Terrified awakening -- sound artist Claude Schryer talks about art, climate grief and hope

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Claude Schryer by Rideau River. Image: Sabrina Matthews. Used with permission

Last year, when rabble.ca staff had one of our rare in-person staff retreats, we were talking about the climate crisis and how difficult it was to get around the fear that we all felt. So we decided to make it an editorial focus.

That was back in August. At the time we came up with the idea, we had no way of knowing that our fear would be even greater because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, when we talked about the subject again at the beginning of March as the pandemic was in the process of unfolding, our idea seemed especially relevant.

Today rabble radio starts its contributions to our Climate Hope series on climate grief and hope in the time of pandemic, with a conversation between rabble radio producer and host Victoria Fenner and media artist Claude Schryer.

Schryer is a sound artist, arts administrator and cultural worker born in Ottawa and raised in the francophone community in North Bay, Ontario. From an early age he developed a passion for art, environment and social action. In the 1990s, his work focused on acoustic ecology and soundscape composition, notably as a founder and first administrator of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. That focus has continued throughout the past few decades. Earlier this year, he attended a conference on Creative Climate Change Leadership with artists from around the world in Arizona called Crisis: Principles for Just and Creative Responses.

He has just started a new blog dedicated to arts and climate action where he writes: 

"In May 2019, my climate denial bubble burst. It was a terrifying and disorienting experience that made me question everything about my life. In retrospect, I realize this was a zen-like gift of 'terrified awakening,' of 'clear seeing,' but at the time, I was paralyzed with emotion and dread.

What triggered my climate denial bubble to burst? 

I feel compelled to share this personal experience, in the hope that it might help others who are also struggling with the current sustainability crisis and searching for a path forward…"

Image: Sabrina Matthews. Used with permission.


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