This article is the latest in our series #Art4Climate, a joint initiative by the secretariat of UN Climate Change and Julie’s Bicycle on the work of artists who make the issue of climate change more accessible and understandable by featuring it in their work. It was inspired by a session at the Salzburg Global Seminar in early 2017.
In October, Barcelona will become a regional hub of awareness about climate change and the need for climate action, with a groundbreaking new exhibition showing the many facets of how the world is changing as a result of unbridled development and pollution.
The exhibition “After the End of the World” at the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, will show many art works and will be a space for theater performances and public debates around the theme of climate change and environmental destruction, with the aim of providing a glimpse of the future in 2050 and beyond.
This will be done through images and interactive scenarios of the future which demonstrate how the planet has already irreversibly into the era of the “Anthropocene” – today's era in which human activities have led to large scale environmental and even geological change.
An aerial image of urban sprawl – an example of how the Anthropocene is changing entire landscapes.
José Luís de Vicente is the curator of the exhibition. He would like people to better understand the interlinkages between art, human psychology and political action on climate. The exhibition, which will partly coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in November in Bonn, and is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness for that event.
“It was very important for us to create an exhibition that shows the trauma of the climate crisis, and why is it so difficult for everybody to talk about this. We were interested specifically in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We would like the governments of the world to leave their short-term problems aside for a moment and recognize the need for a long-term strategy as a political priority”, he says.
Some of the image of the exhibition After the End of the World document the gradual disappearance of the world we once knew.
The crack on Larsen C ice shelf in the Antarctic earlier this year, before a massive iceberg broke off. Image by NASA/John Sonntag
Lithium pools in Chile – another example of how humans are changing entire landscapes. Image by Unknown Fields
But it’s not all doom and gloom – the exhibition will also focus on opportunities to reverse the current direction for a better future for coming generations.
“We know that it is not easy to face tough issues. We know that many people will be uncomfortable. But we think that visitors will come out of the exhibition thinking of their personal responsibilities and their power of being a change agent. Every parent will tell you that they would do anything for their children. That’s why we need to overcome this challenge,” says José Luís de Vicente.
People and objects including artists, philosophers, heaps of sand, novelists, sea creatures, playwrights, plants, architects, objects, designers and scientists will feature in various scenarios. The ultimate goal is to devise strategies for survival and peaceful cohabitation in the world to come.
After the End of the World has a long list of artists participating in the exhibition, including the German documentary theatre company Rimini Protokoll, the curatorial satellite photography platform Overview and the fiction design studio Superflux.
The exhibition will take place from 24 October 2017 to 29 April 2018. See more information here.
Banner image at top of the story: Container terminal in the port of Antwerp
#Art4Climate is a joint initiative by the UNFCCC and Julie’s Bicycle to spot and propose super recent and new works in this broad field, but we also want to hear from you! Please send any proposals for showcasing to email@example.com or Chiara@juliesbicycle.com.