The exhibition features works from more than 50 photographers and videographers.
A man submerged up to his chin in brown, muddy floodwaters and a group of miners covered him from head to toe – these are just a few of the images on display at a new climate-inspired photography exhibition at the Kennedy Center called Coal + Ice. , Which opened on 15 March.
“I had young children, and I was trying to figure out what kind of world they would live in. I feel this growing responsibility to try to tackle climate change,” said Gideon Mendel, a 63-year-old London photographer whose work is on display.
The display, which runs until April 22, features the proliferation of photos and videos taken around the world and documentes the harmful effects of human activity on the planet. It reflects the work of more than 50 photographers and videographers around the world and the various ways in which climate change has changed.
Coal + ice comes to Washington, DC because dependence on fossil fuels has been concentrated in the Ukraine war. Climate change has been pushed backwards as the global market faces more significant uncertainties due to the unstable geopolitical landscape and the dragging effects of COVID-19.
“We have to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia and president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, which helped organize the exhibition.
“Dealing with the geopolitics, the challenge of the incompetence of national borders that are fundamentally violated by the invasion of Ukraine, and at the same time, the challenge of this pan-civilization for climate change.”
Here in the United States, the Russian aggression in Ukraine has sparked controversy over the source of energy production in the country. Many Republicans have called for increased oil and gas production to offset dependence on other countries, especially Russia. Democrats, on the other hand, point to this as evidence of a complete shift away from non-renewable energy.
“It’s not looking good. It’s getting worse, and you know, at a time when the world really needs a cohesive global system to work together, it’s actually much more broken than it has been for a long time,” Mendel said.
The exhibition allows visitors to roam freely and move around in “pods” where individual collections provide an artistic exploration of the climate crisis. Content varies from a scene of global coal mining activity to a picture of the rapidly melting glaciers of the Himalayas and their collapse over the past few decades.
The 30,000-square-foot tent at Kennedy Center’s “Rich Plaza” has an uninterrupted background audio track that creates a immersive experience for visitors with visual displays.
Although the latest installation is on the doorstep of the government here in Washington, DC, there are concerns about the impact of the exhibition.
“The danger with climate change groups, it’s just spread to converts. You know, so you know, this, and you often have these closed circles. I mean, the really complex question is how you use your work to bring about change,” Mendel said. Says.
The exhibition first appeared on the East Coast after its initial debut in Beijing in 2011, then in Yixian, Shanghai, Paris and San Francisco – the only other U.S. exhibit. Smaller versions of Coal + Ice were also installed in Copenhagen and New Delhi. After the show ends, organizers hope to move it to New York City, but there are no official plans to do so.