Acclimatize

“Let us rethink climate. Be inspired by great artists and creative people from all over the world. Contribute your own thoughts and ideas on climate change. Together we can imagine and create a sustainable future.” Radar had a talk with Curator Ylva Hillström, one of the heads behind the digital project Acclimatize.

Recently, we got to see a man that neglects climate change be elected president of one of the most powerful nations in the world. For many of us, this meant watching someone point the world towards the wrong direction. Luckily, there are others pointing in an opposite direction. The museum of modern and contemporary art in Stockholm – Moderna Museet – recently launched their project Acclimatize. 

Hello Ylva, what is Acclimatize? Why have you taken this initiative, and why now?
– Acclimatize is an online exhibition focusing on climate change. Everybody can take part and submit for example a photograph, a video, a gif or a text. Through Acclimatize we invite people to use their creativity to express their thoughts and feelings around climate change and sustainability. As a museum of modern and contemporary art we always strive to be relevant and to reflect what artists are preoccupied with and in effect what is going on in society at large. Climate change is something that engages many amazingly creative people since it is one of the most urgent challenges we have to face at the moment. Since we also always aim to inspire our visitors and encourage creativity at Moderna Museet, Acclimatize seemed like just the right thing to do.

How do you see that art and climate changes are connected?
– Art can make us see things in a new light. It challenges and gives new perspectives and can inspire action. It is our experience that people feel empowered when they express themselves creatively, and in order to stop climate change we do desperately need to act and not despair. Olafur Eliasson talks in his interview for the Acclimatize site about Ice Watch, an art installation that he made for COP 21 in Paris. He placed twelve blocks of arctic ice in the middle of Paris, so that people could touch the ice and physically experience it melting away. He suggests that when you have a personal, tangible experience of something, it sinks in in a different way than if you just read or hear about it. We believe that Acclimatize will allow people to touch climate change, figuratively speaking.

What do you want to accomplish with Acclimatize?
– We hope to stimulate creativity, strengthen the engagement for climate issues and sustainability and thus take small steps towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. When we finish the project we will have built a think tank with ideas and reflections that decision makers and influencers learn from and be energized by. Ultimately, we hope to inspire real change. So check out the site and start uploading!

A great variety of entries can be found on the website, both from well know artists such as Isaac Julien, Bea Szenfeld and Olafur Eliasson, but also from more unknown creatives. The entries consists of both longer films, creative photography, documentary photography, illustration, design and poetry. All contributing artists have come up with their own interpretation of what climate changes means to them, and anyone can contribute to the site. 

Extracts from Acclimatize

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The creative duo “Babes in Boyland

“Re-evalue what’s garbage for some and let it turn into something beautiful with some creativity. A couple of withered cut flowers won’t save this planet, but maybe it can let someone see something beautiful in what would have been thrown away without a second thought otherwise.”

 A film by photographer Frida-My Sundqvist and model and illustrator Cajsa Wessberg.

“Take a bath in the water you’d waste on meat. Producing one piece takes as much as leaving the water running for two months.”

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Agnes Gällhagen, also known as “Cashewkitchen

“When looking at food through my camera lens, I start noticing things. How the glossy peel of a plum shifts from yellow to purple, the way light catches the very top of a bowl of lingonberries, the extraordinary thickness of the coffee creamer, the intricate patterns of the currant leaves.

To live sustainably, for me, means to be mindful of where I spend my energy. To create pockets of space in my everyday where I can start noticing those little things. To subtract rather than add and enjoy fewer things but enjoy them fully.”

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Blogger and author Flora Wiström writes about her summers in the nature reserve “Tjurpannan”

The dancer and choreographer Fanny Svensson.

“What do I know about climate change?”, “How am I engaged in the climate issue?” and “What am I doing to make things better?”. These are the questions I was deeply reflecting upon when I started this project.

I was overwhelmed by the numbness I felt towards the issue. How can I help? I am just passing through. I am just me. I wanted to inject this feeling of numbness into my project, and describe the feeling before the breakthrough. Before we wake up and realize that we are facing something bigger than ourselves and that we need to engage. The battle against ourselves and our minds, not actually recognizing the issue and ignoring it, even though we know it exists.”

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Anna Kristiansson behind the account Bokpoesi

“I know that everyone does not have the opportunity to do a lot of changes to their lives. And I also don’t think that a sustainable lifestyle should be about consuming the right products. I don’t really know what a sustainable lifestyle actually is. But maybe all of us can try to live a little more sustainable and hopefully politicians and companies will take decisions that will make this world a little better.”

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And lastly – Lisa Corneliusson and Emma Elwin from Make it Last

“Make it last is a network of creatives who put sustainable fashion on the agenda in an inclusive way, without compromising the level of inspiration.

We strive for progression and embrace change in an industry that needs to find new ways of interacting with its surroundings; the people and the planet. Moving towards a circular economy in fashion is all about ideas and innovations. Make it last gathers the big thinkers–and believes that every little step counts.”

The picture in the header is created by the talented paper artist Fideli Sundqvist.

Visit Acclimatize here.