“CLIMATE-JUST WORLDINGS – Exploring new perspectives in world-building for film in a climate-just world” is a research project by Lina Persson, Researcher in film.
Today both scientists and the general public agree that climate change is real and that it is evidently caused by humans. But still we seem unable to act enough on this knowledge to bring about the necessary change and transition. The research presented here aims at exploring such actions and transitions towards climate-just art practices. Speculating upon alternative worlds and hypothetical futures it intends to experiment with the conditions for art production and storytelling in order to find a more sustainable relationship with what Donna Haraway calls our natureculture1. What would it mean to my artistic practice if there was a built-in limitation for me to use more natural resources than my share? What would a world look like, where future generations could access and confront the present with its overdraw of resources? The proposed research project will be investigating these questions through different forms of “worldbuilding” like the film industry’s “storyworlds” and the “worldings” of material feminist theory. By playing with the legal structures of the contract and the certificate I plan to formulate and submit to climate-just obstacles in my practice. This legal structure (with the working title: PRODUCTIONWORLD) would work as an experimental environment, a test tube, containing the practice. Within this framework I would perform my practice by building a STORYWORLD, a fictional world of texts, images and sound. In crossdiciplinary workshops specialists from different fields will contribute in defining this hypothetical sci-fi world, dictated by new timetechnologies. There is little time left to turn around the current critical climate development. This research aims at testing such transitions in small scale. 1 Donna Haraway. The Companion Species Manifesto Vol.1. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003, 114.
Aim and research questions
The purpose of the research proposed here is to reveal something about possible future conditions for artists, when the resources may have become scarce and to investigate art’s possibility to act out and prepare for future hypothetical scenarios. I was born in 1978. During my lifetime society has evolved an unsustainable way of life that is rapidly changing the conditions for future generations on this planet. If we produced/consumed the way we did in the 70’s, and re-invented what that would mean today, research shows , that we could turn the current ecological crisis around. In my research, I want to try to make a loop in time applied to both production modes and storytelling conventions. I have worked as an artist collaborator for more than ten years with scientists on anthropogenic landscape transformations, this crossdiciplinary approach is increasingly fruitful as our anthropogenic climate situation collapses the distinctions between natural history and human history. I grew up in the countryside and, since then, engagement in the environmental movement has given me a strong sense of place within our ecosystem. I long for sensitive structures, that would provide necessary limits to my activities, environmental, social and artistic. That’s why the aim is to formulate and submit to a creative, climate-just contract with the working-title; PRODUCTIONWORLD and to investigate how such climate justice would affect my practice. Sooner or later we are going to have to prepare for vastly reduced amounts of available energy and to imagine our artistic practices in a world where resources have become scarce. The sooner we accept this fact, the more creative room we will have to explore and experiment with the kind of supporting structures that will be required. We need to act now to explore the possibilities while there is still time for trial and error. Creativity doesn’t increase with the more resources one uses, rather the opposite is true, art practices flourish within boundaries and constraints. It is within the arts that new scenarios can be imagined and tested and where practices for a climate-just future can best be experimented with. While working under these constructed conditions, in this PRODUCTIONWORLD I aim to undertake a STORYWORLD production. The aim is to enrich the film industry’s worldbuilding techniques with critical perspectives on environmental representations and to expand the role our ecology plays in storytelling. Our current models, concepts and images of nature mislead us and do not help us grasp the severity of the current climate situation. They are based in the same ideology that led to this unsustainable situation. In the context of an already existing community of environmentally conscious artists and arts practices, the fictional world I am proposing will be built of texts, images and sound. It will be open source, a shared universe where any artist who wishes to explore critical perspectives on the environment is welcome to contribute to and participate in. The STORYWORLD will have a platform online where people can add their contributions according to collective fan-fiction logic. Anyone can interact with the world as long as the PRODUCTIONWORLD certificate requirements are met.
Research implementation and anticipated impact
The first level of the research is what I call the PRODUCTIONWORLD. I will develop a conceptual framework for a self-imposed regulation of the use of resources in my artistic production processes. That framework will be “the world” I will inhabit during this research project. Its purpose is to prevent me from using more than my share of resources in a sustainable ecosystem. It will likely affect my process to a large extent, by emissions, my travels and thus how I collaborate with international partners or make site-specific research. It might affect the scale and the efficiency of my project. It will also affect my working hours . In my essay Outsourcing Animation I elaborate further on what effects sustainable practice could have on animation practices. Within this framework (PRODUCTIONWORLD), I will stage an artistic process, a worldbuilding-production which will result in the second layer of research; the STORYWORLD. The fictional storyworld is today an increasingly common tool and engine to create a multitude of narratives within one media franchise. I plan to build a storyworld, with text, sound and image, one that evokes narratives with new perspectives on the environment. The starting point for defining and creating my STORYWORLD is the time-machine technology and research in theoretical physics by Dr Ron Mallet with whom I have an ongoing artistic collaboration since 2011. Through world-building I want to speculate how this time-technology might alter the politics of climate justice. Since it would enable future generations to access our time, I envision a scenario comparable to situations where indigenous populations have found ways to claim their rights in relation to colonial powers. This will open up discourse on the colonization of the future and raise questions around rights and the distribution of resources in temporal dimensions. At the same time, it will also question the way the environment has been reduced to a mere resource for humans, often referred to as a colonization of nature . 1. I will start by setting up routines for measuring and documenting my climate impact in collaboration with sustainability researchers. I will start to define the STORYWORLD in crossdiciplinary workshops with invited specialists from diverse fields, and simultaneously measure the climate impact of all action connected to that. 2. The climate-data that comes out of documenting this creative process will be the startingpoint for the formulation of PRODUCTIONWORLD. This will be done in dialogue with and through feedback from sustainability researchers and law advisors. As the PRODUCTIONWORLD takes shape I will place my process with the STORYWORLD within it and let it condition how I let myself continue its production. 3. Finalizing the PRODUCTIONWORLD contract/manifesto/certificate. Building the STORYWORLD from text, sound and image. Building online platform for the STORYWORLD.
The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council.