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:
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 news, events, short 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.