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INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts
INHABITAT: How have most folks accounted for the carbon footprint of their air travel? Could you talk a little bit about the trade-off of first-hand experience and interaction vs. the minimized impact of staying home?
GARRETT: Well, I offset mine, but what does that even mean. It means I paid somebody for my guilt really, cause I know it pollutes. But being here, I think, is important, and I’m coming from Los Angeles. It still took 20+ hours to get from door-to-door. What was the alternative? I can’t ride horse back to the east coast to catch a clipper ship to Europe. The contemporary world doesn’t work on a pre-industrial time table and neither does my office nor do I have the months that would take. Hopefully the real “offset” is in the other changes i can make without sacrificing something I feel is extremely important. And i think anyone who traveled to be here is thinking the same thing. We all pain to hurt the planet, but we’re coming here to save it. Hopefully we’re the medicine that makes you sicker before you get better.
INHABITAT: Having seen some of this work first online, how does the reality compare? How has the internet affected your perception of environmental art?
GARRETT: I’ve been finding out about most of it from online, but it’s odd to compare some of it. New Life is very abstract, so it’s very similar. It’s really the masses of people that make it interesting. On the other had the CO2 Cube was a bit like being behind the curtain. I work in show tech in my personal practice, so I get how it’s done, and I wanted to be more wowwed by that. It’s still very cool, but interestingly enough, what’s still so cool is the amount of data it deals with. Something about quantity, the number of people involve or affected, is consistently what keeps the more the most interesting.
It has nothing to do with Copenhagen or COP15, but another arts experience I had this last August in Edinburgh, an exhibition of installations in the Royal Botanical Gardens called Power Plant, was one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen and blew its web presence out of the water.
My point is that it depends on the work, the intent and the medium. in Copenhagen it seems to be very focused on building critical mass, and in that case its’ pretty even, and maybe even better online.
INHABITAT: Is there anything you’d like to add?
GARRETT: Yes, for anyone who’s coming to copenhagen, even after the 18th when COP15 will be over, I’ve put together a map on google of locations for the arts events we’re looking at while here. Also I’ve got all of the details up on the CSPA’s events calendar. So between that and the news feed on our site, you can get a lot of good information to help plan getting involved, or at least live vicariously.
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