August 25–29, 2020
Creative Migration, an international art organization based between Los Angeles and Bangkok, and Space Saloon, an interdisciplinary group of artists and designers, partnered to pilot Climate Crisis Hotline— a safe and nonjudgmental space to address one’s feelings towards climate change and environmental distress. The two organizations have been developing work that raises awareness around environmental issues through participatory workshops, artist residencies, urban interventions, and social practice art.
For five days, the group conducted daily workshops using Google Meet. The purpose of the online gatherings was to work through the idea of creating a hotline platform by week’s end, when the hotline would go live. Each workshop helped formulate questions, devise content, and conduct exercises about language surrounding eco-anxiety and environmental distress. Prominent environmental scholars and psychologists joined the dialogue to address the growing nomenclature of eco-anxiety. Words and phrases like climate despair, Solastalgia, ecological grief, ecophobia, and ecopsychology, describe psychological responses/reactions induced by the climate crisis. In breakout rooms, small groups discussed the challenges posed by these words, and perhaps how such concepts can isolate, rather than unite humanity towards a common goal. Note-taking and considerations were made to best prepare for the responsibility of creating a responsive call center online, the Climate Crisis Hotline.
On August 28, Climate Crisis Hotline hosted in-person “Confession Sessions” at ICA LA. Preregistered attendees joined one-on-one conversations with volunteers of Creative Migration and Space Saloon. During these recorded confessions, participants voiced frustration, anger, confusion, hopelessness, hopefulness, grounded-ness, and spiritual offerings towards the current climate crisis.
On August 29, the final day of the residency, Climate Crisis Hotline collaborated with KCHUNG Radio, a freeform online radio station based in Chinatown, Los Angeles. For three hours, members of the public were invited to call in to share their “Eco-Emotions,” speaking openly about their grievances towards climate change. The choice to be live on the air or reserve their vocalizations solely for the archive was up to the caller.
Collaborators Space Saloon and Creative Migration will continue to develop Climate Crisis Hotline as a valuable tool for collective expression. Information gathered during the Field Workshop: Action Projects is part of the ongoing research on ecotherapy in order to produce an archive of feelings, thoughts, and emotions. The group hopes to present the voices in public spaces to generate dialogue and collaboration around climate despair and the ability to commune, heal, and persist through experiences like the climate crisis.
Special thanks to Creative Migration (creativemigration.org) and Space Saloon spacesaloon.com for choosing ICA LA as a host for Climate Crisis Hotline and for helping to define eco-emotions through ICA LA’s Field Workshop: Action Projects series. To learn more about Climate Crisis Hotline, please visit (climate-crisis-hotline.live). If you would like to volunteer in the Hotline’s co-production, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Habiba Hopson, 2020 Getty Marrow Intern, ICA LA