black + white, coastal, critical writing, exhibitions, landscape

connections

June 9, 2016

One of the interesting  movements  is the emerging  connections  between the contemporary  arts and sciences around climate change driven by human activity.   These emerging connections stand in opposition to “denialism,” a highly ideological formation dedicated to defending deregulated  economic growth and the protection of the entrenched power of the fossil fuel corporations that made Australia into a modern  industrial capitalist  society in the second part of the 20th century. This is  the assertion of naked  political power for short-term self-interest.

A local example of the emerging  connections is the upcoming  Dire exhibition at the South Coast Regional  Art Centre  (Old Goolwa Police Station), which  is part of the Alexandrina Council’s Just Add Water 2016  festival. It is entitled Dire because our western civilisation  during the  Anthropocene  is still unable to  live within its ecological limits;  in spite of the new climate reality and  Australia being identified as one of the developed countries most at risk from the adverse impacts of climate change.

This is an out take from an eco-photoshoot in the Coorong, in South Australia,  for  the Dire exhibition:

 

Melaleuca, Coorong

Melaleuca, Coorong

In southern Australia the reduced rainfall scenario isn’t good news  for  the ecological health of the rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, whilst  the coastal cities and towns on both  the eastern and southern seaboard face threats from  the rising sea levels. What is happening to  the ecological health of the Coorong  from the reduced environmental flows  gives rise to feeling blue—- depression, sadness, melancholy–associated with  a sense of deep time and climate crisis.

Climate change is deeply disturbing and very hard to live with. We know and understand the implications of the science but we continue living–habitus— as we have been—an emotional denialism with its resistance to change.  So we  continue to live in parallel worlds. We think in one way and live in another. 

The connections often take the form  of  networks of Australian creative responses to climate change, such as the Australian Environmental Humanities hub and Climartev.  The  former  is a site for the gathering, dissemination and coordination of newseventsshort courses and other happenings in the emerging field  of the Environmental Humanities.  The latter is Melbourne based and  it brings together a broad alliance of arts organisations, practitioners, administrators, patrons and academics from across the spectrum of the arts sector, including the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, and cinema.  They organised the  Melbourne based Art+Climate Change Festival in 2015. 

We now face increased global temperatures  beyond the small 1% changes of the   mediaeval warming and the little  ice age of the 16-18th centuries. This global gives rise to doubt an emotional denialism and habitual avoidance about our unwanted  dystopian future. One response to  being  faced with a reality  of a climate crisis that is too uncomfortable to accept, we  reject it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence of science.

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