BREATHING OUT

A CLIMATE CHANGE EXHIBITION 

ARTCAN ONLINE GALLERY | 06TH NOV - 6TH JAN 2022

CURATED BY: HANNAH PRATT | CATHERINE FENTON | LAWRENCE MATHIAS

ARTCAN.ORG.UK | @ARTCANORG

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Breathing out, an exhibition by ArtCan is a show dedicated to exploring Climate Change from a number of creative contexts and includes artists from around the world. 

The waiting is over; Climate Change is here. We are in an anxious time, holding our breath, watching developments unfold as scientists,  governments and ordinary people scramble to find solutions and alternative behaviour to save the planet as we know it.

Breathing Out Breathing in

Works for COP 26 - Inspiration for the show

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Screenshot of Climate change model, full model of model can be found in video

We have arrived at a moment where we need startling change, a restructure of our accepted way of life, and to quickly learn and use any emerging technologies that will lead us in the right direction. Art can be a way of discussing the world around us, a reflection of society, often intentionally distorted to highlight issues that make us uncomfortable or offer a creative vision of a future yet to come.

With this work we forced ourselves to face our role as manufacturers trying to deal with the same questions of re-working and re-making Art with an emphasis on reducing our own CO2 footprint.

Basing our artwork on the plethora of scientific data surrounding climate change was difficult at first as there are so many layers to the problem and equally to the technologies to resolve it.  This information is often put in the context of timescales and quantities, and it seemed natural to us to try and reflect these aspects of the science. The data sets and statistics available lend themselves to a degree of abstraction if the various categories of information are given a symbolic form. 

 

These can have an aesthetic side as well as a representational one, and when we began to explore this we conceived the idea of a layered and modelled form, something that would suit a new technology like 3D printing. The shapes and dimensions of the model are extremely fluid, easily re-scalable and adaptable, and we realised that we could also create a progressive series of these models, reflecting the dynamic nature of climate change. The format also enables us to quantify in some degree the agenda and aspirations of COP 26, how they might be judged to be progressing at its halfway point, and finally to represent how the concluding points of agreement measure up to initial expectations. This could be presented as three separate models, all potentially realisable in a 3D printed format.

We have developed a piece of work which uses a combination of climate based data gathered from various sources, centred around subjects that relate to everyday life, in an effort to highlight how to limit carbon usage. We are passionate about using and communicating data in our work to prove that limiting carbon usage can be achieved by anyone with a clear view to maintaining and improving quality of life, albeit with a wiliness to progress to a greener future.

There are three main considerations that need to be taken into account when working with data and art, Interpretation, Aesthetics and Facts.  All three need to have equal weight in a successful piece of work. Our aim is to see our artwork develop using film and multimedia,  relatively open-ended and exploratory, reacting to the situation as it unfolds at COP 26, but we are also creating initial modelled forms and visual/sound platforms as self-contained art pieces. Converting some of the data into morse code, creating a visceral response to danger, communicates the urgency of the climate crisis. Symbolic of CO2 expelled, each artist recorded their breath, aware of the imbalance of clean air to pollution. Combined with the morse code this soundtrack created a more human connection to the data that can often be lost when working with large data sets.

 We hope the completed piece will meet the urgency of the situation in a visually arresting and committed way, sensitive to the occasion, and aiming to forward the best intentions of the international climate conference

The Curators 

Catherine Fenton

Catherine Fenton's work frequently deals with issues surrounding the environment and human rights. Using collaged material relating to the subject, her paintings subtly draw the viewer in with colour and texture, with the intention of rousing further curiosity. Her paintings have been exhibited with the Just Water campaign in St Paul's Cathedral London, along with exhibitions and installations for Greenpeace, Toilet Twinning and The Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture. Catherine gives talks about the Role of Art & the Environment, which have include COP25 Madrid for RECIDA Climate Change libraries, and  Rothamsted Research Herts for Earth Day.

Joining ArtCan in 2016, Catherine is now the Philanthropic Programme Director.

Lawrence Mathias
Lawrence Mathias is a Harrow based visual artist who works across various media, from painting and ceramics to film and sound. He has shown work widely across London and Europe, and is a frequent collaborator with other artists on projects. He has been engaged with environmental issues and politics for some time, and much of his work is centred on these subjects. Art reflects in the subtlest ways possible the complexity of these issues, and the current ArtCan show provides an exceptional opportunity for a varied and deep engagement with the crisis that is climate change.

Hannah Pratt 
Hannah is a multidisciplinary artist and curator whose practice sits between the subjects of art and science. She has been working with climate change-based works, shows and residencies for the last 5 years primarily using climate change data and visualisations to raise awareness both as a call to action and to make climate science more accessible. Hannah believes a collective effort by everyone is needed to alleviate climate change and is possible by using art as activism and engaging the population to take small meaningful steps to change our climate and our future.