting and directing in addition to acting), but the works that I create usually end up being heavy in movement, something I’m not able to shake after having grown up a dancer. Since graduating in 2015, I’ve performed as an actor and/or dancer at various theatres in Seattle, but Coltura’s Gas Trap is the first performance of my own creation to hit the streets.

2. What exactly was your role in building the Gas Trap?

Basically I was given two things:

1) A concept – gasoline is horrible for the environment and we need to take action right away to break our addiction to it and

2) A stage in the form of a bubble. My job was to fill that bubble with a performance that would bring that concept to the public. I daydreamed, sketched, wrote, erased, wrote again, then presented an outline of a movement-based performance to a fellow theatre artist, Grace Orr. I gave direction in each rehearsal and Grace and I worked together to polish specific moments. I tracked down all the props and costume pieces, cut and pasted material during rehearsals, then performed alongside Grace at our first performance of The Gas Trap at Westlake Park!


3. How do you feel about the end result?

I love that we presented a performance that demanded attention, raised different questions in each individual, and got so many people thinking about their use of gasoline.

4. Do you drive an electric car? If not, what do you see as your challenges or obstacles to making that switch?

I don’t personally own or drive a car but my partner does. I think we both assume we couldn’t switch to electric because of money. But we also haven’t done extensive research so maybe there is one out there we could afford to switch to!

5. Do you live a particularly green lifestyle?

Yes! When you grow up in Oregon, living green is a value that you pick up on at a very young age. Recycling, conserving, minimizing. I’ve worked for the obliteration of the use of plastic bottles of water within communities I’m a part of. My partner and I live in a very small apartment of essentials that hardly uses any power at all. We grow our own food in our tiny yard and have built our own compost bin, which turns our waste into compost for the garden. Most all of our clothing and household items have come from second hand stores. The uh-oh for us is that we do drive a gasoline-powered vehicle when we go on trips outside of Seattle. But our transportation on a daily basis is either by bus or foot.

For more about the art and artists involved with Coltura, visit us here >>

All photos by Sy Bean for KOMO 4 News / SeattleRefined.com.

Anti-Gasoline Public Art Piece To Be Unveiled in Seattle, June 2

Using public art to drive environmental activism, award-winning anti-gasoline nonprofit Coltura will take to the streets on June 2 to present The Gas Trap, a performance art piece that calls attention to the harm--and death--caused by our individual and collective use of gasoline.

The Gas Trap places performers inside an inflatable, 25-foot-high kinetic sculpture that serves as a stage and clear bubble for spectators to peer inside. The bubble is fabricated from clear window vinyl and connected by a hose to the tailpipe of a car, whose exhaust is depicted as filling the bubble while its inhabitants attempt to cope with the consequences. The Gas Trap invites viewers to explore the hazy intersection of gasoline, health, climate change, money, and guilt. Coltura will present The Gas Trap in a series of appearances throughout Seattle this spring and summer, starting June 2 at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6:05 p.m. at Westlake Park, 401 Pine Street, Seattle. All performances are free and open to the public.

 Photo by Kevin Scott.

The Gas Trap was conceived by Coltura founder Matthew Metz, designed by local artist Samaj, and fabricated by Seattle's inflatable specialists, the Design Nerds. "The Gas Trap shrinks the atmosphere we live within down to the size of a room," Metz explains. "We think of our atmosphere as boundless and capable of infinite absorption, but it is in fact a bounded space that is increasingly saturated with smoke, pollution and carbon dioxide coming from cars."

The performers in the Gas Trap are left to uncover the horrible effects of the collective use of gasoline. If there is no way out, will people turn on each other? Will we face the truth of what we've allowed our environment to become or will they continue to deny reality?

The Gas Trap's kinetic element is smoke, which appears to come from the tailpipe of an actual car.  The smoke fills the trap and obscures the actors inside as we watch their world become inhospitable. The performers present an artistic vision of what it means to be human on a planet suffocating from our unnecessary reliance on gasoline.

"The Trap plays with our notions of responsibility and cruelty," Metz says. "Is the driver of the car responsible for filling the trap with smoke? Is he cruel for doing so? Or is he doing just what we all do-driving a car and emitting smoke from our tailpipe? If so, is there culpability?"

The Trap confines not only gases and people, but also the public's confused notions of responsibility that swirl around the use of gasoline, a fuel that is increasingly unnecessary due to innovations in electric cars and electric mobility.

The performance is written and directed by Cornish graduate Alyssa Norling and performed by Alyssa Norling and Grace Orr, Seattle-based theatre and movement artists who use the endless possibilities of public art for social change.

Industrial Revelation To Headline "No Gasoline Concert"

Have you heard? We just announced our newest endeavor to use public art to drive environmental activism. This time, through music with the world’s first-ever “No Gasoline Concert.” The event will feature performances from Seattle-favorites the fusion super group Industrial Revelation, along with local musicians Bad Luck and Laurie Goldston, combined with projections from video artist Kevin Blanquies. We hope to lead by example, transporting all musicians to the event without using gasoline, and encouraging all attendees to do the same!

"End Of Courtesy" composed by Ahamefule J. Oluo, led by D'Vonne Lewis, and featuring Evan Flory-Barnes, Josh Rawlings, and Ahamefule J. Oluo. One of Seattle's most sought-after bands, Industrial Revelation, performed "End Of Courtesy" live in the KPLU studios. Industrial Revelation features D'Vonne Lewis on drums, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, Josh Rawlings on keys, and Ahamefule J.

The musicians performing at this event will be transported with their gear by electric car, and event attendees are encouraged to get there by electric car, bus, bike, or on foot. Lo-Fi is well-served by public transportation, including the #8 bus from Capitol Hill, the #40 from Ballard, the C Line from West Seattle, the #70 from the University District, and the 545 from Bellevue, among others.

Like many events around town, this is going to be a lot of fun, but it’s just not worth using gasoline to attend. We realize that statement may come across as odd to the average person, but it is true – after all each gallon of gasoline we use puts 20 pounds of CO2 into the air, directly impacting all aspects of the environment we live in. We are hoping this event will help to empower other cultural institutions in Seattle and around the world begin to set No Gasoline as the standard for getting people to their events.

As a major bonus, our friends at ReachNow - a BMW car sharing service - are offering all event ticket holders a promo code for $15 drives in their electric vehicles to use the night of the event. Promo codes will be given to all ticket buyers the week of the event by email - specifically the email you use when purchasing tickets here.


No Gasoline Concert

June 30, 2017


@ Lo-Fi (429 Eastlake Ave E., Seattle) 

Tickets $7 >> http://bit.ly/NoGasConcert 


Based in Seattle, Lori Goldston is a classically trained cellist with quite the CV. Her past collaborations include Nirvana, David Byrne and Cat Power just to name a few. Lori also co-founded Black Cat Orchestra and joined the Seattle band Earth a few years back. Lori Goldston has scored and/or provided music for several films and shorts including Bass Ackwards (Linas Phillips), Humpday (Lynn Shelton), and Crashing Waves (Britta Johnson) and has also been commissioned to do live scores for several silent films. To learn more about her visit http://www.lorigoldston.com/
"RBG" performed by Neil Welch, tenor saxophone / live electronics Chris Icasiano, drums Lorraine Lau, dance Performed live for the Earshot Jazz Series "Jazz, the Second Century." Recorded July 23rd, 2015 at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle, WA. Video Footage by Jake Knapp, Wil Morrill and Peter Daniel Final editing for release by Jake Knapp Audio by Hamilton Boyce RBG composed by Neil Welch and developed with Chris Icasiano and Lorraine Lau

Art & Gasoline

Art is Coltura’s secret weapon in the fight against fossil fuels. We create symbiotic relationships with environmentally conscious artists from around the globe and proudly display their work in our Coltura art collection (www.coltura.org/art). For the month of March, we are thrilled to feature the work of Sophia Trinh, a Vietnamese American painter who blends sketching, watercolor, and natural plant materials to create stunning images that remind us of the beauty we seek to protect by living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  Previous featured artists are painter Lucas Paints and photographer John Lewis. If you are an environmentally conscious artist and want to have your work featured on Coltura.org/art, email mnm@coltura.org.


The Emerging Anti-Gasoline Coalition

The Emerging Anti-Gasoline Coalition

A powerful new coalition is emerging to push accelerated phase-out of gasoline.   The coalition is comprised of broad sectors of the public who are demanding clean air, climate activists, clean tech businesses and enthusiasts, and people concerned about the strategic and financial consequences of oil imports.  It has the power  to break the dominance of gasoline as the country’s principal transportation fuel.

The arrival of a new generation of electric and plug-in hybrid cars makes radical reduction of gasoline use feasible.  If social attitudes and morays about personal pollution can be altered, extraordinary change in consumer buying habits and tolerance of gas taxes is possible.

Making Progress on Climate in the Trump Years

Making Progress on Climate in the Trump Years

Trump’s election is a huge setback for the transition away from fossil fuels.    Obama’s policy initiatives relating to oil and climate are very likely to be reversed.   Carbon taxes will not rise, the federal electric vehicle tax credit will be either terminated or allowed to expire, fleet efficiency standards will be lowered, and oil infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline will be given the green light.

Clearly, environmentalists must continue to defend these policies as best we can.  But playing defense is not enough:  we must also find a way to make progress during these years, so that oil consumption is less in 2020 than it is now.

Tesla’s Model 3 and the Future of Gasoline

Tesla’s Model 3 and the Future of Gasoline

The unprecedented 275,000 pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 in the three days since its March 31 unveiling signals a tectonic shift in the dominance of gasoline as the country’s principal transportation fuel.  The stunning number of Model 3 pre-orders, more than 2.5 times the number of electric vehicles sold in 2015, suggests there is enormous pent-up consumer demand for electric vehicles offering range, performance, and affordability comparable to (or better than) equivalent gas-powered vehicles.

What does the Model 3’s early success mean for auto manufacturers, oil companies, consumers, and governments, the four pillars supporting America’s 375 million gallon-per-day gasoline consumption habit?

Interview with James Turner, Communications Head of Greenpeace

Interview with James Turner, Communications Head of Greenpeace

Matthew Metz interviewed James Turner, Communications Chief for Greenpeace about how consumer consumption patterns can be changed, and role of major environmental organizations such as Greenpeace in promoting that change.  

MM:  What is the way forward in moving consumers to curtail their gasoline usage?

JT: Greenpeace doesn’t work on the consumer side in terms of trying to change personal behaviour. You know, we sort of suggest things that people can do if they’re looking to reduce that footprint, but our attitude is very much, the most effective thing you can do is to lobby your Congressman or woman in order to change the legislation, to change the top-down measures that could, for example, increase engine efficiency or increase the use of public transport or cycling in urban centres.

So that’s very much where our focus is right now. I think that

Electric Car Owners Should Lead Consumer Movements Away From Gasoline

Electric Car Owners Should Lead Consumer Movements Away From Gasoline

The timely transition away from fossil fuel-powered transportation in U.S. will not happen as a result of government edict, high taxes, high fuel prices, or running out of oil.  As long as the vast majority of consumers use gasoline and the oil companies retain their financial grip on Congress and state legislatures, high gasoline taxes and gasoline bans will remain pipe dreams.   New oil extraction technologies, vast proven oil reserves, and regular discoveries of new oil fields virtually assure that cheap oil will be with us for decades.

Rather, the transition to clean transportation will occur because consumers reject gasoline-powered cars in favor of electric cars.  Some of the motivation to reject gasoline cars will be driven by price and cost—long-range electric cars will soon attain price parity with gasoline-powered cars, and electricity is already considerably cheaper than gasoline on a cost-per-mile basis.  Most of the motivation for rejecting gas cars will be lifestyle-driven—mainstream consumers will come to see gasoline use as an unnecessary, dirty, anti-social act, and will prefer the “clean” feeling associated with driving an electric car.

Did Pope Francis Call for a Gasoline Boycott?

Did Pope Francis Call for a Gasoline Boycott?

Much of the media attention on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical focused on its recognition of the causes of global warning and the impact that the Pope might have on international and domestic climate politics,    Less publicized, but possibly more impactful in the long term, is the Pope’s call to consumers to wield their purchasing power as a force for change.

Pope Francis writes:

“A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. ‘Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act.’ Today, in a word, ‘the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.” (Laudato Si, Para. 206)

Can Carbon Offsets Make A Comeback

Can Carbon Offsets Make A Comeback

Carbon offsets allow users of carbon to “offset” their carbon use by funding projects which reduce an equal or greater amount of carbon emissions elsewhere. For example, a person who flies from Seattle to New York and back emits about 7,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere.  To counteract the emissions from the flight, a person can “buy an offset” to help fund a project (a typical project is purchasing high-efficiency cookstoves for people in Africa presently using carbon-spewing stoves) that will prevent 7,000 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.   By purchasing an offset, a person can theoretically make the cross-country flight without adding to the atmospheric over-saturation of CO2 that is threatening our planet.     Some people purchase offsets to counterbalance their entire carbon footprint, which averages about 17 tons or 34,000 pounds for the average American.  Most voluntary carbon offsets are purchased by businesses interested in “greening” the image of their business.

Given that carbon offsets provide just about the only way for individuals and businesses to zero out their carbon footprint, one would think that carbon offsets would be increasing popular, given growing concerns about global warming.  Just the opposite—voluntary carbon offset transactions in 2013 totaled only $78 million, off 42% from 2010 levels, and sufficient to offset only 9 million tons of CO2 (the CO2emissions of 500,000 Americans).  A flurry of press articles and academic studies about carbon offsets from 2006-2010 has tapered to nearly nothing.  The last time the New York Times wrote about offsets was in 2007.