I am making this list based on certain online sleuthings I made a few months ago.
There was an art competition announced … and it was an art competition that specifically had to do with satellites and climate change. Well, those were two topics heavily featured in my PhD dissertation, so I thought, why not enter? Especially because the guidelines specifically said, hey, you can enter as your artwork a film or an animation! Well, an animation is the only sort of artwork that I know how to make — as long as that’s acceptable, I can come up with something.
The competition was run out of the European Space Agency (ESA) climate office. I just figured I’d make a glowing animation all about their satellites. The winner got 30,000 Euros. It was too good of a chance not to take!
But before I started, I went about scouting the Twitter account of the ESA climate office, and was I in for a surprise. They were announcing their competition on it, sure enough, but then, they were also contacting all these artists and telling them … hey! We hope you enter! Of course, they never contacted me, so I wasn’t sure what the point of entering was at all. They seemed to already have a short-list developed.
But lets take a look at some of these favored artists!
Someone called Ruth Mottram, who is a climate scientist working on Greenland, tweeted at Jackie Morris Art, telling her to enter. The ESA climate office saw the tweet, and said: lovely work! Hope you enter!
After that, the Climate Office didn’t wait for recommendations from people. They just started tweeting people outright asking them to enter. First, they tweeted at Ralf Schoofs. I looked through the illustrations on his Twitter feed, and I don’t know … They are nice, but maybe a little staid. Except I did like this one of little fishies.
Then, per another recommendation, they told “the Light Dreams” that they’d love to see a submission from him. The Light Dreams got a little huffy, and said, did you just call me a budding artist? I’m way above budding. So let’s take a look. I looked at the art on his pinned tweet. It is not exactly the style of art that I like, and maybe a little generic-looking, too.
They tweeted at Dr. Niamh Shaw. She has a Ph.D., and does art, and is she an astronaut to boot? She’s a big deal apparently. Looks like she does theatre, though I’m not sure I found real samples of her work.
At this point, the ESA Clean Space Office got in on the act, too. And they started helping out the Climate Office, and tweeting at artists as well. They tweeted at someone named Marianne Tricot. And the Climate Office was all, thank you so much! So what kind of artist is Marianne Tricot? Well, I don’t know, because I didn’t find enough images of art on her Twitter to get a clear view, and her website is down. “In maintenance mode.”
Then someone named Peter tweeted to someone named Vero that he hoped that she would apply. Her art looks really cute. And the Climate Office thought so, too, because said they hoped she would apply, as well. She did indeed apply, but she waited till the last minute (as did I) to upload her submission, and the website got stuck (as it did for me). So she tweeted back and they told her, don’t worry, we’ll make sure it gets submitted.
A few days later, the Climate Office, tired of a step-by-step approach, went ahead and tweeted at a bunch of artists en masse. Uh, and none of them were that impressed at the invite, apparently, because none of them answered. But who are these illustrious ones?
First was Melissa Gomis … I couldn’t find much art on her twitter page, but I did find a video she’d made on Vimeo. I thought it was kind of boring. And too abrupt in transitions, no?
Second was Zahra Hijri. Lookie there, first [and only] non-white person they tweeted at. I can’t find much art on her twitter page, but any case, she seems to be a very accomplished journalist.
Fourth was Rosamund Pearce. It looks like it’s her job to make visualizations for the Economist magazine. I dislike that magazine, first. But this video she made is pretty cool. It has all the content you need right in the video; you don’t need a caption, which is nice for when you’re just scrolling through a Twitter image feed.
That was the end of that list. But then someone named Knurek tweeted to someone named Kiciputek to make a submission. And the Climate Office said, that would be lovely. But Kiciputek has canceled his/her account, so I don’t know what’s on it.
And that was a wrap. None of them ended up winning, though.
I applied, after all, and made my little animation. I knew it was a long-shot, but I thought, I can’t pass up the chance (I didn’t have a job at the time!) … and then once you’ve submitted, you stop thinking it was such a long-shot, you start thinking, oh, maybe I’ll actually get it!
Like I mentioned, the submission website got stuck as I tried to submit, like with Vero. I tried it again and again, and it finally worked on the third try. At least, I thought it did. I was able to check online to see if my video was ever downloaded by the Climate Office, and it was not. I emailed them, and it hadn’t arrived. I had my confirmation email and everything, so I sent them that, plus sent them the video directly, and I guess it got considered in the end.
The person who won was Shane Sutton. Looks like he does all sorts of large-scale art, so I think it must catch the eye really fast. He’s what I’d call a “real” artist — like he does it with his hands. But can you tell what this is supposed to be?
Animation seems like so much computer-magic, it seems far too technical that I’d actually be able to call myself an artist. But I was happy with my submission anyways. I didn’t want to spend a long time on something that had a small chance of success, so I mostly made it by recycling and stitching together animations I’d already made. I told myself that wouldn’t take too long. But then it took like 12 hours after all. I had to do a lot of thinking and plucking and re-stitching.