Performance scholar Una Chaudhuri observed in her keynote lecture at the Psi conference in Stanford in 2013 that the logic of climate change is a very complex one, having no clear spatial boundaries, and not even a spatial logic. It is dependent on numerous choices in numerous different parts of the world simultaneously. Indeed, current environmental crises have become so complex, and so multi-faceted, that a solution is undecideable from one perspective. Should the impossibility of a climate change whodunit leave us sceptical and indifferent? I don’t think so. A sceptical or hypocritical wait-and-see attitude is no option either. This research explores how art can move us beyond the logic of crime and punishment, in order to accept our responsibility, or rather, response-ability.
In this essay, I observe how ecology is performed in art, science and politics. Art installations such as Maria Lucia Cruz Correia’s Urban Action Clinic GARDEN (2015) does not dictate moral conduct with regard to climate change. Tracing ecological matters of concern in close inter-action with the visitor-spectators, her garden raises awareness on the impact of air pollution in the city, inducing social activation instead of militant activism. Instead of putting forward one solution, she negotiates the ever-ongoing constitution or composition of the world and calls upon a critical and wider view on environmental thinking. Introducing agential realism as an alternative production mode of knowledge, she calls upon an ethics of accountability and response-ability, rejecting dictated moral conduct.