Symposium & Exhibition curation RISD article
zoom recording
Sensing the Environment: Evidence, Narrative, Appearance, symposium, RISD, March 7, 2023.

Parallel exhibition, RISD Architecture, BEB Gallery, March 6—10, 2023.

Funded by the RISD SEI Programming Fund AY22-23.
Climate  change is an art of sensing and imaging, just as much as it is a science of analysis. Under what circumstances do we “see,” “know,” and “evidence” the environment? What are the aesthetics and politics of environmental media — those unevenly distributed transformations in our physical and built world?

While maps, drawings, sensing devices, and data collection have long served colonial and extractive interests, the arts of sensing the environment has also been leveraged otherwise. Departing from Eurocentric, Enlightenment-era perspectives of scientific authority and engineered solutions, the arts brings forth counter- practices, mobilizes memories and actions, and dismantles traditional aesthetics of “nature” in the face of the climate emergency. The question is what new images, indexes, documents, and instruments do we need, and how might we design them?

This multidisciplinary symposium builds on existing momentum and discourses at RISD around sustainability and just climate futures — this time, focusing on its critical possibilities. It expands the visual project of rendering climate visible, diversifies voices and actors, and challenges power differentials latent in representations of the environment.

This hybrid online event and parallel in-person exhibition aim to decenter visual mediums of quantification and extraction; to mobilize a collective aesthetics and politics of “the environment”; and to catalyze discussions on how climate agency might be exercised through visual research, acts of design, and creative practice.

Speakers & exhibitors:
sTo Len, artist & NYC Department of Sanitation artist in residence
LinYee Yuan, MOLD
Linda Schilling Cuellar, AHORA & UDLA
Felipe Shibuya, RISD Nature Lab
Paulo Tavares, University of Brasília
Maggie Tsang, Dept.
Gabriel Cuellar, cadaster
RISD Nature Lab (scans and SEM images from collection)

Photos by Zeyuan Ren

© 2022 Amelyn Ng