Visual approach

 

Photography as visual mediator

How to visualize climate and environmental change or population and economic growth? Where can local aspects of global processes be found, and how do they look like? Can you capture them with your camera?

The polar bear on a melting ice floe or the big eyes of a hungry child, these are powerful icons of global change firmly established in our collective perception and giving a face to the challenges that nature and societies are currently confronted with. But since those images are quite far away from the living conditions in Western countries, those icons might sometimes disguise the real nexus of transformation because they shift what’s going on into the distance beyond our everyday life and responsibility.

However, cause and effect of global change are connected across long distances, and the global and the local meet at various interfaces. Some of them might be more obvious than others which do not become apparent at a glance. Wind turbines rotating in Brandenburg, supermarkets as mirrors of international trade and consumption needs, or a growing number of refugees coming to Europe are just a few examples. Based on a variety of individual motifs, the participative and collaborative project My m² Earth wants to diversify the view on processes of change. What emerges are excerpts and moments of an ever-changing reality, which, like puzzle pieces, challenge the observers to connect them and supplement them with other images from their own experience.

My m² Earth is to be understood as an open experiment in response to the necessity of new forms of knowledge exchange and science communication within transformation and sustainability research, as expressed through interdisciplinarity, citizen participation, and experimenting. New research methods and mediation formats including visual approaches are required and can be of profound help when it comes to forging links between different disciplines and between science and society.

Photography functions in this sense as a visual mediator between scientific and everyday discourse, invites observers to position themselves and offers the possibility to respond to each other through images and comments in order to initiate a vivid dialogue on the Earth’s Future.