Nominee Threshold Award Social Practices
Meet Anne Martens! Anne was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Social Practices with her graduation project ‘Monitoring Climate Change’. In this interview, Anne tells us about her work and future plans.
Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?
Something that I noticed when doing literature research, is that most people are really worried about climate change, but do not express these feelings very often. And because they do not share these feelings, worries and fears, we interpret the feelings of others based on their behaviour. This, in turn, makes us feel more shame, anger, and powerlessness. So with my graduation project, I wanted to open the conversation about our feelings about climate change.
I then did some field research for which I asked a group of people three questions: ‘what do you feel when you hear the word climate change?’, ‘how do you feel about your own behaviour regarding climate change?', and ‘how do you feel about the behaviour of our society regarding climate change?’ To the first question, most people answered that they felt powerless and worried. Regarding their own behaviour, they felt positive, driven and motivated, but also powerless at times. But regarding other people’s behaviour, they felt sad, irritated, angry and discouraged. This gap, I believe, comes forth from a lack of expression of these feelings, which leads us to assume how other people feel about the matter.
So I wanted to find a way for people to share their feelings around climate change and gain insight into the feelings of others. That is how my graduation project ‘Monitoring Climate Change’ came about. It is an installation that allows people to share their feelings through an interface, mobile app or webpage. The responses are then visualised as colorful shapes and displayed in the installation and online. The data that is gathered can also be sorted by time frame and analysed. Like this, we can see the effect of climate-related events (such as the floodings in July) had on our feelings about climate change.
Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?
As I mentioned, the problem I am addressing is the lack of conversations about our feelings regarding climate change. Climate change is a really large problem that I know I can not solve, but I can give it my own touch by helping people share their feelings without feeling judged and without making assumptions. Eventually, I hope people will feel more connected and be on the same page.
What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?
I am working together with Vincent Boon to develop the project further. Vincent is studying Animation at WdKA and together with him I worked out the technical aspects of my idea. After graduating, I exhibited the work at het Nieuwe Instituut, where it has been on display for six weeks. I also presented it on RGBXYZ, an event that mostly focuses on digital design. So I gathered a lot of data that I can use for the further development of the design.
Because the graduation period is so short, I did not have time to gather responses from users of the installation. Researching this further would be a good next step in improving the design. Also, I want to further elaborate the webpage on which people share their feelings and the way this data is visualised.
To read more about Anne’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on her Website. The winner of the Threshold Award Social Practices will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.