The cultural industry with all its international events is a massive CO2-smash. The question of whether things couldn’t be more climate-friendly was a concern for many artists even before Corona brought everything to a standstill. But environmental art is not without controversy, because it is part of the problem itself.
Not only great writers such as Jonathan Safran Foer and Jonathan Franzen deal with climate change, but visual artists also keep sounding the alarm: Olafur Eliasson had Greenlandic blocks of ice melted in front of the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London to draw attention to the environment. The Golden Lion of the last art biennale in Venice was won by a climate opera from Lithuania.
For the critical performance on global tourism and environmental indifference, however, many performers traveled by plane week after week. Especially the international art scene with its biennials and fairs is an unparalleled CO2 slingshot.
The art world has a credibility problem. Isn’t it hypocritical when artists address climate change in their works, but in return fly around the world all the time, using energy-intensive technologies and leaving behind a jet-black CO2 footprint?
In the film “Climate Change in Art” by Frauke Schlieckau, female artists, gallery owners, authors and cultural workers discuss the issue. The participants are Olafur Eliasson, Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Lina Lapelytè, Harald Welzer, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tino Sehgal, Jérôme Bel, Andreas Greiner and André Schlechtriem.