As the climate crisis shows no signs of slowing down, it has required interdisciplinary action between academics and activists to prove that this is a race that can be won. The perspectives of social and physical sciences are increasingly valued, with philosophical and historical research intensifying the exploration into anthropogenic activities. To ensure that the approach to fighting climate change is truly collaborative, the powerful prospects of the creative arts need to be appreciated, as a voice for sustainable change.
From art installations, performance works and numerous film screenings, our world has been audience to social and political dimensions, explored and prevailed by creativity. Amid our planet’s suffering, artistic philosophers have stood to attention, producing some of the most stimulating and radical material the world will ever see.
Dear Climate is an ongoing creative research project that was founded in 2012 by Marina Zurkow, Una Chaudhuri, Oliver Kellhammer and Fritz Ertl. The project is comprised of a meaty collection of posters, sound recordings, letters to the future and guided meditations, meant to engage with the audience’s consciousness, challenging and playfully teasing around the metaphysical aspects of global warming and biodiversity. The work is free of the typical and unproductive political discourse that surrounds climate change and accepts flatly that crisis is happening now.
The posters are at once serious, in monochromatic clarity, making dire warnings, questions and call to actions (“The climate’s changing, shouldn’t we?”) and at times taking on flippant and satirical tones (“Climate change? Will it make me look fat?”).
Through artistic activism, Dear Climate has used these posters in the varied contexts of art exhibitions, schools and environmental protests. The artists have made all forms of art available to download for free from their website: https://www.dearclimate.net/ and further encourage people to “shop-drop” – taking posters into shops, offices and centers, in order to leave them there for others to see. By culture jamming, it has broadened their audience, making them aware of the immediate problems that warrant their attention.
Through the application of human imagination and by tapping into the interdisciplinary perspectives of our pressing climate emergency, has Dear Climate created the artistic nerve center to foster progressive change?