THIRST

THIRST

A video & sound installation, speaking of climate change, soil erosion and desertification, with a main focus on Alentejo, the South of Portugal

Facts

Context:
commissioned by the “EEA GRANTS CONFERENCE — Too Much, Too Little. The Role of Water in Adaptation to Climate Change.”, Lisbon (Pt) October 2013. A conference hosted by APAMBIENTE and CCIAM. Financially supported by EEA Grants / Norway Grants as well as the Austrian Embassy
Artistic Innovation:
First commission to create a video installation to be presented at an international conference on climate change
Urgency
Climate change is one of the major challenges we are face and that is threatening ecosystems and the majority of live forms on this planet today. As for policy, discussions on an exclusively rational level as well as the main focus on a “financial incentive” have proved insufficient, we need constructive, fresh and truly engaging ways in motivating the necessary insight and change.
Research & Creation Process
Collaboration with researchers of BASE Project and of CCIAM and group of researchers of the University of Lisbon, involving many interviews with, firstly, the researchers and, even more importantly, many landowners, farmers and people living in the South of Portugal.
Audience
CEOs from corporations, politicians and policy makers, researchers and representatives of the European as well as Portuguese Environmental Agency.
Impact
A major part of the participants of the conference saw the installation. THIRST created a different experience of and engagement with what people were talking about in theory.
Budget
2500,­ EUR (to funding bodies) accommodation (and partly food and local transportation) organised by researchers and the community.

The Story

Inspired by the cross­pollination between arts and science and convinced that the arts can create a connection link between society and nature, I’ve participated in various residencies and projects that tackled the theme of climate change and huma­n nature ­relationships in general. In 2013, my artistic practice had a main focus on water and I was deeply involved with the challenges regarding this resource as well as most essential element that is connecting all of life. In the fall of that year I got invited to create this work.

The importance of THIRST and a main inspiration for the action of introducing an artistic element to the conference was to give a voice to:

  1. the people living in the actual environment we are speaking of and having to deal with the change and damage that has already been and is happening.
  2. their vision and creative solutions.

As well, having a coaching background, I am aware that true change and transformation, if that change should be profound, has to start from and take place in our “inner emotional reality” as well as emotional relationship to something. The vision here was to facilitate the power of art to not only communicate through rational facts but, even more so, to engage our inner emotional world. The aim was to create connection and involvement on a different, more profound level, to motivate and inspire transformation from this place.

Being a visionary brings its challenges. Half of the team of organisers didn’t very much welcome the idea. It was something completely new for them and, initially, they didn’t yet see the value of it. However, the work had its impact. Many people-from researchers to politicians-said how it touched them and connected them to the stories of the people and the place itself. Especially, the voices of the people gave a different and real quality to the whole topic. In short, this work had an impact in two ways:

  1. it created a different engagement of people regarding the subject at hand.
  2. it had a general impact on and changed their perception of the value of art which was touching and beautiful to see; they embraced the essential value of it.

Trailer

Copyright Citizen Artist Incubator 2016