EARTHLAB LUNCH AND LEARN
When Art Meets Science: Communicating About Climate Change
Final artistic product: Inhale/Exhale video
In 2018, the Skagit Climate Science Consortium (SC2) and the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington, co-hosted Surge, an art exhibit designed to draw attention to climate change and its effects on Northwest ecosystems and human communities. The exhibit brought artists together with biologists, geologists, and other scientists to present the public with new perspectives on issues affecting the Skagit River watershed, including flooding, forest fire, sea level rise, and storm surge.
As one of the art-science teams in the exhibit, Seattle artist Rachel Lodge and UW forest scientist Dave Peterson collaborated on an 8-minute, hand-drawn animation, “Inhale/Exhale,” exploring the flow of carbon in forests and the increased incidence of forest fire as a result of climate change. Lodge and Peterson navigated differences in their respective professional languages to find an artistic interpretation that would communicate climate change phenomena while maintaining scientific rigor. Lodge needed to find an emotional range for the work that stayed within the boundaries of climate change science, whereas Peterson needed to reconcile artistic expression with depiction of complex processes. The success of the final artistic product was due to a shared commitment to clear communication of scientific concepts, as well as a willingness to reach across disciplinary boundaries.
Thank you to our co-sponsors: