Yearly Archives: 2018

Climate Signals opening reception, 9/21 NYC

Join The Climate Museum on September 21 to celebrate their second exhibition at the Admiral’s House on Governors Island!

The reception will be held from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. Please RSVP here.

The opening will celebrate Climate Signals, a multi-site public art installation by Justin Brice Guariglia co-presented with the NYC Mayor’s Office – Climate Policy and Programs and a host of partners across the City you can find here.

The Climate Museum will also be celebrating the Climate Museum hub, the Museum’s first temporary space. The hub features an interactive room where you can create and share your own climate signal. In addition, together with the NYC Climate Action Alliance, they are presenting Climate Changers of NY, a series of large-scale portraits by David Noles celebrating New Yorkers who are making a difference.

The climate crisis requires us to think, talk, and act together. The intention of both Climate Signals and Climate Changers is to move us toward that connection and engagement. Join The Climate Museum!


Danielle Eubank, a Los Angeles-based painter dedicated to painting bodies of water across the world, has been nominated for the Human Impact Institute’s 2018 Creative Climate Awards in Manhattan, NY, opening Sept 17, 2018.

“I have made it my life’s work to show audiences the preciousness of water,” says Eubank. “I have dedicated the last 17 years to showing the diversity of water and encouraging audiences to really look at it.”

Her depictions of the oceans are a mixture of realism and abstraction, inviting us to create our own ideas of water from different perspectives. Examining water from different parts of the world, she deconstructs its form into separate abstract stacks of textures, shapes, and colors.

In addition to enticing audiences to really look at distinct water sources she paints, she will ask the audience to do two practical things, now, to take action to address climate change. She has created handheld cards with her artwork on one side and suprisingly simple steps we all can take to help combat climate change, on the other. The audience is encouraged to put two on their person, in their pocket, and carry them around with them.

Eubank began painting all of Earth’s oceans in 2001. She has traveled over 30,000 miles on sea, painted more than 200 bodies of water, and visited 21 countries. She strives to facilitate public conversation about water issues through her work and experiences. Using mostly oil paints to document these bodies of water, she works to bring awareness to issues like climate change and water conservation.

She plans to visit Antarctica in February 2019 to paint her last ocean–the Southern Ocean. For more information see

Human Impacts Institute’s 2018 Creative Climate Awards runs Sept 17-Oct 12, 2018.

Opening: Sept 17, 2018 6-8:30pm. Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) 1 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017

About the Human Impacts Institute

Human Impacts Institute are social entrepreneurs who create and share innovative approaches to tackling social and environmental issues. Programs pair artists and scientists to engage new audiences in climate change solutions, bring youth to the boardroom, and get policy makers’ hands dirty as they care for local street trees. The Institute is action-oriented. The Institute helps people of diverse ages and backgrounds connect personally to the most pressing environmental issues. The Institute believes the environment is not separate from our society and that healthy communities, stable economies, and social equity cannot exist without environmental well-being. They go beyond doling out information in hope that people will change. Instead, they inspire people to transform their behavior by making issues personal to their lives.

Storytelling Strategies in Eco-Theatre

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

How do you write a play about climate change? Ocean acidification? The Anthropocene mass extinction? As a playwright working with both eco-theatre and narrative traditions, I’ve found that many of the strategies we use to create narratives around the climate crisis are still drawn from ancient and classical models—which often feel entirely inadequate when addressing the scale and nature (if you’ll forgive the pun) of the issue. How do you write about a radical new moment, the stakes of which are nothing less than the future of your species (and many others) when the form you practice seems to resist the story you want to tell? And why does climate change feel so particularly resistant to narrative techniques?

A theory I’ve found personally useful is that put forward by novelist Amitav Ghosh in The Great Derangement. While illustrating how climate change is inextricably tied to the legacies of colonialism, industrialism, and capitalism, Ghosh links the modes of thought that emerged alongside these movements (rationalism, gradualism, realism) to our climate “aporia”: Our particular inability to even recognize, let alone respond to, the challenges posed by both climate change and its narrative representation. Though Ghosh is focused on the modern novel, with its careful construction of reality through bourgeois detail, and abhorrence of the “event”—he might just as well be speaking of the realist play, where verisimilitudinous settings and a focus on mundane detail create a similar tendency to view the uncanniness of climate change as improbable and therefore narratively suspect.*

Alanna Mitchell in Seasick by Alanna Mitchell. Photo: Chloe Ellingson.

Many contemporary theatrical responses to this climate “aporia” have fallen into two narrative tendencies: The cautionary and the informational. The informational responds to the “unbelieveability” of climate change narratives with the adage that “Truth is Stranger than Fiction”. Informational pieces rely on a claim to truth to offset our narrative bias against the uncanny event of climate change. Many employ research and journalistic strategies to reinforce this claim. Seasick, for example, intersperses playwright (and journalist) Alana Mitchell’s deeply personal monologues with scientific research collected during her exploration of the effects of ocean acidification. Annabel Soutar’s work in Seeds and The Watershed also relies heavily on journalistic strategies, piecing together the stories of particular climate struggles from verbatim interviews with residents of the affected areas, corporate representatives, climate scientists, and many others. Soutar’s layering of verbatim voices offers nuanced, multi-perspective portraits of a single situation, much in the vein of journalistic or quasi-journalistic productions like This American Life, or Serial.

The cautionary tendency, on the other hand, often uses more familiar theatrical tools—tropes and structures drawn from tragedy, elegy, and dystopia—to draw the focus towards the hubris of human responses, or the human consequences of a failure to engage. Jason Patrick Rothery’s Inside the Seed, for example, takes Oedipus, and recasts the doomed protagonist as a bio-tech CEO, and the plague on Thebes as the unintended side effects of genetic modification. E.M. Lewis’ Song of Extinction relies heavily upon the elegiac mode, with the loss of a parent becoming a metaphor through which we can emotionally grapple with the losses threatened by the Anthropocene Extinction.

Patrick Sabongui in Inside the Seed by Jason Rothery. Photo: Nicole Gurney

Both tragedy and elegy, though—as Ursula K. Heise notes in Imagining Extinction—are inherently human-centric storytelling modes: We use tragedy to foreground the rise and fall of the human protagonist.** We mourn the loss of charismatic megafauna because we are mourning a shift in our own cultural identity, and ignore the very different stories that are happening for less easily anthropomorphized species. Heise suggests instead that the epic, with its multi-voiced, multi-perspective and often collective arc, and comedy, with its focus on the loss and regaining of equilibrium after upheaval, may help us to start telling new stories about extinction and climate change.

In order to address the complicated, intersectional storytelling needs arising from ecological crisis as subject matter, eco-theatre is pushing forward into collaborative, site-specific, and/or interdisciplinary work. For narrative playwrights like myself, a similar exploration is occurring, as we experiment with both classical forms and new strategies. Chantal Bilodeau’s Forward, for example, uses shifting time frames to illustrate the scale of the shifts in our climate and human responses to it. Plays like Karen Malpede’s Extreme Whether, and Byrony Lavery’s Slime, have begun to address ideas of interspecies justice through the inclusion of animals onstage, echoing Una Chaudhuri’s call for a type of interspecies dramaturgy in her Climate Lens Playbook. Each of these strategies is another attempt to move narrative playwrighting beyond the realist tendencies that foster climate aporia—and to better answer the question “How do you write a play about climate change?”


*While often laudable in their attempt to create empathy for the plight of the working class, or expose the hypocrisy of Victorian mores, early modernist climate works like Ibsen’s Enemy of the People tend to focus on human drama at a scale quite different from that of climate change.

**This seems related to the complaints that Chantal Bilodeau levels against classical structure in her article for Howlround, “Why I’m breaking up with Aristotle”, where she notes that the hierarchical focus of many classical pieces, with their emphasis on the rise and fall of the human (more often than not privileged white male) protagonist, mirrors the prioritization of the colonial experience and perspective that got us into this mess to begin with.

(Top image: The animal translators from Slime (l-r) Sophia Wolfe, Mason Temple, Teo Saefkow, Anais West, Pedro Chamale, Lisa Baran, and Edwardine van Wyk. Photo:Donald Lee.)

Portions of this article were originally presented as a paper entitled “Eco-Theatre and Storytelling Strategies in Climate Fiction” at the 2018 Earth Matters on Stage Festival in Anchorage, Alaska.


Jordan Hall is a playwright and screenwriter based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the author of Kayak and How to Survive an Apocalypse. She is currently Playwright-in-Residence at Up in the Air Theatre, where she is developing her next play, A Brief History of Human Extinction, in collaboration with Mind of a Snail Puppet Theatre, for Up in The Air’s 2018 season at the Cultch. As a screenwriter, Jordan co-created Carmilla: The Series (Winner: CSA, Digital Fiction) for SmokeBomb Entertainment, and was Carmilla‘s lead writer for three seasons and subsequent movie. She teaches screenwriting at Capilano University.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Augmented Organism: Bridging Technology and Nature

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

As a young girl, my favorite place to be was outside in the elements, greeting the familiar flowers, walking barefoot on the grass, watching the whales, and hearing deer calling in the field below. Growing up in the diverse landscape of Maui, Hawai’i shaped me, grounded me, comforted me, and became a part of me to an extend I wasn’t even aware of until I dived into the world of choreography, performance and site- specific work. As an only child, my two closest friends, which kept me occupied and curious, were art and nature. I loved picking fruit, making elaborate sand sculptures, folding leaves, stringing lei (flower garlands), and tumbling in the waves with the honu (turtles). Nature was so present in my life – I didn’t know anything different until I started to travel and live abroad. Without this separation from Maui, I wouldn’t have understood the depth of my connection to the environment, our oneness with it all. It would’ve been something I took for granted and never realized the privilege of having. Hawai’i, her nature, and cultural her-stories seeped out through poetry of movement, intertwining with mine. I remember this turning point in my creative work where I started craving performances on land. Choreography jobs, dance teaching, and staged theatrical work started to fade from my interests. There was a purpose in my performance work that I was just tapping into.

In this transition period, I met my artistic partner Cy Gorman, an interdisciplinary transmedia artist and mastermind from Australia. We first met at a dance summit in Angers, France and kept in contact every so often, talking about our latest projects, dance, art, mythology, philosophy, culture and nature. We recognized how our work overlapped, and how we were both passionate about art that identifies with landscapes. We started playing with small film assignments – for our first transnational collaborative experimentation, I was in Germany and Cy in Australia. The experimenting got serious when we were both accepted for an artist residency in Finland and received the financial backing needed to work on a project together in person. This experience culminated in a project we call Augmented Organism – something that heavily influenced how both Cy and I create work today, and even paved the way towards new life paths and explorations.

Augmented Organism (AUGORG) brought together our talents in filmmaking, dance, sound production, and design, and allowed our passions for contemporary storytelling, sustainability, and environmentalism to speak through art. Our goal during our residency was to experiment with and use methodology that challenged the “human vs. nature” perspective, looking for ways technology and nature could share a harmonious relationship. This was a strong theme for us as we heavily relied on technological tools to make our art and collaboration possible, yet our project’s focus was on nature. One of the technological tools that we experimented with came from research contributor Neil Harbisson. It involved sonochromatism (or sonochromatopsia) – a neurological phenomenon in which colors are perceived as sounds. The AUGORG project used sonochromatic data as a way of developing harmonic narratives with nature, mood, and soundscape tied with the visible landscape. Movement also developed, grounding the data into the body and back into the physical plane. This dialogue between the technological/scientific and the cultural/mythological, is Augmented Organism.

To this day, the continued purpose of AUGORG is to create engaging globally-oriented art and design that supports the voice of our natural world, using technologies of today and tomorrow to remind us of the importance of Mother Earth and our relationship to her. The project values connection and communication with land (geographically, geomatically, and geo-socially) with a mission to design, develop, and produce environmentally harmonic works and share them with digital and physical networks and communities worldwide. AUGORG’s perspective sees nature as an intelligent voice that needs to be heard and actively supported.

For the entire project, our framing choices, narration, and the way we used technology developed from an intuitive and lateral dialogue between our practice-based research areas and the natural environment. We let our creativity and technical preparation follow nature’s lead. We made ourselves as ready as possible for the perfect moment when the environment revealed narrative of itself. And She did. A lot of the work happened in spontaneous moments, captured in one shot, which was unlike the pre-set choreographed scenes and director’s shot list that we were both used to working with. This was organic and flowing, with no agenda, like my barefoot walks as a kid. This work felt like home and for the first time I understood my purpose, and felt gratitude for the talents that Maui provided me – to feel spatially, to harness earth energy, to carry awareness in my feet.

Check out trailer here:

AUGORG pushed us to not only communicate environmental wellbeing through art but also to act on it. Cy started nurobodi, a holistic healing and wellbeing practice, and I decided to pursue an MA in Sustainable Design. AUGORG was the “aha” moment that aligned and confirmed our natural inclinations towards more organic working styles, and brought to the surface deep passions we previously brushed off as mere interests. Our working intuitions were spot on: the strongest way to deliver creatively is to work with nature and her cycles. My love for Maui is now defined, the wisdom of my child self is restored, and I am curious again. I hope the work allows the child deep within you to emerge and remember too.

The AUGORG project includes diverse offerings, such as live installation and performance works, research presentations, interdisciplinary “co-design” workshop modules, and a feature film, which was released at the beginning of this year. We are eager to share these aspects of the project with others and open future AUGORG work to people interested in collaborating.

(All photos by Cy Gorman.)


Jazmyne Geis grew up in the culturally diverse environment of Maui, Hawai’i, lived abroad in Asia and Europe, and returned back to her family’s land and StudioJaz, her home design studio where experimentation runs wild. Collecting a wide variety of dance styles and visual art backgrounds, Jazmyne has tied these “languages” back to the dance, culture, and land of her homeland. Jazmyne is a sustainable designer, consultant and interdisciplinary artist (an active performer, choreographer, visual artist, creative director, curator, and writer) who uses her artwork as a tool to advocate on behalf of the natural world, bridging environmental her-stories with others around the world.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog