Open Eye Gallery: Look Climate Lab 2022

Open Eye Gallery: Look Climate Lab 2022

Open Eye Gallery: Look Climate Lab 2022

Venue: Open Eye Gallery
Date(s): 13.1.22 - 20.3.22
Time(s): All Day


13 JANUARY – 20 MARCH 2022

What are the images that we think of when we think of climate change, and what is our social responsibility when it comes to reshaping this visual narrative?

To understand how we can become more actively involved in making change, recognising progress, and making climate change a more understandable topic, we invited partners to take over the gallery, to use it as a lab space, to show work in progress and talk through ideas.

We want to share the process of going from an idea to an outcome and to encourage a transparent way of working and producing in sustainable, responsible ways. We think that visual culture has a role to play in activism and think one of its strengths is its ability to make difficult or abstract ideas accessible. In turn, we hope that this encourages you to ask questions, make links between the overwhelming idea of climate change and understand how to advocate for change at a range of levels.

Image: Dwarzack, Day 4, from the series Wata Na Life. Ngadi Smart, 2021

Introduction: 13 January – 23 January

We have organised the Lab into five themes of energy, materials, transport, nature, and food. We’re opening the climate lab with a series of research projects exploring ecology and climate change in partnership with the Visual Studies Journal. Through gathering more information and feedback from audiences, the responsive projects will each be featured in the journal as visual essays and articles. The projects range from using Minecraft as a platform for creating more ideal environments, to building and sharing visual archives, evoking memories around the use of fossil fuels, to uncovering the prehistoric era through drone footage. This takes place alongside our exhibition in partnership with WaterAid and BJP. This exhibition, on display for the duration of the lab, features new commissions by Calvin Chow, Marisol Mendez & Monty Kaplan, and Ngadi Smart. The projects look at who is affected first, worst, and most often by climate change and demonstrates the power of visual culture as a way of presenting these challenges.


Energy: 26 January – 6 February

Next, Steve McCoy and Stephanie Wynne lead us through our focus on energy use in collaboration with the University of Salford Art Collection and Energy House. The images, data, and interactive elements offer suggestions and guidance on how we can make small, everyday changes to make our houses more energy efficient. There are more learning opportunities in the form of Sussex University’s new Liberal Arts degree. Their weekly Arts & Ecology classes will be streamed into the gallery throughout the Lab providing an engaging and unique way of learning beyond the classroom. Arts duo Then There Was Us will also feature selected work from an environment based open call and launch their new, interactive website encouraging users to respond to questions on the climate.


Materials and Transport: 9 February – 20 February

The materials and transport section features hands-on workshops to give people the chance to get involved in repairing and mending items and learning more about mass production of clothing and upcycling textiles as a way of renewing them. Michelle Pratt unveils research on agrotextiles and recycled collages, tapestries and fabrics made from waste materials while Teresa Hardy’s work on circular fashion takes us through various stages involved in garment production, while other projects outline additional creative ways to reuse materials and clothing. There is also the opportunity to learn more about micro plastics and their impact and involvement in the food chain through the temporary exhibition by Sam Wallis. Growing Sudley introduce us to the uses of weeds and wildflowers through workshops outlining their health and wellbeing benefits. Online and in gallery climate cafes will give more space for sharing thoughts, feelings, and concerns on the climate. Throughout this, Liverpool’s cooperative bicycle scheme Peloton will be temporarily taking over the gallery and running bicycle repairs as well as going on organised evening rides from the gallery.


Nature: 23 February – 6 March

The following focus brings together partners who are engaged in nature as a space of exploration. Nature as a theme is wide reaching and includes the environment and the world around us, as well as humans, non-human animals, and plants and wildlife. Moving image projects introduce environmental elements such as water and the pollination process to make these ideas clear and understandable. There is also a focus on seeds and rewilding areas and (re)connecting people to natural spaces. There will also be theatre productions and writing workshops and a mini safari for young audiences, giving them the freedom to stretch their imaginations and imagine other ways of nature shaping itself, and being shaped by human activity.


Food: 9 March – 20 March

The relationship between food and a changing climate, and our reliance on farming and growing networks is made clear through these partnerships. The final weeks of the Lab give us a rounded view of how we can get involved with growing food and understanding the importance of biodiversity. This covers activities including seed sowing, growing and cooking workshops, and awareness training on how to reduce bills and make small changes in our houses. There will also be a temporary exhibition by Hellen Songa featuring portraits introducing members of Liverpool Community Food Growers Network with short texts explaining their involvement and interest in growing food and sharing insights, outlining this as an achievable route into gardening, growing, and volunteering.