Tag Archive | Climarte

Perceptive Power perceived



One of the twenty-five exhibitions currently showing in Melbourne under the umbrella of the Climarte Festival is Perceptive Power.signThe RMIT Design Hub in the centre of Melbourne’s CBD doesn’t look like it should suffer from too many doors (it certainly has too many corridors) but there you go – Perceptive Power has more than one entrance and it is possible to enter the exhibition the back way.

outside of Design Hub


Is there a right way to see this exhibition? Doesn’t matter. I am confident in predicting whichever way you enter, you will find yourself intrigued, engaged and I’m guessing, muttering a little ‘wow’ to yourself (more than once) as you negotiate the Hub’s corridors.

There are no paintings in this exhibition. This is a modern exhibition with modern media dealing with a modern problem. This is also a reading exhibition. Many of the pieces on view are fascinating, bewitching and somewhat bewildering. Watching flashing fluro tubes on a hill suddenly becomes chilling when you read the things are lighting up because of loose power surrounding power pylons. halo2


The artists are using scavenged power. They’re not even plugged in. Wow.halo-sign

This is one of the reading stations. You need to absorb the words before the video showing patterns of flashing tubes – which become very bright – make sense. Clearly a lot of thought and effort has gone into making these objets d’art signal stops so best admire them as you gather information.

This one explains the video of a toy car driving though the streets.toy-car

The video encourages the viewer to focus on a very small daring car emitting plumes of different coloured smoke tearing wildly through busy traffic. The video keeps the original sound (presumably) which includes gasps of recognition and laughter from passing cyclists.


Continuum Parts One and Two blends dancers and renewable energy in mesmerizing performance. One of my ‘wow’ moments came as I read about Continuum Part Two, based at the Carwarp Solar Facility, northwest of Mildura. This piece was filmed 2013/4 but when they returned in 2015, the film crew found the 40 solar dishes shrouded with black covers. The government refused to back the project further and the company has turned its attention to projects overseas. Wow.

In EurEco, Ash Keating turns the Eureka Flag green – which is taking serious liberties – but with governments like Australia’s – what is one to do?

“The issue of climate change needs persuasion rather than propaganda and art understands the psychology of persuasion.” Jay Griffiths, writer

This is a quote from the chalkboard in the middle of the exhibition space marks Carbon Arts in Residence. A place for conversation and encounters, this is an oasis where magazines, short films and salon discussions tempt the visitor. As much as I admire Jay Griffiths, I despair sometimes, I really do. Is saving the planet really a job for artists?

Get along and see Perceptive Power. It will make you think. You will admire corridors. You will see (and read about) a Natural State, made in the service of hydro-electric projects. So what is nature, where is wilderness?



Perceptive Power is provocative. And it’s just one exhibition of many.

Why, just across the road RMIT’s gallery is showing Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla, another beautiful and evocative collection.

Map of Japan surrounded by sand. Raked concentric circles radiate from Fukushima

Absorption Ripple by Yutaka Kobayashi

You’ll want to pick up a Climarte brochure and explore some of the other showings, forums and events on around Melbourne. Get some ‘wow’ in your life.

Art Climate Ethics – What role for the arts?

Found plastics on Robe beach altered by Victoria Osborne and Philip Millar

I wove these different coloured ropes into this handbag shape as a container for plastic items we found on Robe beach in South Australia.

“Art, nature and I became vital and inseparable companions.” GUY ABRAHAMS: AN ART DEALER’S EPIPHANY

I’ve been working on an adult literary novel called Man of clay for fifteen years. I’m hoping to put it up on this website shortly. In the book a character called Willliam wonders whether to take over his mother’s art gallery, just like Guy did. In the above mentioned article, Guy, the CEO of Climarte, speaks eloquently about art and nature and recommends we go to a discussion called Art Climate Ethics: What role for the arts? So we did.

Found plastics arranged as if stuffed into a toy bird

Plastics found on Robe beach – an homage to Chris Jordan by Philip Millar and Victoria Osborne

And what a wonderful discussion it was. Not only did we get to see Fiona Hall, Mandy Martin, Damon Young and Peter Cristoff but also Chris Jordan.

Damon Young is a philosopher and writer who set his discussion, or provocation, about the Anthropocene Age in a sea of jellyfish.

Mandy Martin is an artist, a painter, who has decided to go for her activism. She doesn’t care if there’s negative consequences. She’s too busy getting her message out in delicious landscapes, colours and textures. She showed us some of her work painted around powerstations and mines. One was called Vivitur Ex Rapto, or Man lives off greed. She told us we are all implicated because of our need for resources.

Peter Christoff is an academic. His most recent book is Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a hot world. He believes the public knows about climate change. He thinks they have had the information but they are angered or frustrated or made helpless by the knowledge of impending doom. Generally, he said, they think someone else will look after the problems some other time. He thinks we have an ‘imagination deficit’. I totally agree with this notion. I think most Australians cannot imagine anything much further in the future than the next footy season. Is that just human nature?

Fiona Hall is an eloquent artist but her speech was marred by her use of arrrr and ummmms … Her work is brilliant.

Chris Jordan is the man behind the shocking images of plastic-stuffed albatross. He’s also made a film about Midway, the island of the albatross, here’s the trailer for Midway. He spoke about the need for a shift in consciousness. Humans must become more radical, as in the word origin from ‘root’. We must go back to our roots. He talked about how our society has placed our thinking in the amygdalla – the place of fear – the lizard part of our brain. Everything humans, particularly the West, seems to do comes from reacting to fear. Like America, rushing off to war for no apparent reason. He believes art has the ability to take thinking out of fear and put it in the limbic part of the brain or our feelings. We need to feel anger and grief because of the loss of our charismatic fauna – ‘artworks of God’ – the sacred miracles of our world. We need to acknowledge our collective sadness, move through the grief and become activists.

Here’s a link to his TED talk which focuses on his Running the numbers work.

Whale tale of plastic spade handle

We took several bags of plastic bits and nylon rope away from this beach holiday.