Between Monday 20th and Friday 24th April 2020 we posted contributions from Rebecca Chesney, Hilary Jennings, Jacqui Jones, Adam Ledger and Brit Griffin. You can find the full, week-by-week listing at Quarantine Connection.
Day 10 — Brit Griffin: Radio Free Cobalt – Covid, Mice and Home
Brit Griffin is author of two near-future cli-fi novels and a writer of poetic/story musings, whose interests lay in reconciling with non-humans and exploring the human/creature boundaries. She is based in Cobalt, in Ontario, Canada.
Brit says of making this video piece:
“Still snow here, but at least we can wander and ponder without the stress of confinement experienced by many urban folks. So I wander, count my blessings and try to learn what I can from this oddly suspended time.”
Radio Free Cobalt – Covid, Mice and Home
Day 9 — Adam Ledger: Gulp! by The Bone Ensemble
Adam Ledger is co-artistic director of The Bone Ensemble and a senior lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts. Adam is interested in how art practices can bring empowering messages about climate. He is based in Birmingham, England.
Adam says of this video of the full live performance:
“Gulp! was created in September 2019, and toured to theatres, schools and rural venues until the COVID-19 situation obliged the closure of venues… It follows Maya’s journey, as she finds out about water in an age of plastic and climate change. This original performance is for children aged 7+ and their families, and is suitable for d/Deaf and EAL audiences: please also see the follow-up activities, resources and education pack via the drop-down menu for Gulp! at Performance and Environment. A book of the performance, illustrated by Emily Jones and supported by Severn Trent Water, is available online.”
Gulp! by The Bone Ensemble
This performance of Gulp! was premiered on the University of Birmingham’s Facebook page on Earth Day, 22nd April 2020.
Day 8 — Jacqui Jones: Trajectories
Jacqui Jones is a multi-media artist immersed in current social, political and scientific thinking, whose work encourages thought, conversation and action, focusing on the climate crisis and single-use plastics. She is based in Norwich, England.
Jacqui says of this piece:
“The TRAJECTORIES series originally evolved from research into climate change and illustrates the upward trajectory of related scientific graphs. The work was created in 2019 but the soaring lines have poignant similarities with data relating to the current Covid pandemic. Environmentally it was a frightening time before this epidemic but the current coronavirus climate makes us additionally fearful for the future.”
Click on image to access information and full-screen slideshow
Day 7 — Hilary Jennings: Museums and the Imperative for Change
Hilary Jennings is a freelance project manager and Director of the Happy Museum Project, investigating how the museum sector can respond to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future. She is based in London, England. Here, Hilary shares a recent blog post for the Happy Museum Project, announcing a new project before the outbreak of Coronavirus and reflecting on the impact of Covid-19.
Museums and the Imperative for Change — a provocation
“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destinations.” (John Schaar, 2004)
‘It’s the final call’, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. We need to make urgent and unprecedented changes to respond to the existential threats of climate crisis, species extinction, the end of cultures and civilisations. We face increasing inequality, declining wellbeing, stagnant life expectancy and social polarisation.
How do we overcome any sense of individual and collective powerlessness and build momentum with others in and beyond museums in the face of challenges that are both extremely long term and globally systemic? One thing that may help galvanise response is a celebration of the adaptability and ingenuity of humans (and other species) in responding to and innovating to meet challenges through history.
Museums are at their heart places which evidence change – arguably, museums would have no reason to exist without change. At our first Happy Museum symposium in 2012, Andrew Simms spoke of museums ‘giving lie to the myth of permanence’.
In our first decade, Happy Museum focused on creating the conditions for well-being. Now arguably our challenge is to focus on creating the conditions for urgent transition – not merely in response to crisis or a defensive action to maintain power inequalities, but in a way that is equitable and sustainable.
With this framing in mid-March Happy Museum launched a new project Museums and the Imperative for Change, part of the forthcoming Season for Change in the run-up to COP26. Through the project museums will use their collections to explore societal change, to investigate what factors have contributed to just and sustainable change throughout history, and to consider how we could support such changes now and in the future.
In the few short weeks since that launch, we find ourselves in the midst of seismic global change. We are experiencing shifts in individual and communal response, government intervention and cultural norms which would have been unimaginable only weeks ago. Largely locally and physically isolated, we are simultaneously experiencing an explosion in online communication at global scale.
In this new blog we pull together responses to this historic moment from academics, writers and activists who are turning to the past in search of deeper understanding.
Meanwhile Happy Museum founder Tony Butler here explores how the limits we are currently facing might help us frame a new future for our cultural organisations.
Day 6 — Rebecca Chesney: I’m Blue, You’re Yellow
Rebecca Chesney is a visual artist interested in the relationship between humans and nature, how we perceive, romanticise and translate the landscape and our influence on the environment. Rebecca is based in Preston, England.
Rebecca says of this piece: “In 2012 I was commissioned to make I’m blue, you’re yellow, a two-acre (8,093m2) meadow planted in Everton Park in Liverpool. The idea came as a result of my research during a residency at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2010/11 where I proposed the creation of habitat to help encourage and support local populations of bees and other insects. Although the meadows couldn’t be accommodated on the YSP Bretton Estate, the Everton site was identified as being suitable for the development of the meadow intervention. I wanted the meadows to create a striking visual impact on the landscape and decided one acre to be entirely of blue flowering species, the other entirely of yellow flowering species, with each acre being square in shape. The creation of the meadows in 2012 was supported by Landlife, Liverpool Council, Friends of Everton Park, the Liverpool Biennial and Arts Council England.
“The meadows have continually changed over the years: annual plants slowly declining, the perennial plants establishing and thriving, some species disappearing and other wildflower species coming in. The meadows are never static: with the sounds of the city in the background, they change colour with the weather, move and sway in the breeze and are alive with foraging insect life. In 2016 the meadows were extended to cover more areas of the park and they continue to provide a rich source of food for many different species: bees, butterflies, moths, ants, beetles and hoverflies etc… which in turn attracts birds and bats to the site. Situated close to the city centre and surrounded by a large population, the meadows, which are free to visit and open all day, provide an attractive place to go to observe and enjoy close contact with nature.
“I wanted to share this piece of work in particular, because to me it represents determination, positivity and resilience.”
I’m blue, you’re yellow
Click on image to access information and full-screen slideshow