Back to All Events

Triple A: Arctic Art Abisko at Academy of Fine Art, Umeå University

Teaching period: 18. 3. – 22. 3. 2019
Teacher(s): Keith Larson, Christoph Draeger, Saara Hannula
Number of available place for KUNO students: 5
Level: MFA

Requirements: Demonstrating an interest in issues of climate change, sustainability, activism, political art

Application deadline: 05. 03. 2019
How to apply:
Send a short motivation letter and a portfolio (to demonstrate that you have been thinking about related issues in your work before, and to express your interest towards the workshop) to Christoph Draeger (

-check at bottom of page information about accommodation


Course description:

These days, articles in the news warn us almost daily anew of environmental threats related to climate change. The thawing of the permafrost and the connected release of an enormous amount of greenhouse gases will further increase global warming in a positive feedback loop that may last centuries or millennia. This global warming will result in the collapse of ecosystems, the disappearance of the rainforests, mass extinction of species, the melting of the icecaps, the warming of the oceans and the ensuing seawater rise that threatens most of the world’s megacities. The global rise of the earth’s temperature by just a couple of degrees threatens us with desertification, mass migration, the possible collapse of the jet stream, the intensification of weather-related catastrophes like brushfires, hurricanes, floods and heatwaves…the list can be continued.

There is a certain risk that we get numb or immunised by the sheer weight of the never-ending bad news. For many, there is a general feeling that it will happen elsewhere - California, the Caribbean, Australia, or Indonesia - or only in a future that doesn’t concern us personally anymore. Like Marcel Duchamp had written on his epitaph: D’ailleurs, ce sont toujours les autres qui meurent : Btw, it’s always the others who die. Last summer, large regions of the Swedish forest were on fire and migration fuels the support for populist politics in the welfare state.

The curators of the recent Moderna Exhibition, With The Future Behind Us, stated: It might be symptomatic of an era characterised by enormous increases in population and alarming reports on climate change that many artists are also describing our civilisation as having reached a critical threshold. Not only have we caused the extinction of many species of flora and fauna and damaged the ecological systems of the planet irreversibly, but our way of life is also undermining the conditions necessary for our own survival. Political developments across the world combined with the growing reality of catastrophic climate change, also require us to confront the power structures and political priorities that have determined where we stand today. In this Kuno course, Triple A: Arctic Art Abisko, we are posing the question, what can artists do to get involved in this most urgent discussion of our time? How can we engage in a global discourse that becomes more and more ominpresent? How can we disseminate information through artistic means, and how can artistic research interact with scientific research? 

The aim of this study week is to expand our perception of these pressing issues by working across practices like Land Art, Activist Art, Environmental Art, Propaganda etc. in a trans-media approach. The collaborative project focuses on the experience and perception of the landscape by artists as an active relationship that transforms physical conditions and phenomenological situations into political or poetic artistic action. 

The Climate Impact Research Centre in Abisko has conducted research about the possible impacts of climate change for more than 20 years, and its coordinator and researcher, evolutionary ecologist Keith Larson, is a co-teacher on this course. Mr. Larson has extensive experience in collaboration with artists, notably with Bigert and Bergström, and Olav Westphalen. We plan to hold lectures and seminars about art and the Arctic in times of climate change, to inspire students to find a way of researching and producing their own practice in extreme conditions. Every student will engage in fieldwork, creating and documenting a work that will be discussed by the group.

This course is a follow-up of last year’s collaboration between the Master’s programme at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and the Climate Impact Research Centre in Abisko. The aim of the course is to continue, and deepen the critical dialogue of the art students with the Arctic landscape. 

The selected participants will get free accommodation through the Climate Impacts Research Centre