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Special Event

Art & Activism of the Anthropocene Series: Imagining the Impossible: The Role of Art and Novels in Understanding Climate Change

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 6:30 PM
| Open to the public | Members' Room | free of charge | advance registration required

Climate change is no longer a mere possibility—it's already happening. Glaciers are melting, animal and plant populations are failing, and agricultural practices no longer prevent famine. Around the world, scientists, artists, and activists are addressing climate change in media from nonfiction books to documentary films to live theater. This series brings together writers, journalists, and artists in robust discussion on how they address climate change—and why their work is important in the Anthropocene Era.

What role do novelists and artists play in helping others to better imagine the effects of climate change? Is it even possible for them to do this effectively? And what happens to our definition of art once it enters the realm of politics and activism? These questions and others related to art and climate change will be asked and expanded upon in this exciting panel that brings novelists and a visual artist into conversation about their respective work and visions for the future.

Amitav Ghosh is the author of several novels including The Hungry Tide, and also of The Great Derangement, a work of nonfiction that questions whether literature is doing enough to imagine the effects of climate change.

Helen Phillips is the author of four books including Some Possible Solutions, a collection of short stories that imagine a future world wrecked by pollution and other environmental crises.

Nathan Kensinger is a photographer and filmmaker whose work explores environmental disaster zones, communities threatened by sea level rise, and other liminal spaces.


To register, contact the Library Events Office at events@nysoclib.org or 212.288.6900 x230. Library members may also click below to register online.


The Art & Activism of the Anthropocene series takes place over three dates:

Don't Shoot the Messenger: The Challenging Narratives of Climate Change (April 11) with William T. Vollmann, Chantal Bilodeau, and David Wallace-Wells
Strange Reality: The Art and Activism of Transitional Environments (April 19) with Jeff VanderMeer, Zaria Forman, Gleb Raygorodetsky, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Imagining the Impossible: The Role of Art and Novels in Understanding Climate Change (May 9) with Amitav Ghosh, Helen Phillips, and Nathan Kensinger

This event is co-produced by the Library and Guernica Magazine, with additional support from Orion Magazine.