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“I’m not opposed to satellite imaging, but I’ve been in quite a few climate meetings where people suggested that if only we had more data and better images we’d finally address the crisis. That’s not true.”
– Canadian tech critic, author, and Tech Won’t Save Us host Paris Marx, pushing against the notion that better tools like Satlas, the Allen Institute for AI’s machine learning-powered forest monitor, will lead to climate action. “Our data has been getting better for decades,” Marx argues, “and emissions have kept rising that whole time.”
“By 2025, unless a radical rethink takes place in how we develop AI systems to better account for their environmental impact, the energy consumption of AI tools will be greater than that of the entire human workforce.”
– British journalist Chris Stokel-Walker, citing a 2022 Garner study in his tally of AI’s exploding ecological costs. To mitigate, he suggests to treat AI more like a cryptocurrency: “with an increased awareness of its harmful environmental impacts, alongside awe at its seemingly magical powers of deduction.”
“This is an unprecedented escalation by a social media company against independent researchers. Musk has just declared open war. If he succeeds in silencing us other researchers will be next in line.”
Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) Founder and CEO Imran Ahmed, in response to X, formerly Twitter, threatening legal action over the nonprofit’s research into content moderation. The organization had critized Musk’s leadership for the increase in anti-LGBTQ hate speech and climate misinformation.

How does generative AI’s carbon footprint fare against human creators? Pretty well, according to a recent paper shared by American software artist Kyle McDonald. Comparing text and image creation energy use, University of California researcher Bill Tomlinson and team found that BLOOM, ChatGPT, Midjourney, and DALL-E2 beat human writers and illustrators (and their computers) by wide margins: “An AI creating an image emits 310 to 2900 times less CO2,” states the paper. McDonald’s dark take: “New eugenics just dropped.”

“While the show claims to operate under a framework of ‘ecologies of hope’ to ‘invite audiences to consider the unique and evolving role art has to play in today’s climate crisis’, the viewer is left with the impression that this art hasn’t really done much.”
ArtReview’s Marv Recinto, pondering the current “Dear Earth” show at London’s Hayward Gallery and ecological art writ large. “Given the current state of ecological degradation, perhaps it’s time for a more concerted effort towards action,” he writes, suggesting more focus on praxis and activism.

“Moving as half-human half-machine, we enter the stage like Terminator robots hyping the crowd with claims of world domination,” Mary Maggic recalls opening “Climate Fitness” at Intermediae Matadero Madrid. Faster Higher Stronger (2022), a cross-species performance and installation, had Maggic and collaborators ride bicycle-powered bioreactors. “In the background, SCOBY flesh spins with us, synchronized to the tune of optimized aesthetics,” she writes. “The crowd films through their phones, peering like voyeurs into a mirror of their own reality.”


Aram Bartholl’s solo exhibition “Package ready for pickup” opens at Kunsthalle Osnabrück (DE), kicking off the church-turned-gallery’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Highlighting material flows and environmental degradation, Berlin-based Bartholl presents e-waste recycling crates, QR code climate alerts, and chandeliers made from salvaged TVs. The highlight: a pop-up DHL package station will service customers for the duration of the exhibition, drawing non-art audiences to the show and its themes.

Intermediae Matadero Madrid inaugurates a year-long research program on climate adaption rituals with the group show “Climate Fitness.” Expanding on their 2019 essay “Planet Fitness,“ exhibition designers Common Accounts and curator Maite Borjabad stage works by Faysal Altunbozar, Itziar Barrio (image: Robota MML, 2016-), Ibiye Camp, Irati Inoriza, and Mary Maggic as a gym—a place for visitors to test bodily and planetary boundaries, exercise mutuality, and build up agency.

Trent University and Experimental Methods and Media Lab (EMM Lab) researchers Sarah Rayner and Anne Pasek introduce a white paper on zine-based conferencing—“a low-tech, low-carbon, high-fidelity, and screen-free alternative to in-person gatherings.” Drawing on insights from the 2022 DIY Methods conference archived here, the guide provides a rationale and tips for conducting research exchange by mail. Pasek’s conclusion on Twitter: “A more convivial, sustainable, and affective academy is possible!”

Hayward Gallery within London’s Southbank Centre opens “Dear Earth,” a group show featuring 15 international artists including Agnes Denes, John Gerrard, and Hito Steyerl that explore “themes of care, hope, and connection” in times of planetary crisis. Denes, for example, recreated her iconic land artwork The Living Pyramid (2015, image) as a five-meter tall indoor architecture planted with wildflowers and grasses, invoking both “the past and the possible future we will invent.”

“I’m honestly at a loss to even characterize the current large-scale planetary wave pattern. Frankly, it looks like a Van Gogh.”
– American climatologist and author Michael E. Mann, agast at the current jet stream chaos. Normally, the narrow, fast-moving band of polar winds help stabilize global weather patterns. As the temperature difference between the poles and tropics shrinks due to accellerated arctic warming, the jet streams weaken and swerve, creating unprecedented heat domes like the one currently sizzling Texas.
“This new study is different because it measures tiny variations in the way that Bitcoin mining equipment generates random numbers. These variations serve as a fingerprint allowing us to directly estimate the proportion of different machines.”
– American media artist Kyle McDonald, parsing the methodology of a new Coinmetrics study on Bitcoin energy use that offers the most accurate picture yet. “It basically confirms what we already knew,” writes McDonald, “Bitcoin is using about as much energy as the entire internet (around 12GW or 100TWh/year).”
“This study could pave the way for a transformative shift in climate communications and science communications in general. Highlighting the power of art to provoke emotions and promote self-reflection.”
– University of Wisconsin researcher Nan Li, discussing her team’s analysis of the real-world impact of eco art. In their survey, Li and team tasked 671 people to look at both Diane Burko’s SUMMER HEAT (2020) mixed-media series and the Keeling Curve it is based on. The result: Burko’s artwork was perceived just as credible, sparked positive emotions, and moved participants to the middle, politically.
“Unfortunately it has become too late to save Arctic summer sea ice. This is now the first major component of the Earth system that we are going to lose because of global warming.”
– German climatologist Dirk Notz, on the inevitability of breaching a major climate tipping point. In a new paper published in Nature Communications, Notz and team project that, even with dramatic emission cuts, Arctic sea ice will fully melt during the summer months as soon as the 2030s—much sooner than expected.

As part of LINZ FMR, a biennial festival for art in digital contexts and public spaces in Linz (AT), artist-activists Julian Oliver and Gordan Savičić turn their PerMillion (2022) CO2 web counter into a billboard. Every morning, the parts-per-million value is updated manually to match the website in what FRM calls “a non-digital performance.” Designed as a tool for protest, the website gets its numbers directly from the continuous readings at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, the atmospheric CO2 baseline station.

NEW NOW Festival returns to the industrial world heritage site of Zeche Zollverein in Essen (DE), once the world’s largest colliery, to conjure “Hypernatural Forces” in a major exhibition. Ten resident artists including AATB, Cinzia Campolese, Daniel Franke, Ali Phi, Sabrina Ratté, and Pinar Yoldas present new works that ponder the site’s political and environmental legacy. As visitors wander the caverns of the Mixing Plant, they encounter roaming robot packs and AI-generated ecosystems.

Julius von Bismarck’s solo exhibition “When Platitudes Become Form” opens at Berlinische Galerie, examining simplistic clichés of “how nature is seen and history is written.” For the sculptural piece I like the flowers (2017, image), for example, the German artist pressed dried plants of non-European origin into two dimensions. Bismarck’s critique of extractivist colonial world views also includes his own family history: A suspended 9 x 12 meter cloth, Landscape Painting (2022), invokes the moving waters of the Bismarck Sea.

Australian architect and filmmaker Liam Young premieres a new docu-fiction installation, The Great Endeavor (2023), at this year’s Venice Biennale. The piece offers glimpses of a longer forthcoming film that approaches planetary-scale carbon sequestration with radical optimism. Young and consulting scientist Holly Jean Buck turn humanity’s largest engineering project into an infrastructural imaginary, “chronicling the coordinated action to decolonise the atmosphere in our last great act of planetary transformation.”

“The artificial robin may sound like a robin to even the keenest human—and AI—ears. But does it sound like a robin to a robin?”
– British and South African artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, on questions of value that are at the heart of her Toledo Museum of Art solo show. “Machine Auguries: Toledo” comprises an immersive sound installation wherein a natural dawn chorus gradually gives way to one filled with AI-generated calls, set against a backdrop of an artificial sky.
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