Amy Balkin

Artist and Activist 

Amy Balkin joined Cape Farewell on the 2007 Art/Science Expedition. Taking almost three weeks the expedition crossed the north Atlantic to the extreme frontline of climate change, then sailed south to explore East Greenland’s Blosseville Coast.

Amy utilises critique and cross-disciplinary research in projects that consider how humans create, interact with, and impact the social and material landscapes they inhabit. Her recent projects include Public Smog, Invisible-5 and This is the Public Domain.

Public Smog is a public park in the atmosphere that fluctuates in location and scale. Built through financial, legal, or political activities, Public Smog is subject to prevailing winds and the long-range transport of aerosols and gases. When built through the economic mechanism of emissions trading, the park opens above the region where offsets are purchased and withheld from use. Public Smog first opened briefly to the public during 2004 above California's South Coast Air Quality Management District, and is now open over the European Union through 2008.

Invisible-5 is a collaborative environmental justice / critical audio tour along California's Interstate-5 corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The project investigates the stories of people and communities fighting for environmental justice along the I-5, through oral histories, field recordings, found sound, recorded music, and archival audio documents. The project also traces natural, social, and economic histories along the route. This project was developed in collaboration with artists Kim Stringfellow and Tim Halbur, and the organisations Pond: Art, Activism, and Ideas, and Greenaction for Health & Environmental Justice. The project is available to listen online or download from

This is the Public Domain is an ongoing project to create a permanent international commons, free to everyone, and held in perpetuity for that purpose. In 2003, a 2.5 acre parcel of land was purchased near Tehachapi, California, to serve as the site for the proposed public domain. Sharing of the commons will be initiated when a juridical solution for public handover is found.

Amy's work was included in the exhibition Greenwashing - Environment: Promises, Perils and Perplexities at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

As part of the 2009 Futuresonic Festival in Manchester Amy organised a public reading of the latest IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) Report.

Amy Balkin 2007

"As political and cultural awareness of global warming grows, the reading, meaning and value of the Cape Farewell voyages will also develop. I hope to return from the trip with an enhanced understanding of the Arctic as a system, and with an increased ability to speak to the impacts of climate change."

Amy Balkin in conversation with Simon Boxall during the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
Artist Amy Balkin
Photography by Amy Balkin from the 2007 Art/Science Expedition
Portrait of Amy Balkin