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Safety Gear for Small Animals, 1994 by Bill Burns, featured in RETHINK

burns Safety Gear for Small Animals, 1994 by Bill Burns, featured in RETHINK

If you haven't found them yet, the people behind RETHINK, Contemporary Art and Climate Change have set up a number of debate pages on their website at http://www.rethinkclimate.org/.

There is also plenty of extraordinarily rich material on the site to debate. Take this essay from Søren Pold which starts by namechecking Petko Dourmana's Post Global Warming Survival Kit (mentioned round these parts earlier this year):

Digital media art like Petko Dourmana’s installation offers the opportunity to experience another, new nature, or at least it gives us a new and up-to-date perspective on nature. In addition to being a crisis for the globe and for humanity, the climate crisis is also an epistemological crisis, and we need to change our perception of our environment in order to better understand and deal with it. In other words it is also a cultural, epistemological challenge.

The nature, the weather, that previously we have regarded as something out there simply beyond our reach, as something that was in opposition to culture when we analysed poetry in high school, this has now turned into yet another structure of signs to be read and interpreted. We cannot see the greenhouse gasses or their effects directly with our senses so our understanding of the climate challenges are very much based on climate models, and we must act on this background in our daily lives as well as, obviously, politically and culturally. The climate crisis introduces us to the fact that our immediate surroundings are being mediated by complex visualisations, interfaces, statistics and carbon quotas – thus an imaginary computer interface lurks in the blue sky, even deep in the country with no computers in sight!

This isn't the point that Pold is trying to make but there is also an inescapbable sense in which our vision has become polluted by the science we now need to understand it.

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