Don't Mourn, Make Change!

Staus: 1 of 2 batches complete

Decentralization methods: Mailing,

Other methods: targeting allies, gifting, care, narrative, using humour, care

Response: 10 galleries were sent letters that included my address, e-mail and instagram. 0 provided any feedback thus far

Outcome: due to the lack of response, the follow up letter will be included with the initial gifting and the wording will be changed. However, the lack of any follow up with me does not indicate that no actions to mitigate climate change were taken. Thus far, the outcome is unknown.


In this project I envision a dystopian future that comes about due to inaction on climate change mitigation. I chose to target groups of people I view as allies in a sphere where I have influence: art galleries. I chose galleries that are publicly funded and are located close to me, my university and my former city of residence. I view galleries as allies because most galleries have had exhibitions dealing with climate change--tangentially if not directly. I chose a wide range of galleries from artist operated spaces to major district galleries. When the project is complete, around 30 galleries will be mailed, the first stage of 10 has been completed. The recipients receive an adjustable black armband based off of a Victorian crepe armband in the Bristol museum, a letter addressed to the burger of this dystopian future and about a week later, a follow-up letter of explanation of the project.

The project was designed to be low stakes and low rewards, but with a high chance of success.  It used mailing and four other main methods: allies, gifting, care, and humour.


Allies: While much can be said to view or treat your “enemies” as your allies, this project specifically picked a group of people who were likely already like-minded and try to get them to make concrete changes within their workplaces, which are also viewed as allied: galleries.


Gifting: Gifting is a common practise in craftivism, but less frequent in art activism. Gifting is a human phenomenon whereby an unspecified obligation is conferred by receiving the gift (Camenisch, 1985; Kuokkanen, 2007; Shadmi, 2021; Wall Kimmer, 2022). The gift of an artwork should be of value to the recipients, however, because the mourning armbands are mailed, it is not physically possible to reject the gift, but in the same vein one does not actively have to accept the gift and thus the obligations. Gifting is also a marketing ploy that has been bastardised by capitalism.


Care: The care element is pivotal to the action. The care comes from the time it takes to make the armbands, which is over an hour for each one, but it also comes from the love in the making. If the recipient places a higher value on the gift, then they are more likely to feel indebted to me as the gifter and take actions as requested.


Humour: The humour is tied into the narrative and gift, all of which are meant to give an impression to the receiver so as to not be simply overlooked. Humour and levity are common among art activism partly because they are, for the most part, dealing with such dark subjects.