Arts & Science


Evolving Futures: Owning Our Mess

In the world impacting year of 2020 and supported by the #StartClim2020 grant, the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) and the think-tank artEC/Oindustry created a new space for transformative and regenerative collaboration.

Over the span of 10 months the ClimArtLab emerged to contribute to the healing of our planet. In the first phase, Guido Caniglia and Dominika Glogowski designed the framework of the project and selected artists from an open call. In the second phase, a team of artists and scientists came together to explore new ways of generating intrinsic motivation for pro-environmental behaviour and empowering individuals and groups to deal with the messy and wicked realities of climate change. Our final goal is the co-creation of potentially transformative, participatory interventions that was live installed in an online exhibition on May 11, 2021.

Visit the exhibition here: to experience the two installations:

GLAXIER NEX US, led by artist Ida-Marie Corell and glaciologist/climate scientist Lindsey Nicholson, is an embodied glacier performance that critically engages and interweaves glaciology and climate sciences with themes of personal and zoom identity, pandemic technocracy, patriarchy, disturbance, and social change.

HOMONEXUS, led by artist Francesca Aldegani and philosopher/cognitive scientist/musician Alejandro Villanueva, is a participatory textile installation in digital and analogue spaces. The installation embraces an embodied and collective approach to cognition and motivation in relation to the cognitive and emotional challenges that climate change presents us with.

The project Evolving Futures: Owning our Mess emerged from a dissatisfaction towards mainstream approaches used to foster behavioural and cultural change both in research and policy. Often, a nudging paradigm is used to shape choice architecture and to influence the behaviour of groups and individuals failing to motivate people to take responsibility and to act on their own behalf. Other times, a paradigm of scaring is used which leverages fear and insecurity, resulting in disempowerment and diminished agency. Our project steps away from nudging or scaring and investigates positive stimuli of intrinsic motivation and transformative agency.

The questions that drive Evolving Futures: Owning our Mess are:

  • How can we as individuals and society step away from fear and take responsibility for our mess?
  • How can we develop intrinsic motivation and agency to address challenges related to climate change?
  • How can artists and scientists work together towards the shared goal of supporting regenerative futures in times of climate emergency?

We address these questions through creative and open-ended mutual learning and co-creation processes. We interweave theories and practices from many scientific and artistic fields. We make use of theories of intrinsic motivation and embodied cognition. We mobilize complexity theories and nexus approaches. We experiment with participatory artistic installations and performances to explore new ways of exploring the relationships that tie our lives to a warming climate. We use embodied experiences to shape and reflect upon our hybrid-cyborg lives. We intersect the digital and the analogue, the virtual and the real, our bodies and our laptop screens, textiles and QR codes.

Learn more about our art and science here:

Meanwhile, enjoy this Mantra created by Ida-Marie Corell.

Watch: Glacier Mantra 1 by Ida-Marie Corell
Teaser: ClimArtLab in Sound and Knots