T.J. Demos, "Decolonizing Nature"
The Activist-Arts of Climate Change
This presentation considers Climate Games, the recent artistic-activist project organized around COP21 in Paris, December 2015, which brought together international practitioners and collectives in a coordinated effort to challenge the corporate-dominated climate negotiations. Participants aimed to bring attention to the invisibilities pertaining to the economic framework of climate governance, specifically neoliberalism, which has offered only failed proposals for how to address the current environmental crisis. Climate Games, organized by the France-based Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, promoted creative nonviolent civil disobedience as part of a longterm strategy to democratize environmental governance, insist on a just transition to a postcarbon future, and develop alternatives outside the automatic assumptions of capitalist hegemony. I will consider the visual infrastructure of Climate Games, as well as select examples of participating contenders, and examine how the project sought to organize ethico-political action around climate justice activism, representing a developing model of visual-cultural engagement today. What are the lessons of this type of practice, and how does it reconfigure the imperatives of art historical analysis?