Climate and Art: Timescales and Extreme Events

Andrew Kruczkiewicz (International Research Institute for Climate and Society / Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, USA).  

The success of climate risk management, or any type of risk management, hinges on linking knowledge with action. Regrettably, there are many reasons why organizations fail to turn available risk information into successful decisions to act. Acting on the assumption that people and organizations are rational actors, the majority of resources associated with the development of climate risk management systems are dedicated to technical aspects (such as data accuracy, timely access, decision support systems). The volition to act (or not) is controlled by deeper layers of perception and understanding of risk; layers related to trust, emotions and motivations.
Evidence shows that better outcomes, relative to risk management systems that link knowledge to action, are achieved by embedding information in participatory processes that engage our deeper senses. Music and art has been used for generations to influence people’s understanding and behavior, from commercial jingles that trigger shopping impulses, to brass marches that mobilize soldiers so they want to go to war.

The notion of climate as art will be explored through a mixed media format consisting of abstract audio and visual forms. Pulsations, striations, hesitation and uncertainty; each will be probed in this piece involving both recorded and live artistic forms.


Andrew Kruczkiewicz:

Andrew is interested in the role of satellites and remote sensing technology for sector-specific applications. This includes developing algorithms to detect and map spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation, temperature and other climatic variables and analyzing their impact on agriculture and public health. He is also interested in the intersection of the social and physical sciences, especially pertaining to the integration of remote sensing into early warning systems for extreme events such as floods, storm surge from tropical cyclones, wildfires and landslides. At the IRI, Kruczkiewicz is part of the Environmental Monitoring Program and aids in the development and integration of environmental remote sensing products into early warning systems for human health, agriculture and natural disasters. For the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate, he is holds the position of Science Advisor, specializing in flood risk management and exploring innovative approaches to communicate climate risk.


New Sounds for Non-Formal Music Education

Luis Szaran / Luis Szaran <>

“The young person who plays Mozart by day does not break shop windows at night.”

Community and social development through music.

“Sonidos de la Tierra” offers some 18.000 low-income children and adolescents, living in over 200 towns and villages across Paraguay, the opportunity to develop their musical talents through a “music conservatory on wheels”. It was founded by Luis Szarán, Director the Symphonic Orchestra of the City of Asunción (Paraguay), composer and musical historian, and the guest conductor of a number of orchestras in Europe and the United States, and once a child in a distant corner of Paraguay, with few opportunities to develop his musical talent. In 2006 the experience of constructing recycled musical instruments from water related materials, such as pipes and containers, was introduced, all built by students, to provide a new educational experience. It is had 52 recycled orchestras H2O “Sounds of the Water”, declared in the 2016 “Artists for the Peace of the World” for the UNESCO


LUIS SZARAN “Artist for Peace of UNESCO”

He studied music in Asuncion, Paraguay and later at the Conservatoire Saint Cecilia of Rome. He had Massimo Pradella, Piero Bellugi, Franco Ferrara, Hans Swarowsky and Luciano Berio as teachers.

Director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Asunción (OSCA), and of the Zipoli Ensemble of Venice. He conducted prestigious orchestras in South America, USA and Europe. In recent seasons his compositions were premiered by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonietta of Paris, the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Venice Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2002, he was awarded the Vivaldi Medal Award at the Venice International Festival. He received numerous awards and recognitions as: Official Knight of the Italian Republic, Order of Science and Letters of France, Silver Eye and Guaranítico Orbis by UNESCO, National Order of Merit in the rank of Commander of Paraguay, Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneur at the University of Oxford, World Social Entrepreneur by The World Economic Forum and others. Member of the Spanish Academy of History and Master of Art by the National Congress of Paraguay. In 1997, he was chosen as one of the eight most successful Paraguayans in the world by the Banco Nacional de Trabajadores.

In 2002, and as a social entrepreneur, he founded the program of social-community integration through music, Sonidos de la Tierra, aimed at children and young people of limited resources. In 2006, he founded the World Orchestra “Weltweite Klänge” in Nurenberg, Germany. In 2008, he was elected by the American University as one of the 12 most outstanding leaders of Paraguay.

He is author of 10 books published in Germany, Italy, Spain and Paraguay and director of the Spanish and Hispanic American Music Dictionary edited by the General Society of Authors of Spain.

Can we change direction?

Ricardo Dal Farra (Concordia University, Montreal, CA).

“We are living in a world reaching a critical point where the equilibrium between a healthy environment, the energy our society needs to maintain or improve this lifestyle and the interconnected economies could pass more quickly than expected from the current complex balance to a complete new reality where unbalance would be the rule and human beings would need to be as creative as never before to survive. Environmental problems, economic uncertainty and political complexity have been around for a long time. What was different before was the speed and depth of transformations compared with today’s sudden changes. The frequent occurrence and severity that certain weather and climate-related events are having around us is increasing, and the ability of human beings on modifying adjacent surroundings as well as distant places have turn into a power capable of altering the planet […] The arts could play a major part in helping the global society to understand the magnitude of the crisis we are facing, and in promoting the awareness around environmental matters. it could also be a very good vehicle to disseminate proposals able produce changes in our behavior and decisions, influencing our chances for the future. Artists could promote inter and transdisciplinary actions focusing on our responsibility regarding the turning point we are living in defining the future of -human- life on Earth.”


Dr. Ricardo Dal Farra is the founder of Balance Unbalance.

Dr. Ricardo Dal Farra ( is a composer and new media artist, educator, historian and curator. He is Associate Professor at the Music Department of Concordia University, Canada and founder-director of the Electronic Arts Research Centre (CEIArtE) of UNTREF University, Argentina.

Dal Farra has presented his sound-art, electroacoustic and visual-music works in more than 40 countries, and recordings of his pieces are published in 23 international editions (including CDs by Computer Music Journal and Leonardo Music Journal, on MIT Press). Among others, he received awards and commissions from: Sao Paulo International Arts Biennale, Brazil; the National Endowment for the Arts, Argentina, the Concours International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, France; Centro di Sonologia Computazionale, University of Padua, Italy; and the International Computer Music Association.

He has been researcher and consultant on electroacoustic music and media arts history for UNESCO, France; director of the Hexagram Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, Canada; associated researcher of the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, UK; senior consultant of the Amauta – Andean Media Arts Centre in Cusco, Peru; coordinator of the international research alliance DOCAM – Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage; and director of the Multimedia Communication national program at the Federal Ministry of Education, Argentina.

Funded by The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology of Montreal, he created the largest collection publicly available of Latin American Electroacoustic Music.

Dr. Dal Farra is founder-director of the international conference series Understanding Visual Music – UVM (held in Canada, Argentina and Brazil) and Balance-Unbalance, on how the media arts could contribute to solving the environmental crisis (held in Argentina, Canada, Australia, United States, Colombia and now in the UK). Dr. Dal Farra has been also the artistic director of the Mexican electronic arts biennale Transitio in 2015.


Transdisciplinary research: Why is it still so rare, and why should we care?

Jochen Jaeger (1) & Martin Scheringer (2)
1: Concordia University, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Montreal, Email:
2: Masaryk University, Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Brno, Czech Republic



At first glance, transdisciplinarity seems to be supported by many scientific institutions. Transdisciplinary research is expected to overcome the barriers between the disciplines in order to solve real-world problems without being restricted to disciplinary perspectives. However, scientists who actually try to conduct transdisciplinary research experience considerable obstacles. What reservations to transdisciplinary research do many members of the scientific community have and what are their reasons? What changes in the scientific institutions are necessary to overcome the reservations and structural obstacles? In order to distinguish transdisciplinary research projects from inter- and multidisciplinary ones, we define five types of scientific problems.

On this basis, we propose a definition of transdisciplinarity that has two parts:

(a)   Transdisciplinary research deals with scientific problems derived from “real-world problems” which do not fit into the system of scientific disciplines (e.g., environmental problems) (Fig. 1);

(b)   transdisciplinary research is characterised by a four-stage process of problem solving:

(1) transition from the real-world problem to a scientific comprehension of this problem and identification of main questions;

(2) subdivision of the entire problem into sub-problems with well defined interrelations;

(3) free choice of scientific methods adequate for each of the sub-problems, including  transfer of methods from their original field of application to the new context (trans-disciplinary use of methods);

(4) re-combination of the solutions obtained for the sub-problems to an answer to the entire problem.

Accordingly, transdisciplinarity should be understood as a methodological framework for scientific research. This framework can be specified by transparent criteria. This definition helps distinguish transdisciplinarity from vague and misleading interpretations: Transdisciplinarity does not mean ‘communicating the results of scientific research to the general public’, which is an important, but different task. Transdisciplinarity is not a management strategy for research managers, but provides a methodology of original, cross-disciplinary, and problem-oriented research. Teamwork and applied results are neither specific nor necessary for transdisciplinary research. Finally, we draw several conclusions concerning research practice and higher education policy. Transdisciplinary research has a strong potential of contributing to the solution of complex and urgent problems that do not match with the established system of scientific disciplines. Therefore, these tasks originating from the ‘real world’ have to be recognized as a particular type of scientific problems and should be distinguished from other types of scientific research tasks. However, this requires some structural changes in the scientific institutions. Transdisciplinary research cannot be done as a side-job to demanding disciplinary research. It requires appropriate resources and has to be provided with an independent research assignment.


Short bio of Jochen Jaeger:

Dr. Jochen Jaeger received his PhD from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 2000. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Ottawa 2001-2003, he worked in Switzerland about landscape fragmentation and urban sprawl. Since 2007, he is an Associate Professor at Concordia University in Montreal and teaches in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. His research interests are in landscape ecology, road ecology, urban sprawl, ecological modelling, environmental indicators, environmental impact assessment, and concepts of trans-disciplinary research in order to better contribute to solving environmental problems and to bridge the gap between scientific research and policy-making. His research team received the IENE Project Award 2011 for their project “Landscape Fragmentation in Europe” from the Infra Eco Network Europe in September 2011. One of his recent research projects was about urban sprawl in 32 countries in Europe, in collaboration with the European Environment Agency. His ongoing research is about wildlife passages along roads, the role of uncertainties in environmental impact assessment, and the connectivity of natural areas in cities. He has a long-standing interest in trans-disciplinary research and has published several papers about this topic (together with Martin Scheringer).

Short bio of co-author:

Dr. Martin Scheringer is a professor of environmental chemistry at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and senior scientist at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He has worked in the fields of environmental and human exposure assessment, hazard assessment and risk assessment of chemical substances for more than 25 years. He is a co-founder and the chair of the International Panel on Chemical Pollution (IPCP).


Related publications:

Jaeger, J., and M. Scheringer (1998): Transdisciplinary research: problem-orientation and unconstrained choice of appropriate methods (in German; Transdisziplinarität: Problem-orientierung ohne Methodenzwang). – GAIA 7(1): 10–25.  (according to the GAIA Editorial Office, this paper is among the 10 most often cited papers of GAIA)

Jaeger, J., and M. Scheringer (1999): What is transdisciplinarity? – Some critical remarks on the “management perspective” (in German; Wofür steht Transdisziplinarität? – Kritische Anmerkungen zur „Managementperspektive“). – GAIA 8(1): 5–7.

Jaeger, J., and M. Scheringer (2000): Transdisciplinarity – just a buzzword? Overcoming some popular objections to transdisciplinary research. – In: Häberli, R., Scholz, R.W., Bill, A., and M. Welti (Eds.): Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem-solving among science, technology and society. Proceedings of the international transdisciplinarity 2000 conference; Workbook I. Haffmans Sachbuch Verlag, Zürich: 259–262.

Scheringer, M., Jaeger, J., and M. Esfeld (2000): Transdisciplinarity and holism – how are different disciplines connected in environmental research? – In: Häberli, R., Scholz, R.W., Bill, A., and M. Welti (Eds.): Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem-solving among science, technology and society. Proceedings of the international transdisciplinarity 2000 conference; Workbook I. Haffmans Sachbuch Verlag, Zürich: 35–37.

Scheringer, M., Böschen, S., and J. Jaeger (2001): Environmental research: what for? – On the tension between research traditions and external orientations in environmental politics. Part I: A case study from ecological chemistry (in German; Wozu Umweltforschung? – Über das Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Forschungstraditionen und umweltpolitischen Leitbildern. Teil I: Das Beispiel “Ökologische Chemie”). – GAIA 10(2): 125-135.

Böschen, S., Scheringer, M., and J. Jaeger (2001): Environmental research: what for? – On the tension between research traditions and external orientations in environmental politics. Part II: Towards the guiding principle of “reflexive environmental research” (in German; Wozu Umweltforschung? – Über das Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Forschungstraditionen und umweltpolitischen Leitbildern. Teil II: Zum Leitbild “Reflexive Umweltforschung”). – GAIA 10(3): 203-212.

Jaeger, J., Scheringer, M. (guest editors) (2006-2008): Environmental Research. (in German; Umweltforschung). Special issue of GAIA, vols. 15 to 17.

(a) Jaeger, J., Scheringer, M. (2006): Introduction: Why does environmental research not contribute more substantially to environmental problem solving? Seed text and overview for the special issue on Environmental Research. (in German; Einführung: Warum trägt die Umweltforschung nicht stärker zur Lösung von Umweltproblemen bei? Ausgangstext und Einleitung zum Themenschwerpunkt Umweltforschung). – GAIA 15(1): 20-23.

(b) Jaeger, J., Scheringer, M. (2006): Environmental Research: what for? Overview on the special issue on environmental research, part 2. (in German; Wozu Umweltforschung? Einleitungstext zum Themenschwerpunkt Umweltforschung, Teil 2). – GAIA 15(2): 111.

(c) Scheringer, M., Jaeger, J. (2008): Is environmental research in a crisis? Conclusion and outlook. (in German; Umweltforschung in der Krise? Fazit und Ausblick). – GAIA 17(1): 31-35.

Jaeger, J., Scheringer, M. (2011): Tasks of environmental research (in German; Aufgaben der Umweltforschung). – In: W. Schröder, O. Fränzle, F. Müller (Hrsg.) (1997 ff.): Handbuch der Umweltwissenschaften: Grundlagen und Anwendungen der Ökosystemforschung. Kap. II-1.1, 20th fascicle 3/11. Wiley-VCH, 17 pp.


PDF paper: Transdisciplinary research: Why is it still so rare, and why should we care?

Eco Art: art is life and life is embedded in nature.

Nina Czegledy (University of Toronto, Ontario College of Art and Design University)


Nature may be considered as the world of living organism and their environment; in a larger sense the shape of Nature can also be understood to include particular extents of space and time. The visual perspectives of Nature form a particular course that begins with the earliest historical depictions and might be currently expressed by a variety of crossdisciplinary contributions. The diverse perspectives form eclectic threads that today are frequently manifested within the Eco-Activist art movement. Several of the contemporary ecological art projects are grounded in explicit experiences and connections to specific spaces relevant to where the work is created. The local or international ecological labs, experimental urban gardens, projects on the migration of plants and creation of new species included here are all new models contributing to a speculative future culture.

Keywords: Ecological art, activism, sense of space



Nina Czegledy: artist, curator, educator, works internationally on collaborative art& science& technology projects. The changing perception of the human body and its environment as well as the paradigm shifts in the arts informs her collaborative
projects. She has exhibited and published widely, won awards for her artwork and has initiated, researched, lead and participated in forums and symposia worldwide. Czegledy lectured internationally and developed and co-organized numerous educational forums and workshops for educational institutes and international symposia such as ISEA, the Media Art Histories conference series and other forums.

The Sense of Real

Laura Beloff


The categories of bioart and biotech art, and art works emerging within them, have a strong relation to the real – this concerns especially contemporary and historical works that use biological matter and living organisms, and which therefore can be thought to be inherently connected to what we understand as real and our reality. Also, the recent years’ continuously growing interests towards the wide field of art & science & technology points towards the importance of the concept of the real and its presence in art practice. For example, in art projects that use living organisms the situation becomes concretely real with real consequences for the organisms. As well, technologies are becoming increasingly intelligent and remind us more and more of biological organisms through their behaviour, functions and learning abilities. These kinds of developments in science and technology, including the above-mentioned bio-based and technological experimentations by artists are impacting a new kind of sense of nature to emerge. The paper presents a perspective into uncanny sense of nature, which is emerging around us. Instead of aiming at proposing concrete solutions for our increasing amount of problems concerning our environment, the author will speculate on human-impacted transformations of natural environment. It is becoming obvious that the natural world is increasingly based on man-made design, a development that changes our relation and perception of nature, as well as our understanding of the concept of real. The author sees that this development is leading to construction of uncanny nature; a concept based on the M. Mori’s idea of uncanny valley. Where Mori was investigating robots and their human-likeness, the author points towards possible similar sensations concerning man-made biological organisms. The paper will address the real and uncanny nature present in art & science works that are located in a liminal space – in between what has been and what will come next.

The talk will also include recent research and artistic outcomes by the author that investigate relations between biological organisms, and technological + human agency.


Dr. Laura Beloff (DK/FI) is an internationally acclaimed artist and a researcher. Research interests include practice-based investigations into a combination of information, technology and organic matter, which is located in the cross section of art, technology and science. Additionally to research papers, articles and book-chapters, the outcome of her artistic research is in artworks that deal with the merger of the technological and biological matter and intelligence. The research engages with areas such as human enhancement, biosemiotics, biological matter, artificial life (AL) and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and information technology in connection to art, humans and society. She was Professor at the Art Academy in Oslo 2002-06, Visiting Professor at The University of Applied Arts in Vienna 2009, 2011, a recipient of a prestigious 5-year artists grant by the Finnish State 2007-11, and currently she is Associate Professor and the Head of PhD School at IT University in Copenhagen.

CoLLaboratoire: Activating Ecological Knowledge through Community Design Experiments


Carmela Cucuzzella (Concordia University, Montreal, CA), Jean-Pierre Chupin (University of Montreal, Montreal, CA), Sherif Goubran (Concordia University, Montreal, CA). /





This paper introduces a new research initiative called CoLLaboratoire, a community embedded project with the goal of realizing a series of art-architecture installations that communicate some critical theme of sustainable living in the city. This project links together academics, students, community, and business leaders to address sustainability challenges together. It therefore serves as a medium for transdisciplinary scientific research requiring citizen-engagement while also creating a measurable impact with regards to sustainable living.

The goal of this initiative is to stimulate Montreal’s collective intelligence by recovering memories of place and environment while serving as a model project of a sustainable city. CoLLaboratoire has adopted the urban corridor of Sherbrooke Street, a street that runs 31km from east to west in the city of Montreal, Canada. This research project has been adopted as an organizing principle for these urban installations, where each public art piece will have its own story. The resulting narrative from the collection of installations along the length of Sherbrooke Street will be at once, educational, interactive and experiential. The intent is to foster public awareness of natural systems and resilient urban infrastructures through community engagement, both during the design process and during the use of the public artwork after it has been installed. This may have the benefit of invigorating life in the city while addressing pressing problems of today. By using one of the city’s main east- west axis we can disseminate the idea of context-specific sustainable living throughout the various communities.

In this paper, we will present our first design challenge/experiment in Montreal, in terms of its process, its outcome and our analysis. This project’s main research questions are: What type of art-based installations can help heighten community awareness to issues, questions, or solutions regarding climate change? How can participation in the design of these art installations contribute to a deeper understanding and embodiment of sustainable practices for participants in the long term?



Sustainable neighbourhood; Design process; Community empowerment


CoLLaboratoire: Activating Ecological Knowledge through Community Design Experiments