EXIT – Turning Climate Change Data into Art

By Danielle Pope

EXIT – Turning Climate Change Data into Art
This 360 degree art installation shows just how unstable the world is

We are living in a world where unprecedented numbers of migrants are leaving their home countries for political, economic and environmental reasons. In an Australian premiere, the EXIT exhibition holds a dramatic mirror to this global concern by quantifying, displaying and interpreting data.

In an immersive, 360-degree installation, EXIT visualises statistics that are otherwise difficult to comprehend, showing the displacement of populations due to disasters both natural and man-made, and the decimation of entire cultures, environments and livelihoods. Drawing on data from over one hundred sources, including UNESCO and the World Bank, EXIT has a direct and poignant relevance to current world events.

Based on an idea of acclaimed French philosopher and urbanist, Paul Virilio, EXIT was created by a team of architects, statisticians, designers and a core team of scientists and geographers. The artists and architects who created the installation have gathered data and then visualised it, showing that global populations are more unstable than any previous time in world history. Unprecedented numbers of migrants are leaving their home countries due to political, economic and environmental reasons.

The 360-degree installation immerses the viewer in a dynamic presentation of data that correlates contemporary patterns of human movement with urgent global issues of sustainability. In EXIT, the viewer enters a 360-degree immersive installation and is surrounded by a panoramic video projection of a spinning globe “printing” animated visuals as it orbits the space.

EXIT is divided into six narratives, reflecting key trends and areas of exploration including Population Shifts: Cities; Remittances: Sending Money Home; Political Refugees and Forced Migration; Natural Disasters; Rising Seas and Sinking Cities; and Speechless and Deforestation. The evolution of its data, which has dramatically changed since the installation’s inception, reflects the alarming shifts in human migratory movement and the true costs of climate change in the world today.

Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, says that she found the artwork incredibly moving, “It is riveting, overwhelming and informative. It leaves no doubt that climate change is already making a huge impact.” UNSW Galleries Director Felicity Fenner says the artwork is a huge wake-up call for audiences, “EXIT encapsulates three of the Grand Challenges currently being investigated by UNSW researchers – climate change, refugees and global inequality.”

EXIT is presented in association with the Sydney Festival and will be shown in the UNSW Galleries from 7 January to 25 March. More information can be found on the Sydney Festival website here


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