Climate Art & Activism Winter 2024

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Class Details

“Most of us are terrified by climate change and frozen by the confusion of what we should do to address this issue. Artists transform that energy into a determined roar, urging us all to play our part in stopping climate change with what we have, no matter where we are. Ultimately, we need hope and encouragement to make change happen, and art is a beacon of light.”- Dekila Chungyalpa In recent decades we have seen an exciting number of works by contemporary artists that illuminate the climate crisis. Presented by cultural institutions around the world and published in multiple forums, these works highlight a new canon of climate change themed art that engages and inspires the public to affect change. In this Winter Study course students will be exposed to projects that examine environmental themes: indigenous history, fossil fuel destruction, environmental injustice, species extinction, plastic pollution, extreme weather, food sustainability, climate migration and more. Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, Olafur Eliasson’s Ice Watch, Mary Mattingly’s Swale, Allison Janae Hamilton’s A House Called Florida, and Marc Swanson’s A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Disco (recently at MASS MoCA) are just a few of the types of works we will examine. We will also look at works by writers, filmmakers, photographers, and theater artists for their different aesthetic portrayals of climate change. Students will then research an environmental topic that interests them and produce a work (this can be a proposal for a future work, a project sketch, or a final work) to be presented at the end of the session. Students will propose strategies for how their projects can engage the public in activism. Projects that explore local environmental issues and history will be encouraged. We will take one field trip to MASS MoCA to see the exhibit Hoosic: The Beyond Place. Students interested in all mediums are welcome: writing, visual arts, theater.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 30
Expected: NA
Class#: 1256
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Presentation(s); Creative project(s)
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Priority will be given to students in the Art, Theater, Environmental Studies or Political Science departments. I will send a questionnaire to students to evaluate their passion for the topic and how this class will enhance their studies.
Unit Notes: Eve Morgenstern is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. Her film CHESHIRE, OHIO follows the buyout of a town by a polluting coal plant. She is founder of SOON IS NOW, a climate art, performance and activist festival in Beacon, NY.
Materials/Lab Fee: $15
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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