Date of Award
Rachelle Gould, PhD
A. Madsen Minax, MFA
grief, climate change, ecological anxiety, climate change emotion, gen z, anti-capitalism
I created absurdist rituals to be performed and engaged in with the goal of helping myself, and hopefully, individuals and communities process current and impending ecological grief, brought on by the increasing climate disaster. The products include 27 written rituals, a video art project documenting performance of the rituals, this written component, and a large visual map connecting these things with my thoughts and research, via the platform Miro. As the climate disaster will only increase in severity, I intend the rituals to be able to be revisited and repeated, for emotional maintenance, not to “solve” anything. They are designed to be performed with minimal equipment or setup, and can be modified for accessibility or fun.
When so many disciplines and lenses have been employed to process and to try to solve climate change, and when, according to science, we have not done enough to alter the future out of doom’s way, what left is there to turn to but art, and specifically, the absurd? How do you begin to convey the value of the absurd to people immersed in a culture that allegedly values rationality and practicality above all else? For me, one of the antidotes to the cognitive dissonance of living in this world is engaging in embodied absurdist practices.
My research was informed by the Dada and Fluxus movements, and scholars in the field, such as Panu Pihkala, and Ashlee Cunsolo.
Aladjem, Michaela L., "Absurdist Rituals to Process Ecological Grief" (2022). Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis Collection. 73.