Stand-up comedy merges with poetic metaphor as the production unpacks the unspoken fears that we keep hidden away and confronts the reality of a world on the brink of profound irreversible change.
This is a theatrical event of contrasts and revelations and sets sustainability in the context of simple, everyday activities and events and provokes us to look at our own lives in a new way.
Challenging, hilarious and passionate, the spoken word is woven into a symphony of startling images and illuminating film clips that feature and celebrate the diversity of the human condition and the tireless work of local activists who in the face of fear, offer hope. Who’s afraid? We all should be but especially climate change deniers and cats!
A Multi Media Performance by Rhodri Hugh Thomas in Collaboration With Carolina Vasquez Based on the poem and art work “Who’s Afraid?” by Susan Richardson and Pat Gregory.
This production has been made possible by a development grant from the Arts Council of Wales.
Open to all.
This performance has travelled to World Stage Design 2013 from within the UK.
The Conference will take place at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, Germany (June 28-29 , 2012)
Climate change is an inherently global problem. However, climate change impacts as well as mitigation efforts are always perceived and dealt with locally and in a culture-specific way. Global warming interacts in multiple ways with North American ecological and social systems. On the one hand, the U.S. and Canada belong to the world’s largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, the Arctic north of the continent as well as the Deep South is already heavily affected by a changing climate. Despite the US’s and recently also Canada’s rejection of international binding climate targets, on the local and regional level, some of the world’s most ambitious climate initiatives can be found in North America.
Striking about the symbolic representation of climate change in the USA is a relatively huge cultural variety. While in Europe climate change deniers are largely marginalized and without influence on mainstream politics, American views on climate change and the environment become increasingly polarized according to political beliefs. And whereas the U.S. hosts some of the world’s leading climate science institutions, religious explanations of why global warming is or is not happening, repeatedly have found supporters in media and politics, too.
How can these contradictions be explained? The participants will deal with these questions in the course of the conference that focuses on the human dimensions and cultural representations of climate change and the environment in North America.
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
Wallace Heim writes: The TippingPoint last month, co-hosted by the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, made a step-change from previous TP events. Many of the same elements were there, but something shifted. Something sparked in the combination of TP’s open structure and those participants, those presentations, the talk, the room and the city. It felt as if many things were converging, and instead of being an event proposing or speculating that culture and the arts could be important responses to climate change, it was an event going with and propelling the diverse and energetic work that is being made, and being dreamt of.
The presentations in more conventional conference form, many now online, were provocative, each presenting a distinct direction and raising questions that filtered through the rest of the event. Kevin Anderson and Matt Ridley’s heated head-to-head (“Two men slugging it out over data” as one participant named it) exemplified adversarial strategies and the ways in which the ‘deniers’ and those who accept the consensus views of science tend to define one another’s arguments, leaving a blank between them. It also brought out the difficulties of seeing and critiquing the rhetoric and argumentation in debates that rely on scientific data.
Lucy Conway presented the artwork that is the Isle of Eigg, and how the population there is realising low-carbon, high socially and culturally benefitted living. Ben Twist from Zero Carbon Scotland +TBD, introduced the problem of whether art can, or should, be linked to behavioural change. Erica Whyman from Northern Stage showed how the major cultural organisations in Newcastle are collaborating across their business and institutional interests, and building a network that could include developing plans for material sustainability. The idea of organisational collaboration returned in Alan Davey’s announcement of Arts Council England’s decision to embed environmental sustainability into its funding agreement.
On the last day, Sue Gill, of Dead Good Guides led everyone in singing a version of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ before John Fox gave his reflections on the transitions in art-making from commercialised spectacle to vernacular art, to ‘random acts of culture’. “Even if the markets fail, we must not tolerate the failure of imagination.”
The three days were planned to allow for chance conversations and random mixing in small groups, like the ‘Show and Tell’ session, where participants bring an object with meaning for them relating to climate change. Some of these personal and emotive exchanges drifted into the wider discussions. The three Open Space sessions had themes, the first two mostly ignored: ‘In what ways might I influence the future’ and ‘Exploring Possibilities’, in favour of people’s more immediate concerns. The third, ‘What am I going to do about the future’, drew out dozens of groups talking about their projects, and help that could be given to them.
The openness of TP makes reporting back very subjective. It did feel as if something happened, more than presentations and networking. The unrepeatable, and well-facilitated, combination of the people, the ideas, the timing came together to make an event that showed and advanced the many edges of social and artistic action.Audio recordings of the presentations, tweets, blogs, interviews and commentaries with participants and some of the evenings’ entertainment are on Amplified. Photos above posted on Amplified by quitexander.
“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)
ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.