Nature and its observation – I wonder whether people living in rural areas, who are much more in-tune with the seasons, weather, environment and ever going transformation happening around them can see / notice climate change? I am planning to talk to old farmers to see what they have to say about it, whether whatever has been happening had any impact on their lives, ask whether they have adapted (if there are for them any noticeable changes).
Technology keeps providing us with new, better and cheaper tools to observe and measure environment – sensors to gain access to that what is invisible. However we keep forgetting that the best sensor ever is all nature around us and us, people, ourselves. Perhaps it is a question of standing still now and again and observe what is going on with us and in our environment. It seems that in urban areas our bodies might be more vulnerable to CO2 and other chemicals in the atmosphere (as most of them are produced in such areas), but because of our busy lives we tend to dismiss “any symptoms”. At the same time in the first world the architecture, interiors and technology provide more opportunities for adaptation (and often these adaptations however create more CO2 offset).
I have heard about the documentry by Joan Sullivan “Living on the Edge” (https://vimeo.com/65818606) – about climate change in Eastern Canada. I read an interview with her and it seems that not only me have dilemmas about how to approach that subject.
“(…) like many artists, I initially thought that the best way I could contribute to “getting the message out” about climate change would be to photograph the most negative impacts of climate change — the droughts, the floods, the extreme weather — thinking that these kinds of dramatic images would force the general public to connect the dots between rising C02 levels and their own consuming behavior (what kind of cars they buy; what kind of vacations they take; what kind of diet they eat). I am no longer convinced this is the right approach.
I often like to quote GEO Magazine’s Peter-Matthias Gaede, who noted way back in 2007 that “People will turn away from environmental issues if the media reports only on disasters and problems.”
This makes perfect sense to me. As an artist, I have made the decision to use my camera to focus on the positive, on the way forward. That is why I have dedicated the second half of my life to documenting the rapid expansion of renewable energy in the context of climate change. The transition to a low carbon economy is already well underway and I can only hope that some of my images will speed up this transition. We discuss this in our documentary Living on the Edge.”
Funnily enough when Alice Sharp has invited me to be part of Invisible Heat, I thought about turning to photography for a change. There is some need in me to explore a poetry of a pure image unspoiled by code, interactivity or real time data measurements. Photography seems to me more contemplative, reflective, capturing the dynamic and interconnectedness of natural processes, air and whatever is immersed in it into stillness. It seems straightforward, uncomplicated, engaging and not imposing anything on the viewer. Obviously my mind have started questioning then my artistic integrity and whatever are my objects and subject of interests as well as my choice of media and tools. But for me it seems that perhaps at least as a working process, photography will give me a space to deeply observe – and that is very needed in this project.
I have mentioned a concept of air. While reading “Vital Beauty” (eds. Joke Brouwer, Arjen Mulder, Lars Spuybroek), I came across an essay by Tim Ingold “Lines and the Earth”. There he gives a lot of attention to air – as something which has been overlooked and ignored by thinkers:
“Beings that inhabit the earth, (…), must also inhabit the air. Long neglected by thinkers whose overwhelming focus has been on the earthly grounding of dwelling, the air is not just an element we interact with, as we might with other things. it is the very medium that makes interaction possible. Without it, birds would plummet from the sky, plants would wither, and we humans would suffocate.(…)if the medium is a condition of interaction, then it follows that the quality of that interaction will be tempered by what is going on in the medium – that is, by the weather. it is in this sense that weather is about not only attunement but also admixture. Even as we breath in and out, the air mingles with our bodily tissues, filling the lungs and oxygenating the blood, and in this metabolic mingling we are constituted not as hybrid but as temperate creatures. The weather, in short, “is the very temperament of our being” [Irigaray]”