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Video Series from 29th October to 30th November 2021
What is “Transformations”?

Illustration: Transformations
Illustration: Transformations | Illustration (detail): © Sandra Kastl

In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has coincided with natural catastrophes, such as forest fires, flooding and extreme heat. The dramatic nature of the climate crisis creates an impression of multiple, overlapping crises. At the COP26 World Climate Summit in November 2021, further discussions will be held about the responsibility of the industrial nations for climate change as well as its impact on the global South and the Arctic North.

By Anne Kurr

The Transformations project presents an online programme for the World Climate Summit made up of videos, images and texts by scientists, artists and activists who interact with one another on the CCA Annex online platform. The platform is the digital extension of the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow. Even after COP26, the project will remain accessible on CCA-Annex throughout November 2021 in order to reach a larger audience globally and longer term.

Unique Perspectives

The climate crisis is drastically changing the life of indigenous communities. They are being forced to adapt to new environmental conditions. Experts and people from communities who live and work in Brazil, Iceland, Germany, Indonesia and Chile will be invited to present their particular perspective on the topic of Transformations. Their close ties to the land provide a unique perspective for discussion about changes, not just in their environment, but also in their everyday lives, customs, families and life experiences. What are the key factors in a community’s ability to adapt to and survive climate change and achieve sustainable growth? The article by the Brazilian scientist Filipe Milanez impressively illustrates the adaptability and resilience of the indigenous group of Ailton Krenak in the face of land seizure and environmental pollution. This is forcing them to live in a confined space. Their battle to live in permanent segregation changes and challenges the debate over the social impact of lockdowns in the global North.

The battle by indigenous peoples and their allies is being fought with art, research and activism and deconstructs the long-running system of exploitation of land, resources and people. It explores current crises in the context of energy and colonial history. The Formando Rutas/Shaping Pathways episode highlights the environmental issues caused by lithium mining in Northern Chile, which represents a threat to the local population. This exploitation of resources has increased significantly in recent years due to the political change in direction relating to electromobility and sustainability in the global North. But what does this sustainable change in lifestyle – a topic much discussed during the pandemic due to reduced mobility – mean outside the “first world”? Lithium mining in Chile shows the downside of environmental pollution and the destruction of the land of indigenous people.

The presentation of scientific, artistic and activist positions by and about indigenous people aims to change our perspective of the simultaneous coronavirus, climate catastrophe and inequality crises as part of the joint reflection process of Lockdown Lessons to raise awareness about the decolonial context of the climate crisis. 

“A Need to be Cold”

The project also focuses on the impact of global warming, which threatens the basis of existence of indigenous people in the Arctic region and is linked to the A Need to be Cold project of the Goethe-Institut Glasgow as part of the Green Zone – the COP26 cultural programme. On 2nd November 2021, the “A Need to be Cold” discussion session with scientists and artists will be streamed live in the Green Space as an episode of our film programme. The event looks at the rights of indigenous peoples, ecology, climate justice and their culture. The project brings together the voices of people campaigning for self-determination and climate justice and connects artists, activists and scientists from Nunavik, Sápmi and Yakutia, other parts of the Arctic region and Scotland.