I always believed that to change a person’s mind, one must appeal to the emotions. The mind will nozzle its way in to post-rationalize a heartfelt move. Years of neuroscientific and psychology research confirm that judgments and choices are influenced by emotions. To ignite behaviour change, one must ignite people’s imaginations.
The whole world knows that we are approaching irreversible, unimaginable, and unprecedented ecological consequences if climate change goes unchecked and unopposed. Marshall McLuhan said that art can be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it. I ask myself, how might art today play a more materially active role in mitigating climate change?
Artworks have a bit of history with environmental causes. For the very first Earth Day in 1970, artist Robert Rauschenberg used his work toward supporting environmentalism. He was commissioned by the American Environment Foundation in Washington, D.C. to create a poster for the event. While it painted a grim picture, it also brought light to the issue and, no doubt, activated a few people: 10,300 posters were sold, and the proceeds went toward environmental groups.
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What if, in designing this new form of art activism, we used the tools of contemporary technology and its best features of speed, borderlessness, scalability and reach? Especially with emerging technologies that are climate neutral by design.
These are the questions I explore in my ongoing creative project Las Palmas Doradas, a physical and digital art project with an activism twist. The ultimate goal is to create ecological narratives for the digital age and to establish patterns of positive climate behaviour. I engage artists, curators, creators, environmentalists, technologists, futurists, and actors engaged in active regenerative “earth work”, materializing actual physical change.
I believe that, collectively, the creative community can co-create a new ecological language and actions which cause ripples in people’s hearts. And with this, I welcome you to the journey back home, to yourselves.