Sensing Change

In 2013, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute) launched Sensing Change, a year-long initiative to explore the interconnections between art, science, and our changing environment. Along with an exhibition highlighting the work of eight contemporary artists, we conducted interviews with nine scientists whose work intersects with issues surrounding climate change. These interviews remain as part of the institute’s oral history collection.

What motivates artists and scientists to observe and investigate our environment? How do creative professionals in both fields make visible largely invisible processes, such as wind patterns and air quality? What methods and instruments have been used to sense shifts in our climate over time? The art in Sensing Change invites us to consider the local, global, and cultural implications of living in our changing world by presenting new visions of the threats, opportunities, and upheavals we face. Inspired by scientific investigation, historical accounts, and direct observation, the art in this exhibit explores not only daily shifts in our environment but also long-term climate change. We all have stories to share and observations to record about the world around us. By connecting to our local environment what narratives do we tell? What actions do we take? See our environment—its vitality and vulnerability—with fresh eyes.