ecology or oblivion
grey wall commission project
John & Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery
This three-part, participatory project by artist Morgan Wedderspoon invites us to speculate with her about the year 2030 from the perspective of found objects. Scattered around the built environment created by colonial capitalism, what could these things teach us about disobedience, about “living and dying well together,”1 as we move into the precarious future of life on Earth?
Yes, we have just 11 years2 to avert catastrophic climate breakdown beyond our worst imaginings3. Yes, we now know that by the end of 2020 bold policies must be in place to have any hope of reducing CO2 emissions by 45% by the year 20304. Yes—worse still—we know that in some cases these warnings are quite conservative in their estimates5 and that somehow facts are not enough. How do we move beyond the paralysing despair of these predictions?
Perhaps, as this project models at a modest scale, speculative thinking, collaboration, and openness to chance can help us to imagine a more just and livable future.
The title “ecology or oblivion” comes from episode 189 of the SRSLY WRONG podcast.6
Visitors are invited to answer the questions posed by the prints on the wall using the provided paper and collection boxes.
Participate in one of several facilitated writing session involving games of chance.
Prints are displayed featuring participants’ text and Morgan’s imagery.
1 Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, 2016, p. 29
2 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Headline Statements,” IPCC, Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, accessed 2 September 2019, https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/resources/headline-statements/.
3 Jonathan Watts, Global Environment Editor for the Guardian, warns that “at the current level of commitments, the world is on course for a disastrous 3C of warming.” (Watts, Jonathan. “We Have 12 Years to Limit Climate Change Catastrophe, Warns UN.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Oct. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report.) For projections of outcomes at various levels of heating, see The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells.
4 Nuccitelli, Dana. “There’s one key takeaway from last week’s IPCC report: Cut carbon pollution as much as possible, as fast as possible.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 October 2018, https://www.the guardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/oct/15/theres-one-key-takeaway-from-last-weeks-ipcc-report.
5 Ward, Bob. “The IPCC global warming report spares politicians the worst details: The dangers if governments ignore efforts to limit warming to 1.5C are more grave than the summary makes out.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 October 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/ oct/08/world-leaders-climate-change-ipcc-report.
6 Moritz, Aaron, and Shawn Vuillez. Episode 189 – Library Socialism & Usufruct, SRSLY WRONG Podcast, 3 June 2019, https://srslywrong.com/podcast/189-library-socialism-usufruct/.