Exploring Climate Experiences

A documentation of a recent visit to the Tate (who have just declared climate emergency) & the National Maritime Museum.

My name is Emily Tunnicliffe & I’m currently on a work placement with the Climate Museum UK. My brief was to look at how museums and artists help people engage with climate change. And how this can then influence me and my ideas for a drapery installation for the Museum. These fabric drapes will be designed so that they can be put up in different ways to create a space for the pop-up.

Olafur Eliasson: Retrospective at Tate Modern The exhibition showcases three decades of work by the Danish-Icelandic artist. These works encourage the viewer to consider their relationship with the natural world and the impact that human behaviour has on it. Other earlier works stem from his long interest in nature and the weather.

Some of these works surrounding this climate emergency we are currently living in include his glacier studies.

Glacial currents (2018)
Glacial currents (2018)

These watercolour paintings were created by placing parts of glacial ice on top of washes of coloured pigment. Thus creating these large swells of colour as it melted onto the paper.

The glacier series (1999)
-A series of Icelands glaciers.
Eliasson has produced a new series this year similar to the 1999 version which will show the changes that have happened to the landscape.
Melting ice on Gunnar’s land (2008)
-This series documents a chunk of ice as it melted away on a stretch of land owned by a family friend of Eliasson.
The river-raft series (2000)
-A series of photos taken from a raft as it swept downstream.

These pieces interested me greatly as they act as a visual reminder of the impact of climate change on the environment and the process that it undergoes. This reminder is vital for those who choose to ignore our current climate emergency.

National Maritime Museum:

Pacific Encounters Gallery: This section of the museum tells stories of encounters between Pacific and British Peoples. It shares the memories of the Pacific islanders, whose culture was overturned by the arrival of Europeans. It also reflects on the complex legacy of the European Exploration and how this has shaped the pacific as we know it today.

A digital collage that represents the Pacific today.

The images were sourced from organisations and individuals from across the Pacific and Britain. The collage shows images of art, culture, sport, political movements, environmental concerns and how the Pacific has become a tourist attraction as well as a home to many people. This piece was a personal favourite of mine as it shows the Pacific currently and how its changed over the years.

Polar Worlds Gallery: This part of the gallery explores Polar expeditions, indigenous communities, scientific discovery, and the Artic & Antarctic Wildlife.

Traces in the Landscape (2017)
Traces in the Landscape (2017)

This piece was created a group of 60 pupils in year 2 from Linton Mead Primary School. After visiting the museum to look at its objects & paintings related to polar landscapes & exploration, they worked with Artist Hannah Cushion to make this artwork in response. It represents their ideas about the transience of explorers in the harsh landscape and the small traces that they leave behind.

Personal Reflection: The way Eliasson documented the concept of process combined with our ongoing climate emergency is something I feel could definitely be incorporated into the work of the Climate Museum UK. Unlike using words, visually showing the effects of human behaviour on our planet is a lot harder to ignore. I found that these exhibitions were very interactive, especially Eliasson’s “In Real Life” show. Because of all these interactions people spent a lot of time in the exhibition trying out different things. For the installation we are going to make not only do I think it should be visually exciting but also interactive so people can engage more with the work. This interactive approach will attract a range of people of different ages.

Beginning to create my own designs: Stemming from my gallery visits and images gathered on Pinterest, I’ve begun creating several designs for the drapery installation.

For these designs I’ve incorporated the use of pockets, frames and the warming stripes. Along the sides hooks/holes could be placed so that the size of the drapes can be adjusted. The circular frames are inspired by Eliasson’s glacial currents. If we were to make these frames pockets, images could be placed inside & could also be double sided.

As a lot of Climate Museum UK’s work involves the warming stripes, I felt they could be incorporated into the drapes. When installed, the idea is that as you go through the space, the colours change from the cooler to warmer tones – symbolising the increase of global temperature. Along with the colours changing, the images in the frames would also change. For example, if the images were of the polar ice caps, as you go through the images would act as a series showing the process of them slowly disappearing over the years.

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