Oxford artist and masters student claim responsibility for Rad Cam climate protest

Artist Georgia Crowther told Cherwell "We must change, and many have addressed this and acted accordingly, but a nudge is still needed."

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Artist and Oxford student Georgia Crowther has claimed responsibility for the protest piece placed on the Radcliffe Camera. Speaking to Cherwell she said “I joined up with some brilliant people who propelled my sculpture to send out a pro-climate change message.”

“I teamed up with the nightclimbers and Kaya Axelsson, an activist who is studying her PhD in Climate Policy. My sculpture, the catalyst for our protest is a Climate Human. It consisted of an array of recycling and reached the public sphere through a strategic operation…”

The protest piece consists of a human figure made of recycled rubbish, placed high on the side of the Radcliffe Camera. The figure is accompanied by a sign that reads “WHAT HEIGHT WOULD YOU GO 2 4 THE WORLD// OX RISE UP”.

Speaking about her piece, Crowther told Cherwell “If we alter our environment we will impact others and protect our future. We all walk this Earth, a place with a kaleidoscope of natural attributes.

“However, the catastrophic current situation of industrialisation and our selfish behaviour means that the trees, the oceans, the animals, the air and people are unprecedentedly fragile and suffering.

“We must change, and many have addressed this and acted accordingly, but a nudge is still needed. As an artist, I find it’s my duty to provide this nudge by altering our environment for the good of the planet.

“Being random and crazy can go a long way. I joined up with some brilliant people who propelled my sculpture to send out a pro-climate change message. I teamed up with the nightclimbers and Kaya Axelsson, an activist who is studying her Masters in Climate Policy.

“My sculpture, the catalyst for our protest is a Climate Human. It consisted of an array of recycling and reached the public sphere through a strategic operation in conjunction with the Oxford Nightclimber’s [sic], who bravely hoisted the sculpture to their perch on the Rad Cam.

“Sometimes, everyone needs a new perspective. We just hope our trash man alarmed and warmed the souls of those who passed by. As people we can use any form of creativity to go above and beyond simply recycling in the fight for the environment. We can use the psychedelic exploration of a gentle protest that was worth the all-nighter. Keep an eye out for more.”

Collaborator Kaya Axelsson also commented on the protest stating that “We wanted people to ask themselves what more they would do if they thought that the whole world was at stake.”

“And we wanted to break up people’s daily routine and get them to start thinking creatively about what they can do.

“I’m actually co-planning an event next term at Oxford for people want to go beyond individual action and take ambitious action on climate change. It’s called Beyond Individual Action.

“The use of political pranks has a long and important history in social movements. The doll-like figure takes inspiration from rebels in in Ukraine, who during a protest ban in the 2000’s, once placed little dolls around a town squares with dissident signs which later got humorously “arrested” by police.

“The public question also goes back to the tradition of the ancient cynics, who used to perch in central public places, interrupting passersby with challenging ethical questions. Most of all though we are so incredibly inspired by the youth climate movement, which has done so much in recent months to question the ‘realities’ tacitly accepted by ‘adults’.”

The event follows a series of international climate protests, led principally by the Extinction Rebellion movement. Key areas of Central London were blocked by activists, including Piccadilly Circus and Waterloo Bridge.

Mass arrests were made early on the morning of the 16th, with over 120 Extinction Rebellion members being removed from their protest sites.

The Oxford branch of Extinction Rebellion also joined the movement in London, blocking Edgware Road with a contingent from Southampton.

Earlier in April the Oxford Climate Justice Campaign and Cambridge’s Zero Carbon were prevented from carrying out a banner drop at the boat race by police.

Cherwell has contacted the Bodleian Libraries for comment.

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