How Climate Changes Art | Summary and Q&A

July 25, 2019
The Art Assignment
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How Climate Changes Art


Art captures the beauty, variability, and vulnerability of our planet and its climate, from ancient navigational charts to contemporary artworks. (18 words)

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Key Insights

  • 🥰 Art is made from natural materials and reflects the fragile relationship between humans and the planet.
  • 🤢 Ancient navigational charts demonstrate the importance of understanding and navigating the sea for survival.
  • 💱 Climate change poses a significant threat to cultural heritage, such as the Great Mosque of Djenné and the cave paintings in Lascaux.
  • 🤢 Preservation efforts, such as the annual replastering festival for the Great Mosque and the construction of sea walls in Venice, show the importance of maintaining cultural sites amidst climate challenges.
  • 🖐️ Artists play a crucial role in depicting and raising awareness about climate change, portraying its effects through their works.
  • 🌍 The fragility and impermanence of art and the world highlight the need for environmental conservation and sustainability.
  • 😑 Climate change is a pressing issue, and it is essential to appreciate and address it through various forms of art and creative expression.


Art is made of natural materials. Stone. Pigment. Wood. Clay. Fibers. And metals. Even water, fog, and ice. And it’s also made of stuff that is seemingly less natural but still made from things we derive from the earth. Art is also notoriously difficult to preserve. We devote considerable resources to keeping a selection of it secure, at the perfec... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some examples of ancient navigational charts?

Ancient navigational charts, such as the ones from the Marshall Islands, were made from bamboo or palm leaf sticks tied together with twine. Shells were tied on to indicate islands, creating mental maps to navigate the sea.

Q: How did climate affect the construction of the Great Mosque of Djenné?

Djenné, located in the Sahel region, experiences rainy seasons that erode the mud-brick architecture of the mosque. Hence, an annual replastering festival takes place to maintain the structure and preserve its cultural heritage.

Q: How is Venice coping with rising sea levels?

The Project Mose is a massive civil engineering effort to construct a sea wall that can protect the lagoon from high tides. However, this project must carefully balance environmental concerns and preserve Venice's unique ecosystem.

Q: How are artists addressing climate change in their works?

Artists like Zaria Forman, Olafur Eliasson, and Mel Chin create artworks that bring attention to climate change. Forman paints retreating glaciers, Eliasson displays melting icebergs, and Chin uses mixed reality to envision a future with rising oceans.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video explores the relationship between art and climate, highlighting the use of ancient navigational charts made from natural materials and modern artworks that depict climate change.

  • It discusses the impact of climate on the preservation of cultural heritage, such as the mud-built Great Mosque of Djenné and the caves paintings in Lascaux.

  • The video also examines the efforts to protect vulnerable sites like Venice and showcases contemporary artists' works that address climate change.

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