Light City Q&A: Inspiring Conservation Action with Eric Corriel

We chatted with Light City exhibiting artist Eric Corriel about his work and its strong connection to climate change: 

Published March 15, 2016

eric corriel

What themes do you pursue in your work?

My work is quite varied. For the past few years it’s typically either been about climate change or public spectacle, in a broad sense. Though most recently I’ve taken to exploring and giving visual form to the raw data that lives inside our computers.

What inspired you to create a work about climate change?

Climate change is undeniably one of the most important issues of our time. For all the attention it has received, for most of us it still remains an abstract issue that resides somewhere far away, both temporally and geographically.  While some may identify climate change with polar bears, melting ice caps, floods in Pakistan, or future water shortages in the Middle East, most people do not have a sense of these things becoming a reality in their lifetime. As an artist addressing this subject, I take my job to be to give people the experience of climate change here and now, in their city, in their backyard; to make them feel it.

Do you see art as a way to effect change in the world?

I hope so! I think art resonates using frequencies that are not easily accessible by other forms of media, so it can affect people in unique, unpredictable and forceful ways. Sometimes a work of art speaks deeply to a single individual, other times it speaks more broadly to a large group. Either by engendering feelings, providing insights, or rendering visible the hard to see or bring near the far away, I think art has a broad and powerful capacity to affect people for the better.

Climate change can be an overwhelming topic. What inspires you to be hopeful?

Humanity’s ability and good track record to surmount large obstacles. I tend to think that every generation faces problems that seem too big to solve, but somehow, by dint of hard work, determination, and ingenuity, we seem to find a way to not all die in the end!

The length and format of this interview has been edited. 

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