A FADING SOUL
The woods have always been a sacred place in my mind. But when I traverse the muddy trail, the faint reek covers the surroundings with an ominous veil. Taking a more brisk pace, I hope that the muddy ground wonâ€™t suck me into the earth. Would I go through the center of the globe and appear at the other side of the world? Life is an endless loop, with ups and downs. Indifferent people catch up from behind and fade away. The verdant May leaves shed their colors like dried up paint.
â€” Tianhai (Tony) Zhou (Haining, Zhejiang, China)
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So many people reevaluating, revisiting old memories, better times. But why? And why now? So many stories in the news of life and death every day. Suddenly it seems like the line separating life from death is getting closer and closer. Whatâ€™s going on? Itâ€™s a pandemic, they say, a virus. But no, thatâ€™s not all thatâ€™s going on, thatâ€™s just whatâ€™s happening. Open your eyes. Keep your distance so you can get closer. Cover up, cover up â€“ so that you can go inside! Thereâ€¦ yeah, thatâ€™s whatâ€™s happeningâ€¦ see? Nowâ€¦ learn.
â€” Glenn Alterman (New York, New York)
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In the past four months, global citizens have learned new habits: social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a mask. For me, this last protective habit turned out to be rewarding and exciting. During a pandemic, animals are sometimes abandoned or forgotten. Indeed, a local animal shelter needed money. Solution? The owner decided to make cute face masks for sale. So I bought one. By wearing this mask, a wounded deer is cared for and fed, making me proud to be part of something bigger. The mask was so successful, my whole family has one.
â€” Bebejabets Sophie Lapointe (Mascouche, QuÃ©bec, Canada)
(Top photo: What pandemic?Â Acrylic paper, 10.5 cm x 13.5 cm. Bebejabets Sophie Lapointe, 2020.)
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BECOMING GRADUALLY â€œOTHERâ€
Iâ€™m depriving my skin of material correspondence and withdrawing the ability to contact other bodies. My skin feels the loss. I envy the machine who can survive without touch. I video-call constantly: uploading myself, my eyes present, moving mouth and megapixel skin. I see other bodies, but not like I know them. Flickering, stuttering, fading. Iâ€™m becoming gradually â€œother.â€ Iâ€™m getting to know my computational personality. Iâ€™m feeding my electronic body. It exists without feeling, without pain, grief, or humor. Iâ€™m living somewhere in the machine, both here and there, existing in between multiple borders, staring at the unknown.
â€” Molly McAndrews (Plymouth, Devon, UK)
This series is edited byÂ Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.
Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
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