One reason why humans feel so powerless about the issue of climate change is because of the inconceivable distance between ourselves and the pressing questions involved in this issue. I want to bridge this “total disconnect” by creating an oversize, imaginary, deadly virus situated at Davis Square in Somerville. I would like to use this opportunity to raise the thoughts and feelings of people of all generations, providing a visual concept that might prepare them for handling a range of climate crises.
Household consumption is a major contributor to climate change. Studies suggest that residential energy consumption and personal transportation alone are responsible for 38% of U.S. emissions, while indirect emissions associated with the consumption of food, water, goods, and services represent an even larger contribution. However, it seems difficult to see the connection between an expired can of tomato sauce and the rise of global temperatures. For most of us, the trash bin is the end of the consumption circle, thus taking us away from the greater responsibility of ecological crises.
My inspiration comes in part from the fact that artificial global warming brings back to life those dormant ancient viruses and bacteria now residing under the cold, airless, dark permafrost soils and icebergs. It is no secret that climate change has spread illnesses such as West Nile virus, zika, and malaria. Melting permafrost soils release ancient viruses that could cause rare illnesses or unleash other infectious agents.
This project is commissioned by the City of Somerville, Massachusetts, for its annual ArtBeat Festival.