Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute


Jorge Valdez

Jorge Valdez

Monday — Friday
May 20, 2019 —
October 4, 2019

Local artists explore the state of climate change today in “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute,” an exhibition on view at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 from May 20 to October 4, 2019. An opening reception will be held in the gallery at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, on Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 8pm, featuring music and poetry at 6:30pm plus tastings of foods for our warmer future.

Scientists, governments and policy makers have struggled to convey the urgency of climate change. “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” presents local artists working to spread the message of what is coming, adaptions we can make now to reduce climate change, and how we can prepare for a warmer future. Learn more at untoldpossibilities.org.

Featured artists, writers, musicians and culinary artists include Matthew Battles, David Buckley Borden, Class Action, Aaron M. Ellison, Gap Dynamics, Amanda Gorman, Keith Hartwig, Dietmar Offenhuber, Laura Perovich, Thomas Starr, Jean Wilcox, Baravena Foods, Aeronaut Brewing Company, Gus Rancatore of Toscanini’s, Nate Phinisee, and Clover Food Lab. The exhibition is a collaboration of Cambridge Arts, City of Cambridge Community Development Department and Harvard University's Office of Sustainability.

“Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” considers time travel, bio-indicators, three-dimensional visualization of data, food, poetry and music. 

Jean Wilcox, David Buckley Borden and Aaron M. Ellison, and Keith Hartwig bring our attention to temperature: Jean Wilcox will install white roofing membrane across the gallery floor to model how changing our many flat urban roofs from black to white can reduce heat absorption. Borden’s and Ellison’s “Warming Warning” is a three-dimensional visualization of global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Beginning May 18, Keith Hartwig will create a 6-foot-tall cube of ice harvested from a Maine pond in February on the plaza outside Cambridge’s City Hall Annex (catch it before it melts). His “COLD CHAIN” speaks about the transition of refrigeration from natural ice to mechanical freezers, and how our society’s reliance on such greenhouse-gas-producing machines is melting away our winters.

“Remembrance of Climate Futures” by Thomas Starr, and “FUTUREFOOD” by Matthew Battles and Keith Hartwig ask us to imagine the future. Starr employs the literary device of time travel on a physical trail of markers to help us visualize how global warming and city actions will change our neighborhoods. Battles and Hartwig offer “FUTUREFOOD,” a series of three free food and drink tastings on May 11, May 25 and June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library. Sample kvass, Japanese knotweed sorbet, honey toffee and honey waters to get a taste of how climate change will change our food system and what we might eat.

Two projects focus our attention on water and air. With “SeeBoat” and “ArtBoat,” Laura Perovich will exhibit remote-controlled boats that she uses to connect people to the local waters via light drawing and to test the quality of the Charles River, Chelsea Creek and Mystic River. “Ozone Tattoo” by Dietmar Offenhuber (installed on the City Hall Annex plaza) highlights specific plant species as bio-indicators of ground level ozone, which is created by the interaction of industrial pollutants and sunlight. Ground level ozone has a direct relationship to climate change and a detrimental effect on human health and communities. 

“The Patriotism of Science and Religion” by Class Action, in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists, aims to reframe the political debate about climate change with highway billboards, displayed along Route 95 and Route 93 in April, that position climate science in terms of moral and patriotic duty.

Gap Dynamics is Saul Levin, a folk-hop singer-songwriter from Michigan whose music, activism, and work merge to focus on climate change and environmental justice. 

Amanda Gorman is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. We join her in believing in the power of youth to change the world and feature her poem “Earthrise,” inspired by the iconic photograph of Earth taken by astronaut William Anders during the first manned lunar orbit in 1968. The photograph gave us an unprecedented view of our planet and has become a symbol for the environmental movement.

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