The design of climate change

A New York exhibition and the dialogue of Art with Nature

Can art communicate with plants?

Maybe design can save the world. Contemporary art can perhaps clearly express what we live. Climate warming can perhaps be touched and even embraced. Thanks to masterpieces displayed in museums we can imagine ourselves going towards a new era. It may seem paradoxical to believe in these statements, but what if they were true?

Nature - Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial with Cube Design Museum

An exhibition in New York really wants to show that this is possible. Its title is “Nature’’. The design, forged by architects, engineers, philosophers and artists, dialogues with Nature. 

‘’Designers are forging meaningful connections with nature, inspired by its properties and resources. Their collaborative processes—working with nature and in teams across multiple disciplines—are optimistic responses at this moment when humans contend with the complexities and conditions of our planet. Compelled by a sense of urgency, designers look to nature as a guide and partner’’. 

This description may seem too naive but thanks to the power of Art we can find a way to face the change.

After ancient sunlight and Curiosity Cloud

Artist Charlotte McCurdy is a designer. Her goal, that is far from being naive, is to respond positively to the catastrophic narrative of climate change. For her project After Ancient Sunlight” she fashioned a water-resistant raincoat. 

The material of this garment is a plastic-like material made of algae, which naturally removes carbon from the atmosphere. This positivity does not come as a simplistic answer to the problem. However, thanks to this object, climate change can be touched by hand and worn. And can it be solved? This is not the question McCurdy answers. 

The artist just wants to tell us that the problem can be addressed. Starting with a raincoat that is not only non-polluting but made of algae that are useful for the environment. Charlotte wants people to say, by wearing this garment “I took carbon out of the atmosphere; I fought climate change,” she says. 

“That is the feeling I want to be able to create.” The future will not be the same as the past. For this reason, we need to think of alternative solutions to resist under this rain of change. This raincoat is an effective symbol of this concept. 

Also in this extraordinary New York exhibition is exhibited the work of the Viennese duo Katharina Mischer and Thomas Raxer. Their work needs even fewer words than the previous one: it is called ”Curiosity Cloud. The viewer is immersed in a cloud of light bulbs, which contain detailed miniatures of different species of insects. 

When the spectators look into the light bulbs, they light up and the insects begin to move around confusedly. The noise they create when they start beating against the glass is immersive. The work wants to celebrate the harmony and the sense of bewilderment that is experienced in contact with nature,  even if it’s enclosed in a design object.

Art can make us feel in contact with Nature even inside a museum

These two examples give us a positive answer to the question in the first paragraph. Art can communicate with the present. Design can be combined with naturalness. Last but not least, nature’s magic cannot be grasped only in the boundless nature. Our world is changing and the resulting narrative is catastrophic. 

These two works want to be a stimulus and a sigh of relief. Art can truly touch us and make us immerse in distant scenarios. Furthermore, the artists show themselves receptive to the suffering that nature is going through and decide to make it the main subject of their works. In conclusion, Art proves us that nature should be our primary focus, even if it was neglected for a long time.

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