Announcement for the next steps
The Boomerang Effect
by Freddy Paul Grunert
What can be the contribution of culture to climate change?
by Peter Weibel
Culture and Climate Change
by Robert Palmer
The objective of Mind the Storm would be to generate by means of audio-visual media that which apparently cannot be mediated – the shift from nature to climate – into a kind of Web-archipelago. Nature, within whose limits and laws we interact, in whose nomos we immanently and manifestly move, along with its perceived “recorded” transformations, interdigitates itself by means of swarms with the other, elementary natural science poised in a “Copernican leap” through experimental physics and mathematical world formulas, together with its anomy of predictions and controls out of non-manifest structures that characterize the climate-turn.
This leads to an augmented reality, a new world appearance delivered – over / under -determined masses of membrane worlds, in copies of a divided cosmos or stray quests for meaning in a world of enhanced attentiveness, but also acknowledgement of the recognizable and the unrecognizable.
Mind the Storm opens up to a until now unseen landscape the meaning of which is not occupation, but an increased perception of significant phenomena by way of the formation of swarms, above all for the arts and technologies.
The platform may be understood as a large collection of pictures, whereby each picture is shown in its mutual relation to the others. The frame of reference is the illustration of descriptions of the world both by world organizations and territorial entities. This illustration originates in pictures drawn from the world of natural science (Sky & Space), as well as from pictures by environmental activists, the peace movement, and geologists etc. (Global Present Obvservatory)**. The separation between these worlds is rendered obsolete by way of linking each picture through relations. To obtain this, the pictures are ordered by:
1) Their chronological reference, 2) geographical reference, 3) a catalog of keywords of loaning institutions and persons and 4) a general keyword catalog of editors. The overlapping relations resulting from this form swarms. In addition, the viewer of the platform can himself become an actor by indexing his pictures with the above-mentioned attributes by means of which he then becomes part of a swarm.
Representations of the Swarms:
1) One-by-one: here, the user jumps from picture to picture. The picture is represented on a full screen, in which the references located on it are formed as swarms. The next picture is obtained via these swarms. Through the swarms the picture becomes less visible the more references it contains.
2) Map: On a dymaxion map – which show the world neither from above nor from below and in a least distorted form possible – the pictures are then placed above your geo data; the group of satellite pictures shown are then highlighted. By means of your links they are evaluated, scaled and, distorting the map positioned underneath, placed over the respective swarms.
3) Chrono-tabloid: The Website comprises a grid, which is filled completely with pictures. Navigation functions via a time window, whereby the pictures are chronologically ordered and represented as larger the greater the number of references are contained in your time window.
The free-flowing swarms form and figure themselves into ever new communitys according to frequency of data or links, such as, just to mention a few, aesthetic characteristics, political models or scientific censorships. They are then interpreted in relation to interest groups, such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO, Cape Farewell, etc, or to new terrains.
- Asia-Europe Foundation [asef.org]
- Dena Merriam, Global Peace Initiative of Women [gpiw.org]
- Global Observatory, PIK Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research [pik-potsdam.de]
- 350.org [350.org]
- Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003
- Culture|Futures [culturefutures.org]
- European Environment Agency (EEA) [eea.europa.eu]
- Council of Europe [coe.int]
- European Environment Agency (EEA) [eea.europa.eu]
- Council of Europe [coe.int]
The sounds you hear come from the deepest depths of the ocean.
What you see now is the earth surrounded by her ionosphere.
The sun you will see is a sun without her sunspots. Maybe this indicates a seven year long ice age followed by an abrupt rise of temperature of 4 to 5 degrees. Will mankind survive this?
Something goes definitely wrong along the way to Copenhagen.
I talked with my friends from the European Parliament with whom I have been working together for the last five years on the issue of climate change and climate justice to get to know how they would like to push mitigation measures. They told me that they will be admitted only as observers when the world will agree on the new Kyoto Protocol.
So nearly 500 million citizens will be represented by nationalistically split brains, framed by geopsychical and social borders that divide the rich from the poor instead of recognizing the global call to entangle visions of survival.
But maybe the leading geneticist Steve Jones is right in saying that human evolution is over, that the human mutation rate has dropped, that natural selection and random change are dwindling and that we are 10.000 times more common than we should be.
So if few people are enough to govern the world, there will definitely be no challenge - challenge in the etymological sense of slur and dispraise - for our model of dominion and the way of life we pursuit up to now.
As a result, climate change will speed up faster, and instead of investigating in probability and fat tail scenarios, even if they are not manmade, we try to get comfortably into the roller coaster, amusedly attending an inverted boomerang effect while the catastrophy is passing by. 
It is difficult to understand that actually we filled the financial hole in record time, expecting that revenues will boost again. Or the way we handled the ozone depletion, referred usually as the ozone hole, where we generated a world wide concern leading to adoption of the Montreal Protocol. Same when the flu hits: holes in the world health organization have been closed immediatly in a world wide collaborative effort, declaring the current influenza truly pandemic. So today, it is nearly impossible to plunge into the dark hole of apartheid policies like antisemitism or systemic racism.
Black holes and their event horizons enter simply our collective consciousness into which objects can fall but out of which nothing can come. Perhaps in these cases, worldwide acceptance is possible, because in the deepest depth of our heart we are doubting them to be real. But anthropogenic extinction, the fact, that humans can be destroyed in form of a global suicide attack is maybe written into our DNA, and refers to the beginning of man. And together with the fact that we know little about nature, this makes us repulsive to responsability, let’s better say: irresponsible
The transdisciplinary exhibition Climate Anomie. Climate Turn. Change It is willing to perform these outstanding questions and perceptions and will provide surprising insights into the complexity of existence and non-existence.
· A boomerang is a curved piece of wood used as a weapon and for sport [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boomerang, 10/13/2009]
· A boomerang is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_coaster, 10/13/2009]
· The BOOMERanG experiment is a sub-orbital experiment which studied the properties of cosmic microwave background radiation
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOOMERanG_experiment, 10/13/2009] ^
1. The situation
Concerning the debate about climate change, I think the situation is best described by the famous painting Blind Leading Blinds by Brueghel. In front of a catastrophe, which will destroy the planet earth, people deny this catastrophe and continue with an attitude “business as usual” towards the environment. Even when we know, that already now the number of climate migration is bigger than the number of political migration, even when we read nearly every week from new climate catastrophes from America to Asia, devastating cities and landscapes, we do not change our behaviour. The situation of the people who warn against climate change and fight for climate protection, looks similar to the situation of the minority of early christians. They attempted to save souls, environmentalists attempt to save the world. Christianity became a majority in western world. Therefore I ask, why is it so difficult to find a majority to save the world? The minority of environmentalists must evangelize people to become a majority. Christians used the power of the word and the power of the sword to become a majority. The environmentalist evangelists will use only the power of the word.
2. Culture and Climate Peace
According to Freud, art is a contribution to civilization and each contribution to civilization is a contribution against war (Sigmund Freud, Warum Krieg? Briefwechsel mit Albert Einstein (d/e)). Therefore art can be a contribution against the climate war and for a climate peace.
In Leviathan (… by Hobbes) we can find an aesthetic of the earth. On the first pages of this book, Hobbes speaks about the earth as an artwork of god. If a museum is a support system to protect artworks that do not vanish, in this logic god should take care of his artwork earth. But we cannot be sure, that god still loves his artwork and does his best that his work of art, the earth, does not vanish. Therefore, we are better off, that we take care of the patient planet earth.
The museum is a legitimate place as a support system for things that could vanish. Therefore, a museum can bet he right place to fight for the earth and climate peace. We need an emergency design.
A museum is in fact a cultural Arc Noah, collecting and protecting works of art. Now, the museum has to engage to become paradoxically an Arche Noah for the earth, an ecological Arc Noah.
3. Climate and Survival
Climate Change is much more than an environmental issue. It is also about human rights, the right to live, the right for water and food, about civil rights and democracy. At stake are not only ecological, economical, environmental issues, the core problem of climate change is the survival of mankind. We have to form a club called “Friends of the Earth”.
Science helps us to understand the facts of climate change, but what can culture do? Science tells us that temperatures are increasing, the sea level is rising and permafrost is melting. Experts tell us that there are already more than 25 million environmental refugees, people who are moving away from drying wells and failed crops. One-sixth of the world’s population gets its water from melting snow and ice, and scientists predict that such sources will not be there in the years to come.
Scientists demonstrate how climate change threatens the existence of the ecosystem and the livelihoods of people who depend on agriculture, and warn that in some countries, climate change is viewed as a potential human security issue, which might transform into a global security issue.
Science offers the facts, but we need more than facts to take action. What we decide to do will depend on what we think is right after considering the facts, including how we think about social justice, the way we understand responsibility, and our personal views on what we value. These are moral and ethical questions. There are also specific ‘cultural questions’ that need to be addressed when considering the challenges of climate change.
Culture relates profoundly to the human dimensions of climate change. The notion of culture in such a context can be defined as ‘the common way in which a community of persons makes sense of the world.’1 Although the different means of cultural expression we use (words, images, sounds) will help communicate ways of making sense or exploring the ideas of things, the ‘cultural questions’ that encircle climate change are wider. Culture has material, social, ideological and artistic dimensions, all of which influence what people think, value, and believe, and how they respond to the call for action.
Culture has always played a role in informing human practices connected with global change. It can be viewed as a cause of climate change, for example, the impact of the culture of consumption, but also as something that can be itself affected by climate change, for example, the demands for changing current patterns of energy consumption. In addition, through its various means of expression, including those by artists, cultural processes can convey and help us understand the nature and impact of climate change on individuals and on the world as a whole, as well as the measures that we might undertake to address the challenges of climate change. More specifically, there are cultural activities at both the individual and community level that can help drive positive environmental change, transform attitudes and promote positive action, in the same way as cultural activities can influence action in other areas of concern – discrimination, gender equality, the rights of children. Exhibitions, films, lectures, festivals and literary fiction and non-fiction can all be powerful influencers of public opinion.
The cultural issues bound up in the climate change debate also draw from the study of anthropology, which focuses on how adaptation to environmental stresses can be influenced by cultural causes. Cultural belief systems affect the public debate that surrounds environmental issues.
Issues such as attitudes to quality of life, levels of public anxiety, public perceptions of environmental sustainability, the mistrust of governmental initiatives, the sense of personal urgency and most behavioral responses to problems are cultural phenomena. Culture is a force within any process of social change that can mobilise collective action by promoting advocacy coalitions, networks and other forms of change-making interactions.
Every society has a culturally unique way of thinking about the world that unites people in their behaviours and attitudes. Cultural values are powerful tools for conserving the environment, and any study of native peoples demonstrates how ‘native wisdom’ from time immemorial has been used to protect the environment. Such commitment to preserve the environment is affected by cultural elements including beliefs, religion and taboos. The cultural dimension of environmental issues has been a strong pillar of the environmental management debate for sustainable development.
When examining climate change through a ‘cultural lens’, rather than through an environmental, economic, social or political lens, a number of specific questions come to mind. Here are a few of them:
· How do values, including non-material values, affect decisions and actions about climate change?
· What role does culture play in strategies for adapting to climate change, and in overcoming barriers to change?
· How might climate change impact on aspects of cultural rights within the debate of the impact of climate change on broader human rights issues?
· What do the irreversible losses of cultural and natural heritage caused by climate change mean to societies?
· How does the impact of climate change on the culture of a society differ from other impacts and changes (technological, demographic, social)?
· What can cultural practitioners, such as artists, designers and architects, contribute to the search for creative solutions to the negative impacts of climate change?
· Can art offer a way of communicating more powerfully the effects of climate change, and is the role of art and artists wider than communication?
· What might alliances between scientists, political leaders, economists and artists achieve that none of these groups would be able to achieve individually?
· What are the opportunities for working across the boundaries of culture, education, identity and geography to create alliances and collaborations?
It is such cultural concerns and the need to address particular cultural questions that offers the rationale for the Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage becoming involved in the climate change debate, in collaboration with others inside and outside the Council of Europe.