–Geography, equality, slave trade and potential climate solutions swirl together
–-Physical and virtual spaces ultimately align
By Mathew Carr
Jan. 21-22, 2022 (LONDON): There’s a place in the North Atlantic ocean known as the Cold Blob.
It’s half way between London and New York, two cities that are crucial in leading the world down the wrong, climate-destroying, path. It’s also the midpoint of the the Atlantic slave trade, which involved the transportation of enslaved Africans, mainly to the Americas.
Wikipedia explains (and I leave its links): The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from Central and West Africa that had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders, while others had been captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids; Europeans gathered and imprisoned the enslaved at forts on the African coast and then brought them to the Americas. See Triangular Trade map below.
Now, the blob has formed from melting Greenland ice, threatening climate change across much of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere.
It’s the subject of an exhibition in London, UK, which you can see for free.
Details here: https://chisenhale.org.uk/exhibition/rindon-johnson/
Until Feb. 6, 2022
For his commission at Chisenhale Gallery, Berlin-based Rindon Johnson works both within the walls of the building, as well as beyond them. [note — part of exhibition has had to be taken away because of canal repairs, which may be weirdly appropriate]
The gallery hosts a single channel video projected onto a large screen central to the space. Coeval Proposition #2: Last Year’s Atlantic, or You look really good, you look like you pretended like nothing ever happened, or a Weakening (2021) comprises a continuous live rendering of ocean weather data meticulously collected by Johnson from March 2020 to January 2021.
On any given day over the course of the exhibition, the work generates second-for-second figurative visualisations of weather data gathered on the same day in the previous year.
The result creates a year-long portrait of an area of ocean-surface and surrounding sky, seen from various perspectives.
Continuously mapping a recent past through computer generated imagery, Johnson transports visitors to a contained yet constantly moving mass of water to observe its changing climate — from undulating waves, to falling rain and clearing skies.
This site, known as North Atlantic ‘cold blob’, or the ‘North Atlantic warming hole’, is coincidently located at the approximate geographical midpoint between Chisenhale Gallery in London and SculptureCenter in New York.
The mass of water is a stubborn cool patch that, despite the surrounding water’s rising temperature, stays cold.
A direct result of the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet due to climate change, the cooler waters in this area interfere with the Gulf Stream current’s regulation of oceanic and land temperatures from the east coast of North America to the west coast of Europe.
Triangular Trade Needs Reversing
CarrZee comment: Clever voluntary globalish climate solutions can help compensate for this history of exploitation, by rewarding African nations for going down a clean-energy pathway that avoids the pitfalls of the emissions-heavy western model. A trade in carefully created United Nations carbon credits could provide part of the solution.
My hopefulness might not be as far fetched as it might first appear.
Egypt is hosting UN climate talks later this year known as COP27. The talks in Glasgow in November last year, while disappointing many commentators, did shift private-sector incentives further toward climate protection.
Global inequalities are being tackled in other ways.
The G20, overseen this year by Indonesia, and other nations are already implementing mulitlateral tax reform.
Under the global tax reform’s first pillar, it will reallocate taxing rights on more than $125 billion of profit to consumer-producer-market countries instead of corporate headquarter countries.
“Developing country revenue gains are expected to be greater than those in more advanced economies, as a proportion of existing revenues,” according to this carefully worded sentence from the OECD.
A second pillar of the reforms introduces a global minimum corporate tax rate set at 15%. (The new minimum tax rate will apply from 2023 to companies with revenue above 750 million euros and is estimated to generate around $150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually.)
For CarrZee’s main interests, the next two years will be crucial to deploy better energy-market structure to save the climate.
Egypt’s proposal to host 2022 climate talks was titled “Road to COP27…A United Africa for a Resilient Future.” (See also the exclusive CarrZee story quoting Eqypt from the Glasgow talks, in the notes below — which also hints at better global cooperation that focuses on appropriately taxed equity rather than colonialist-style debt.)
Rindon Johnson’s works explore “the impact of capitalism, climate and technology on how we see and construct ourselves,” Chisenhale Gallery says.
Policy-writing work undertaken by many lawmakers around the world last year means there’s definitely a chance in 2022 for “better construction of ourselves.”
Yet, the title of Johnson’s art work appropriately captures the uncertainty about whether it will actually happen in a credible and fair: Coeval Proposition #2: Last Year’s Atlantic, or You look really good, you look like you pretended like nothing ever happened, or a Weakening (2021)
(Adds comments, context on slave trade, tax reform.)
New York Times take on the ‘blob’ or ‘hole’:
This COP26 Solution Would Not Only Save the Climate but Stave Off an Emerging-Market Debt Crisis
–At least some emerging countries are still skeptical
By Mathew Carr
Nov. 11, 2021 (GLASGOW) — The holy grail of climate solutions is still on the table at the United Nations talks in Glasgow this week.
Yet, it seems to be hanging by a thread.
China and the U.S. both touted a global carbon market yesterday as their apparent bitter rivalry ebbed away, at least briefly.
They are not completely seeing eye-to-eye yet. China press named it: China-U.S. Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s
U.S. version was America first: U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s
It includes this: Both countries will work cooperatively to complete at COP 26 the implementing arrangements (“rulebook”) for Articles 6 and 13 of the Paris Agreement, as well as common time frames for Nationally Determined Contributions.
Article 6 is about global carbon markets, while Article 13 is about enhanced “transparency” of climate solutions needed to build trust between nations.
The first section of Article 13 says this:
In order to build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation, an enhanced transparency framework for action and support, with built-in flexibility which takes into account Parties’ different capacities and builds upon collective experience, is hereby established.
Such a framework might be beginning to have an impact …boosting trust, though it’s not quite there yet.
The pandemic has made government finances acutely constrained, especially in poorer nations, which have not caused the climate crisis and where debt is more expensive.
Forty years after Mexico ran out of money and prompted a widespread emerging market debt crisis, developing countries have again built up high levels of debt.
According to The Economist, their government obligations average about 63% of their combined GDP. It cited IMF figures. It’s an increase of more than ten percentage points since 2018. Could the anniversary of one debt crisis be marked by another?
Egypt will not be able to achieve its climate agenda if it’s being hit with higher and higher debt, said Dr Hala Helmy El Said, minister of planning and economic development in Egypt.
Emerging countries need concessional finance or investments, she said in an interview at the Glasgow talks. “My preference is equity.”
Under Article 6, countries and companies around the world will be able to invest in emerging markets to cut emissions. Because costs are lower and the number of opportunities higher, it’s set to be cheaper to generate carbon credits in emerging nations…..(see link for full story)
Rindon Johnson “Law of Large Numbers: Our Selves” Chisenhale Gallery / London: Flash Art:
There is a way of speaking that implicates a body in everything on earth. It may affirm transitory fixity where large, unfolding events leave one utterly unfixed. A similar etymological avarice permeates Rindon Johnson’s work, claiming trans, for instance, as pervious prefix: “I love the idea that anything else that is trans is also mine, because I’m trans too. There is nothing like being on a road trip and passing by all these giant trucks with ‘trans-blank,’ like ‘trans-pacific,’ ‘trans-national,’ ‘trans-air,’ ‘trans-alliance.’ All these trans, all that stuff under our name.” Prefix and preposition are relevant; their notice can claim a system for oneself. In Johnson’s exhibition “Law of Large Numbers: Our Selves,” resilience and flow inform a means to think subjectivity through scale and immensity, finding affinity with the behaviors of water.
- having the same age or date of origin; contemporary.”these lavas were coeval with the volcanic activity”
- a person of roughly the same age as oneself; a contemporary.”like so many of his coevals, he yearned for stability”