15 February 2012 – From The Conversation: “Artists are shape-shifters and in this there is a perennial, ferocious hope; the hope which transforms, which whispers of possibility, of vision, of change and radical healing. Existing art about climate change has this characteristic, acknowledging the truth and severity of the issue but also affirming within it something of grace, seeing the starlight within the night.”“ – Jay Griffiths, 2009
How can art communicate to a sceptical public the current state of climate? Scientists agree human influence is paramount in explaining climate change, but the public at large is not drawn naturally to science education. With this in mind, art’s power to target the emotions of an audience could be particularly effective.
Metro Gallery in Melbourne has been running an exhibition, “Climate Change: The Wonder and the Dread”. We are investigating audience response to the art works (and whether the art persuades in a manner not otherwise achieved through intellectual means), and the processes involved in the art making itself.
We think insights communicated in images and metaphor might contribute to the development and implementation of environmental policy by communicating in ways that have not been achieved by science communication.
The artists in the exhibition responded to the idea of climate change in diverse ways.