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Breathtaking art spotlights climate solutions

Words by Smiley Team

What might our world look like if we are to safeguard a future for all species? This is the question explored through art, music, science and technology at The Barbican’s exhibition, Our Time On Earth, on show until 29 August.

Eschewing the doomism of much climate dialogue, the exhibition displays ideas to solve problems relating to global heating and ecological decline. 

It engages viewers with interactive animations, 3-D models, textiles and other thought-provoking exhibits. Rather than prioritising any particular climate solution, it offers a melange of indigenous practices, innovative technology and creative design.

Guest curators Kate Franklin and Caroline Till said: ‘There is more scientific evidence than ever demonstrating the amplitude of the climate emergency. And the science is essential – there’s no doubt about that.” 

They added: “But art, design and culture have the power to move us, and creative propositions of the sort we have gathered within Our Time on Earth aim to seduce the visitor into another way of seeing – another way of being. They invite us to listen, to feel, to really see, what it could be like to live and thrive in an alternative and positive future’.”

[Discover other incredible initiatives encouraging and organising for climate action]

Entering the gallery, visitors are greeted by the sight of an extraordinary graphic merging photography of a tree with an animation that shows the movement of nutrients and water through its being.

Throughout the rest of the space, ideas are shared via intricate chinaware, elaborate textiles, a socially-conscious video game, samples of sustainable materials and many other media. 

Stéphan La Roche, CEO of Musée de la civilisation, a Barbican partner, said: ‘This exhibition calls on the power of reflection and imagination of contemporary artists as well as visitors.”

But not only does the exhibition provoke thought. It also makes an explicit call for action. In the final room of the first section, videos show young people explaining how they are taking action against the climate and ecological emergency. While a plaque on the wall urges each visitor to find their place in the climate movement.

The gallery is also urging its sponsors to raise their ambitions around tackling climate change. These include Zara, one of the world’s biggest fast fashion culprits; and The City of London, which, if it were a country, would be the ninth biggest emitter of CO2 in the world.

Inspired to act?

ATTEND: Get inspired by all kinds of thoughtful climate solutions. Visit Our Time On Earth at The Barbican.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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