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Argument for creating with climate

Gaurav Patekar

04 Feb, 8:10 pm

05 Feb, 4:10 am

05 Feb, 12:10 pm

15 min

How can we use climate data to create art and design to foster climate literacy


In the time we are living in, where ever on the globe we might be, the effects of climate change are visible and becoming more evident every year, from the growing number of forest fires in California to the growing intensity of cyclones in the bay of Bengal, in India and Bangaladesh.

In the past some of effort in the field of climate art and design was to convince people of climate change, now we have moved past that. Some of the climate art and design untill now has also reduced the complexity of the climate crisis to a single motif of a polar bear or a fixed number of the amount of temperature rise.

The reality of climate change is far more complex and messy. There is a plethora of scintific literature on the subject and its growing at a rapid pace. But the complexity of this data often makes it difficult to comprehend for the general audience. This is a challenge that art and design are very well equipped to to take on. Its also one of the most important challenge we will face in the coming time.

How could we connect the people with climate crisis in a meaningful way, where there is enough information that leaves people with an understanding of the reality, but not too much data that leaves people confused and overwhelmed, where the gravity of the situation is communicated without it leading to a sense of hopelessness or doom?

Through this talk, I would like to make an argument for making expressive art and design to communicate the data about climate change in a way that educates people about the complexity and interconnectedness of systems in nature. I believe there is great opportunity and potential for designers and artists to work with climate data and create visualizations, artefacts and expereiences that create climate literacy and fosters dialogue around climate change.

In the talk I would like to present inspiring and relavent examples from the work by other artists and designers from various parts of the globe. I would also like to share my learnings and insights from working on climate change and data sculptures. I would like to bring together insights gained from conversations with experts in environmental science, art and social justice.

Meet the speaker

Gaurav Patekar


Research Assistant at MIT Media Lab

I am a designer and a maker working at the intersection of art, design and technology. I currently work as a research assistant at the MIT Media Lab where I am part of Future Sketches and Fluid Interfaces research groups. I have studied design and engineering prior to coming to MIT. My current work focuses on creating experiences and objects based on climate data in order to bring the issues of climate change to peoples attention. Some of my interests are data visualization, kinetic sculptures, interaction design, digital fabrication and craft practices. I believe bringing together apparently disparate approaches and skills can lead to novel and valuable outcomes.

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