Accepted Paper:

Identifying the aesthetics of a cultural shift away from oil  
Mel Evans

Paper short abstract:

Taking a broad and critical view this paper will consider examples from the arts, design and technology to extrapolate stories and flavours of how the world is changing in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Paper long abstract:

Our experience of the fossil fuel era is shaped by the aesthetics of oil and its by-products: the shimmering surface of plastic, the nauseating odour of petrol, the wind-whipping speed of travel. In the wake of the Paris climate talks, insiders from the US coal industry described themselves as "the new slave-traders in the eyes of history", perfectly summing up the cataclysmic shift in motion as societies reconfigure their relationships to fossil fuels. These changes are driven by the imperative of climate action, and in themselves exhibit a range of aesthetic responses and manifestations of the coming cultural norms of a post-fossil fuel era. Considered phenomenologically, the visual, experiential and sensory aesthetics of a culture beyond oil in some cases evoke excitement and pleasure, in others boredom or disgust. Taking a broad and critical view this paper will consider examples from the arts, design and technology to extrapolate stories and flavours of how the world is changing in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Mel Evans is Head of Art and Editorial at Greenpeace UK and is author of Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts. Her writing has featured in several academic journals including Performance Research Journal and Contemporary Theatre Review. She is a graduate of Theatre, Sociology and Anthropology at Glasgow University.

Panel P32
Visualizing Climate - Changing Futures?