INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts

by , 12/17/09
filed under: Art, Design

Ian Garrett at COP15, sustainable design, green design, eco art, environmental art, copenhagen climate conference, protest, global warming, climate change, Martin Rosengaard talking Coca-Cola Pledges for The Yes Men

INHABITAT: Would you say the many artists, exhibitions and installations in Copenhagen create a cacophony or chorus?

GARRETT: Can I say a complimentary pink hum? Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the art and the plain truthful presentations. Our destruction of the planet is sort of grotesquely beautiful. It’s something between Mapplethorpe and National Geographic in the sort of sensuality that bridges an artistic interpretation of climate change and a photo of melting arctic ice. There is the absurd in Yes Men’s rotund safety suits as much as it’s a part of the clowns marching in the daily demonstrations. Since it’s so hard to draw that line, I’d say you hear it around, though it can be hard to distinguish from everything else, and while it makes it louder, you can’t exactly tell why, but it’s good for get a feel for the acoustics of the room.

Ian Garrett at COP15, sustainable design, green design, eco art, environmental art, copenhagen climate conference, protest, global warming, climate change, Wiktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradzik, The Tree Hugger Project

INHABITAT: Is there a consistent balance of medium and message with the artworks you’ve seen? Have the artists created their works sustainably?

GARRETT: No. And, I’ll defend it too. To me, it’s like the argument every other denier wants to have pointing out my or even Obama’s (and trust me, we’re not often, if ever in the same sentence, breath, or thought) hypocrisy in flying over here to talk about climate change. I can tolerate some evils. I won’t say necessary evils. I mean, I could have stayed home and the outcome of the talks would be the same I’m sure (though I would say the arts coverage would be weakened). But, like I said, there is something about getting everyone together in one place talking about one thing — about just showing up — that is important.

So I’ll say the same thing for the art. Sometimes you need to use less than ideal materials to highlight an idea, especially if it itself highlights the the less-than-idealness of that materials. So I tolerate that, but it’s a mixed bag. Look at and New Life Copenhagen, they aren’t really making anything. Some copies of the contract with Superflex and the guest/host books for the accommodations project. I assume a great deal of these things are recycled and recyclable so… it’s not bad. On the other hand you’ve got installations of vinyl sheeting, or a fake apartment with a bookcase full of painted over books which are no longer readable or recyclable.

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1 Comment

  1. INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett ... December 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    […] metropolis. But more has changed: the organization of the event, the layout of it, the expectation. Last year we talked to Ian Garrett of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts to get his perspective on the arts and culture […]

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