New Media Art Practice as a Social and Cultural Agent in the Public Governance of Climate Change
In this paper we explore the role and potential of new media art and art/science collaborations to become influential cultural agents within the global race for dealing with the impacts of dangerous climate change. To illustrate this we draw upon the groundbreaking international exhibition ‘IMPACT: Living in the Age of Climate Change’ that has been conceptualized and curated as a response, and accompaniment, to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
Climate change is our collective problem. In an unequal and disparately diverse world, it cannot be fixed by governmental regulations or technological solutions alone. We need a fundamental change that understands and acknowledges that climate change is rooted in trans-global capitalism, human insecurity and unsustainable environmental and social practices. The problem requires a strong, concerted cultural response, which generates a sense of public leadership and ownership of this problem.
New media arts can play a key role in addressing this cultural challenge through its ability to present images and participatory experiences of the deep, complex interconnections between things, whilst suggesting alternate forms of global/local and trans-cultural engagements. ‘IMPACT’ exemplifies this possibility, presenting moving and powerful artworks, from the far North to the far South regions of our planet, demonstrating the diversity, efficacy, relatedness and intrinsic inter-dependence of our biophysical, social and electronic habitats.
By looking at key art works within the exhibition and the extensive exhibition/project website, the paper develops a case for media art practice and media art curation as being ideally positioned to reflect, record, interpret, critique and advocate around the deeper social causes and consequent impacts of climate change. We posit that through a curatorial premise that generates experience, engagement and embodiment of causes and impacts, media art can reach out to the hearts and minds of people and potentially influence the public to take action. We thus demonstrate a space for media art as a critical advocate for the public/collective global governance.
Keywords: New Media Art Curation, Cultural Leadership, Advocacy, Climate Change, Globalization, Global Public Governance
Dr Keith Armstrong
Senior Research Fellow, Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology