Beyond the World’s End

See how art can help us think creatively about combating climate change and social injustices.

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March 6th, 2020 - June 21st, 2020

3rd Floor Art Forum Gallery

What does a future filled with social justice and environmentally friendly practices look like?

Bringing together the work of artists from across the US, guest curator T. J. Demos looks at the issues behind our current climate crisis and the ways that art can help us going forward.

Past, present, and future collide as artists reflect on the injustices that have brought us to our current moment and bring up options for how to move forward.

From time machines to a proposal for cross-border shared space, the artworks in this exhibition look at our current crises and visualize ways to overcome the social and environmental injustices they address.


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The exhibition is part of a year-long research and exhibition project and public lecture series, directed by T. J. Demos of UCSC’s Center for Creative Ecologies. The project brings leading international thinkers and cultural practitioners to UC Santa Cruz to discuss what lies beyond dystopian catastrophism, and asks how we can cultivate radical futures of social justice and ecological flourishing. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture and administered by The Humanities Institute. For more information visit BEYOND.UCSC.EDU.

Related Events

Catch this three-part film series at the Del Mar Theater co-created with UC Santa Cruz.

Meet the Artists

Rasquache Collective: BordersBordados: A Rasquache Time Machine

Core members of Rasquache Collective will work with community members and visitors to construct a multi-media installation or “time machine” inspired by traditional Mexican kite making practices as well as conceptual art. The videos and materials used combine folk resistance, apocalypse, and diaspora through the lens of communities divided by the U.S. / Mexico border. Reflect on the skills you will need to contend with current threats posed by global climate change and its associated social challenges.

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Amy Balkin: People's Archive of Sinking and Melting

Balkin’s archive is a growing collection of items from places experiencing current and near-future threats of disappearance due to the physical, political, and economic impacts of climate change. (including glacial melting, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and desertification). Together these objects form a collection of community-gathered evidence, a public record of present or anticipated loss.

Laurie Palmer: Public Sun /Arendt’s Table

Palmer creates an installation that invites visitors to imagine a common world. Palmer constructs a space designed to restore a sense of social connection with the living world around us. This installation will provide a forum for imagining and negotiating more sustainable futures. The installation will feature a gathering space for conversation as well as drawings and maps portraying geological features threatened by fracking and oil drilling.

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Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman: The Cross-Border Environmental Commons

This 7-minute video documents Cruz and Forman’s long term project focusing on the contested area between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. In addition to being the most trafficked international checkpoint in the world and the primary migration route from Latin America into the United States, this area is also the site of the shared ecosystem of the Tijuana River estuary. Looking at the land between these two cities, separated by an arbitrary geopolitical border, this video looks at an idea for a future borderless area that benefits both cities.

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Allora & Calzadilla: Land Mark (Foot Prints)

Land Mark (Foot Prints) documents a performance and civil disobedience campaign organized by Allora and Calzadilla from 2001 to 2002. Alongside a group of activists, the artists wore specialized shoes and trespassed onto a United States Navy bombing range on a beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The soles of the shoes were embossed with words and images that addressed the activists' thoughts on the former occupation of Vieques by the United States Navy. With the near-future threat of oil drilling off the California coast, the piece offers examples of community activism that have stopped governments and militaries elsewhere.

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Super Futures Haunt Qollective (SFHQ)

SFHQ is a queer indigenous feminist performance group. This installation features an audio piece that imagines a conversation between Chief Seattle’s daughter, Kikisoblu (aka Princess Angeline, 1820-1896), Fanny Ball, a Modoc woman and daughter of Captain Jack (Kientpaush, 1837-73) and an ancestor of Lady HOW (one of SFHQ’s avatars, and shorthand for Haunting or Whatever). The conversation takes place in an imaginative realm that SHFQ calls the Specularity. In this realm of the not yet (but may yet be) the three characters meet and exchange gifts.

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Krista Franklin: SEED (The Book of Eve) for Octavia E. Butler

Franklin’s work combines poems, popular culture, and the dynamic histories of the African Diaspora. Using collage, installation, poetry, letterpress, and performance she chisels away at the narratives historically inscribed on women and people of color. She forges imaginative spaces for radical possibilities and visions. Her books are inspired by the novels of pioneer sci-fi author Octavia E. Butler.

Helen & Newton Harrison: Future Garden at UCSC Arboretum

This site-specific environmental art installation features three geodesic domes and a surrounding garden at the UCSC Arboretum. Called Future Garden for the Central Coast of California, the installation, which Newton Harrison continues to evolve, transforms the newly refurbished domes at the Arboretum from relics of the past into carriers of the future in response to the crisis of climate change. Future Garden offers an ecological proposal for futurity beyond the end of the world represented by coming environmental transformation.

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Check Out Current Exhibitions

Beyond the World's End may not be here yet, but swing by to explore three floors of art and history on view now.