climate change

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Design Science

Meltdown Flags Visualize the Climate Crisis’s Toll on Glaciers Worldwide

March 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Meltdown Flags

A new digital project called Meltdown Flags envisions the disastrous effects of the ongoing climate crisis. Countries with glaciers see a reduction in the amount of white on their flags, which serves as a visual representation of the shrinking ice masses. Canada’s middle section begins at full width in 1995 before condensing in both 2020 and 2050. The United States’ white stripes similarly are a fraction of their usual height by the middle of the century.

Created by the digital design studio Moby Digg, Meltdown Flags also functions as an online tool replete with statistics about the percentage of glacier retreat from 1995 to 2050, the nation’s population, landmass, and emissions. Information on Argentina, for example, details the consequences of melting glaciers in the Andes. “Although the Perito Moreno glacier has shown an advance in the past years, ice in this region is being lost at some of the highest rates on the planet,” the page says. “And as ice vanishes, heat increases, resulting in long periods of drought, heavy rainfall, and flooding which could affect up to 130,000 people.”

The project outlines the severity of global warming, saying that based on the current projections, glaciers will be gone by 2100 and “with them, 69% of the world’s drinking water.” Meltdown Flags begins its timeline in 1995 when the first United Nations Climate Change Conference occurred. The UN hoped to reach net-zero emissions and keep the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celcius by 2050.

To follow the global awareness movement, head to Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Craft Science

People Are Knitting, Crocheting, and Weaving Tangible Records of Temperature Changes

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Josie George

In an effort to make the ongoing effects of climate change more visible, needleworkers around the globe are creating temperature blankets and scarves that track local weather patterns. Earlier this month, writer Josie George began an expansive Twitter thread about the project, motivating others to share their similar work. “I decided that this year, every day, I would knit a row on a scarf to mark the corresponding daily temperature/weather of my town,” George wrote in the original post. “It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year. A way to notice and not look away.”

Although the technique and materials vary, each project follows a basic pattern utilizing a key (like this free one) to track some combination of the temperature, sky conditions, season, and date. The personal projects are part of a larger movement to document micro weather changes that may serve as indicators of broader climate issues. Groups like The Tempestry Project have been crafting wallhangings tracking the daily high temperature of a specific location during the course of year, weaving the results into a yarn-based work resembling a bar graph. Check out this Instagram tag to see more of the activism-inspired projects. (via My Modern Met)

Image © Josie George

Image © qp nell

Image © Annie S

 

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Design

Bushfire Brandalism: Guerrilla Campaign Replaces Ads Across Australia with Climate Crisis Appeals

February 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

In an effort to draw attention to the ongoing climate crisis and the unprecedented number of bushfires across Australia, 41 artists transformed the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane into the nation’s biggest unsanctioned campaign advocating for immediate action. Last week, those behind Bushfire Brandalism (previously) replaced 78 posters across the three cities with original designs focused on the fossil fuel industry, heroic local firefighters, and the devastation of wildlife and natural habitats across the country.

As a collective group of Australian artists, we have been driven to reclaim public advertising space with posters speaking to the Australian government’s inaction on climate change and the devastating bushfires.

We do not accept that this situation is ‘business as usual.’ We are making these issues visible in our public spaces and in our media; areas monopolized by entities maintaining conservative climate denial agendas. If the newspapers won’t print the story, we will!

Many of the pieces were installed at bus stops and other public spaces complete with a QR code, allowing viewers to scan and access more than 30 charities aiding in the crisis directly. Considering one company controls 59 percent of daily newspaper sales in Australia, the artists also wanted to push back against general advertising practices, questioning media coverage of climate issues.

Artists involved in the campaign include Georgia Hill, Tom Gerrard, Sarah McCloskey, Amok Island, Andrew J Steel, Blends, Callum Preston, Cam Scale, Damien Mitchell, Dani Hair, DVATE, E.L.K, Ed Whitfield, FIKARIS, Fintan Magee, HEESCO, JESWRI, Ghostpatrol, Leans, Lluis fuzzhound, Lotte Smith, Lucy Lucy, Makatron, Michael Langenegger, Peter Breen, The Workers Art Collective, Stanislava Pinchuk, The Lazy Edwin, Thomas Bell, Tom Civil, WordPlay Studio, and Peter Breen, among others who remain anonymous.

Follow the activist action on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Art

Enormous Metal Sculptures by Selçuk Yılmaz Embody Chaotic Effects of Climate Change

January 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Selçuk Yılmaz, shared with permisison

By hammering and welding more than 20,0000 metal pieces together, artist Selçuk Yılmaz (previously) creates massive sculptures that manifest the energy of the natural world as it becomes more damaged by humans and climate change. The Turkey-based artist’s latest project, Blue Planet, took almost two years to complete and features a human figure in addition to Yılmaz’s usual animals, like a nearly 10-foot-tall lion that weighs approximately 220 pounds.

Yılmaz tells Colossal he wanted the project to speak to environmental destruction, so he placed a human hand at the bottom of the arranged piece to signify it being the root cause. A lurking vulture waits nearby, hoping to eat the other animals after they die. “The woman holds her hand on a blue planet as if (to) save everything. It’s like a chaos,” he says. For more of the artist’s imposing creations, head to Behance or Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Through Light Painting and Stenciling, Artist Fabrice Wittner Illuminates Life Near the North Pole

January 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Fabrice Wittner, shared with permission

Inspired by Inuit iconography, Fabrice Wittner (previously) describes his latest series as “an invitation to enter the polar night.” The Northern Lights, a project in which the artist superimposes figures onto the Arctic phenomenon, involves painting with a light source like a torch on an extended-exposure photograph, illuminating those he depicts. Wittner combined this technique with his use of leatherette stencils, which are inspired by archived Inuit images from the early 20th century, to create his complex and layered portrayals. Committed to environmentally friendly processes, Wittner produced his low-pollution cyanotype prints using found and recycled materials, such as scraps of Dilite aluminum plates and pallet wood.

Originally from Alsace, France, the artist is interested in the ways climate change will affect native polar populations. As the sea ice melts and water levels rise, the hunting resources in the area inevitably will be affected, changing daily life for these groups of people.

The interdependency between the lifestyle evolution, global warming, the threat upon wildlife, and the consequences on the northern populations should lead us to reconsider our whole society. Inuits from Greenland and the North American continent, Sames from Northern Europe, and ethnic groups from Siberia will be on the front line of global warming. As the first climate refugees, only their memory and the spirits of their ancestors will remain on their lands.

Wittner regularly updates his Behance and Instagram, where you can find more of his ecologically conscious projects.

 

 



Art

Paintings From Prado Museum Collection Given Climate Change Makeovers

December 8, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Felipe IV a Caballo (1635-36), Diego Velázquez. Images courtesy of Museo del Prado / WWF

Museo del Prado (Prado Museum) recently collaborated on a project with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) designed to coincide with the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Paintings from the museum’s collection were digitally modified to reflect a future world destroyed by inaction. Rising sea levels, barren rivers, and refugee camps transform works by European painters into a campaign to save the environment.

The project is titled “+ 1,5ºC Lo Cambia Todo,” which translates from Spanish to mean “+ 1.5ºC Changes Everything.” Paintings by three Spanish artists (Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez, and Joaquín Sorolla) and one Flemish Renaissance painter (Joachim Patinir) were chosen for the project by WWF and museum experts. The altered works were installed on billboards in Madrid and shared online using the hashtag #LoCambiaTodo as a way to expand and continue political and social conversations through art.

“For the Museum, this project represents an opportunity to continue placing art and its values at the service of society,” Javier Solana, Prado’s Royal Board of Trustees President, said in a statement. “The symbolic value of the masterpieces and the impressive artistic recreation that we present with WWF is an excellent way to transmit to everyone and especially to the young generations what is really at stake in this fight against climate change.” (via Artnet)

Update: CHINA Madrid Creative Director Nico Ordozgoiti shares that the retouchers involved with the project are Pedro Veloso (Goya), Marta Zafra (Velázquez), Julio Falagan (Patinir), and Conspiracy (Sorolla).

Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx (c. 1515-1524), Joachim Patinir

Boys on the Beach (1909), Joaquín Sorolla

The Parasol (1777), Francisco de Goya

 

 



Photography Science

Colored Micrographs Magnify Pollen Seeds, Plant Cells, and Leaf Structures in Photographs by Rob Kesseler

December 5, 2019

Grace Ebert

Medicago arborea. All photographs (c) Rob Kesseler, shared with permission

Using scanning electron microscopy and a mix of microscopic, scientific, digital, and manual processes, artist Rob Kesseler develops colored micrographs of the intricate patterns within pollen and seed grains, plant cells, and leaf structures. The highly magnified photographs feature specifics of cellular composition that are undetectable without magnification.

Kesseler tells Colossal that as a child, his father gifted him a microscope, marking a pivotal moment in his creative career. “What the microscope gave me was an unprecedented view of nature, a second vision,” he writes, “and awareness that there existed another world of forms, colours and patterns beyond what I could normally see.” The artist says his use of color is inspired by the time he spends researching and observing, and that just like nature, he employs it to attract attention.

Kesseler calls the intersection between art and science “a process and a product, a morphogenetic synthesis of two expansive cultures and a way of examining the world through a series of filters.” And he has hope for the relationship between the two disciplines, saying, “I like to think we are entering a new age where after a century of separation, artists and scientists are again working together, sharing ideas that reflect our age.”

Currently the chair of Arts, Design and Science at Central Saint Martins, Kesseler also is a fellow of the Linnean Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Microscopical Society. His most recent work includes a project with journalist Mathew Tucker of the BBC and a collaboration with Dr. Louise Hughes at Oxford Instruments. Both deal with the impacts of climate change on the plant world.

You can find more of Kesseler’s painstakingly created photographs on his Instagram and in his books featuring pollen, seeds, and fruit. (thnx, Mike!)

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Avena fatua

Scabiosa cretica

Salix caprea

Daucus carota

Anemone hortensis

Viburnum

Allium