Ship of Fools: Artists and Climate Change

A multi-site urban screens project featuring works by James Balog, Heather O’Neill, and Shad

Toronto, 5-18 November 2012

Cape Farewell Foundation and Pattison Onestop are proud to present Ship of Fools: Artists and Climate Change, a multi-site urban screens project addressing the reality of the climate challenge through a cultural lens.

Responding to Cape Farewell’s mandate to instigate a cultural response to climate change, Ship of Fools utilizes Pattison’s advertising screens, and draws on the creativity of a range of artists, to communicate on a metropolitan scale.

Vanishing Glaciers, six stunning time-lapse videos by internationally acclaimed outdoor photographer James Balog, capture over 5 years of astonishing changes, dramatically documenting the ice melt of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, and arctic sea ice in Norway. Vanishing Glaciers plays every 10 minutes on Pattison Onestop’s network of subway platform screens across Toronto, bringing this powerful and vitally important work to over one million daily commuters.

"Ice matters. It's the place where we can see and hear and feel climate change in action. When ice melts, everyone – regardless of age or ideological persuasion – can understand what it means," states acclaimed photographer, James Balog.

Award-winning Canadian novelist, Heather O’Neill (Lullabies for Little Criminals) and multi-medium artist, Jean-Paul Kelly have collaborated to produce Last Words, a site-specific allegorical work for Pattison Outdoor billboards located at the entrance to buildings in Toronto’s financial district – Yonge/Adelaide and Yonge/Richmond.

Stressing the urgency and need for global climate care, pithy reminders written by Juno award-winning Canadian hip-hop star, Shad, are presented on the strategically located west-end Pattison Outdoor digital billboard along the Gardiner Expressway at Kipling Ave.

"This urban screens program is pioneering and Cape Farewell is excited to work with the Canadian writer Heather O’Neill and poet Shad to vision the new, through the art-form of short digital imaginings. In addition, James Balog’s awesome glacial time lapses shockingly state the speed of the impact of climate change on our frozen north,” says David Buckland, Cape Farewell founder and International Director.

"It is rare that I have the opportunity to be part of such an important project, one which increases our environmental literacy, and helps escalate the necessity of rethinking our future. I am very pleased to bring these powerful works to the Pattison screens,” said Sharon Switzer, Arts Programmer and Curator, Pattison Onestop.

Ship of Fools: Artists and Climate Change is a prologue to Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Cape Farewell’s ambitious programme whose centrepiece is a large-scale exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture, slated to open in the fall of 2013. The ROM exhibition will be surrounded by a rich series of public events, satellite projects and partnerships with theatre, film, and educational organizations in Toronto and beyond, all addressing what is one of the most pressing issues of our time, climate change.

Ship of Fools: Artists and Climate Change is curated by Sharon Switzer, and co-presented by Pattison Onestop and the Cape Farewell Foundation. James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey videos are courtesy of Earth Vision Trust.

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