Waiting for the Beach: Public performance art mocks climate complacency

Warm weather is upon us! I’m already picturing the good body feel being sprawled out at Wreck Beach with a book and UV rays, but I can’t shake the thought of spending another smokey summer in Vancouver. What inevitable devastation will climate change bring next?

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits

To make a mock of climate complacency, interdisciplinary artist Tianna Barton spent the month of April perched along Vancouver’s future coastline via a sea level rise of 4-6 metres—data was taken from multiple environmental organizations that have created interactive maps and sea level projections.  

The public performance art titled Waiting for the Beach #rising #sealevels is an ironic gesture of waiting to get our tan on while the world burns. It exemplifies and pokes fun at the complacency and self-obsession we often fall victim to as humans in the face of any global issue, particularly climate change, but insert here: any issue here that we ignore, yet millions are donated to Notre Dame in a matter of hours.

Barton and company performed as swimsuit-clad caricatures of capitalist status, sipping drinks, taking selfies, and applying suntan oil under the watchful eye of a City of Vancouver lifeguard.

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits

“I didn’t want to create work that exemplified myself as a messenger on a moral high horse, but instead wanted to make fun of myself and even embody something like a villainess to incite critical thinking,” remarks Barton, who “wanted to create work that didn’t take itself so seriously, and created a new approach” to political statement.

In the face of climate disaster, this performance art mirrors society’s ills and state of environmental paralysis: our consumerism, implications and complicity in a capitalist system, our obsession with riches and the rich, vanity, and selfies.

To view more of Tianna Barton’s work and photos of Waiting for the Beach #rising #sealevels, visit www.tiannabarton.com/

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits

Photo by Four Eyes Portraits