Arrangements of glass and plexi at the Kunstbibliothek-Städelbibliothek, Frankfurt am Main, accompanying the presentation of the video “translate:Skeptizism”
Unser Magazin “Kunst-Erkenntnis-Problem” ist demnächst wieder mit Up-Pop Up! erhältlich. Vom 23. bis 28.03.2014 auf dem After School Club in Offenbach
Wolfgang Zurborn, aus dem Buch “Elf Uhr Elf”
In the course of the last year, we have often featured alumni or current students of the School of Visual Arts in New York, such as Joshua Citarella, David Brandon Geeting and Molly Matalon. We can add the talented Corey Olsen to the list.
His photography covers a wide genre range – landscapes, portraits, still lifes – and is characterized by a sober approach that brings out colours and patterns in every image. Realistic in subjects and clean in technique, Olsen’s work has a quiet beauty that transpires more and more as the viewer revisits each photograph.
more images on Disturber
When I get up in the morning, I open the door to get the newspapers. I don’t open the door to see if the wildfires raging near my city have gotten any closer. I don’t open the door to see if there are any clouds that might bring a crippling drought to an end. I don’t open the door to see if the ocean, once across the road, is now at my doorstep.
That’s what some Australians and South Pacific islanders do. There’s no official count that I could find, but anecdotally at least, these people appear to be feeling the earliest and hardest effects of climate change—an excess of storms, droughts and a rising sea—more often than other parts of the world. That’s what has brought me here, that and the research being done into how climate change is affecting people’s mental health and well-being.
Australian researchers have come up with a name for the distress caused by watching the weather in your homeland change over time – solastalgia. They’ve come up with a way to measure “environmental distress syndrome.” They’ve been out in some of the hardest hit areas counting cases of depression and suicide rates to see if there’s a link.
And one more thing—several research groups are trying to see if they can come up with programs that will reduce the mental health impact of changing weather patterns.
I’m also going to go to a Pacific island to see what it feels like to live in a remote paradisial place threatened by the legacy of fossil fuels being used thousands of miles away by people you don’t know and you can’t stop. Actually, it’s more than a threat. On Fiji, entire villages have had to be moved away from the rising tides. And Fiji is luckier than some of its farflung island neighbors. Its big islands are volcanic, and people can move up the hill. In other places, there’s nowhere to go except a boat.
There’s plenty of room for skepticism. On the climate change side, even the staunchest believers can’t link any one drought or typhoon to climate change. There are climate change deniers here—Aussies who don’t believe the overwhelming data that says that climate change is real and who point to the history of droughts and wildfires to say that nothing has changed. And there are islanders who figure that God will provide, that they’ve been through worse invasions in recent history.
I don’t expect they’ll be impressed by any of this, especially because mental health research is always a hard sell. There’s the stigma against conditions like depression. There’s the belief that if people just buck up, they can get over PTSD. There’s the burnout that comes from too many new psychiatric diagnoses with nebulous symptoms.
My plan is to dig into the research, to see if it’s substantial, and if it can help people face the stress of a changing environment. And I’ll be talking to rural farmers and indigenous people and students and housewives to see how they’re doing.
I’ll let you know what I find out.
By Joanne Silberner. Australia, 2014.
From her forthcoming project, “Climate Change and Mental Health.”
Image of Lake Hume, Australia, a reservoir downstream from Murray River, seen here at 4% capacity. Via Flickr Commons.
El Lissitzky, PROUN Room description, 1923 (As documented in the avant-garde journal G: Material zur Elementaren Gestaltung).
21. Novmeber 2013