Olafur Eliasson contemplates how art can function as a “civic muscle,” offering solutions to global problems like climate change.

Saari Artist Residency, Finland, photo by Karin Pennanen
Viaduct Arts is a newsletter about art that engages the climate crisis, explores our relationship to nature, and reimagines the future.

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Weather Reports are now on Instagram as well @viaductarts.


artist dispatches on the weather, environment, and everyday life

Zanzibar, Tanzania - Sam Vox

It’s hotter than it’s ever been here in Zanzibar and the humidity has risen up, making the heat even more unbearable throughout the day. But life has to keep moving, here’s a mother carrying her baby on her back. She walks on shadowy paths throughout the way to avoid direct sunlight hitting her child. No matter the circumstances a mother’s weight of care is always unmeasurable.

Sam Vox is a photographer based in Zanzibar (website, Instagram @sam.vox)

More about Weather Report here


new approaches to climate

Olafur Eliasson

"We wanted to talk about climate change, and we thought, well, what art does is that it affords an immediate experience of something. And what we lack today is an immediate experience of what climate change means."

That quote is from a few years ago, not sure we're lacking that as much now. But ok.

From Art21:

With the support of his interdisciplinary studio, Olafur Eliasson produces epic, technically sophisticated sculptures and installations, using natural elements like light, water, and air to alter viewers’ sensory perceptions. From 120 foot tall waterfalls floating above New York’s East River to chunks of arctic ice installed in a Parisian plaza, his immersive environments, public installations, and architectural projects are motivated by the belief that art has the power to make viewers think differently about the world.
Expanding the role of the artist, Eliasson contemplates how art can function as a “civic muscle,” offering solutions to global problems like climate change and renewable energy.

Well-produced 13-minute video here.


music to carry us forward

Eric Hilton

"I don’t like defeatism, I gravitate to positivity in all things. Hopefully people get that feeling when they listen to this record.”

Full disclosure, Eric Hilton is an old friend from the DC scene. His music with Thievery Corporation always came across as future-music but in a way ended up tracking how our perception of that future has been changing. In the mid-late 90's, when we could believe the world seemed safely on a more or less progressive trajectory, TC was initially about a kind of chill, mod, back-room internationalism. They helped invent electronica, and in DC Eric (re-)invented the idea of 'lounges' with his long-running club Eighteenth Street Lounge along with many other establishments. Then TC, and he, became tougher and more political over the course of 9/11 and the Iraq/Afghanistan 2000s.

Even before Trump and COVID, Eric was moving more into his businesses and with his recent slew of solo work - including this minimalistic groove and lovely video from early in the pandemic - he seems to have rediscovered the zen humanism that grounded his early worldview. From YouTube:

In a time where much of the world is confined and fearful comes Thievery Corporation co-founder Eric Hilton’s first solo record “Infinite Everywhere”, an elegant exploration of inner space that will leave listeners feeling replenished and centered. And while Thievery painted with a broad musical brush, genre hopping across (and sometimes within) their albums, Hilton’s solo debut is distilled, focused, and more personal.
“I want every record I’m involved with to be beautiful, with empowering vibrations that recognize the spectrum of emotions,” says Hilton. The album title and concept predates the current global crisis, but is remarkably prescient, conveying feelings of melancholia and optimism in equal measures.


Can Science Fiction Wake Us Up to Our Climate Reality?

New Yorker | Jan 31 2022 issue

Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels envision the dire problems of the future—but also their solutions
Is it possible to be reshaped by fiction, so that we can respond more readily to reality? Can we jolt ourselves awake with our imaginations? [The Ministry for the Future] tries to do what a news report can’t. It wants to offer us the experience of crossing the pass before we cross it—to give us a feeling for the routes we might take.

Amitav Ghosh: European colonialism helped create a planet in crisis

The Guardian | Jan 14, 2022

As Ghosh writes in the final lines of the book, it is not of billionaires or technology that will save us, but instead a “vitalist mass movement”, driven by human spirit, that “may actually be magical enough to change hearts and minds across the world”.

This Artist Captured the Non-Stop Flow of Plastic Pollution

Global Citizen | Oct 14, 2021

“Art is non-prescriptive,” he said. “It’s not telling you what to do or what to think. It’s merely pointing out something and hopefully highlighting it in a way that you didn’t see before, so I think it has its place next to science, next to policy, next to campaigning and activism and innovation. “I guess I see my role as an artist to help develop that entire ecosystem,” he said.


curated by Stephan Jacobs

Saari Residency / Kone Foundation


DEADLINE for 2023 Sessions: Applications Feb 1 - May 15, 2022


WHO: Emerging to well-established multidisciplinary artists

DURATION: 1 week to 2 months

COST: Funded. Accommodation, meals, plus $2800-4000 monthly stipend. (see FAQ page). “Slow travel” to/from the residency is eligible for additional funding.

This week’s featured residency program is the Kone Foundation’s innovative and esteemed Saari Residence program for interdisciplinary creative arts. The residency is located in a sustainably operated 18th-century manor house along the south-western coast of Finland. As the primary underwriter, the KONE Corporation (elevators, moving sidewalks, etc.) contributed $45.6 million to artists and academic researchers in 2020. (Only contributions to the sciences, arts, and cultural heritage are eligible for Finnish corporate tax reductions.)

The residency states its “long-term activities and thinking are underpinned by an ecological approach, which also covers social and mental sustainability. Its keywords are slowness, insight and change.” The weave of artistic disciplines of Saari residents span the gamut. The handful of synergistic projects I reviewed were rooted in research and consideration of the local environment at Mynämäki.

Though the residency is open to all, a number of residencies are reserved for Finns. Of note is the recent partnership of the Saari Residence and Saastamoinen Foundation with Artists at Risk / Perpetuum Mobile to provide two-month residencies for persecuted and politically at-risk professionals in the visual arts.

Recent Artist Residents

Saari Residency FAQ

Saari Residency Facebook page

Stephan Jacobs is a Boston-based artist, educator, and the acting faculty director of Emmanuel College’s institutional artist residency and co-founder of an academic partnership with Bauhaus University, Weimar.

If you know of a good potential addition to this list, please reach out to Stephan at stephanwjacobs@gmail.com.



Sounds Like a Plan is all about 'greening' the entire UK music industry. The hosts do a great job and keep things breezy and relatable. Here's a good episode for starters:

'Opportunity' – with Brian Eno, artist, producer and co-founder of EarthPercent

The climate crisis is the most urgent issue facing the planet right now. But can music help save the world? Sounds Like A Plan is the podcast series finding out. Each episode chats to a name in the music world taking action – and not just those in front of the mic... from festival bosses to artists, record labels to data analysts. Hosted by journalist Greg Cochrane and musician and activist Fay Milton, from the band Savages and co-founder of Music Declares Emergency.