Art of Change 21 (the editor of Impact Art News) will defend the major role of artists in the ecological transition, mobilise young people, and create a dialogue between art, innovation and climate during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
From the 1st to the 12th of November, Art of Change 21 will present the programme ART-CLIMATE-COP 26 in collaboration with acclaimed artists John Gerrard and Lucy Orta and two of Glasgow’s leading higher education institutions: the University of Glasgow and The Glasgow School of Art, with the support of the Schneider Electric Foundation.
At a time when the Paris agreement appears to be increasingly out of reach, ART-CLIMATE-COP 26 is an urgent call to action in the context of the climate crisis, highlighting the need to include creative and imaginative stakeholders, and enabling an emotional response to the issues.

ART-CLIMATE-COP26 program:

World Premiere: Flare (Oceania) 2021 by John Gerrard

On November 5th and 6th, Irish artist John Gerrard will exhibit the piece Flare (Oceania) 2021 on the South facade of the University of Glasgow, in partnership with Art of Change 21. This new monumental work, a digital simulation, has been specially designed for COP26. This new peace is a sequel to Western Flag, which has received 14M views on Twitter. The piece evokes the link between climate change and the ocean and addresses the key role of humans in global warming. The showing of Flare (Oceania) 2021 will be complemented by a round table discussion on November 6th. 

Activation: Nexus Architecture COP26 by Lucy Orta

On November 5th, French-British artist Lucy Orta, of the internationally renowned duo Lucy + Jorge Orta and Chair of Art and the Environment at the University of the Arts London (UAL), will stage Nexus Architecture COP26, an activation with students from The Glasgow School of Arts (GSA) as part of an exclusive partnership with Art of Change 21. Fifty students will customise the Nexus overalls created by the artist into an artwork on the theme of climate, and will perform within the Glasgow School of Art. This “social sculpture” has already been activated worldwide from Shanghai to New York, Berlin, Sydney, Miami, Johannesburg… and is one of Studio Orta’s most emblematic pieces.
This activation has been made possible thanks to the Reid Gallery at the Glasgow School of Art and the UAL Climate Emergency Network.

Maskbook Workshop

Launched by Art of Change 21 for COP21 and present at every COP since then, Maskbook mobilises citizens around a strong symbol – the mask. Both an international collective work of art and a citizen action addressing environmental issues, the Maskbook project has brought together nearly 10,000 participants from over 40 countries to date and has partnered with the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement (link). Maskbook will take up residence at COP26 in partnership with Strathclyde University and The Glasgow School of Art for a special workshop at Barony Hall on November 1st. Art students and citizens of Glasgow will create masks from waste materials and make their contribution to this participatory work. 

Paleo-Energetic Fresco Exhibition

The Paleo-Energetic fresco illustrates important innovations and technologies which have been forgotten by history, but which are still relevant today. By delving into our past, Paleo-Energetic explores inventions that offer “low carbon” alternative models for energy production and conservation for our future. Bringing these paleo-energetic ideas and inventions back into the public domain is a way of highlighting the fact that alternatives already exist before our eyes. This fresco highlights 100 inventions (from the ancient windmills of Iran to solar prints in 1882), dating from 1000 BC to the present day, across a 6-7 metre length of wall. Paleo-Energetic is a project led by Atelier 21, a Swiss association combining arts, design, low tech and research, which previously led the Solar Sound System project on music and solar energy. The fresco will be exhibited at the SaltSpace Co-operative gallery from the 1st to the 12th of November. 

Round table discussions

On November 5th, “Artists committed to climate and the environment: the new actors of environmental mobilisation” at French Pavilion, Blue Zone, COP26
Organised and chaired by Art of Change 21 at the French Pavilion (Blue Zone, UN Climate Change Conference) this round table discussion will explore the role of artists and art in the face of the climate crisis. It will provide an opportunity to meet major artists involved in COP26 with Art of Change 21 and to better understand their growing role in the ecological transition. The Schneider Electric Foundation will also share its vision as a main partner of Art of Change 21 and its programme at COP26.
Speakers: Cédric Carles (Co-founder of Atelier 21, Paleo-Energetic and Solar Sound System), John Gerrard (artist), Lucy Orta (artist, Chair of ‘Art and the Environment’, University of the Arts London), Gilles Vermot Desroches (Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Schneider Electric)
Chaired by Alice Audouin, Founder and Chair of Art of Change 21

On November 6th, “What’s To Be Done? Art, Ecology and Innovation in an Age of Climate Crisis” at the Hungarian
Co-organised and co-chaired by Art of Change 21 and the Hunterian Gallery, this round table discussion will explore the link between oceans and climate issues, as represented by Flare (Oceania) 2021, the role of art and youth in accelerating the ecological transition, as well as the power of imagination to design a more sustainable future.
Speakers: John Gerrard (artist), Uili Lousi (artist), Valérie Masson Delmotte (paleoclimatologist, Co-chair of IPCC WG 1), Nathan Méténier (Young member of the UN Secretary General Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change), Gilles Vermot Desroches (Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Schneider Electric).
Co-chaired by Alice Audouin (Founder and Chair of Art of Change 21) & Dominic Paterson (Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art, the Hunterian Gallery).

Art of Change 21 has been present at every COP since 2015. It has also led interventions at major international events, such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2021, the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and World Environment Day 2019… 

More info and agenda here  

Peter Wells

October 2021

Credit: still from John Gerrard’s Flare (Oceania) 2021. Courtesy the artist + PACE Gallery ; Nexus Architecture, Lucy + Jorge Orta ; Maskbook, Art of Change 21 ; Paleo-Energetic, Atelier 21

Find all the articles from Impact Art News n°34 – October 2021

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