Professor’s 40-year walk documents climate change

March 24, 2010

Peter d’Agostino's experiment in film and media art turned into a 40-year record of the changes that the planet

For School of Communications and Theater professor Peter d’Agostino, what started as an experiment in film and media art turned into a 40-year record of the changes that the planet has undergone due to climate change and erosion.

More than 40 years ago, after watching the Apollo 11 astronauts take their first steps on the moon, the filmmaker and media installation artist was inspired to use his camera to record city environments in San Francisco.

Although he didn’t realize it at the time, the resulting work would provide a springboard for his “World Wide Walks” series, an interactive installation of video digests recorded in cultural spaces and natural habitats on five continents since 1973. The series includes footage from d’Agostino’s recent travels through India and parts of Canada and Europe, where he visited the same environments over a period of years and visually documented how climate change has affected the landscape over time.

Now D’Agostino has received a Lovely Weather: Art and Climate Leonardo Project award to produce a new World Wide Walk video and web installation focused on global climate change. A collaboration with cultural researcher Deirdre Dowdakin and Muhlenberg College Media and Communication professor David Tafler, the project combines visual art with science to explore a range of natural, cultural and virtual issues regarding climate change.

A public art exhibition is scheduled to open at the Regional Cultural Center, Letterkenny, Ireland in November.

“Generally speaking, humans are very interested in the weather, but have less interest in the weather we make,” said d’Agostino. “We live in a close relationship with climate phenomena, but our intimate ‘weather report’ is not sufficiently developed to create the changes that may be necessary to avoid the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming.”

For more information on d’Agostino’s work visit http://www.peterdagostino.net/

– Jazmyn Burton

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