Creative Minds

'It's emotional. It's visceral': Jennifer Baichwal on the power of art to open up consciousness

At AGO Creative Minds, the Anthropocene director spoke about how art can help us survive in a time of climate crisis.

At AGO Creative Minds, the Anthropocene director spoke about how art can help us survive in a time of climate

(CBC Arts)

Jennifer Baichwal's Anthropocene project — a film and exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario created with Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas de Pencier — is an arresting look at how humans are leaving a terrifying signature on the world. Her art warns of the future we risk if we don't address climate change. And at Monday's AGO Creative Minds, she was part of a panel discussing the capacity for art in an age of climate crisis to help us survive.

Baichwal sees a power in art that can break through conversations about these issues. "Art as an arena of inquiry about these things that are facing us — these problems — has a unique quality in that it's not just something we argue about, it's not just intellectual. It's emotional. It's visceral. It hits you all at the same time."

Watch the video:

At AGO Creative Minds: Art and Survival, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal speaks on the power of art to open up consiosuness in the face of climate change. 0:42

The filmmaker sees the power of art in its singularity. "It can't be translated. It can't be paraphrased. It has to be experienced."

"And I think that somehow in that place of experiencing, you can open up consciousness in a different way."

A still frame from the Anthropocene film. (Courtesy of Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018)

Baichwal was part of a panel of four alongside Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Brian Jungen, and Tanya Talaga at AGO Creative Minds, tackling the question: in the face of climate change, can art help us survive?

Watch the full conversation below!