Daniel Crawford; photo clip from A Song of Our Warming Planet
Sometimes the arts can turn a cold set of data into a vivid experience. A remarkable example of this is how University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford uses his cello to communicate climate science through music. Crawford based his composition, A Song of Our Warming Planet, on surface temperature data from the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies. Each note represents a year from 1880 to 2012, with low notes assigned to relatively cool years and high notes to relatively warm years. The result is a haunting musical representation of the state of our planet, and a glimpse at where it is heading. I promise after listening to the piece, you will never be able to forget that temperature graph ever again.
Several articles have written about the project. If you’re interested in Crawford’s process, make sure to look at Climate Progress and ensia.
Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau 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.
“Calling artists to sketch a climate change design that will be created
using thousands of people in an iconic place threatened by climate change.”
***Deadline: September 6 2010 (midnight PST)***
In November 2010, 350.org will organize 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. We’re looking to recruit top and up-and-coming artists to design these images. Each public art piece will be photographed by satellite and on site. The images will be widely distributed to mainstream media outlets around the world. 350.org is one of the few organizations in the world with the grassroots network to pull off such an ambitious project. In 2009, we organized over 5,200 events in more than 180 countries, what CNN dubbed “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.”
To pierce the consciousness of the world on the eve of the next round of the United Nation Climate Talks, that we need action from our world’s leaders to get us to 350.
What the *%#? is 350?
350 is the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that we need to ensure that life as we currently know it continues. Some say it’s the most important number in the world. In 2008 NASA’s James Hansen reported that we need to keep the CO2 level in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million if we want a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed, and to which life is adapted.” We’re at 390 now. Yikes.
To learn more about 350 please see below or visit: www.350.org
We invite you to sketch a climate change inspired design that we will create using thousands of people in an iconic place threatened by climate change. Your design will be captured via satellite and shared with the world.
Below are some basic parameters to consider for creating the design.
MATERIALS – We respect that each artist works within their own medium, but for this particular project, we would like to incorporate the people in 350’s amazing international grassroots network to realize your design, in essence have people physically make up some or all of your design with their bodies. 350.org can organize several thousand people to participate. Because the designs will be captured from the sky, designs that have sharp contrast and bright colors are more likely to pop and be picked up by satellite. Designs can also be a combination of humans + materials.
SIZE – The ideal minimum size for capturing the art via satellite is roughly equivalent to a soccer field,
e.g. 110 meters x 70 meters (120 yards x 75 yards).
The Nitty Gritty of “Sculpting with People”: Each pixel in the satellite photo is 60cm x 60cm which translates into all “lines” for forming the designs ideally being at least 2 meters x 2 meters. If you are using humans, this means each “line” should be at least 5-10 people wide, (note this assumes the people are standing). If your design involves people lying down or incorporating materials into the design, these numbers might shift.
TIME OF DAY – The satellite images can be taken during the day or at night. (If you’re considering a nighttime installation involving illumination, we encourage artists to consider light sources that are not energy intensive.)
“350” We encourage (but do not require), artists to find a way to incorporate this critical number into their piece. If artists opt not to incorporate 350 into the design, we ask that the number be placed on the side as a signature. Artists can also engage traditional number systems to display the image, or investigate the concept of ¨parts per million¨.
Note: In order for 350 to be captured by satellite, the number needs to be at least 50ft x 30ft or 15m x 40m
Below is a list of the current locations where we will be creating the designs as well as climate change issues important to these regions:
Los Angeles, California
Desert, New Mexico
Gulf of Mexico (most likely on the water collaborating with fisherman and fishing boats)
Midwest – location tbd
Cancun (issue – sea level rise)
Altiplano near La Paz
Clearcut in Jungle (issue – deforestation) or City – Sao Paulo
Note because of limited daylight in November this will most likely be a light installation
Desert outside of Cairo
Mumbai (issue water and sea level rise)
Maldives (issue sea level rise)
Shanghai or Beijing
Antarctica (issue massive ice melt)
Although 350.org cannot monetarily compensate artists, we will give artists full recognition for their designs as well as support and augment artists’ work in a multitude of ways:
REALIZE YOUR CONCEPT
350.org has an international grassroots network of people who can realize your concept.
350.org has a stellar communications team with a successful track record of garnering press for their international actions. For example, last October, 350.org coordinated 5200 simultaneous demonstrations around the world, what CNN called ‘the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history’ on any issue. Due to 350.org communications team, these actions were also widely covered by a wealth of media outlets from local to global media giants like CNN.
350.org is an international campaign that’s building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand.
Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.
Our focus is on the number 350–as in parts per million CO2. If we can’t get below that, scientists say, the damage we’re already seeing from global warming will continue and accelerate. But 350 is more than a number–it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.
Entries will be judged using the following criteria:
a. Effectiveness in communicating a climate change message with a creative image.
b. Likelihood the design can be created in the specific sites 350.org has identified.
c. Likelihood the image will easily be captured by satellite according to the aforementioned guidelines.
Designs must be original work created by the artists. By submitting a design to 350.org’s EARTH, artists are granting 350.org permission to use this design for the 350.org EARTH project. 350.org will give full credit to the artists whose designs we use.
METHOD for SUBMITTING ART
Please note that we will only be able to accept online submissions: www.350.org/earth
We will be contacting artists whose designs we will be creating, Monday, September 13, 2010. Please note that due to our limited capacity, we will be unable to respond to non-finalists.
For questions please e-mail EARTH@350.org. Please note it may take us several days to respond to your questions.
350.org would like to thank the Artist Philip Krohn who conceptualized the EARTH logo, for granting 350.org permission to use this image for 350.org’s EARTH.
The Irish Times’ SHANE HEGARTY shows us what Soichi Noguchi sees.
On Wednesday he posted a picture of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, its black tendrils looked eerily beautiful as it stretched through miles of ocean. It is a unique image, giving a sense of its scale previously unseen and with a touch of humanity that a satellite cannot. The picture looks as if it was taken by an interested photographer rather than a disinterested automaton.
What Noguchi does is to bring science and art together in a way that appeals to 250,000 people each day. He is one of the best things NASA has right now; up there at least with the rovers still toddling across Mars or the Voyager and Pioneer spacecrafts on lonely, perhaps eternal journeys into deep space. And if you want, you can talk to him and he may even talk back. If you need any proof of how wonderful modern technology can be, it’s that you can send a message to a man floating 400km above your head, and that he might reply with a holiday snap of your entire country.
He is not the only tweeting astronaut, but he is a reminder of just how awesome science can be. Not “awesome” in the modern way in which it is used merely as an everyday replacement for a nod, but “awesome” in a way that leaves your mind breathless from trying to appreciate the scale of it. And of how much fun it can be.
We’re fans of the macro view of planet. Check out there previous posts:
Controversial painter Stella Vine, best known for her headline-hitting depictions of Diana, Princess of Wales, and supermodel Kate Moss, has now turned her artistic gaze to Gary McKinnon (pictured), the Brit accused of hacking into secret US military and Nasa computers. McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, prompting Vine to comment: “Dr Temple Grandin, an engineer with autism, said that a really high proportion of people working at NASA have Asperger’s. Perhaps they should be thinking of employing Gary not putting him in prison.” The UK Home Office has agreed to a delay in extradition proceedings for McKinnon. “I find it quite distressing to think of him in this situation,” added Vine.