One year ago, I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to be in the Arctic with 28 other creators, activists, change-makers and environmental-enquirers. It was an artist residency that brings together people that want to make change on one of the most vital issues of our time: climate disruption.
We all know about it. Students are striking, deniers are denying, politicians are pandering and talking in circles to each other about it, scientists are releasing reports that are terrifying, (but there’s a little more on it below for you!) and as artists, Micro Galleries want to do something about it.
Being in the Arctic, right at the coal face, so to speak, where I could see the absolute and direct effects of the warming of our earth crumbling before me into the ocean, it made it more real than any report possibly could have. The Arctic is one of the last supposedly pristine environments, and I saw what every moment of inaction, uncertainty and blissful ignoring has done, and how much closer to the edge we really were. As a natural freezer for our earth, what happens here, affects everywhere. It is all interconnected.
So, why are so many people evading it? After three decades of communication efforts from various industries and governments, we still are at crisis point. Some of the world’s most prominent leaders at this very moment are still arguing that Anthropocene climate change even exists.
What’s going wrong?
And worse, why in all the developing places that Micro Galleries works, did very few people even know what was happening, have any access to information, or even a place in the global conversation about it? They were going to be the worst affected by the changes soon to come, are the most vulnerable, and yet have the least information and power for change.
But wait! We have an idea! It is Micro Galleries belief that art can change this situation and really add something important to the conversation and provide education and inspiration to make change around the world.
In the midst of the Arctic, this white, crumbling tragedy, there were creative and curious minds making magic and planting the seeds for new visions and ideas. I threw oranges with Adam Kuby, I buried Claudia Maria Calderon Dianderas naked in the snow, hair sprawling. I created messages with the environment, and then returned it as I found it. I pulled rubbish from beneath sand and rocks to show the incredulous existence of it in this place. It was powerful.
While each artist played, painted, experimented, I watched the unfolding of new ways of seeing the environment, of engaging with it, of being with it. They were making the intangible, the ephemeral wisps of a concept drowning in data and debate – real, immediate, shocking and part of us all. We were all creating and building a new reality and possible future.
Climate disruption art makes the biggest threat to our existence a cultural reality and provides a way for us to include the voices of the most vulnerable communities around the world.
So we are going to put climate disruption art everywhere and make it accessible to everyone.
WHAT WE WILL DO
Disrupting Climate Disruption: Global Day of Creative Action!
On September 21-23, 100 heads of state and government will meet for the 2019 U.N Climate Action Summit in New York. You may have noticed that whenever a huge global meeting happens, there are often large creative responses out front that get a lot of attention from the public and the media, and make the issue much more accessible globally than anything discussed by people in suits inside a closed room!
We are going to take this idea and spread it around the world!
On 21 September, creatives and community from across the globe will create, present and document a public, creative response to climate disruption.
5 Micro Galleries artists across Australia, Indonesia, Kenya, USA and Nepal will be creating public installations and works. Even better, we have options so ANYONE can participate.
The public (YOU!) can register on our open platform and present a work. It can be anything you can dream up – a mural, an installation, a projection, a song, a dance, a reading, a sculpture – anything! We will provide you with all the tools and information you need to make it a success.
Don’t have an idea but want to participate? No problem, as one of our artists, Adam Kuby, has created an open source project called “Sea Level 2080” so anyone can be an artist and activist! Just sign up, download all the information and installation guide. It’s simple, but powerful.
Oh, and here’s the BEST part: we are targeting 5 communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries to take part in the “Sea Level 2080” installation. We want to send them a package with all the materials and translated instructions on how to install the work.
We are going to put art in as many places as we can and come together as a global community to share a huge and important message: climate change is real, it affects us all, and we want to inspire change and reimagine a new future together.
These works, their development and public response will be documented and featured online live, be part of a virtual online exhibition, and form the basis of a micro documentary. This project will culminate with a virtual forum involving participating artists and organisations.
WHY ARE WE DOING IT
Studies show that climate disruption is a difficult problem to tackle, as it’s so intangible, driven by a lot of science and data that can be hard to absorb and understand, and the immediate danger is often affects other people, not us. It’s also clear that people in less privileged situations than us don’t have much information or change to express themselves on this issue – even though within only years they will begin to feel the consequences of a warming world.
Art is proven to be an excellent medium to encourage people to engage in positive ways with this issue. Not only that, when people are intrigued and inspired, it triggers a long-term and sustainable willingness to engage in an issue and make real change. Apocalyptic messages of doom and fear only trigger people in the short-term, if at all.
If people are provided an opportunity to engage on a subject with self-autonomy, freedom of interpretation, self-determination, and the work inspires; then this combination psychologically triggers a willingness to consider things in a new light, to embrace unconventional solutions – to really feel as though change is possible.
So basically, there’s loads of proof that art is an incredible way to include people in the conversation, ensure they are represented, and to educate and make change!
And we need your help to make this happen.
WHY DO WE NEED YOUR HELP?
In this era of austerity and climate change denying politics, funds are hard to gather. What makes it even harder is that very few funding bodies are interested in helping countries where they have no economic interests…so pretty much everywhere we think art on this subject is needed the most.
So like rebels with a cause, we are pushing ahead, emboldened by our convictions that art and creative expression is a human right and everyone should be involved in this global discussion on climate change.
This project is a labour of love and generosity from the artists involved and the creative team driving it, in order to make some positive social change for the community. So I guess we’re asking, instead of that luscious meal, nice bottle of red or a smashed avocado brunch, instead buy yourself some art from our incredible artists and help us take art and raise the voices of the people who need it the most.
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE USED?
Money raised will be used to pay for materials for the MG artists who are volunteering their time and talent, to create the works; postage, translations for instructional guides, and all material for the “Sea Level 2080” boxes which will be sent to developing communities, access to documenters in developing communities as needed, general documentation and development of documentary which will showcase the outcomes and continue the impact, and costs to conduct the virtual forum so we can continue to build on the project in the following year/s.
BREAKDOWN OF COSTS
Materials for Artworks: 2,500
“Sea Level 2080” boxes for communities in developing areas: 500
Postage of “Sea Level 2080” boxes: 300
Camera hire for developing communities: 500
Documentation and Documentary: 800
Convening Virtual Forum: 200
WHAT IS MICRO GALLERIES?
Micro Galleries is a free, independent, roaming global arts initiative that uses art as a vehicle to create positive change. We do this through creative interventions in public spaces, workshops, art tours, symposiums, think tanks, and residencies. We work together with communities who are in some kind of social or creative need, and together create new opportunities, imaginings, and creative possibilities. We are primarily volunteer-run.
A team of highly skilled creatives from around the world striving for positive social change and curating a better future.
Artistic Director: Kat Roma Greer
Kat is based in Asia and works as an urban disruptor and curator of public art interventions for positive social change. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Micro Galleries, curator of Urban Nasty, and was named as one of Australia's 100 Women of Influence for 2015, for her work in the cultural sphere.
Creative Producer: Luis Gomez / USA
Artistic Associates: Sarah Sculley / Australia - Helena Asha Knox / Nepal - Vivien Poly / Indonesia - Olga Trevisan / Italy - Dara Hanafi / Indonesia
Marketing and Communications: Max & Buddy Consulting
Creative Strategist: Zena Churchill / Australia
Director of Visual Narrative: Lara Furst / Australia
Website and Online Management: Kuukii / Germany
Risks and challenges
1 - Saturation of Subject and Information Fatigue from the General Public
• Ensure dynamic, provocative and inspiring artworks are included, with emphasis on participatory, engaging, and innovative ideas
• Ensuring the discussion is unique, accessible and inspiring
2 – Culture of Apocalyptic Messages in Climate Art
• Ensure all artworks align with the concept of “positive change’. Artworks that focus on “doom-ism” are shown to have no sustainable, and long-term affects in motivating people to change and awareness. They instead terrify people into immediate action through triggering guilt and shame, but it is not sustained and the status quo returns. Works that inspire have been psychologically proven to mobilise and motivate immediately, and long-term.
Other risks: Installing and operating in a non-traditional, community space. This presents many possible variables that we need funds to circumvent. Creating in these spaces - some in a state of disrepair, will need a range of materials, local expertise and ongoing consultation with community.
Our other main obstacle is that so many wonderful artists are giving so much! The best return we can give them is to ensure their artwork is wonderfully executed and that though they kindly donate their time and work, we are providing as much as we can! This funding will help us achieve this!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)