RESEARCH PROJECTS

 

Unseasonal Fashion: collaboration on envisioning new forms of environmentally inspired fashion [with Copenhagen Institute for Disaster Research]

Fashion represents a domain of everyday life in which people adjust constantly to the weather and climate of their local environments. From quotidian decisions about what to wear or whether to bring an umbrella to high fashion experiments with survival gear and environmental motifs, fashion is a powerful and timely register of emerging climatic imaginaries. Where and at what times of the year are weather predictions reliable enough to help avert discomfort, drenched shoes and seasonal illnesses associated with body heat regulation? How does the increasingly instability of the global climate inform both practical and aesthetic fashion choices?

In collaboration with the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE), Dehlia Hannah, Peer Illner, Jacob Lillemose, and Kristian Cedervall Lauta have launched COPE Collection, a conceptual fashion label that will interrogate the aesthetics, politics and economics of contemporary environmental disasters. Engaging artists, fashion designers and companies, the COPE Collection will present its first line at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2016.

 

Epistemologies of Anticipation:

Anticipatory practices, from tarot to climate modeling, render and organize information about the past, present and future according to heterogeneous epistemic norms and constraints. How is it possible to have knowledge of the future? What kind of epistemic authority is granted to art, science and other ways of knowing and in which contexts are these modes of anticipation forceful? While it is well appreciated that prediction is fraught, climate change and the challenges to sustainability make it increasingly important to confront the dilemmas of decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. There is a need to explore incalculable futures.  This project examines the mysterious allure of divinatory practices through a close read of an artistic adaptation of tarot geared to question environmental futures.

Preliminary research was presented and a tarot reading was performed at the Desert Cities Symposium (November 20, 2015) as part of a panel on Phoenix 2050 in collaboration with Adriene Jenik and Dave White,

 

From Frankenstein to Geoengineering

Planetary Design: Climate 3.0, January 12-13th, 2016, Tempe, AZ

The call to imagine and respond to the prospect of our planet enduring A Year Without a Winter offers a creative provocation to artists, engineers, and scholars across disciplines. At the inaugural workshop of ASU’s new PlanetWorks initiative, Cynthia Selin and Dehlia Hannah will address this challenge to participants considering possibilities of near- and long-term Climate Design. In collaboration with Ariel Anbar, Stephen Romaniello, Hilairy Hartnett, Cynthia Selin and Dehlia Hannah will facilitate creative discussions and exercises in exploring the past, present and possible futures of human intervention and management of the earth’s atmosphere.

In collaboration with:

Ariel Anbar, Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Arizona State University

Hilairy Hartnett, Associate Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Arizona State University

Stephen Romaniello, Research Administrator, School of Earth and Space Exploration

 

EXHIBITIONS and PERFORMANCES

Online Prologue Exhibition, 2016

During the year 2016 the online Prologue Exhibition for A Year Without a Winter will assemble a visual bibliography of artworks that address diverse formal and thematic dimensions of the project. The exhibition will unfold monthly and include historical examples of artworks that reflect the global aftermaths of the eruption of Mount Tambora as well as contemporary work that engages with the environmental crises of today and tomorrow. The momentous events of 1815 to 1818—and beyond—are memorialized in the novel form by Mary Shelley and registered visually by early nineteenth century landscape painters such as J.M.W. Turner and Caspar David Friedrich. As inspiration for new artwork commissioned for forthcoming exhibitions in Arizona, Denmark, Indonesia and elsewhere, the Prologue Exhibition investigates how emerging practices of mediation and representation capture 21st century modes of environmental, political and aesthetic attention.

What aesthetic forms, media and technologies do we need in order to imagine A Year Without a Winter? Parts of this story are already being told through contemporary art that examines climate change, seasonal destabilization, the militarization of the arctic and the atmosphere, migration patterns of commodities and living things, and radically different futures. Each month of 2016 will showcase an exemplary approach to finding our way through the horror and sublimity of the Anthropocene.

 

Reading the IPCC Report, Amy Balkin

“While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are revealing documents about the current science and geopolitics of climate change, their length makes them unlikely to be consumed beyond specific readerships. Reading the IPCC attempts to make these documents more public through a participatory public reading.” -Amy Balkin

As part of the ongoing series of performances and installations building momentum towards the 2018 exhibition of A Year Without a Winter, we will host two instances of Amy Balkin’s Reading the IPCC Report (2009-Present). Following the COP21 meeting in Paris in December, readings will be held in Copenhagen and Berlin.

 

A Year Without a Winter, 2018 Exhibition, ASU Art Museum

As part of the Frankenstein Bicentennial Project the ASU Museum will host an exhibition of contemporary art commissioned for the theme of A Year Without a Winter in the spring of 2018. Taking the reversal of attention form foreground to background as a curatorial principle, the exhibition will explore how profound disturbances in earth systems open up new modes of thought and perception and motivate creative new ways of world-making.  Mary Shelly's literary response to the global cooling event of 1815-1818 evidences the power of the arts to shape cultural encounters with emerging science, technology and environmental matters for centuries to come. How will artistic responses to climate change and the multiplicity of anthropogenic environmental changes collected under the concept of the Anthropocene condition the way we imagine and intervene in the world's possible futures? Complementing activities focused on the historical and literary aftermaths of Frankenstein, the art exhibition expands the scope of media and aesthetic forms through which artists may respond to the fictive--yet all too plausible--scenario of A Year Without a Winter.

In collaboration with:

Gordon Knox, Director, ASU Art Museum

Heather Lineberry, Associate Director and Senior Curator, ASU Art Museum

 

WORKSHOPS and EVENTS

Restaging the Dare

During the summer of 1816 ominous environmental conditions formed a practical constraint and a source of inspiration for three great works of Gothic literature: Mary Shelly's novel Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), John Polidori's short story The Vampyre(1819), (an influence on Brahm Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula), and Lord Byron's poem Darkness (1816). Kept inside by the unseasonal cold and rain, the authors and their companions passed three days at Villa Diodati, pictured above, where they devised a competition to write the best horror story, a contest would be remembered as "The Dare." In collaboration with the Center for Science and the Imagination and Creative Nonfiction, A Year Without a Winter will re-enact "The Dare" by staging creative writing competitions in geographical locations worldwide where contemporary environmental crises are unfolding. Following the format of the two-year incubation period of Shelly's story, publications are planned for 2018. Collaborating institutions are invited to participate in this project by adopting (and adapting) this format for artists and writer's residencies and creative competitions that will call attention to the catastrophes that we can foresee as a consequence of climate change. Can we anticipate and perhaps even avert the true disaster of A Year Without a Winter by inhabiting and responding to this fictional scenario in the present?

In collaboration with:

Ed Finn, Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, Assistant Professor, School of Arts, Media + Engineering / Department of English

 

PEDAGOGY and PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

Prototype Project on Cultural Perceptions of Climate Change Imagery, IT University, Copenhagen

Elin Tårnes, Stud. cand.IT i Digital Design & Kommunikation | IT-universitetet, B.A. i Performance Design & Informatik | Roskilde Universitet

Sofie Glerup Larsen, Stud. cand.IT i Digital Design & Kommunikation | IT-universitetet

ABSTRACT: Climate change is often presented through visual imagery, dominated by a, sometimes fearful, arctic discourse. This use of iconic representation makes the perception of climate change interesting to conduct within Denmark and Greenland due to their climatic diversity and national connection. This paper investigates the perception through empirical collected data and theory concerning ecological displacement, cultural anticipation and the power of visual material.

Our findings showed that the perception of the participating Danes were influenced by the arctic iconic representations, as well as using ecological displacement across space and time in their reflections. While visuals are often used to evoke emotions, a fearful approach can result in disengagement and even denial, which why we arguably are living a double life. Our research showed that perceptions are bound to personal experiences and cultural locality, which is why we encourage to conduct further studies of perception in everyday life, in order to create effective communication with the purpose of leading to behavioral change.

This project concludes with an exhibition proposal, inspired by the genre intentional art, seekinDOes this templar

Survey: https://docs.google.com/a/asu.edu/forms/d/1_ZKqG4inIfjTPW7wVX1DYji4Qyt20kGUaGWrYn22Qus/viewform

In collaboration with:

Laura Belloff, Artist, Associate Professor, Head of Section: Culture and Games, IT-University, Copenhagen