The Future is Here, Now

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The Future is Here, Now by Xavier Cortada

March 26, 2020

When addressing climate change and its impacts, or any type of environmental awareness, there is always the problem of words falling on deaf ears. Many people remain in denial about its existence and the impacts climate change presents. In this plenary, artist Xavier Cortada presents a solution to this issue; instead of speaking to a present in denial, he asks us to speak to the future, as an acknowledgment of their existence and our own current environmental reality.  Cortada, who serves as Artist-in-Residence for the CIES 2020 Conference, invites participants to write and upload open letters to the future addressing the current effects of climate change. For more information and to participate, click here.

Through the act of writing letters that display environmental concern for the future, the audience acknowledges the connection that the present has with the future, in hopes of prompting awareness and solutions to environmental issues that affect us now. This produces intergenerational cooperation in tackling these issues, instead of simply leaving them for future generations to deal with on their own. As the Coronavirus Pandemic grips our world, problems that we once deemed too distant now abruptly transform our present reality.  Our failure to lengthen our care horizon across space, across time and across species continue to makes us more and more vulnerable in an interconnected world.

Xavier Cortada is Professor of Practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History. The crux of Cortada’s work finds itself rooted in a deep conceptual engagement of his participants. Particularly environmentally focused, the work Cortada develops is intended to generate awareness and action towards issues of global climate change. The artist has exhibited and produced works internationally, including in Antarctica, Bolivia, Canada, Cyprus, Holland, Northern Ireland, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and the North Pole. Cortada’s work is in the collections of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the NSU Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, the Whatcom Museum, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, the MDC Museum of Art + Design and the World Bank. Cortada, who was born in Albany, New York of Cuban refugee parents and grew up in Miami, holds undergraduate, graduate and law degrees from the University of Miami.