NEWS

July 30, 2016

Imagine the Present
Exhibition opening 5.30pm,
Thursday 4 August at ST PAUL St Gallery,
Auckland, New Zealand.

Exhibition text available here

June 25, 2016

THE L TRIAN - By Lina Moe
Commissioned for The Climate & Infrastructure Exhibition, available here.

MAY 27, 2016

Climate and Infrastructure - Exhibition, opening this Thursday June 2nd, Human Resources, LA.

Opening: Thursday June 2nd, 2016, 7-10pm.
Artist talk: Saturday June 11th, 2016, 3pm

Bjarki Bragason & Sarah Rara in conversation with Abby Cunnane & Amy Howden-Chapman.

Exhibition on view June 3rd - June 18th, Weds-Sun 12-6pm or by appointment.
Human Resources.
410 Cottage Home St,
Los Angeles, CA 90012 em>

APRIL 13, 2016

Literature, the Arts, & the Environment Colloquium,Yale University.

After Ice: Representations of Climate Change in Contemporary Art and Popular Media.
A public lecture by Amy Howden-Chapman

Tuesday, April 26, at 5:30pm in Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 105

APRIL 22, 2016

Climate Change & Infrastructure
June show at Human Resources, Los Angeles

Image: MTA, New York, tests inflatable subway tunnel plug


Climate Change Hits Hard in Zambia, an African Success Story

MARCH 11, 2016

BP to End Sponsorship of Tate Museums

January 22, 2016

Launch of Journal Issue #3 at The Physics Room, Christchurch,New Zealand

December 19, 2015

Please join us on January 20th at The Physics Room, For the Launch of The Distance Plan Journal Issue #3: Climate and Precarity

The Physics Room
Old Post Office Building, 209 Tuam Street
Christchurch,New Zealand.
physicsroom.org.nz

The launch will include an informal performative lecture and screening presented by the editors, Abby Cunnane and Amy Howden-Chapman.

December 18, 2015

The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest are calling for submissions for their Climate Research Project. (Due Feb 1st. 2016)

See joaap.org

December 14, 2015

The Distance Plan

There is a thin thread, sturdy but slight, which is running from here to there. It is spooling out, coiling out—out there into the future, the distant future. The thing is, the thread is hard to see. This thread is a plan, but it is a pale plan with details so subtle they are translucent, almost imperceptible. It becomes much easier to perceive The Plan if you place an image behind it and objects next to it. With context, The Plan becomes solid: context by way of exhibition, context by way of discussion. With such a backdrop, The Plan flicks into focus, the scale of The Plan becomes perceivable, the mass of The Plan becomes visible, its coiled strands begin to offer finer details.

Distance occurs as an immaculate idea, but a plan has a much messier conception. Plans begin in muddles and are argued out into clarity. Distance denotes what is remote, but plans consist of practical considerations, beginning now. The Distance Plan is not another scribbled utopia, not another modelled future but a diligent diagram of the causation between current actions and what is coming. There in the distance, but gradually materialising as it starts to impinge on life today, is climate change. With this issue, diagramming is a disorientating task. Our current actions will have consequences largely outside our life spans. The aim of The Distance Plan is to show how necessary it is to conceptualize the effects of this apparently distant phenomenon.

The Distance Plan is also a catalogue of existing projects which engage in related theoretical pursuits. As its first point of departure, The Distance Plan re-presents works that successfully engage in the practice of thinking across vastness, bringing together work and writing that deals with the challenge of thinking across vast space and vast time. Continuing the planning process acknowledges that talk can become solid, that visualisation can become protocol. Anchoring the thread of action must begin in this moment. The Distance Plan is a collection of tools, timelines and knowledge beginning now, strung through distance, coalescing into a plan.

The Distance Plan is a project founded by Abby Cunnane and Amy Howden-Chapman that brings together artists, writers and designers to promote discussion of climate change within the arts. The Distance Plan works through exhibitions, public forums and the Distance Plan Press which produces publications, including an annual journal.

We currently work with:
Biddy Livesey
Bjarki Bragason
Joe Hoyt
Fiona Connor
Michala Paludan
Steve Kado
Louise Menzies
Neil Doshi
Sasha Portis
In the past we have also worked with:
Amy Balkin
Ralph Chapman
Philippa Howden-Chapman
Peggy Weil
David Pettit
Aslak Aamot Kjærulff
David Hilmer Rex
Isobel Cairns
Alex Monteith
Jym Clark
Michelle Ngamoki
Dayle Takitimu
Jos Wheeler
Katie Bachler
Scott Berzofsky
Hugh Pocock
Dugal McKinnon
Sophie Jerram
1824

DP Press: Journal Issue 3

The Distance Plan, Journal Issue 3, 2015 ‘Climate and Precarity’, The Distance Plan Journal’s third issue, sets out to survey how migration, environmental crisis and climate activism are debated in relation to capitalism and its alternatives. Taking Judith Butler’s notion of precarity – the destruction of the conditions of liveability – as a starting point, the issue brings together texts and artist pages that speak about the relationship between ecological and economic precarity.

A recurring question is how climate change is most effectively represented as an issue of social justice, and the role of artists and thinkers in developing a critical vocabulary and imaginary for a more liveable present and future. A series of conversations and essays look at how policies complicit with economic liberalisation have stalled meaningful action on climate change, compounding global and regional inequalities.

Abby Cunnane & Amy Howden-Chapman
an essay to begin

Bjarki Bragason & Anna Líndal
Art As Politics In A Melting Greenland

Ryan Jeffery & Paul Adler
Data Centres and the limits of capitalism

Arne DeBoever
Difficult Mothers & Facing The Climate

Amy Howden-Chapman & Ezekiel Simperingham
Climate Displacement

Biddy Livesey & Veronica Olivotto
The Vulnerability of Cities

John Vea: Artist Pages with an Introductory Text by Nina Tonga

Laura Preston & Jennifer Teets
Art in a Time of Ecological Urgency

Anna Livesey
Drowned Church: A poem



1850

DP Press: Journal Issue 2

The Distance Plan, Journal Issue 2, 2014 ‘Seven Conversations,’ The Distance Plan Journal’s second issue, is intended as a place to record the shifts in dialogue and language related to art and climate change. The texts span a range of subjects; each includes someone involved in the arts: writers, curators, artists, teachers. Our hope is that by cataloguing our communities’ changing concerns when it comes to talking about climate change we can play the role of witnesses, help to sustain the momentum which already exists towards combating this problem, and motivate each other to move the discussion forward. These conversations also further The Distance Plan’s wider agenda of drawing critical voices from different disciplines into the space of art discourse.

Abby Cunnane & Amy Howden-Chapman
Seven Conversations: An Introduction

Aslak Aamot Kjærulff & David Hilmer Rex
Organizing In the Anthropocene

Isobel Cairns
Ages: A Poem

Abby Cunnane & Isobel Cairns
A Strange and Hopeful Proximity

Louise Menzies, Alex Monteith & Amy Howden-Chapman
Protest in Aotearoa

Joe Hoyt & Jym Clark
New New Lynn

Biddy Livesey, Michelle Ngamoki, Dayle Takitimu & Jos Wheeler
These Are the Voices Voicing Dissent

Katie Bachler, Scott Berzofsky & Hugh Pocock
Teaching as a Way to Care for the Earth

Dugal McKinnon & Sophie Jerram
Dialogues with Tomorrow



1896

DP Press: Journal Issue 1

The first issue of The Distance Plan journal outlines an idea: that distance is a useful metaphor for talking about climate change. It contains essays, an interview and artworks which speculate on the possibilities, and implications, of this image of distance. Published at a time when popular awareness of climate change - particularly in the context of the arts - was significantly underrepresented, this journal primarily sought to heighten visibility and stimulate discussion.

Amy Howden-Chapman
Metaphor As Manifesto

Abby Cunnane
Right Here Far Away

Biddy Livesey
Diamond Lane

Ralph Chapman
Questions For My Father About Climate Change

Bjarki Bragason
Letters Between B & C

Steve Kado
We Wish You Were Here

Airini Beautrais
An Analysis Of Power

Amy Balkin
cc: Advice on the new trading accounts,
et etregistry help unsuppressed recipient list

Michala Paludan
Untitled (AFRICA)




1912

DP PRESS: NEW ERA: LIFE IN LAFAYETTE

During the Summer of 2015 The Distance Plan collaborated with HOLA - Heart of Los Angeles students, as part of the HOLA Public Art Residency. HOLA is in central Los Angeles, one block away from Lafayette Park, and three blocks from MacArthur Park. Sometimes the neighborhood is called Rampart, sometimes, MacArthur Park. We decided to call it Lafayette.

We are interested in how life in Lafayette has many of the characteristics of life in sustainable neighborhoods, with its high density housing, easy access to a vast web of public transport and quality green space. The New Era publication considers the changing nature of life in Lafayette, from the development that will come with new 'Promise Zone’ funds, to the proposed new HOLA building in Lafayette Park.

We are interested in investigating how this neighborhood’s parks provide cool zones, spaces that act as antidotes to the urban heat island effect. Los Angeles, like many metropolitan areas, is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas, with the city’s vast expanses of concrete and pavement absorbing heat during the day and retaining it at night time in a way that less altered terrain does not. 2014 was officially the hottest year on record, and as climate change continues to cause extremes in weather the fabric of our neighborhoods become ever more relevant.

This project was a collaboration between HOLA students and Distance Plan members — Joe Hoyt, Amy Howden-Chapman and Neil Doshi.

1913

DP PRESS: ALL THE NEWS I READ ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN 2014

Artist book, Amy Howden-Chapman, with introduction by the Newspaper Reading Club.

Distance Plan Press, 2015.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Amy Howden-Chapman, conducted by the Newspaper Reading Club (NPRC) in April 2015. Established by Fiona Connor and Michala Paludan, the central project of NPRC is an investigation of how people receive the news, and how they engage with larger current affairs narratives. Amy Howden-Chapman often reads the news together with NPRC.

NPRC: It seems to us that 2014 was a turning point in the way we speak and think about climate change. A lot more people seem to be talking about and acknowledging the issue. But there was also a growing feeling that it was already too late. That basically we’re fucked. In this way your book seems to me an important document of this shift.

AHC: I think it was undoubtedly an important year, but for people working on climate change every year is really important. There is this compounding concern—as nothing happens as nothing happens as nothing happens, or not nearly enough happens—every year becomes the year where climate change needs to be more fully acknowledged and action taken to prevent it’s worst effects. There’s an article in here called The Climate Swerve (p.91) which breaks down the shift in how people are thinking about climate change, saying that a major “historical change in consciousness.” And there certainly were a few big things that occurred in 2014. The climate march in September was major—300,000 people attended in New York to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit. And it was interesting to see the spike in coverage of climate change around those events.

NPRC: Tell me—climate change—how did you define climate change and decide what articles to include?

AHC: That was the tricky thing. Part of it was simple, just, this article has the words ‘climate change’ in it. But there were also issues around the edge. For example I decided to included an article about how new zones in New York real estate are being defined because people are realizing they can bike commute from those neighborhoods. (p.74) And those neighborhoods have been undervalued until now because they had limited subway access.

NPRC: How about articles about drought and weather?

AHC: There was one article I read that talks about how the current drought in California isn’t a climate change issue. (p.21) So from then on I didn’t include any other articles about the drought even though there have been many. However I think if I continue this project I will include things on the drought because my understanding now is that even if it’s not caused by climate change—the severity of it is. Things that are affected by the drought are being further compounded by climate change. The groundwater level, certain plants and trees are finding it hard to recover—firstly because of drought, and secondly because of increased temperatures. So it is related.

There are also quite a few articles in here about oil, and the ebbs and flows of the energy sector. Through the beginning and middle of 2014 there was a fracking boom and then the price of oil dropped towards the end of the year causing that boom to subside. Those things might not be directly about climate change but I decided to put them in because they’re certainly related in a political sense.

NPRC: I guess I’m interested in ‘climate change’ in the instance of All The News I Read About Climate Change in 2014. When you think about climate change in the context of this book, are you concerned with thinking about the term climate change, or the concept of climate change, and how has that idea has been formed? AHC: I think it’s definitely the idea of climate change. I made that decision quite recently, as I was going back through all the articles I had collected, and I was thinking—is this article on how car use is going out of fashion in France (p.170) relevant to climate change? And I was like—yes it is! Part of my broader project as an artist is thinking about how the term climate change can be redefined and expanded to enable people to understand its relevance. So climate change is redefined as an issue of inequality, or social justice, and also urban design and planning. So if I go by that broader definition, I don’t see why I should exclude those things here.

NPRC: What do you think the term climate change does to how people engage with the issue? What are the positive and negatives in your eyes? I suppose the fact that it has a name has certain connotations and politics. I were just thinking—do some papers use it as a derogatory term?

AHC: There is the question about how to define climate change within this project, but there is also the question of how to define news. The whole project is very personal, my understanding of what climate change is, is continually being affected by what I’m reading. Late last year I read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate which is reviewed in here (p.161) and I think that book was an important part of the growing understanding of the climate issue that happened last year. She is very good at laying out the relationships of the energy sector, fracking and oil extraction, and the power of that sector of business to stall action on climate change. So after I read her book I had a lot less hesitation about including articles around those energ y issues in this collection.

NPRC: We’re curious about the personal aspect of the book. About the way it’s not all news about climate change in 2014 but the news that you read. It becomes a bit of a travelogue in a way and also representative of how climate change is discussed in a particular slice of the media landscape. Can you elaborate on that decision to frame it as the news you read rather than news in general?

AHC: In some ways it’s a practical restriction. I’m not interested in printing out the internet. I’m more interested in what new information or analysis about climate change a person just going about their life might be exposed too. So a lot of these articles are from the Sunday New York Times, which is the only paper I buy, and usually there would be something about climate change in the Sunday paper, but mostly just one or two articles. I’m sure if I had been reading the newspaper all week I would come across a lot more. But I’m interested in what a normal-ish citizen is exposed to. One of the issues about climate change is that it’s incredibly vast and complicated, and there is a divide between the scientific evidence which is constantly being updated, the policy implications of that, and the political landscape that follows. Also the amount of news gathered really mirrors my engagement with the project and the context of the places where I was. For the first half of 2014 I was living in Los Angeles, then I traveled for the month of July, and I noticed there is only one article for that month because I suppose I wasn’t at home reading the paper. Then I spent four months in New Zealand which was an interesting time politically with the New Zealand election being held in September. There was sadly very little discussion of climate change as an election issue in the mainstream media, despite the attempts of a climate voter campaign to make it the prominent election issue. On the day after the election there was an open letter on climate issues printed in the New Zealand Herald, (p.103) addressed to the new government, which was led by the conservative National Party, whose record on climate action is very poor. I was interested in including things like the letter: even though they’re not news, they are in the newspaper. They are designed to speak to the news reader.

NPRC: We’re curious about the trends that you saw in different papers. The quantity of coverage, and how they referred to it. So in general did the Sunday New York Times always refer to it as an editorial issue? You just mentioned this national trend but how about from paper to paper ?

AHC: There was very little in the New Zealand papers I read while I was there, which was disappointing; there was one good editorial by Rod Oram (p.104). Whereas it would be very unusual for an issue of the Guardian Weekly not to include some discussion of climate change. And the way they talk about it is different too.

NPRC: It’s scathing right?

AHC: Yeah it’s scathing—one article just says bluntly ‘New Zealand has let down climate change refugees’ (p.71). I suppose it could be seen by some as less neutral coverage in that sense, but this is not a neutral issue, so it makes sense.

NPRC: The Guardian has always been that way. Last year there was this moment when I asked my Dad about what the major challenges for the planet are, and he brought up climate change and spoke about it totally frankly, and in a very concerned way that I hadn’t heard before. So going back to our first question, I think 2014 was the year that old men finally paid attention.

AHC: Old white men!

NPRC: They got the picture. That’s something that I love seeing in the articles that are presented here. Old white men fighting for the acknowledgment that something has to be done about climate change, there is still something super trippy about that.

1959

DP Press: Places Are Changing

Places Are Changing was produced collaboratively by members of The Distance Plan in June 2014 around Patreksfjörður in the Westfjords region of Iceland. As an element of the Stadir Places project, curated by Eva Ísleifsdóttir and Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir Places Are Changing works to directly respond to the environment and community around Patreksfjörður, in particular the Hnjótur Museum. The core of the Hnjótur Museum collection are everyday items gathered together by the museum's founder, that collectively tell the story of the farming community of this remote part of Iceland. Having noticed the rapid modernization that was taking place in the region following The Second World War he actively collected items that were being replaced without regard for documenting for perpetuity the rapidly fading way of life. The Places Are Changing publication reflects on this process of observing and recording change. Such observations are an important but difficult endeavor with many changes occurring at a pace barely detectible beneath the normal routines of everyday life, with the past being considered inferior to the promises it is claimed the future will hold.

With emphasis on the intersection of the built environment with the natural environment the publication includes drawings by Joe Hoyt of dwellings from different periods. Spanning from the turf hut to a contemporary house. With Patreksfjörður being one of the few areas where turf hut’s can still be seen, the drawings record structures that were wiped out as soon as alternatives could be built. Text’s by Bjarki Bragason throughout the publication refer to some specific objects in the museum's collection as well as the Bragason ancestors experience in the area. The hand written texts which are depicted crumpled causing passages to be partial obscured and thereby speaking to the tentative nature of memory within the historisation process, and the subsuming of personal experiences into broader narratives of progress.

The publication overlays reference of the social and cultural changes catalogued though the collection of the Hnjótur Museum with mention of the environmental changes that are currently being caused by climate change as they become noticeable within the Patreksfjörður area. Places Are Changing asserts that climate change will have both ecological and cultural implications and like all dramatic changes, observing climate change within our local landscapes allows a depth of understanding that can anchor any larger state and international initiatives to combat the problem.
1970

PROJECTS: Climate Change & Art, A Lexicon in Progress

RE-COMMUNALIZATION

The reversal of the neoliberal policies of the past decades that led to widespread privatisation of state controlled assets. Also called ‘re-municipalisation’, driven by the desire on the part of communities for local power. A locally controlled energy system would be concerned with public interest not profits. Re-communalisation allows for greater local agency in decision-making about what to invest in; this is typically used as a means to invest in renewable energy.

ANNUAL EXCEEDANCE PROBABILITY

Annual Exceedance Probability is the probability, expressed as a percentage, that a flood of a given magnitude will be equalled or exceeded in any one year. The term has replaced terms such as ‘1-in-100-year-flood’ which are now seen as outdated and unhelpful because of the perception that the phrase reflects chronological forecasting rather than statistical probability. Semenov and Bengtsson (2002) predict changes to rainfall distributions in the Auckland region of New Zealand due to climate change. In a worst case scenario for Auckland, a flood that is rated with an Annual Exceedance Probability of 0.02 (a 1-in-50-year-flood) under the current climate will have an Annual Exceedance Probability of less than 0.10 (1-in-10-year flood) by 2100.

ENERGY SOVEREIGNTY

Energy sovereignty is the right of conscious individuals, communities and peoples to make their own decisions on energy generation, distribution and consumption. An example: Residents of Te Urewera, Marnie and Rowena Te Are built their home using local clay mixed with paper pulp. A micro-hydro turbine in a creek running a dozen metres from their back door provides electricity, and a solar heating unit meets the family’s hotwater needs. For Rowena, choosing such energy and construction solutions is ‘a way of honouring Tuhoe values of good stewardship and aroha for the environment…’, and for Marnie, ‘…self-determination includes not relying on the national grid for electricity or hot water.’ (See Tuhoe: Portrait of a Nation, 2014, by Kennedy Warne and Peter Quinn.) See also: Re-communalisation; Re-municipalisation; Local Power.

THE GREAT TRANSITION

A reframing of ‘managed degrowth’. The Great Transition is a scenario for the transformation of the current development paradigm towards a more socially, culturally and ecologically balanced alternative. Developed by the Global Scenario Group (GSG), an interdisciplinary group of academics and activists, whose website states: ‘This possibility rests on the ascent of a constellation of values – human solidarity, quality of life, and ecological sensibility – to moderate the conventional triad of individualism, consumerism, and domination of culture.’See also: The Uncivilization Manifesto; First World Emissions.

GREEN FASCISM

A pejorative term used by those anxious that environmental policies are overemphasised, and will be used to ‘destroy the free market’ on the pretext of a pending ecological crisis so extreme that it justifies state intervention. Frequently called upon by individuals politically and economically invested in maintaining a system unregulated by ecological concerns.

HABITAT NOSTALGIA

Nostalgia for a place you’re in, grieving it’s ‘inevitable loss’. Related to what Naomi Klein (author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate) calls ‘a morbid habit of “pre-loss”, a variation on the “pre-crimes” committed in the movie Minority Report.’ See also: Ecological Despair: Ecocide.

HEALTH GOTH

A way of dressing and a lifestyle where you take care of yourself and exercise and wear exercise gear – but ultimately you believe that the world we live in is coming to an end. For a Health Goth, taking care of your body is the only way to do any good in an apocalyptic world. Embedded within it is the narrative of a world that is unsustainable; wearing black workout gear is a fittingly anti-nostalgic, chic and dystopic response. Health Goth has been described as ‘that feeling of sadness, but also of sportiness.’

HYPEROBJECTS

Phenomena which vastly extend our understanding of time and space – like climate change, radioactive materials, black holes. They do this by being so widely or lastingly distributed that they defy localisation and immediate human experience. The word was invented by Timothy Morton, who defines the hyperobject as: viscous (they stick to anything they touch); molten (their scale defies the idea of space-time as fixed or concrete); non-local; phased (existing in a higher than three-dimensional space ie. full perception would require the viewer to have a multidimensional view); and inter-objective (formed by interactions with other objects).

INTERGENERATIONAL JUSTICE

is the notion that people governing now should do so keeping in mind their responsibility to future generations. Intergenerational justice is problematised by the difficulty of calculating equivalence between time periods. Also known as ‘intergenerational equity’, it has significant implications for the economic evaluation of climate change mitigation. Specifically, it calls into question the methodology known as ‘discounting’, as applied to decision-making over extended time periods. Used in economic analysis, discounting is meant to accurately weigh costs and benefits which occur in the future against those which occur today. A belief in intergenerational justice necessitates an objection to the predominance of high discount rates in the economic field. A discount rate that is close to zero, where the future is given (close to) equivalent weight to the present, is the only way to value future people’s interests properly.

RESILIENCE RHETORIC

Matthew Allen writes about the widespread use of the word ‘resilience’ in post-disaster scenarios in Australia. Adopted by the media, by government agencies, community groups and NGOs, it is often associated with national character: being ‘tough’, ‘hardy’, ‘battlers’, ‘pragmatic’, ‘plucky’ etc. In the context of increasingly extreme and frequent natural disasters, the idea of resilience may be instrumentalised by policy makers to offload responsibility for mitigating the causes and consquences of such disasters onto individuals within the affected communities themselves.

SMALL AGENCIES

It’s 1881 and Darwin is writing about earthworms, which he and his family have been observing at sites including Stonehenge, St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, and a medieval pavement at Beaulieu. Worms make the earth hospitable to human life by processing the vegetable mould needed for the growth of plants. They also demonstrate a degree of agency, making different and unpredictable choices according to their environmental conditions. Small agency is distributed, generative; it may require the expansion of what we call ‘system’, of what we call ‘public’, of what we call ‘dependence’. It’s the accumulated effects of such small agencies that make the earth possible, habitable. See also: Actants (Bruno Latour).

THE CULTURAL COST OF CARBON

An extension of the social cost of carbon, the caculation used to estimate the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conventionally one metric ton, over the gas’s lifetime. This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided by not emitting the gas in the first place. The estimated social cost of carbon used by the United States government is USD$21. However, that figure has been recently suggested to actually be as high as over $200. Recognising a cultural cost of carbon acknowledges the financial impacts on cultural assets – such as the preservation of sites of historical significance, the production of art and other cultural forms, and the value of the relationship of people to place. When calculating the social cost of carbon, less tangible things are often overlooked, for example the cultural value of a homeland such as a pacific island threatened by climate change.
1988

PROJECTS: HOLA PUBLIC ART RESIDENCY

During the Summer of 2015 The Distance Plan collaborated with HOLA - Heart of Los Angeles students, as part of the HOLA Public Art Residency. HOLA is in central Los Angeles, one block away from Lafayette Park, and three blocks from MacArthur Park. Sometimes the neighborhood is called Rampart, sometimes, MacArthur Park. We decided to call it Lafayette.

We are interested in how life in Lafayette has many of the characteristics of life in sustainable neighborhoods, with its high density housing, easy access to a vast web of public transport and quality green space. The New Era publication considers the changing nature of life in Lafayette, from the development that will come with new 'Promise Zone’ funds, to the proposed new HOLA building in Lafayette Park.

We are interested in investigating how this neighborhood’s parks provide cool zones, spaces that act as antidotes to the urban heat island effect. Los Angeles, like many metropolitan areas, is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas, with the city’s vast expanses of concrete and pavement absorbing heat during the day and retaining it at night time in a way that less altered terrain does not. 2014 was officially the hottest year on record, and as climate change continues to cause extremes in weather the fabric of our neighborhoods become ever more relevant.

This project was a collaboration between HOLA students and Distance Plan members — Joe Hoyt, Amy Howden-Chapman and Neil Doshi.

1992

PROJECTS: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

Held at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive April 5th 2014.

An event that brought together academics, artists, and those involved in climate change policy to debate what role the arts might play in preventing catastrophic climate change. Speakers included David Pettit from the National Resources Defense Council, Peggy Weil, founder of HeadsUP! and Adjunct Professor at the USC Interactive Media Division, artist and writer Amy Howden-Chapman and sociologist Dylan Taylor from the Victoria University Wellington.

Transcription of panelist presentations
and audience discussion

1997

EXHIBITIONs: FAVORITE GOODS, Los Angeles, 2012

The Distance Plan - Exhibition Favorite Goods Gallery, Los Angeles, September 2012

In this, the first Distance Plan exhibition, six artists respond to the conceptual challenge of thinking through the most pressing issue of our time, climate change. Though undoubtedly a moral and political issue, This exhibitio concentrates on the philosophical complexities that climate change poses. How do we visualize a future so foreign that its contours are indescribable? How do we connect current actions and future outcomes across so many variable time frames? For The Distance Plan, each artist involved devises a new set of tools for illustrating the complexities of such a process.

Despite our role in helping create the problem, climate change, paradoxically, is an issue with consequences largely outside our present lifespans. In response to such a conundrum The Distance Plan includes works that adopt a range of strategies including signifying temporal remoteness with geographic remoteness.

In Africa is Real 1995/2010 Paludan tranforms family photographs chronicling ethnographic field work undertaken by her mother in the Sudan in the mid 1990s. Rather than illustrating this experience Paludan Implicats the viewer as the generator of the work, calling for images distant experience to be imagined in the present.

Steven Kado presents a vinyl banner on which is printed an abstracted view of light hitting the wall of his toronto apartment. A postcard titled ‘Los Angles view for Auckland as seen in Toronto, for Los Angeles,’ shows a similar banner in which a snippet of place is transported and replaced. To be here thinking about there - the act of looking at Kado’s work is the act of thinking though vastness. In The Distance Plan, six artists respond to the conceptual challenge of thinking through the most pressing issue of our time, climate change. Though undoubtedly a moral and political issue, The Distance Plan concentrates on the philosophical complexities that climate change poses. How do we visualize a future so foreign that its contours are indescribable? How do we connect current actions and future outcomes across so many variable time frames? For The Distance Plan, each artist involved devises a new set of tools for illustrating the complexities of such a process.

Despite our role in helping create the problem, climate change, paradoxically, is an issue with consequences largely outside our present lifespans. In response to such a conundrum The Distance Plan includes works that adopt a range of strategies including signifying temporal remoteness with geographic remoteness.

In Africa is Real 1995/2010 Paludan tranforms family photographs chronicling ethnographic field work undertaken by her mother in the Sudan in the mid 1990s. Rather than illustrating this experience Paludan Implicats the viewer as the generator of the work, calling for images distant experience to be imagined in the present.

Steven Kado presents a vinyl banner on which is printed an abstracted view of light hitting the wall of his toronto apartment. A postcard titled ‘Los Angles view for Auckland as seen in Toronto, for Los Angeles,’ shows a similar banner in which a snippet of place is transported and replaced. To be here thinking about there - the act of looking at Kado’s work is the act of thinking though vastness.

Bjarki Bragason’s work considers an archive of destruction. Constructed through correspondence with a botanist at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, fragmented and broken specimen of rare, endangered and extinct species reflect the relationship between land development, history and ecology.

Amy Balkin’s project Public Smog proposes a redefining of the common-pool resource that is the atmosphere, and in so doing highlights the social barriers and bureaucratic challenges that block much needed environmental regulation.

Concerned with questions of the tangibility of local action, Joe Hoyt’s minutely rendered depictions of Los Angeles’ Exposition Line chronicles the existing urban infrastructure’s slow economic and political response to climate change.

Louise Menzies steps back to consider future forecasts through the lens of historiography. Her work touches on French historian Fernand Braudel’s system for presenting social change within a number of environmental cycles.

Together the intellectual and formal gestures presented in this exhibition highlight the need for an accelerated growth of social and political pressure regarding climate policy as well as the importance of not just modelling viable futures, but diagramming the causal links between current actions and what is forthcoming.

2001

EXHIBITIONs: Climate and Infrastructure, HUMAN RESOURCES, LOS ANGELES, 2016



Opens Thursday June 2nd

Bjarki Bragason, Carolina Caycedo, Fiona Connor, Ryan Jeffrey & Boaz Levin, Steve Kado, Susannah Sayler & Edward Morris for The Canary Project and Sarah Rara. With a new text by Lina Moe. Organized by Abby Cunnane, Amy Howden-Chapman and Luke Fischbeck.

The Distance Plan: Climate and Infrastructure brings together work by 10 practitioners whose works address major infrastructural forms of the present – energy generation, digital frameworks and mass transport networks – in relationship to future alternatives. Providing a diagram of our carbon-intensive era, these works look at the ideologies driving development, and how today’s infrastructure determines both the means by which natural resources are consumed, and the ability of communities to change patterns of carbon consumption by redefining the built environment. The soft-infrastructure of institutions attempting to confront climate change at an intergovernmental level is also considered, including the mechanisms of diplomatic negotiation and the scientific knowledge being generated around our current trajectory.

The politics of infrastructure is often caught in the fraught terrain between strategies for mitigating climate change and those promoting adaptation. The Distance Plan: Climate and Infrastructure thereby responds to the concept of ‘Path Dependency’ – the idea that the choices available to us in the present are contingent on knowledge and decisions made in the past, and that future capacity for change is determined by our current planning.

Works consider the energy use of data centers (Ryan Jeffrey & Boaz Levin); Columbian dams being built to power extractive industries (Carolina Caycedo); the California Water Crisis (The Canary Project) solar infrastructure (Sarah Rara) and the energy use of arts institutions (Fiona Connor). Lina Moe investigates the the closure of New York City’s L train for post-Sandy repairs, as an example of civic infrastructures increasing vulnerability. Work by Steve Kado tracks the aesthetics of global mobility, while Bjarki Bragason’s project turns the lens on the scientific imagery and narratives that feed the popular understanding of climate change. In diverse ways, these practices take account of historical decision-making as a form of momentum locking us into a precarious present, while considering the radical alteration our infrastructure needs to undergo.


Carolina Caycedo, Dammed Landscape


Ryan Jeffrey & Boaz Levin, All that is solid melts into data (still), 2015.

2009

Exhibitions: Imagine the Present, ST PAUL ST GALLERY, Auckland, 2016

Bjarki Bragason, Amy Howden-Chapman, Steve Kado, Nicholas Mangan, Natalie Robertson, Shannon Te Ao and George Watson.
Curated by Abby Cunnane.

5 August - 9 September
At St Paul St Gallery,



The exhibition takes the position that the present is critically under-represented in political and ecological discourse. Projections of the future form the dominant part of environmental discussions, particularly those regarding climate change. The image of the future is also a primary point of orientation in many discussions around contemporary art. Imagine the Present asks that we shift focus to the present, to a number of often invisible, suppressed or fantastical aspects of our current ecological situation. Held within this broad view of ‘now’ are multiple timescales; the past too is a presence in many of the works in the exhibition, which respond through narrative to the personal, cultural, and material effects of ecological change.

Collectively, these works suggest that a wicked problem like climate change—multi-sited, multi-scalar, extraterritorial—requires acts of imagination, remembrance, attentiveness; that it is an issue of representation as well as one demanding scientific responses. This is an address to climate change as a social and psychological issue inseparable from the present, rather than simply being an 'environmental problem' situated in and configured by the future.

Imagine the Present is held at ST PAUL St Gallery, which located within the School of Art and Design and Te Ara Poutama at Auckland University of Technology. The gallery is dedicated to the development of contemporary art and design through an international programme of exhibitions, events, symposia and publications. ST PAUL St Gallery embraces one of the primary instructions for universities in the New Zealand Education Act (1989), that they ‘accept a role as critic and conscience of society.’


Imagine the Present, (installation view), ST PAUL St Gallery, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Imagine the Present, (installation view), ST PAUL St Gallery, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Steve Kado, AGPTL, 2016, video installation, 12:14 minutes. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Shannon Te Ao, Untitled (epilogue), 2015, video, 4:48 minutes. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Imagine the Present, (installation view), ST PAUL St Gallery, 2016. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Amy Howden-Chapman, What you are about to see, 2016, photographic print, steel; video projection, 20:00 minutes. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Bjarki Bragason, Perhaps that in which it, 2013, photographic prints. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Natalie Robertson, Pohautea 1-4 from the installation Nought of the portion for Taho, 1996/2015, four photographic prints. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

Natalie Robertson, Ngā Mōteatea: The Songs by Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata [first published 1959; the edition 2004] from the installation Nought of the portion for Taho, 2016, mounted photographic image. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

George Watson, The world continues to infect, 2016, peastraw, sago, soap flakes, Epsom salts, black oxide, found wood. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

2014

Contact

info@thedistanceplan.org
2015

Colophon

Designed by Sasha Portis, 2015
Development by Sasha Portis
2025