Art in Impact Exhibition #1: Hitsch
Our first guest under the Art in Impact project is Christian “Hitsch” Rogantini. Hitsch reflects his admiration and respect towards nature through photography. His photographs are not his only way of showing respect, he also acts in accordance with the climate crisis we are currently in. He aims to make an impact through demonstrating to people how we in fact affected nature. Please find the interview we have conducted with this very influential artist below.
What does climate resilience mean to you?
For me, it means that my view of things has changed. The world I was born into is no longer the same one I experience today. I am happy about innovations and the constant development in our society. However, humanity as a whole has only achieved this thanks to a system that is designed for profit. New achievements only find a place in our world if they are economically interesting, that is, if they ultimately function in a profit-oriented way. Until now, we have given too little thought to the resources we use for this and the consequences. Today we can measure the negative consequences and already feel them ourselves.
What are the things we can do on an individual level to achieve sustainable development goals?
Every individual should rethink his or her personal behaviour and standard of living. We should think about what kind of world we actually want to live in and not see our status quo as the only possible reality. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals describe very sensibly the direction in which humanity should aim. Politically, these are promising intentions.
What kind of initiatives should Climate Action (SDG 13) consist of?
We need better solutions for alternative sustainable energy production immediately. Many countries are finding this very difficult. As long as we try to do this only through a system of costs and benefits, we are wasting precious time. Above all, we should be allowed to exclude economic considerations in finding solutions. In concrete terms, we must immediately work out solutions for the complete replacement of fossil energy sources. We must also collect and clean up our waste worldwide and dispose of and recycle it in a controlled manner in the future. The worldwide threatening increase in plastic waste represents a ticking time bomb for us. All negative impacts on the environment must be stopped. Unfortunately, we must always keep an eye on the economic impact, because the engine of our world is the economy.
Can you remember a moment that you have captured a photograph and thought “this is what climate change looks like”?
Unfortunately, I have often experienced moments like this. The world is a sphere and climate change shows up everywhere in different forms. As a nature and landscape photographer, I look at the places I travel with two different eyes. As a photographer, I look at the light, the play of colours and shapes. In the search for the detail, for the perspective, I move through the motif itself and become the landscape and the animals in it. As a human being, I become aware in these moments of how fast the changes of climate change are progressing. A strong, almost paralysing feeling of anxiety threatens to overwhelm me. It is difficult for me to resist. The beauty and simplicity of nature around me gives me hope again.
As a person who not only reads about but actually sees the changes Antarctica has been going through in the past couple of years, how does that make you feel?
When you imagine the incredible size of Antarctica and realise how the enormous mass of land ice, consisting of 70% of the world’s fresh water, is in the process of melting faster and faster, the resulting changes on the living conditions of the fauna living there; all this makes me very concerned, sad and angry at the same time. How could we have allowed our environment to come to this?
How can art make an impact against the climate crisis?
Art uses a universal language that everyone can understand. Art can help to give a different perspective on things. Art can make us think. Art can hold a mirror up to us and also show us what we have successfully learned to ignore. It is important that we can express an opinion through art. Impressive, fascinating images of nature show what we are about to lose. Images of polluted landscapes and animals dying due to environmental influences can shock and cause consternation when we see them. This can ultimately influence our behaviour and help us to change our lives.
Is there an SDG that you want/plan to include more in your art in the future? What should we focus on more, in your perspective?
Even before the pandemic, I decided to reduce my range of travelling. I would very much like to continue visiting the polar region, but expeditions on this scale cause a high ecological footprint. I can no longer justify this. Here in the Alpine region, where I live and can observe more closely how climate change is progressing, this is where I would like to base my next projects and document what is happening here. Especially the glaciers in the Alps are disappearing at an unbelievably high rate. The Alps, the water reservoir of Europe, is in danger. Changes of this kind will undoubtedly have an impact on our lives.
In addition to all medium-term goals, we should also think about whether and how our basic way of life should be changed. We need to evolve as a species and, above all, shed the baser needs for power, profit and dominance. The global community of the human species must be organised according to equally valid democratic structures. Capitalism and the market economy dominate our everyday life – in view of the destruction of the planet by humans, I am of the opinion that this social system has also reached its limits.