Remembrance of Climate Futures

Educating Communities to Adapt & Mitigate

Peter Biello on
Allies and Partners

Remembrance of Climate Futures is a trail of site-specific ‘historic’ plaques that landmark climate change in Essex County throughout the 21st Century, bringing the global scale of this issue down to the intimate scale of the individual.

“Last sighting in Essex of the American Bittern, at this spot — August 29, 2061”

“Bridge connecting Conomo Point to mainland first opened to traffic — March 1, 2074”

“Storm surge flooding closes Main Street — January 4, 2018”

This is the future (and recent past) of the Town of Essex according to a pilot installation of Remembrance of Climate Futures. The project is a multi-site series of public art plaques documenting the history of climate change throughout the 21st C. Combining elements of site-specific art with wayfinding and the conceptual language of time travel, it brings the enormous scale of climate change down to the intimate scale of the individual. Based on scientific projections, pedestrian-oriented ‘historical’ plaques of the future portray climate events from the perspective of the 22nd C. to imbue climate change effects with palpable certainty.

The project is now expanding in Essex County.

Based on the success of the pilot, the project is now expanding in Essex County. With ACES serving as the fiscal sponsor, project funding was secured from the Essex County Community Foundation to make a broad-based presentation possible. By spring 2022 it will reach its intended scale of multiple sites in each of 10 Essex County coastal municipalities and 4 institutional landholders, totaling 90-100 unique installations.

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Thomas Starr

Thomas Starr is professor of graphic and information design at Northeastern University. His work focuses on visual communication that engages civic, social and political discourse, challenging the public perception of issues such as gun violence, domestic violence, reproductive rights, and climate change.

Expanding upon ways to bring his vision of design to the public, Thomas organized and curated an exhibition of contemporary political graphics which traveled to multiple cities. He is an advisor/mentor for ACES and the leader of the Remembrance of Climate Futures Trail project. This focuses on plaques he designed being placed in 10 Essex County Communities to educate the public on anticipated impacts of climate change.

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