SmallTalk

Reporter:

That’s a very nice BMW you have over there.


Superstar: (furious):

What?!   That’s the maid’s car. I drive the nice little Yaris over there. It’s a green car. Cause I’m all for the environment you know!



Global warming is hip. Most probably, you have seen some publicity or heard some commercial telling you this or that product is good for the environment, or helps combating global warming. And many of you will have already talked about it, at home, in the pub, on the street. Nowadays, everybody seems to have an opinion about global warming. But that took some time. Even as early as 1896, a scientist posed the hypothesis that the growing output of CO2 could have consequences for the climate. Yet up to 20 years ago, global warming was only talked about by scientists, activists or green party politicians. But because of the unlingering effort of these groups, and the growing scientific evidence, global warming has become a dominant discourse in society. Being green has become cool.

The most important factor in pushing this discourse change was the economic field. Somewhere in the last two decades, the main players in this field have changed their strategy. Instead of combating the global change story, they have adopted it. Nowadays, you see commercials for green cars, green computers and even green washing detergents. Green has become, amongst others, a sales strategy.

SmallTalk is an installation about the growing communication about the global warming issue. Using 8 glasses, which he transformed into speakers, Stijn Demeulenaere created a cocktail party. Stijn evokes the adoption of the global warming storyline by popular culture by having a small get together. Quotes of people talking about climate change are being played through the glasses. You can hear scientists, commercials, politicians, superstars and ordinary people. The quotes are looped, but every time a quote is repeated, it looses power. With every repetition you can hear less of the voice, and more of the resonant frequency of the glass. The result is an emerging communication field, drowning out the original opinions about climate change. The global warming story has become self aware, an entity in itself. The motivation for participating in that story sometimes has become unclear, and we are compelled to wonder where our own voice lies between the resonant frequencies of the global communication field.



An excerpt of the SmallTalk installation and performance

SmallTalk was created thanks to the gracious help of: Aernoudt Jacobs, Els Viaene, Tim Vets, Isjtar, Bert Vanden Berghe and Wim Hambrouck. Speakerglasses were built with the help of Wim Geerts.