Throughout the years, the constant extreme weather occurrences have become a reality that is impossible to ignore, and as more people become the victims of climate migration, the current worldwide catastrophe seems to be a mere drop of water in an already flooded river.
Decades ago, scientists alerted governments and organizations to the inevitable weather alterations and their consequences on human and animal life. Yet, only recently can we witness climate pledges being made and governments working to combat the already severe climate disturbances.
Only in the past few weeks, several continents were struck with three major climate events, disseminating communities and threatening the well-being of the inhabitants of these lands. As it stands, the United Nations are feverishly working in a genuine effort to modify and revise legislation and make the necessary precautions to prevent or minimize the current humanitarian and environmental crises. At the recent press conference held in New York, the UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres encouraged other nations to fasten the necessary sustainable investments in order to provide solutions that are extremely necessary to protect and save lives.
The fragile atmosphere left after the havoc wreaked by these catastrophes amounts to thousands of humanitarian aid workers at the frontlines, representing the remaining optimism as people deliver food, lead rescue parties and try to restore hope when there seems to be none left.
In a sweeping motion, a deadly storm struck multiple Southern African countries, scattering panic and destruction all over Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi — roads and bridges were cut off and washed away, leaving tens of thousands of people in peril. Reports show that 72,000 people lost their homes and are now faced with having to rebuild their lives from the ground up. In the immediate aftermath, the weather authorities are still in an unrestful state, keeping a close eye on possible weather events as the tropical storm Batsirai may move westwards and hit the region next week.
Across the Atlantic, another massive climate event occurred within the same week, as heavy rainfall hit the residents in the capital city Quito in Ecuador. Huge landslides, slipping mud and falling triggered by rain swept down the hillside, engulfing houses, cars and inhabitants. The events prompted a vast number of rescue crews to hunt through the ruins for missing people. The affected population were left in turmoil after seeing their livelihoods jeopardized in a matter of hours. Furthermore, the amount of rainfall was 40 times the number predicted, surpassing "a record figure" unseen since 2003.
In the same tone, on the other side of the Pacific, South Australia was impacted by monumental rainfall. Videos recorded by authorities and individuals show the shocking image of numerous communities isolated, without access roads and completely surrounded by water. Again, the support falls upon aid workers and military personnel that were dispatched to the region to cover food supplies and rescue missions.
In the light of these circumstances, with tremendous weather events scattered all across the world, what can we expect? Will the U.N. Climate Change Conference concrete legislation be a helpful strategy or just a delusion?
Artist Noémie Goudal tells us a different but similar story. The artist explores these undesired realities, showcasing enormous installations and collages that construct journeys to the past and future, breeding a palpable call for action. Goudal's longtime research into palaeoclimatology takes climate crisis awareness to another level, approaching the heavy subject more from a philosophical lens, looking into what we today confront as a society and what we can do to change the course of history.
One of Goudal's most recent shows called Post Atlantica includes monumental sculptural installations, photography, film and a series of ceramics that embody a highly pressing message. The artist's fascination for the earth, its climate and geological history drives the exhibition to scout the past as an avenue to predict an upcoming future. The exhibition name itself refers back to the ancient continent formed two billion years ago called Atlantica that, after being divided by geological occurrences, formed present-day Africa and South America. The reference brings together the exhibition, leading the viewer through an atmosphere within the past, the future and the artist's symbology and reflections.
“This show is very much about paleoclimatology — how scientists are studying the past climate partly to understand what happened but also partly to help them predict what will happen in future and how we can plan for it,” Noemi Goudal explains.
“It’s by looking at the past, at changes in heat and the elements, that we can apprehend what will happen.”
When looking through the exhibition, a video installation catches the eye immediately. As we observe ocean waves crashing into rocks, a quiet realization emerges with us. Projected onto three photographs of the same theme, the video embraces the slowly imperceptive geological changes caused by water eroding the landscape. Goudal explores this natural movement to lead a message forward. The world is not a fixed being, and our perception of the planet is constantly moving, even if we don't notice it within small spans of time.
Working relentlessly on exploring climate and geological changes our planet is facing, the art of Goudal opens our eyes to the possibilities of a different future, exploring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Life on Land and Climate Action.
Noémie Goudal’s practice is a mixture of natural and artificial, science and imagination, questioning the normal way of looking and playing with the physical display of an object, its mental perception, and its collective recollection.