KELLY RICHARDSON: CREATING POTENTIAL FUTURES
Interview by Pau Waelder
Taking cues from 19th-century landscape painting, 20th-century cinema, and 21st-century planetary research, Kelly Richardson (b. 1972, Canada) crafts video installations and digital prints that offer imaginative glimpses of the future that prompt a careful consideration of the present. Her work HALO I (2021), part of a trilogy in which a pleasant summer moon becomes an unsettling reminder of the consequences of climate change, is featured in our recent artcast Anticlimactic, a selection of works from the eco-friendly NFT art community a\terHEN.
How can art address the climate emergency in a way that inspires, if not action, at least reflection?
It is not an easy subject, but it’s necessary to speak to it if we have any hope of addressing it. Until this point, on this precipice, we’ve allowed terrifying futures to be ushered in despite the predictions of so many. Perhaps we have allowed this in part because we couldn’t visualize or understand these futures from an experiential point of view. I try to offer this window of understanding through my work. I create potential futures for people to experience, to encourage reflection on current priorities and where those are leading us as a species. Hindsight is 20/20.
Art can help to connect the head and the heart. When emotions are triggered, change is possible. Most of us would react to ensure our survival if faced with an immediate threat. The response to climate change needs to mirror this. Reading a text for an exhibition that I’m in later this summer, curator Jessie Demers writes “artists and activists are both adept at [the] practice of observing the world, responding emotionally, forming a vision and expressing it through action, with no guaranteed outcome. This is how new worlds are built.” Great art allows us to see and understand the world differently. Through that shift in consciousness, hope lives.