Artistic Imaginations of Climate Change: From the Far Away to the Here and Now

Uli Hahn*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Climate change has gained traction in artists' works and exhibitions. This research aims at gaining a better understanding of visual artists who create climate-related art and are/were located in the central art market countries of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Germany—countries with considerable contributions to climate change and responsibility for action. Responding to calls for the further involvement of the humanities and sociology of the arts to address socio-ecological themes, this article addresses the question: How do artists' imaginations of climate change relate to aspects of climate (in)justice? To answer this question, thirty interviews were conducted with artists who addressed climate change in their works. This study finds that the artists are, among others, driven by a desire to reduce distances (spatially, temporally, human-nature) and/or to engage with causes and impacts nearby. Many artists are concerned with climate (in)justice in various ways: with not only vulnerable, remote regions, future generations, and other species, but also nearby areas in the present. This study also shows that artists face ethical questions when engaging in climate topics. The research applies and reveals insights from the environmental humanities, emphasizing the connectedness of environmental challenges to social, cultural, and human aspects. The research is also situated within the sociology of the arts, the study of aesthetic practices in times of global inequalities, but also of hope, possibilities, and learning. Further, this research adds to the increasing awareness of climate change as a domestic issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was written as part of a PhD project that received funding from the PhD in the Humanities programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO).Project number: PGW.19.010/8366

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