A challenging question today is how to understand and act on climate change. Previous analyses of the public outreach of the climate sciences have concluded that the urgent communication of climate is inadequate. It is foremost the invisibility of carbon dioxide and the lack of a tangible relationship between current emissions and future effects that have been seen as the main challenge to visually represent. The Drowning World questions how the communication problem is articulated, and the analysis focuses on the supplementary images that come with this scientific communication, including cover images to reports, backgrounds to diagrams, or graphic design elements. The conclusion is that even if the scientific images might fail to communicate the complexity of the climate issue, the supplementary images, and the way the story of our changing world is told, manage to bring a feeling of change with them. Images of water are especially recurring, as are projects that use immersive environments like virtual reality, and these representations compete for attention in the media noise of modern society, a world that “drowns” the viewers in auditory and visual stimuli. Thus there are many reasons for the title of this thesis – The Drowning World.
Adam Brenthel, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences Lund University. The Drowning World is his doctoral thesis in Art History and Visual Studies..