The World Turned Upside Down
The world turned upside down… inside out… falling apart… a worldwide pandemic. Stopped in our tracks. How do any of us respond? How quickly or slowly do we face the facts and become willing to change? This is a unique moment in our lifetime. It is devastating, and, at the same time, it opens up possibilities to be different. We are collectively and individually faced with our mortality, our vulnerability, our uncertain futures.
When things don’t seem to work anymore, what do we turn to? Yes, making art, writing, planting, creating, cooking, imagining… appreciating beauty, nature, sunlight.
— Judy Fox (Lenox, Massachusetts)
* * *
Art in Crisis
I was supposed to be in King Lear this spring. Instead of canceling our show, my incredible director decided to continue, via Zoom. Theatre is the one constant in my life, the art I turn to when the rest of my world is in shambles. I feel so lucky to have something that I love, even in the midst of chaos. I turn to theatre when I can’t do anything else. I get to see friends, be creative, and genuinely love something I’m creating. Now especially, art grounds me, keeps me sane, and reminds me of beauty in the world.
— Cora Pearlstein (Seattle, Washington)
* * *
Conspiracy of Bats
We are told that this is the era of man, the Anthropocene. As the fog of “civilizational progress” momentarily lifts, however, a forgotten nature emerges through the veil of toxic pollution, birds sing in the absence of noise pollution, and animals territorialize spaces long thought conquered by humans. Perhaps this suggests a new epoch after the Anthropocene, when the world designed by man will be revealed to be but one world – and hardly the best of all possible worlds. Here, we encounter the horror of civilizational design and the myriad worlds it has disappeared in its march toward oblivion.
— Jason Wallin (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
* * *
I know but I wonder
I know it’s for the best but I wonder when it’ll end
I fear I like this better but I wonder: is loneliness worse in a crowd
I say I’m okay and I wonder if they’re lying too
I hear politicians but I wonder what’s true
I touch nothing; is nothing enough?
I know I care; am I a counterfeit angel?
I hear people feel alone but isn’t that what they always feel?
I see my opponent; how can I defeat them?
I touch when I’m wanted, but I wonder: can I reach out first
I love and I wonder
— Anna, Kaatje, Sebastien, Jaya, Paige, and Sophie, ages 13 to 16
(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.