It has become clear that systems constructed by humans function at the scale of the planet, and have projected it into an accelerated future impacting the environment beyond our lifetimes. Responsibility for the climate catastrophe must clearly be laid at the feet of our species; while on an individual level none of us are clear what actions are adequate to the dimensional magnitude of the problems we face. There is a feeling of responsibility, as well as a loss of agency. However, the digital offers a capacity to ‘scale up’ in order to assess and broadcast the scope of evolving ecological change in real time.
It is in this context that A.S.T.’s practice aims to better understand, as well as communicate how to live amidst the climate emergency. Art provides a platform for speculation, enabling alternate futures to emerge. It is through direct engagement with experts from a range of fields that we develop our research towards a collaborative and systematically engaged practice.
Our relationship to technology is evident in both form and content. For example, we use various tools to produce work (video editing, projection mapping, digital design/image production); to distribute work; and as part of our routine workflow (the four of us are based across 3 different cities and have relied on web conferencing for over 5 years). In addition, we are interested in current worldmaking technologies. Systems such as terraforming, climate modeling, global logistics, and other planetary infrastructures are subject matter within the work itself. These systems are the means and ways by which we can imagine how public space is reformed and remade. They shape us as we shape them.
“The medium is the message” as Marshall McLuhan pronounced in the last century, forecasted the flows of communication culture. Media today both overwhelms us and affords us the opportunity to interrogate this condition, and yet communicate the broad and complex entanglements at its core.
Alliance of the Southern Triangle (A.S.T.) was established in 2015 and consists of Diann Bauer, Felice Grodin, Patricia M. Hernández, and Elite Kedan. They are a working group of women in the fields of art, architecture, and urban design, who explore how artistic, technological, and cultural possibilities can be reimagined in the context of climate change. Since their inception, the group has met online once a week and have developed a wide range of projects including murals, installations and publications, all of which examine the relationship between art, politics, policy, and urban development as they relate to climate change and sea level rise.
A.S.T. began as a research project focusing on the idea of the global city, with a focus on Miami as a case study. The project is committed to the idea that developmental trajectories of a city can be altered through the adaptation of the networks that already control it, paired with creative rethinking of what a city can be. A.S.T. uses the interdisciplinary space of art to function as a platform upon which to conceive of these possible futures that are both reactive and propositional with regard to the shifting set of legal, economic, cultural, and environmental forces that confront us.
The work they produce includes video installations at the Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE; Art Centre South Florida, Miami; IMT Gallery, London; HistoryMiami Museum; The Schmidt Center Gallery, FAU; Multimedia Cultural Centre, Split; online as part of Strelka Magazine and Institute, Moscow; SFMOMA’s platform Openspace; Art Papers; and The Miami Rail.