3 Sep 2010

Climate Change: a call to artists

I just read about the 'Open Call for Climate Change Art'. The project is: "Calling artists to sketch a climate change design that will be created using thousands of people in an iconic place threatened by climate change.”

But first I want to point out a good article by Johann Hari here that asks "How much proof do the global warming deniers need?" Worth a look as it shows how extraordinary it is that the world still seems to be in denial....and how important protests like those at RBS are...

Anyway back to art - I wanted to blog on this to help promote the project - some might remember last year we went 350 crazy - see here about the 350 trees we planted, making 350 beehouses and more.....well in November this year 350.org will organize a number of projects - already plans are afoot in Stroud - plus there will be around the world 20 simultaneous public art pieces that are massive enough to be seen from space and located on the front-lines of the climate crisis – our sinking coastlines, endangered forests, melting glaciers, and polluted cities. 350.org are looking to recruit top and up-and-coming artists to design these images. See more here and at: www.350.org/earth

Why '350' is spelt out here.

I remember reading an extract in The Ecologist by Jay Griffiths of her great piece 'The Far-seers of Art' - in it she explains why culture without nature is as good as worthless. She writes: "Art's job is not propaganda. Propaganda aims for the cliché and, in attempting to speak to everyone, speaks in fact to no one. Art takes an idiosyncratic line; the more surely envoiced the artist becomes, the stronger the response to their work......The issue of climate change needs persuasion rather than propaganda and art understands the psychology of persuasion. It is hard to allow oneself to be drawn by overt dogma, which is delivered in the daylight areas of the mind."

She also writes: "Compared to any other issue, climate change has a seismic and ineluctable enormity, and we inhabit this knowledge because we must. One thing it will cause is a change of climate within.....The role of art institutions is now truly cultural; to create the culture which nurtures nature, not only human nature but all forms of nature. This is neither a hobby nor a luxury. It is not a Status-Impact Event. It is an exigency which affects everything, from the blunt demand for emissions-reductions within institutions to the tenor of our language and the cast of our thought.....In its evidence and reliable data, science offers its truths, but from art we need truths of a different order: Protean, yes, unpredictable, yes, disobedient, yes, but truths nonetheless; metaphoric, spiral truths, because we are not wholly rational creatures. It is not knowledge that we lack but parables to embody it and ethics to sustain the implementation of that knowledge."

Indeed as I reread the article I plan to read the whole piece in
Long Horizons, a report commissioned by the British Council.

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