In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Editors' Forum:Climate Change, Apocalypse, and the Arts of the Present
  • Jessica Hurley and Dan Sinykin

Q: Climate change is an ongoing catastrophe, but its diffuse temporal and spatial locations make it one of the hardest to fit into traditionally apocalyptic models of a single event followed by a regenerative aftermath. For this editors' forum, we asked artists and scholars to address the following questions: what is the role of art in relation to climate change? How does apocalypse function differently for differently disenfranchised groups in the age of global warming? What might apocalyptic form do for the aesthetics and politics of climate change now? In what ways might the arts address the temporality of risk associated with climate change today?

The artists and scholars who contributed to this forum consider how theory and praxis change in response to the apocalyptic pressures of climate change. What collaborations form in the face of a catastrophe that is at once impending and ongoing? How do artists living in the wake of colonialism's repeated apocalypses draw upon the past to engage and resist present dangers? In a world where science and culture can feel increasingly speculative, what is the relationship between data and art? How does art hold, guide, and sometimes teach us to be at the end of the world? [End Page 479]

  • Flying with Operation Icebridge
  • Zaria Forman (bio)

I consider it my life's mission to convey the urgency of climate change through drawing. My drawings focus on remote landscapes in flux, places that most people don't have the opportunity to experience. I was stunned and thrilled when NASA invited me to join their Operation IceBridge, which for the last decade has been mapping the geometry of the ice at both Poles. I joined them on flights over Antarctica in the Fall of 2016, and then again over Greenland and parts of Arctic Canada in the Spring of 2017. We traveled on 12-hour flights, skimming just 1500 feet above glaciers, sea ice, and mountaintops. During these flights, I witnessed the ice from an entirely new perspective, and in most cases, one that no artist had ever seen before. I gained an enormous appreciation for the complexities and dangers of the mission, and for the expertise of the flight crew and scientists. Returning from these flights, I knew I had to translate these experiences and unique perspectives into drawings. This was an opportunity to bridge disciplines and render the important work of these scientists into a more accessible medium, to communicate the data and what it means for our planet.

Click for larger view
View full resolution
Figure 1.

Zaria Forman, DeVicq Glacier, Antarctica, 74° 47' 58.401?S 131° 0' 54.8208″W, October 28th, 2016. 60 × 90 inches, soft pastel on paper, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist Zaria Forman.

[End Page 480]

Click for larger view
View full resolution
Figure 2.

Zaria Forman, Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland, 69° 47' 31.092?N 49° 47' 31.7076″W, April 29th, 2017. 68 × 102 inches, soft pastel on paper, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist Zaria Forman.

Through my drawings, I seek to change minds and call attention to important issues by simply asking people to look. Soft pastel on paper is the medium I have chosen as it best conveys the message behind my work. The process is simple and straightforward and my hands are my tools. The tactility allows me to communicate how the landscapes make me feel. When viewing my pieces, people are compelled to move closer to look at the details, especially when they realize they're not photographs. The movement creates an intimate connection that may not have happened had they simply kept their distance. This helps to immerse viewers in the details of these beautiful places so they can experience them both personally and emotionally. Much of our decision-making is guided by our emotions, and art has the special ability to tap into our emotions. It is in this spirit that I choose to convey the beauty as opposed to the devastation; if people can experience the sublimity of these landscapes, perhaps they will be inspired to protect and preserve them...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 479-499
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.