Most art exhibition launches consist of sipping champagne and polite small talk about the art they display. But when I arrived at the Onca Gallery’s launch of FutureCoast and was given a name tag that declared me an ‘agent’, and when the gallery was constantly being referred to as an HQ, I knew this launch would be far more exciting and unorthodox than most.
The exhibition FutureCoast big debut was on September 26th, and will run until September 2017, it aims to bring the issues surrounding climate change into the present day. As Onca gallery trustee, Julie Doyle, explained, the issue of climate change is easily seen as irrelevant to the present, as it’s often only discussed in the long-term despite the obvious effects of climate change ongoing now. However, while being informative and thought provoking, it successfully avoided being depressing or reprimanding by incorporating an interactive role-play element in which we were all ‘agents’ being called to an urgent meeting.
Consequently, the atmosphere was light-hearted and warm enough for the audience – or agents – to converse and discuss ideas comfortably, where the topics ranged from the prices of food increasing due to poor crop growth, to a future where most of the world will be inhabitable because of extreme weather conditions. Creative producer and co-founder of the Feral Theatre, Persephone Pearl, managed to perform and discuss issues such as global warming and the fact that 2015 has been one of the warmest years to date with wit and humour, encouraging people to leave voicemails to the ‘Future Booth’.
The ‘Future Booth’, a spin-off from the work of game designer Ken Eklund, allows a person to leave messages from a future perspective in which climate change has further impacted the world. Unlike many climate change initiatives, this encourages climate change to be viewed as a present issue, and not a distant concept that can therefore be ignored. The gallery, founded in 2012, describes itself as a ‘centre for arts and ecology’, therefore aiming to aid global issues through artistic methods.
With educational initiatives such as FutureCoast Youth which works with Dorothy Stringer School which encouraged young people to think about climate change, and with the launch drawing in a range of people from art fanatics, activists, and scientists, Onca successively bridges the interests between art and science through exhibits such as this one. It demonstrated how performances and ideas such as the ‘Future Booth’ can further heighten issues surrounding ecology and the planet, while also allowing you to become a secret agent.