#GreenTease Podcast: Can experiencing fiction and the unfamiliar help to change the way humans act and relate to the climate crisis?

29th April 2019

Our second podcast looks at how 'Climate Fiction' or 'Cli-Fi' can help us to experience and connect with the climate crisis in new ways.

The latest episode “Can experiencing fiction and the unfamiliar help to change the way humans act and relate to the climate crisis?” comes from our Green Tease ‘Cli-Fi: The New Weird’. It’s available on Itunes, Google Podcasts (on your phone), Spotify and a bunch of other platforms. We welcome your feedback on the podcast as we’re aiming to produce recordings of more of our events, to allow a wider audience to benefit from the information and to ensure that there’s a means of participating when environmental or other considerations mean people choose not to travel.

This event was the A+E’s Collective’s eclectic and thought provoking response to the Green Tease Open Call, in collaboration with UNFIX Festival. The festival audience were taken to space and the far flung corners of their imaginations, through a multimedia exploration of the genre Cl-Fi (Climate Fiction) – as a way to rethink how we engage with the climate crisis.

Cli-Fi: The New Weird

A+E have provided an overview of what the session covered, and what can heard in the podcast:

Titled Cli-Fi: The New Weird, our special edition of BIOSYSTEMS aimed to explore the problems, pleasures and potentials of using speculative genres to help understand our positioning as human subjects in the context of the climate crisis. We began the two-hour session in Glasgow’s CCA with an exclusive screening of our film, From Mull to Mars, developed in collaboration with local filmmaker Winnie Brook Young. Drawing on new materialist philosophies and the eerie aesthetics of novels like Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, From Mull to Mars challenges what ‘presence’ means in the context of an unknown world within our world, which we are calling the Zone, after Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

After the film, Dr Rhys Williams from the University of Glasgow gave a presentation on the history of Cli-Fi (climate change fiction) and the New Weird and the challenges these genres pose to familiar understandings of ‘nature’. Glasgow-based science-fiction novelist/poet Oliver Langmead performed extracts from his recent publications and gave an overview of the environmental themes within them, including terraforming and posthumanism.

See the slides from Rhys and Olly’s presentations

Visualisation exercise - People taking a moment of stillness

Entering ‘the zone’

A+E member Maria Sledmere then joined Rhys and Ollie to deliver an original visualisation script, designed to help workshop participants ‘enter the Zone’. Following the meditation, participants were asked to respond with writing or drawing. Questions asked of the groups included ‘were you human or did you adopt a nonhuman form at any point in the Zone?’ and ‘What is the value of ‘slow’ forms of attention in the context of ecological crisis?’

Individual groups then fed back their discussion to the room with verbal, written and visual descriptions – touching on ecological ethics, emotional reactions, empathy and storytelling, the difference between reality and fiction, dreams and film. We are collating some of these responses and intend to create a publication, as a companion to the film.

You can find out more about A+E Collective here: www.instagram.com/a.e.collective

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