Isaac Cordal art exhibit in France

Two years ago, visitors to a chateau in Nantes, France peered over the side of the moat at something disturbing: lifelike sculptures of businessmen, partially submerged in the water below.

With bored expressions on their faces, the clay figures appeared to be passively watching the water rise around them.

Kirn: “You sense the water there. You see it. You can imagine yourself in sea level rise. And that’s very different from saying oh, yes, the sea level’s going to rise, you know, three feet by 2050 or something like that. It’s really a different experience.”

That’s Marda Kirn, Director of Ecoarts Connections, a U.S. nonprofit that brings artists and scientists together to communicate environmental issues. She explains why the exhibition, called “Waiting for Climate Change,” by Isaac Cordal was so powerful.

Kirn: “One of the difficulties of climate change has been is that it’s relatively slow-moving. The images that have been given often are very distant, you know the polar bears far away, and so it’s easy for people to think, oh it’s not here. It’s not me. It’s not my responsibility.”

But Kirn believes public art can give people a powerful experience – making climate change more personal and tangible, while inspiring action.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Cement Eclipeses website.

More Resources
Cement Eclipeses (Cordal’s website)

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Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...