Climate Inheritance: Cautionary Tales of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Bauhaus Museum Dessau, Black Box
24 June – 3 Oct 2021
Climate Inheritance reckons with the complexity of “heritage” and “world” in the Anthropocene. The impacts of climate change on heritage sites—from Venice flooding to extinction in the Galápagos Islands—have garnered empathetic media attention in a landscape that has otherwise mostly failed to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis. In a strategic subversion of the media aura of heritage, DESIGN EARTH casts ten World Heritage sites as narrative figures to visualize pervasive climate risks—rising sea levels, extinction, droughts, air pollution, melting glaciers, material vulnerability, unchecked tourism, and the massive displacement of communities and cultural artifacts—all while situating the present moment of emergency within the wreckages of other ends of world, replete with the salvages of extractivism, racism, and settler colonialism. The harms and possibilities of such climate inheritances are narrated in drawing triptychs and mythologies to bequeath other worlds and values that are urgent and necessary.