‘What if?’ – Lemn Sissay

Written by Grant Mills on . Posted in Art, Science

Most ‘art’ is nice – we look at it, appreciate what the artist was trying to do, critique/criticise on the car-ride home and then forget about it.

Art is a search, each time we notice something artistic – whether it was intended as art or not – we are hoping it will have an amazing transformative effect on us. We wanted to be snatched away into that vital moment of truth when the artwork was conceived. We take the time to appreciate beauty or creativity or challenging art because we know there is a chance – however small – that it will be one of those moment we remember for the rest of our lives.

We all want to be poked in the eye by revelation.

For a couple of years now I’ve been following the fantastic work of the climate change art’s initiative Cape Farewell, which brings together artists and scientists in the hope or creating a new language in which to address the threat of climate change.

I could babble on about them all day, but for more information (and some amazing Arctic photography from my friend Carol Cotterill) I would recommend reading the article I wrote on the charity, here.

British poet Lemn Sissay is one of the artists I’ve been led to through my curiosity with Cape Farewell. He ventured on their 2008 expedition to the Arctic circle and returned to write the poem linked to below.

When I first heard this I had one of those moments of incredulous disbelief and wonder that someone could so simply turn the great foundations of our society on its head with a few lines of poetry and the premise ‘What if?’.

What if we did get it wrong…?

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