Under Her Eye 2018: Women and Climate Change
1st - 2nd June 2018
The British Library, London.
‘Under Her Eye’ comprised of a high-profile Summit (Friday 1st June) hosted at the British Library Conference Centre, followed by a festival of public art installations and workshops across King’s Cross (Saturday 2nd June) that invited the public to consider and experience climate change through the lens of AIR, LAND and SEA.
‘Under Her Eye’ is a biannual international arts-science summit and arts festival curated by Invisible Dust. 2018 saw the first ‘Under Her Eye’, which chimed with the 2018 Suffrage Centenary. ‘Under Her Eye’ 2018 brought together a wide range of pioneering women working globally to tackle the environmental challenge of our age through art, science, technology, finance, health, activism, leadership and policy – united by the power of the arts to tell these stories, spark conversations and inspire change.
The summit was headlined by Booker-prize winning author Margaret Atwood and previous Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres. The event saw an array of international speakers including Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Leader UK Green Party; Hakima El Haité, Moroccan Minister for the Environment and COP22 Host; Maaike Van Min, former Head of Strategy and Development, Marie Stopes; Dr Erinma Ochu, Lecturer in Science Communication and Future Media, University of Salford; Mariele Neudecker, Professor and Research Fellow at Bath Spa University, Fellow for CERN’s Visiting Artists Program and on the European Commission’s JRC SciArt advisory panel; Laura Tenenbaum, former Senior Science Editor, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab; Gayle Chong Kwan, Under Her Eye commissioned artist; Jessica Ground, Global Head of Stewardship, Schroders; Alison Tickell, Director Julie’s Bicycle; Mel Evans, Artwash author and former Head of Art at Greenpeace; Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics author and Renegade Economist and Maria Adebowale Schwarte, Director Living Space Project, and author of The Placemaking Factor.
As well as the summit, ‘Under Her Eye’ 2018 featured 3 new major artwork commissions.
‘Human Sensor LDN’ by award winning artist Kasia Molga, is a large-scale digital and performance artwork that explores Londoners’ daily exposure to air pollution through a combination of cutting-edge wearable technology and dance. Wired up to a series of breathing and air pollution data sensors, the dancer’s costumes illuminate in a real-time response to pollution levels – pulsing with their breath and movements. As they travel along the space – the fluctuation in pollution influences the colours and configurations of light on the wearable, which fades in and out with dancer’s inhalations and exhalations.
For ‘Under Her Eye’ 2018, the ‘Human Sensor LDN’ performance started on Euston Road, with the dancers moving through the Euston Town BID’s ‘Euston Green Link’, stopping and performing at key viewpoints, ending with a final performance near Regent’s Place.
A Director’s Lab Presentation from award-winning filmmaker Margaret Salmon on her film for ‘Shore: How We See the Sea’, a touring multi-arts and science project reflecting Scotland’s coastal communities’ responses to Marine Protected Areas. Margaret discussed the research and production of ‘Cladach’ – a film that revolved around a single community in Ullapool, particularly along the shoreline of a the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area and sparked questions around our relationship with the sea. Margaret also talked through her approaches to community storytelling, analogue underwater cinematography, sound and music in natural history documentaries, and observational techniques in 35mm film production.
Presented in the British Library Piazza Marquee, artist Gayle Chong Kwan hosted a very special multi-course banquet where guests were invited to taste locally produced food, sip bespoke cocktails, explore sensory rituals and enjoy a range of creative activities.
Inspired by Chong Kwan’s research into the politics of food at the British Library and the historic role played by the site of King’s Cross in UK consumption habits, Chong Kwan asked the banquet guests to place themselves ‘at the crossroads’ of our food and lifestyle choices. The banquet explored the urgent turning point we find ourselves – as a culture, country and species – as we consider how our individual and collective decisions around food are impacting on climate change and the health of future generations.
The event was organised in partnership with the King’s Cross Skip Garden & Kitchen and Seedlip.
Gayle Chong Kwan – ‘Microclimate Sensory Family Workshops’
Free family activity sessions included a series of plant-based workshops, performances and immersive rituals exploring our relationship with food and our environment.
‘Under Her Eye’ 2018 was curated and produced by award-winning arts science organisation Invisible Dust and supported by the Wellcome Trust, Euston Town BID, Creative Scotland, Mooncup and Arts Council England.
Header image: Margaret Atwood and Samira Ahmed at Under Her Eye 2018 © Angela Dennis, courtesy of Invisible Dust.