Exploring the world through our senses is how we relate to our environments. We see, smell, touch, hear and taste (and if we’re lucky, all at once) to create a multi-sensory experience and relationship to the world around us. It would only make sense for us then to draw upon these experiences when we are trying to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.
Creating immerse experiences for people to explore their relationship to nature and the climate crisis is vital to connect people to a larger ecosystem. Sensory experiences are one important part to form an understanding of what nature is doing for us and what we are doing to it. Especially in places where the degradation of the natural environment is so severe that there is no abundant biodiverse nature left.
We have curated 11 art installations, both online and in person, that explore the climate crisis through sensory experiences — bringing climate science to life. Wether they use sight, smell, touch, hearing or taste, these works of art invites the viewer or visitor to reflect on the issues we are facing in a way that brings them closer to the issue and hopefully inspires long-lasting, solutions-based change.
French storyteller, music composer and artist Antoine Bertin create immersive sound experiences based on the world around us. The intersection between science and sound design was explored in his art installation 333Hz. The installation explores the global tempo of deforestation — 20,000 trees per minute. The human ear cannot perceive 20,000 bpm but instead hears a continuous sound of around 333Hz. The installation 333Hz invites the visitor to listen to the evolving tempo of deforestation around the world.
The Tempestry Project
This global collaborative art project aims to bring climate science to life through knitting. Visualising climate science is not an easy feat but the Tempestry Project has found a way of engaging communities in chronicling temperature changes. Each Tempestry (temperature tapestries) represents a daily high temperature for a given year and location. Every Tempestry knitter uses the same colours and temperature ranges to visualise climate changes in their town, city or area. The global initiative brings people together through knitting to showcase how temperature changes are affecting communities year after year.
Earth Codes Observatory
By combining artificial intelligence, virtual reality and programming with nature, Earth Codes Observatory’s vision is to be a consultant of species, ecosystems and nature itself. Earth Codes Observatory aims to, well observe Earth and its hidden codes to build a sustainable, regenerative future. Over three years (2020-2022), the project will come to life through exhibitions, VR experiences, and human and AI interactive experiences to explore how music, language, chemistry, physics, psychedelics and animal communication interact with biology.
Olafur Eliasson is known for creating visual, immersive exhibitions questioning the role of art in human society and in the world at large. His latest exhibition explores human life, how we relate to non-human life and how we centred ourselves in modern day living. Life was a collaborative experience created by Eliasson for the visitor to explore. The exhibition was open 24/7, located at Fondation Beyeler in Basel, with an accompanying continuous livestream during the duration of the exhibition. Surrounded by a green pond, visitors walked dark wooden walkways, accompanied by the ambient sounds of insects, traffic, and other people — as well as the smells of the plants and water. You can still explore the exhibition online.
H. O. R. I. Z. O. N. (Habitat One: Regenerative Interactive Zone of Nurture)
The collaborative project between the Institute of Queer Ecology and the Guggenheim Museum is a digital, immersive, social simulation exploring a world in which capitalism, greed and colonialism has destroyed the planet and disease is rampant. Though it sounds post apocalyptic, the creators behind HORIZON created the programme as a response to modern day society. Download the simulation and explore an alternative world, connect with others and join the movement visualising a better tomorrow.
We Are Frying!
The anonymous artist collective Luzinterruptus, are known for their political and social street exhibitions all around Europe. In December of 2020 they created a piece in Madrid called We Are Frying! The piece reflected how climate change and global warming affects autumn foliage. They imagined a future where leaves would be burnt to a crisp when falling off trees and appropriately created a perfect circle of potato chips illuminated by lights underneath to spread awareness. Many people assumed the circle to be leaves until further inspection.
Plants generate ‘biodata’ from environmental factors such as light, sound and temperature. Music producer, DJ and sound artist Jason Singh, uses this biodata to give threaten plants a voice in his series Extinction Song. The live performances during the summer of 2021 took place at Kew Gardens, allowing the plants to be their own composers and allowing visitors to listen to these plants through music.
Pyramids of Garbage
A direct commentary on over-consumption, artist Bahia Shehab erected an 11m wide and 6m high pyramid made out of trash in Cairo Egypt in 2020. With the help of local school children and construction workers, Shehab placed a pyramid in one of the most populated areas of Cairo, the home to the largest concentration of landfills in the city.
An art installation, public performance and awareness campaign created by artist Pope L. in 2017 aimed to expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint Water was a six week living art installation where Pope and his team bottled, sold and marketed Flint tap water to bring awareness about the water crisis. Proceeds from the sales of the bottled water were donated to organisations working to alleviate the water crisis for the residents of Flint.
Hawaiian artist Sean Yoro, working under the alias HULA, combines his love for nature and art to create stunning murals with powerful messages. A’o Ana, which translates to ‘The Warning’, was a series of paintings on melting ice bergs inspired by the loss of sea ice in the Arctic. Using non-toxic paint, HULA painted women half submerged in the water.
In October of 2020, artists Susie Ibarra and scientist Michele Koppes created two public art installations allowing people to listen to climate change. They sonically mapped melting sea ice and glaciers from the Coast Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Indian Himalaya. This installation invited visitors to reflect on the climate emergency and our rapid global warming.