We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse has begun. On this course we are likely to see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.
This is an invitation to write a letter of response to this crisis. This could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea is open to interpretation: it can come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation is open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. This is an opportunity to ask how this existential threat affects the way we wish to live our lives and the action we take.
All submitted letters will be released for presentation on one day of joint action on Friday 12th April across theatres, arts venues and community spaces nationwide. Participating venues include The Royal Court Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and The Arcola Theatre. The pieces will then be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April, coinciding with the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate. These pieces could be taken up to be presented and performed globally, when hundreds of thousands of people will be taking to the streets worldwide to demand that governments tell the truth about climate collapse and act accordingly.
In putting this story front and centre and making space for this emergency we have the ability to shift the global narrative and generate the necessary political will to act. The time for action is now.
Are you able to host a reading of Letters To The Earth some time on Friday 12th April in your spaces for the public, free of charge? We suggest this is followed by an open conversation to bring people together in the face of this crisis. We have the resources to support you in this.
Are you able to gather actors/readers for the day? (Think high profile alongside young people and your local community for greatest impact).
Will you be able to distribute and promote this call-out to your networks, groups and associates via email and social media? You can use this website to direct people, and see our social media details below.
Can you contribute your event details as part of a press announcement w/c 1st April, which can also act as a joint statement / open letter from all participating venues?
If the answer is YES please register your venue by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: ‘Venue’) And start promoting straight away! The organisers will be in touch, sending you letters and marketing materials from 25th March.
Arts and Culture organisations and individuals are also declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency. See here for more info.
The Common Line presented by Professor John Wylie
Wednesday 13th March 2019; 18:00 – 20:00
Bath Spa University, Newton Park, BA2 9BN (NP.CM.G24)
Drinks, nibbles and chat after lecture
Free to attend but you can bok here on Bath Spa Live
The Common Line is the longest possible straight line that can be traced across mainland Britain, without crossing any tidal waters. It can be viewed at http://thecommonline.uk. The Line was originally envisioned by Exeter-based artist Volkhardt Muller, and Professor John Wylie is one of a current team of artists, geographers and creative technologists convened to investigate and intervene in the Line, and the myriad landscapes and communities it intersects. The ultimate, utopian ambition is to realise The Common Line, physically and digitally, as a line of trees, planted and sustained at 20-metre intervals across the entire length of Britain. In this presentation, Prof Wylie will firstly discuss the genesis and determination of The Common Line. From the outset, this has been a project geared towards public audiences and participation. He says this is clearly imperative if plantation and stewardship of The Common Line is to be realised. Work-to-date has focused upon designing a digital-material experience for public users – ultimately, a smartphone-based app through which users can discover the Line, orient and align with it, and engage in digital plantation via augmented reality tools for anchoring digital trees within landscapes. As they have developed this experience and worked with a variety of participants in differing locales, they have also encountered many questions and, at times, antagonisms. As Muller notes, we arrive as strangers with an idea, hopeful that others will see value and merit in this idea. Prof Wylie will discuss these issues also in the context of framing and understanding the Line.
The second element of the presentation will be more reflective, scoping out from the specifics of their work on The Common Line. What might The Common Line mean as an act of landscaping? And in what ways is this Line in ‘common’? The image of the straight, geometrical, undeviating line sits at odds, it can be argued, with the ontologies and approaches of much current landscape theory, in which landscape is characterised as embodied, affective and performative lifeworld – as an entanglement of lifelines by no means straight. In a more explicitly political register, how might The Common Line align with or cut across the nexus of landscape, belonging and identity? In this context he will discuss how The Common Line may actually work so as to produce deviation, dislocation and decolonial imaginaries of Britain.
Professor Wylie researches and teaches the cultural geographies of landscape. His work focuses on the affective and imaginative dimensions of landscape, exploring topics such as haunting, sensing, moving, remembering, picturing and writing. In recent years he has collaborated with creative practitioners, including visual artists and performers, in AHRC and Leverhulme Trust-funded projects investigating the aesthetics and politics of contemporary landscape experiences. He is Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter, and one of the editors of cultural geographies (Sage Journals).