Sydneysiders and visitors to the Harbour City can explore the impact of climate change on island communities through this large-scale performance installation by Tongan Islander, Latai Taumoepeau. Large blocks of ice, suspended using traditional Tongan architectural lashing techniques for binding, will draw connections between melting ice glaciers and rising sea levels. Lanai says that she attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007, and thereafter decided to “extend the voice of our invisible pacific people through my artistic practice.”
In her own words… “My name is Latai Taumoepeau, I am a performance artist with a new performance installation campaign called i-Land X-isle. It is about the impact of climate change on vulnerable indigenous communities from the arctic to coastal low lying islands. My body will be bound by rope to a 2 tonne block of ice to parallel the experience of already impacted people of human induced climate change to a form of water torture, that is imposed by developing countries. It will be live and a durational performance over 2 days.
I humbly invite you… to use my public art spectacle as a platform to raise wider awareness of communities already impacted by human induced climate change and instructions of how ordinary citizens can change to minimise and cease harm to Australia’s nearest coastal neighbours all the way to the Arctic.”
Faka’apa’apa Atu (with respect), Latai Taumoepeau
When: 26 & 27th May 2012
Time: 10am – 12noon & 2pm – 4pm
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art – Circular Quay Sydney.
“how does data feel, taste, sound, look, smell?” Roger Malina, Leonardo, keynote speaker, Lovely Weather art and climate change conference, LetterKenny RCC, Nov 2010
I was briefly in Oxford this week and I had a little time to pass so I wandered into one of the oldest Museums of the History of Science in the world. They had a display of early Islamic scientific instruments, many were for searching and understanding the skies. They were astonishingly beautiful as well as functional and were later adopted and developed through the middle ages and renaissance in Europe. Many instruments made for understanding the heavens were made in metal, some in ivory (couldn’t help thinking they looked like antique iphones as some were a similar shape, colour and size to our recent technology). The industry and intent to know the world by all methods has long been with us. I was thinking about this in reference to a recent Lovely Weather Culture and Climate Change conference that I attended in north-west Donegal last November. An excellent 2 day event celebrated the Lovely Weather climate artists residency project; an innovative Per Cent for Art Irish Public Art programme across 5 electoral areas, co-led by the local Donegal County Arts Office and the Letterkenny Regional Culture Centre and co-curated by Roger Malina and Annick Bureaud of the long established Art & Science publication, LEONARDO/Olats. This was to my knowledge the first substantial culture and climate event in Ireland and the projects were in the main very thought-provoking and detailed (a catalogue of the projects can be obtained from the Donegal Arts Office).
Roger Malina, editor of Leonardo, was the keynote speaker. Roger is also an astronomer and Director of Astronomy Centre in Marseille, France. A point he made in his talk, while referencing his own experience in astronomy which has seen an explosion in technical instrument development, data production, now further accelerating with the sharing of online data networks, is that over the centuries, scientists no longer use their senses but their instruments to understand the world. He argued that in reference to climate change, that artists have such an important role… ‘in making science intimate….not just translating science or making science pretty.’ He spoke of many artists who were attempting to engage with science, from many diverse practices, who were taking scientific data and using it in their creative practices. He now sees that we are moving from a world of ‘data scarcity to data plenty but today, while we are data rich, we are meaning poor’. He described this as an epistemological (a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge) inversion. I was particularly interested how Roger described that we are in a ‘data flood… but artists can work successfully embedded in data, where data becomes an element (material) to use.” He concluded by asking us, “how does data feel, taste, sound, look, smell?”
There was an excellent example of data embedded centrally in one of the Lovely Weather residencies. Carbon Footprint is a multi-disciplinary work by Canadian born (now settled in Ireland) artist in residence Seema Goel. The piece uses local wool, spinning and knitting as a metaphor to explore climate change, carbon capture, and micro-economies in Inishowen, County Donegal, Ireland. This project worked on many levels – making hurricane data intimate in the creation of knitted items (see the knitted hat above that relates to hurricane weather data), bringing together local people of all ages to use local materials and forgotten skills (a working example of ’social sculpture’), making visible the loss of previous local industries to global, unsustainable supply chains (while Donegal has a rich history in wool products, this has almost entirely disappeared and local wool items are surprisingly imported from afar – this a surprise to many Irish in the audience as Donegal is famed for its fibre heritage), and creating a legacy of community craft activities in the region. It’s delightful to think of the climate data discussions, mixing with knitting patterns discussions and cups of tea (it reminded me of the global crochet coral reef project that came to Ireland’s Science gallery that I discussed last year – both show the huge upsurge in local materials and fibre craft and just a reminder: this is also the international year of craft, as well as forests). The success in this project are the climate conversations made tangible in the community and unlike many ‘climate and art and science projects that I’ve encountered, the legacy of the project continues: knitting and spinning workshops continue for every skill level, from people with an interest that want to get started to those who want to share skills. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To follow is a guest post by Margaret Mc Laughlin on another of the Lovely Weather residency projects – all about dead zones (Marbh Chrios) off the coast of Ireland – a fantastic audiovisual, data come community sound project.
An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns. Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook
Any country that agrees to host a UN climate change conference is bound to be scrutinized for their environmental policies, and at COP16 Mexico has met this scrutiny full force with at least three independent exhibitions and explorations of its natural beauty. Some are federally-funded exercises in propaganda. Some are the fierce work of jungle explorers. All reveal a landscape beyond the manufactured shores of Cancun – read on to take a look!
A little bit of a circular reference, but here is an article Executive Director Ian Garrett wrote for Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez’s Song of The Bird King Blog:
While attending the Arts Presenters APAP Conference in January, Roberto and I sat on a panel, The Tipping Point: Artists and Climate Change led by Graham Devlin. We were delighted to meet at the session Ian Garrett, Executive Director for The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. He is based in LA and at CalArts University where he also teaches Sustainability in the Theatre Department and with interdisciplinary artists. It’s comforting and inspiring to hear and see the work of Ian Garrett and his active commitment to cultural and environmental sustainability. Garrett’s work challenges and engages in dialogue on these issues. Here he speaks about Art and Eco-Justice. – Susie Ibarra
Giving Voice: Art and Eco-Justice
This past December, I traveled to Copenhagen for the fifteenth Conference of the Partners meeting, better known as COP15. I was there to serve as a witness to the artistic and creative responses to COP15. I was not looking to observe the UN Climate Change Conference itself; I felt this was easily accessible through remote media, and, in some ways, the less interesting event. While COP15 itself had far reaching implications for international governments, I felt my presence could serve to chronicle the other voices that were trying to be heard through less formal means. And, in the winter edition of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I asserted that this creative sound — from the gallery exhibitions to the street-performance demonstrations — was the only collective, non-political voice. There is no political body that serves as the voice of the holistic sense of Planet Earth quite like those of artists.
Upon my return to California, I participated in the Arts in the One World Conference at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). In this past year, its fifth, the theme was guhahamuka, a Kiri Rwandan word that refers to the breathless attempt to articulate the inexpressible. And again I came to these thoughts of giving voice to that which can not speak for itself, and trying to communicate things which are nearly impossible to communicate. I continually come back to the necessity of art to fill this void. I see creativity as not just that oversoul of our celestial orb and home, but that which gives all people and things a chance to communicate with others without requiring political power or similar agenda-ed platform.
Invisible 5, a project by Amy Balkin, is a prime example of this type of work. Organized as a self-guided audio tour through the California Central Valley along US Interstate Highway 5, this project highlights ecological issues related to the history of this thoroughfare from Los Angeles to San Francisco. This additional layer of spatial encoding transforms the experience of transiting across a typically uneventful stretch of highway into a shocking story of rapid ecological disturbance, injustice, and racism. It reveals a hidden past, lending the inspiration for the project’s title.
My own motor-touring experience comes with a personal history of making this driving numerous times. My father was raised in the San Jose area, and my paternal grandparents were laid to rest there. I grew up traveling back and forth fairly frequently. My brother and sister in-law now live in Oakland, and my wife and I travel when we can to visit and see our little nephew. Were I not to have met Amy and heard her speak about this project, I perhaps never would think about the secrets just beyond the shoulder of the road as I barreled along this route. Without this piece, there would only be silence, and I would have traveled on, ignorant of the veiled violence.
In Balkin’s project, we are told of the duality of this region’s former riches. We hear about building up the area surrounding this new thoroughfare, the impact of oil, the creation of large agribusiness, industrial farming, toxic waste, and deadly fog. The stories are told by activists, residents, officials, and rangers. Without this compilation, though, one might never know the tales this land now holds. There are those who would prefer we weren’t paying attention; things are rarely hidden for the sake of being hidden.
From the largest gatherings of political powers on the future of global ecology to the environmental maladies laid at the feet of small rural communities that aren’t expected to say much, it is important that silence isn’t encouraged. There is no advocacy in silence. There is no remembering in silence. The small island nation of Tuvalu, who became a household name through advocacy at COP15, is about to vanish due to the rising seas, and uses its little might to assert that it doesn’t want to be forgotten while the larger nations jabber. This example is most compelling because it was the closest to a pure voice that exists in these political talks. It is not talking about the threat to its economy, but simply survival.
We could start to talk about any number of instances where advocacy is needed. The Bhopal incident in India was only recently revisited when Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide and had to answer questions about this tragedy. In order to appeal to developers, structurally sound public housing projects were closed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The list goes on in terms of injustice and ecology, and a lack of advocacy predicated on environmental grounds.
This is what makes Song of the Bird King so important. It is an effort to amplify the voices of those affected by the over-fishing, commercialization, and subsequent acidification of Lake Sebu in the Philippines. But it also shows use the problematized arena that art must step into. It is easier to talk about the negative environmental impact of an action. There are more metrics for the destruction of habitat and ecosystems than the cultural consequences; We can talk about sea levels rising. We can talking about the annual fish kill of a body of water. We can talk about the toxicity of particulates in the air. But we cannot empirically state the effects on a population and how this affects its culturally sustainability.
We live in a world where so many are culturally and geographically disconnected from their lands of origin that we rarely consider the importance of place to people. As Susie and Roberto’s documentary notes, only four percent of populations live indigenously. But we find it difficult to even understand the connection of people to their non-indigenous homes, like the farming communities of California’s Central Valley or those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. When a storm is coming, we ask, “Why don’t people just move out of the way?” without valuing a personal or a cultural attachment to place.
This is the root of ecojustice, providing fairness to a person’s or people’s habitat, and, while images of drowning polar bears are heartbreaking, helping us recognize our humanity in environmental issues. Balkin’s work highlights those we don’t see in an area we see as vacant — the “away” where we keep throwing everything. We forget about the tragedies like Bohpal that continue to affect lives discarded by corporations on the other side of the globe. Who knew about the small islands in the Pacific until their inhabitants spoke up? Tuvalu and others are merely tropically anomalies with little to exploit. And, in Song of the Bird King, Susie and Roberto have the vision to look at Lake Sebu, not just as environmental issue, but one of those rare places still connected to a culture and people.
Please check out Ian Garrett’s current projects at:
This December, Wooloo.org organized free accommodation for more than 3,000 activists who could not otherwise have come to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Using this large-scale human meeting as the exhibition platform for our NEW LIFE COPENHAGEN festival, we invited artists to provide form and content to the interactions of more than 6,000 activists and host families. Not through physical works of art, but via social experiments engaging our participants to investigate new ways of living together.
Through diverse works and interventions, the participants in Copenhagen were – among many other things – given a special guide book for their meeting, challenged to consider an ecological burial in case of their immediate death, asked to pledge to never drink Coca-cola again and given a special guide book in the power relations among guests and hosts.
CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES Fifteenth session Copenhagen, 7.18 December 2009
Agenda item 9 High-level segment
Draft decision -/CP.15
Proposal by the President
The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen, In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2, Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention, Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups, Endorsing decision x/CP.15 on the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work, Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately.
We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.
We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity. We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.
Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures is a challenge faced by all countries. Enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to ensure the implementation of the Convention by enabling and supporting the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. We agree that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.
Annex I Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020, to be submitted in the format given in Appendix I by Annex I Parties to the secretariat by 31 January 2010 for compilation in an INF document. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.
Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those to be submitted to the secretariat by non-Annex I Parties in the format given in Appendix II by 31 January 2010, for compilation in an INF document, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Least developed countries and small island developing States may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non-Annex I Parties, including national inventory reports, shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article 12.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Those mitigation actions in national communications or otherwise communicated to the Secretariat will be added to the list in appendix II. Mitigation actions taken by Non-Annex I Parties will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification the result of which will be reported through their national communications every two years. Non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support. Those actions supported will be added to the list in appendix II. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.
We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.
We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.
Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010 . 2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered through effective and efficient fund arrangements, with a governance structure providing for equal representation of developed and developing countries. A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.
To this end, a High Level Panel will be established under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of the Parties to study the contribution of the potential sources of revenue, including alternative sources of finance, towards meeting this goal.
We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and transfer.
In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.
We call for an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015, including in light of the Convention.s ultimate objective. This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal referencing various matters presented by the science, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020
Annex I Parties Quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 Emissions reduction in 2020 Base year
Nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing country Parties
Non-Annex I Actions
HEADQUARTERS, a collaboration venue for artists and climate activist groups in Copenhagen, invites you to come play “GOOD COP”.
With civil society access to Bella Center growing increasingly restricted, the GOOD COP aims to make your voice heard during this critical week of negotiations.
GOOD COP opens following a bold media stunt on Monday by North American, European and African activists that placed the spotlight on countries standing in the way of a real deal in Copenhagen. The stunt – and the global attention that followed – challenged us to imagine the world as we want it, and proved that our alternative messages can and will have an impact. But this was only one statement of the many that need to be voiced in the final days of negotiations.
HEADQUARTERS welcomes the public to come voice their own statements on the GOOD COP stage. As heads of state arrive this week we need to keep our expectations high to push for our vision of a GOOD COPENHAGEN – a real deal at COP15.
Have your say at GOOD COP – show that an ambitious agreement at COP15 is not too good to be true.
Open 11:00 – 17:00
Gallery Poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts
Frederiksholms Kanal 4, st. th.
1220 Copenhagen K
GOOD COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009.
Addressing the launch of Future Arcola at City Hall London from Copenhagen, Matt Black, one half of acclaimed DJ duo Coldcut and co-counder of record label Ninja Tune, speaks of his hopes for a productive outcome from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference…
The RSA Arts & Ecology Centre has set up the web-based network, Arts For COP15, for artists and arts professionals who are producing work in the run up to and during the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 09.
It is designed as a site to
publicise arts events that relate to COP15
Share knowledge and resources with other artists and arts professionals
discuss how arts strategy around climate and social change can evolve
research into the range and success of these projects
use arts to increase the noise around COP15
encourage artists and arts professionals who are producing work that is about the environment over the next few months to consider using the event as a way of discussing COP15 with their audiences.
For more information, contact Wiliam Shaw, webeditor at the RSA Art & Ecology Centre.
A new song has been recorded by some of the biggest stars of music and film to support a global climate change campaign.
The project is part of the tck tck tck campaign, which is raising awareness of the need to combat rising carbon emissions levels.
This is particularly vital in the run up to the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this coming December.
‘Beds Are Burning’ is a cover of a 1987 Midnight Oil track – the group’s singer Peter Garret is now Environment Minister in Australia.