*All Spring 2020 Design@Large talks will be hosted online. This aligns with UC San Diego policy that all events be hosted virtual during the Spring 2020 quarter.
Artists Carolina Montejo, Peter Sloan, and Grace Grothaus present three different perspectives on the role of art with regards to the climate change movement and their involvement with the Green New Deal at UC San Diego. They will discuss their varied approaches through their separate and jointly collaborative projects. Montejo will focus on how various logics of design can assist art in infiltrating social movements that tackle oppression and destruction. Sloan will then examine how activists today are envisioning new forms of social intervention that go beyond traditional protest music to create nonviolent interventions. Grothaus will interrogate the unique capacities of the arts to give emotional weight where climate facts alone cannot and the radically transformative power of reframing the human imagination to generate a more sustainable and equitable world. Following their brief presentations, there will be an open panel discussion with the audience.
Grace Grothaus (UC San Diego)
We may have come to think of the environmental movement as primarily the domain of the natural sciences and of activist marches, not the arts and humanities, however it is vitally important, now more than ever, to assert the arts’ active role in environmental movements for two reasons. First, because the arts are allowed to grapple with what scientists cannot in their research – feeling. Few minds are ever changed when confronted by facts, rather by emotion. Secondly, the great irreplaceable potentiality of art is that it enables conception of the world not as it is now, but imagines possibilities of how it could be, from which we can then begin to enact it via politics and policy. The arts and humanities possess the “radical” potential to reframe environmental discourse, have a discernible effect on public conscience and consciousness and move the needle on present climate crisis.
Grace Grothaus is a transdisciplinary artist focused on creating moments of reflection about human agency enacted through the constructed world. Through physical computing she creates immersive indoor and outdoor installations and performances, as well as interactive paintings and sculptures. Notable exhibitions & projects include the International Symposium of Electronic Art 2018, Trace, a large-scale public artwork for the city of Tulsa, and the 2012 World Creativity Biennale. Her work has been exhibited and/or collected nationwide and abroad on five continents. She was a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Merit Award winner and has received an Art365 Fellowship. Her art has been featured on the cover of Art Focus magazine and This Land Press. Grothaus earned a BFA as a double major in Interdisciplinary Arts and Art History at the Kansas City Art Institute and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of California, San Diego where she resides with her dog and numerous plants.
Peter Sloan (UC San Diego)
Grassroots activism has long been bolstered by art and music, from Civil Rights-era spirituals and anti-Vietnam war protest songs to the colorful costumes and signage of contemporary climate marches. But beyond protest music, some activists today are envisioning new forms of social intervention that apply creative methods and practices to the social world. In 2019, the climate action group SanDiego350 staged a series of creative nonviolent interventions as part of their “Raise the Alarm” campaign, deploying sound as a materially disruptive, politically effective force. UCSD PhD student Peter Sloan helped lead Raise the Alarm and will discuss how his musical training as a composer informed the design of this campaign, as well as what lessons the grassroots climate movement can learn moving forward, as emissions continue to rise and escalated tactics proliferate.
Peter Sloan is a musician, writer, and activist based in San Diego, CA. As a composer he is interested in statistics, systems, places, and histories, and as a multi-instrumentalist improviser he emphasizes responsive listening and humor. Peter also writes about and organizes in the climate justice movement. He is a founding member of the steering committee of the Green New Deal at UCSD movement, and he writes a climate column, Fire Season, in UCSD’s The Triton. Peter has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Alabama and an M.A. in music from Mills College in Oakland, and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music at the University of California, San Diego. www.petersloan.wordpress.com [petersloan.wordpress.com]
Carolina Montejo (UC San Diego)
As a contemporary artist I am constantly faced with the question of how art can play a more fundamental role in shifting human and institutional impact on socio-environmental justice. In an attempt to find experimental models and structures of social interaction, I will discuss how various logics of design can assist art in infiltrating social movements that tackle oppression and destruction.
Carolina Montejo is a Colombian-American Visual Artist and Filmmaker based in Southern California. She is currently a candidate for an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego. Montejo’s films, performances and other experimental works are concerned with inter-subjective relations between humans, plants, and machines. Through a combination of research and speculation, she focuses on the various ways in which these exchanges can propose new scenarios for social and environmental resistance, community building and action. She holds a BA in Communications from the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogotá, Colombia, and is currently a recipient of the Russel Foundation Grant.