SceneStirling - Climate Change: Creativity & Survival
Updated: Sep 16
John Berger the Art Critic once said in a TV interview:
“This creativity, which we are so attracted by in artists, which basically is why we are so interested in artists, this creativity, which in fact is potentially in everybody, will find it’s expression in life itself. I see art as we understand it as a tragic phenomenon.”
Climate change. We see, touch, taste, smell and hear about it every day. Mostly through media platforms. But we also know of its biological and spiritual consequence through our daily lives. Will our sense and realisation of being in the world ever change? We know for example, that our present world economy is unethical and unsustainable in every way imaginable.
We also know and can testify much of the effects of climate change through our senses. Our towns and cities are not a “pretty” sight. We don’t interact as much as we used to, spending more of our times looking at screens, and with COVID-19 we’re living in an increasingly ‘touch free’ world.
We are out of reach, “out of touch” with reality itself and ourselves. What we eat, doesn’t taste has good as it once did, food is often tasteless and expensive – when was the last time we could all afford to cook a healthy meal?
Oxygen. We are often “rushed off our feet” through the absurdity of living under the intense pressure of an economy based on survival only. We are persistently “out of breath.” And we hear, practically almost 24 hours a day on the news and on social media, that our existence is at stake.
We seriously have to begin the process of dreaming up an entirely new way of being in the world and that can only begin by using the uniqueness of our imaginations. But firstly, we have to ask ourselves as artists or creatives some probing questions. What is it I am creating right now? And then, what is my aim, goal and purpose here in this moment?
For example, look at the ink drawing below that I did a few years ago. It is a cluster of sloe berries. I want you to imagine these sloes through your senses, what do you see, touch, smell and taste? And then also imagine the drawing itself, which although separate from nature, it is still representative and therefore reciprocal.
How would these sloes contribute to the quality of your life? Imagine the impact of the drawing you have just made being shared as a gift to your fellow friends? Think and imagine how such acts would make you, us, feel in pleasure?
If we are to move away from a consumer-based society and to slow down climate change then we need creativity. Creativity is a real and genuine way forward. But it’s also important that we recognise and make the distinction in our minds from the nature of creativity itself, which although connected, is still a separate process from the nature of your finished art piece. The question is, which one are we most concerned with today? The act of creativity or with what we are actually creating? If not, art loses its meaning. How aware as artists are we of this dilemma?
2020 (C) Text & Ink Drawing - Sloe berries