Earlier this summer we mentioned The Canary Project - a team of artists, photographers and writers documenting landscapes around the world that have been altered by climate change (something akin to the work of the widely-admired Ed Burtynsky, who did this slideshow for Worldchanging last spring). The Canary Project's Susannah Sayler has captured imagery from all over the world, and they are sharing what they've created almost as widely, with exhibits and gallery shows across the U.S.
When we mentioned them in July, it was in the context of a Denver show called Creative Acts the Matter. This month, they've teamed up with Jon Santos of Common Space, a San Francisco arts collective that explores the interaction of graphic art and design across multiple media platforms, as well as the role of collaboration and community in the creative process. Santos' collaboration with Canary, Dimensions of Change, is taking place in Philadelphia at the Crane Arts Building. His participation revolves around extending the photographic depiction of environmental transformations through video and mixed-media installation. Presenters Philadelphia Art & Design Network characterize the show as a commentary on the failure of 20th century utopian design ideals to take root and push us towards sustainability before climate change kicked into high gear:
This unrealized promise becomes unsettling as we push forward into the future and the design ideals of the past come to seem like science fiction. Santos' seemingly abstract line compositions are actually re-workings of the geodesic dome structures favored by utopian designers such as Buckminster Fuller. These compositions suggest a sense of beauty in collapse.
Nearing the end of its run already (September 25), the exhibition has included several time-based installations, such as the opening day event, entitled Ice on Chrystie Street:
On September 1st, 2006 at 1:30pm, a 300 pound block of ice was delivered to a park bench on Chrystie Street between Stanton and Rivington in New York City's lower east side. A surveillance camera was set up to document the slow melt of the ice block which unexpectedly slipped off the bench and shattered into pieces on the sidewalk, obstructing pedestrian traffic. Throughout the day and into the evening, the ice was kicked, smashed and further broken up until completely melted.
Though the ice blocks have all melted and the show has waned towards a close, Dimensions of Change will continue to carry its message forth into the fall on a billboard in Philadelphia, and in a T-Shirt line created for the organic apparel company, Loomstate.
I would like to see something like Google Earth, which timestamped its satellite images and allowed to you view a region as it appeared in 2006, 2000, 1990, ...