Q & A: Dialogues With Tomorrow
1. What is Now Future?
Now Future is a partnership between Sophie Jerram and Dugal McKinnon. We aim to create and promote art projects that address fundamental and philosophical issues regarding human relationships with the planet, particularly in light of climate change.
2. And can you describe Dialogues With Tomorrow and how it ties in with Now Future?
Dialogues is our way of presenting creative, inter-disciplinary and broadly imaginative views on human use of natural resources, i.e. we’re framing art projects (eg the photography of Anne Noble, or the digital art of Julian Priest) for a general audience keen to think more about climate change. At the core of the structure is the pairing of people from different backgrounds to discuss one issue, eg Anatarctica. Now Future is ‘presenting’ the series alongside Downstage Theatre, and we have other projects on the boil after Dialogues.
3. What is your ‘big dream’ or ‘ultimate vision’ for Dialogues With Tomorrow?
That a) It will highlight the vital role of the imagination in working towards positive action on the problem of climate change B) It will introduce artistic expression as a valid mode of contributing to the climate conversation (to those who wouldn’t have thought of it before) and change the way we address climate issues in NZ C) motivate our audience, including artists to put their hats in the ring
4. Can you introduce yourself to Happyzine followers?
Dugal: I’m an composer/sound artist, writer and educator who is particularly interested in finding ways to make art connect with life beyond the boundaries of the gallery, concert hall or lecture theatre.
Sophie: I am Otago born, but have lived in Wellington for most of my working life. I am an art video/ film maker, curator and writer as well as a communications specialist for sustainability and arts sector work. I want to make more film that genuinely moves people to feel and act differently.
5. What’s one important thing you’d like to tell us about this project?
That we cross-discipline approaches to help us all understand the ‘human’ aspect to our work. And that the public ‘forum’ is very alive.
6. Who might be particularly interested in getting involved?
Artists, scientists and business people with a passion for cross-discipline approaches. We’re planning a second series so keen to hear from people who believe they could make a meaningful contribution to it.
7. Where and when can people turn up for these conversations?
Dialogues will be at Downstage Theatre on Thursday evenings in Wellington from April 15th, at 5.45pm (with the exception of one lecture on May 13th coming into Victoria University’s Rutherford Theatre). If you can’t come to Wellington, the series will be broadcast (audio only) on our site, www.nowfuture.org.nz
8. How do you think this project will positively influence the future environmentally? Can you give an example?
By using art as a means to open people up to the seriousness of the situation and enabling them, we hope, to act on the strength of this feeling. In this sense art has a vital role to play in spurring people into engagement, rather than leaving the problem in the hands of the specialists. The problem is a shared one and requires shared action.
Perhaps we are making the suggestion that public speakers (scientists, economists, artists) can be seen to be human, frail and passionate. We think that revealing frailty is important for locating our compassion for fellow humans and the earth.
9. Will these conversations flow into policy making? How?
Yes please. We want to see artists and writers involved in the framing and addressing of the problem. Defining the problem is half the issue
10. How responsive have people been to Dialogues With Tomorrow?
Pretty excited, intrigued, thirsty for more debate on this big issue.
11. Would you like to add any further information ….?
We couldn’t have set this series up without the support of the Hikurangi Foundation, Victoria University and The Royal Society. Downstage has been a wonderful professional presenting partner.