Adaptive Capacity

The ability of a system to adjust to climate change, to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences.

How do we live with a problem as formidable as climate change? When bombarded with facts, figures and depressing statistics it can be difficult to comprehend what we are facing and how we might be able to deal with it, which in turn makes us more likely to put it to the back of our minds. Adaptive Capacity is an evolving performance considering our ability to cope with climate change.

This work was conceived and performed for the 23:57 residency series at Fuse Art Space, Bradford to coincide with the COP21 climate talks in Paris. Over a week I explored how conversation and performance actions might allow us to begin to process the climate change problem and to imagine new, more effective responses than burying our heads in the sand. Starting with a period of production, each day began from the aftermath of the day before, creating a shifting baseline from which each days audience would affect the course of the performance.

A series of plaster forms were cast over the first two days and placed in the gallery where they began to populate the space. An open invitation was issued for anyone to come and discuss the work, climate change and their attitudes towards it over coffee each morning. These conversations directed the tone of the performance that day. By modelling current and potential modes of relating to the environment, this work metaphorically broke down the problem by creating something tangible to respond to in the actions and objects.

An Adaptive Capacity newspaper was published following this residency documenting the project through images and a text written in response to the conversations held over the week.