Ecological art is purposeful and often prescriptive: the actions and directions intended by the artists for activists to undertake often are clearly represented. Yet, ecological art has been no more successful than, for example, targeted scientific research, deposits on returnable bottles, or land-protection campaigns at slowing global warming, reducing the amount of waste we generate every day, or halting the ongoing sixth mass extinction in the history of the Earth. Here, we consider the idea that prescriptive ecological art provides insufficient mental space for creative reflection about future scenarios of, and responses to, environmental change. We ask whether, by presenting a limited range of possibilities in ecological art, we limit the range of options that viewers consider in deciding on possible actions that they could take to slow or halt environmental decline. We conclude by asking how we artists and scientists can best engage diverse audiences in critically thinking about, and taking action to mitigate, environmental change. These questions and issues are addressed through a discussion of two of our recent ecological art installations: Hemlock Hospice and Warming Warning.
Recommended Citation / Citation recommandée
Ellison, Aaron M.,
David B. Borden.
"Ecological Art: Art with a Purpose."
The Goose, vol. 17
, article 3,