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Courtesy of ArtCOP21
Courtesy of ArtCOP21
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21 Unmissable Environmental Art Events At COP21

Picture of Catherine Wyatt
Updated: 1 November 2016
From November 30th to December 11th, the world’s leaders will descend upon Paris for COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. But you don’t have to be a politician to participate! Running in parallel is ArtCOP21, which aims to involve the public in the climate change discussions through art, music, theatre, film and more. So join the movement: here’s 21 unmissable art events for COP21.
Courtesy of ArtCOP21
Courtesy of ArtCOP21
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What is rubbish” And when does rubbish acquire value” These are the questions two Swedish designers seek to answer, as they make 12 carpets out of recycled material, and display them at the Institut Suédois. The Re-Rag-Rug exhibition is a powerful display of how beauty and functionality can be achieved from ‘worthless’ scraps.

6 Nov 2015 – 10 April 2016
Institut Suédois, 11 Rue Payenne, Paris, France

White Rhino - Namibia - 2014 - © Philippe Alexandre Chevallier

White Rhino – Namibia – 2014 – © Philippe Alexandre Chevallier

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Lucy’s Dream

Photographer Philippe Alexandre Chevallier has focused his career on the animals of Africa. This exhibition of simple black and white photographs of African animals and landscapes forces the viewer to really look at the animals which man and climate change seek to destroy. Africa uses just a ‘tiny fraction’ of the world’s overall consumption of fossil fuels, but is disproportionately affected by climate change. Climate change is causing Africa to suffer from unreliable farming seasons, deforestation, heat waves, droughts, flooding and the extinction of species. P.A. Chevallier’s work asks its viewers to confront the truths of climate change: ‘These images are a cry’.

26 Nov 2015 – 5 Jan 2016
Galerie Hegoa, 16 Rue de Beaune, Paris, France

The Ice People

‘Grounded in science, powered by the imagination’. The Bone Ensemble are a theater company, who collaborated with climate change experts and social psychologists to create the unique ‘Igloo Project’. The project used interactive theatre and performance to encourage people to work together to solve climate change. Now the project is moving to the streets of Paris: in wonderful and creative costumes, The Ice People will be found roaming Paris, looking for help in solving one of the world’s most important problems.

5 Dec 2015
All over Paris

Human Energy, a monumental participative work at the Eiffel Tower, during COP21, Paris  © Yann Toma/ADAGP 2015 - scénographie © ARTEL 2015
Human Energy, a monumental participative work at the Eiffel Tower, during COP21, Paris | © Yann Toma/ADAGP 2015 - scénographie | ARTEL 2015
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Human Energy

Human Energy will be the ‘largest participative art installation ever made’. Installed underneath the Eiffel Tower will be a sports arena, in which participants can run, dance, cycle or play on specially made and installed sports equipment. Every movement made creates energy, which will contribute to an ‘energy unit’. These energy units will be continuously counted, added together, and displayed on screens around the site and on a downloadable app. As participants exercise, they can watch the energy units stack up. Each night, the energy created from a day’s work will light up the Eiffel Tower, shining across Paris as a symbol of how much energy can be produced cleanly and self-sufficiently.

5 Dec 2015 – 12 Dec 2015
Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, Paris, France


At Place Fontenoy will stand an installation of huge letters spelling out the word ‘rechauffement’. Each freestanding letter is made of frozen river water, with the 13 letters being made from the 13 most polluted rivers in the world. Onlookers can see the devastating effects of climate change before their eyes, and imagine what the sight looks like multiplied over the riverways which are so crucial to the planet.

20 Nov 2015 – 13 Dec 2015
Place Fontenoy, Paris, France

Beasts of the South, 2012 | © ARP
Beasts of the South, 2012 | © ARP
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Man Faces Climate Change: Films and Encounters

An entire festival in itself, Forum des Images has put together a programme of films, debates and public meetings to coincide with COP21. Forget ‘apocalyptic movies that depict the world as a disaster’, they say, and focus on celebrating the wonder of our natural world. Between film screenings, architects, politicians, journalists and agronomists will meet with the public to discuss how best to aggregate and fight against those whose interests seek to block action against climate change.

13 Nov 2015 – 22 Nov 2015
Forum des Images, 2 Rue du cinéma, Paris, France

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Particle Falls

From 6pm every evening, a light installation will be displayed on the side of the building of the American Center. The installation is reactive to levels of air pollution and updates in real time, bringing into focus an environmental problem specific to Paris.

6 Nov 2015 – 13 Dec 2015
Mona Bismarck American Center, 34 Avenue de New York, Paris, France



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Ocean in Paris with Tara

Tara is a boat dedicated to sailing around the world, teaching people about the importance of the ocean in man’s struggle against climate change. During COP21, Tara will be docked in Paris, to ‘convince heads of state gathered at the negotiations that the Ocean must be taken into account during the climate discussions’. With sea levels rising, and the sea itself becoming warmer and more acidic, we risk long-term damage to the way our sea functions. Workshops, exhibitions, films, conferences, and a special aquarium aboard Tara will highlight the importance and beauty of the water which covers 70% of the earth’s surface.

12 Nov 2015 – 19 Dec 2015
Pont Alexandre III, Paris, France

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We Have The Power: We Are Change

We hear a lot about the disastrous impacts of global warming, but many of us are unsure of how climate change can be combatted. For the past two years, Magnum Photo Agency has travelled the world to try and find elegant and innovative solutions to the climate change problem. From sustainable lighting in Chile, to greener buses in Ethiopia, the exhibition at the Musée de l’Homme shows the world what can be achieved with a little faith.

4 Nov 215 – 4 Jan 2016
Musée de l’Homme, Paris, France

© Eric Tourneret

© Eric Tourneret

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The Honey Roads

Photographs of bees currently adorn the gates of the Luxembourg Gardens as part of photographer Eric Tourneret’s exhibition The Honey Roads. Tourneret has travelled across the world capturing images of bees and beekeeping, in the hope of inspiring people to protect and preserve the species. Bees are responsible for pollinating most of the world’s crops, but mystery illness colony collapse disorder has destroyed millions of beehives. In the center of the city, free and accessible to all, The Honey Roads brings into focus one of the most pressing dangers to our ecological system.

16 Sep 2015 – 19 Jan 2016
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France

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Welcome to the Anthropocene

Forget the Ice Age or the Iron Age: scientists now believe we are living in the Anthropocene, the most recent geological epoch in which human activity has started to have a significant impact on the earth’s ecosystems and climate. The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is hosting a conference to discuss what the future will look like for animal species and our natural world now that man is changing it for himself.

9th Dec 2015
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, 62 Rue des Archives, Paris, France

Exit, 2008-2015, Scenario “Population Shifts: Cities” View of the exhibition Native Land, Stop Eject, 2008-2009 Collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan and Ben Rubin in collaboration with Stewart Smith and Robert Gerard Pietrusko

Exit, 2008-2015, Scenario “Population Shifts: Cities”
View of the exhibition Native Land, Stop Eject, 2008-2009 Collection of the Fondation Cartier Pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan and Ben Rubin in collaboration with Stewart Smith and Robert Gerard Pietrusko

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French philosopher Paul Virilio had a vision. Exit is the realisation of that vision, accomplished through a huge collaboration of artists, architects, statisticians, scientists and geographers. Exit is a ‘series of immersive animated maps generated by data’. The maps highlight two phenomena which have been crucial to the way we understand the world in 2015: migration patterns and the impacts of climate change. Specifically timed to coincide with COP21, and coincidentally timed with the refugee crisis the world is currently facing, Exit is perhaps one of the most important exhibits this ArtCOP21 season.

25 Nov 2015 – 10 Jan 2016
Palais de Toyko, Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris, France

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Cop21 Starts: The Future of Humanity is at Stake

From debates to plays, the Maison des Métallos is holding a smorgasbord of performances this autumn in aid of COP21. Our pick is the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, in which internationally renowned lawyers will publicly testify against the corporations and nations which are destroying the earth, and indigenous peoples will speak about the unique importance of nature to their way of life.

8 Sep 2015 – 6 Dec 2015
Maison des Métallos, 94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris, France

CopBOx - ArtCOP21 By COAL/ Lemoal&Lemoal architects. Photo © Elodie dupuis

CopBOx – ArtCOP21 By COAL/ Lemoal & Lemoal architects. Photo © Elodie dupuis


Touring Paris this autumn is the CopBox, which allows members of the public to enter the pop up box and record a personalised message to the COP21 delegates from 195 countries who will be descending upon Paris in December. This is a chance for everyone to have their say on climate change, and have their message delivered to the Secretariat General of COP21 in a ‘collective and international mobilization for climate action’.

17 Sep 2015 – 31 Dec 2015
All over Paris

Bodies on the Move

Buto dancing is an expression of distress, crisis and pain. Climate change is affecting not just our planet, but our bodies too: the 60 butoh dancers who will be performing across Paris during COP21 hope that their performance will demonstrate ‘urgency in the most visceral physical way’.

25 Sep 2015 – 12 Dec 2015
All over Paris

© Lucy + Jorge Orta, Antarctica World Passport Delivery Village, Shanghai, 2012, Ph Justin Jin
© Lucy + Jorge Orta, Antarctica World Passport Delivery Village, Shanghai, 2012, Ph Justin Jin
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Antarctica World Passport Delivery Bureau

At the Grand Palais, visitors will be issued with an Antarctica World Passport, declaring them citizens of the world, joined together in the fight against climate change. Recipients of the passport will be invited to sign a charter, committing them and the thousands of other passport holders to try and help protect the environment, whether that be through small, daily actions, or taking up the mantle and promising to ‘defend natural environments under threat’.

4 Dec 2015 – 10 Dec 2015
Grand Palais, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris, France

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Screening: Film, Claimed and The Jungle Plate

Exactly what the title says: two films are being screened at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. Both films aim to bring to light the ‘ecological crisis we face today’. What sets this apart from the other million film screenings happening this COP21 season” Six words: ‘This screening is followed by drinks’.

25 Nov 2015
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, 62 Rue des Archives, Paris, France

Workshop forest Republic Lycée Suger, March 20, 2015, Ph © Olivier Darné.

Workshop forest Republic Lycée Suger, March 20, 2015, Ph © Olivier Darné.

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The Forest Republic

Forest Republic say they are ‘not the solution to global warming’, but if every little helps, then Forest Republic are certainly helping. Their strategy is two fold: plant trees in urban areas to improve air quality (something very much needed in Paris), whilst holding workshops to educate residents of the city on the need for urban reforestation. Ahead of COP21, Forest Republic are increasing their efforts in Paris, and invite members of the public to watch, help and learn.

4 Nov 2015 – 20 Dec 2015
Zone Sensible, 26 Rue Arthur Fontaine, Saint-Denis, Paris, France

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Climat, l’expo a 360

Photographs and art installations will greet guests at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie as soon as they walk in the door, as the museum’s lobby is acting as an exhibition space. Guests should prepare for the shocking effects of climate change: fourteen photographs by Kadir van Lohuizen show what the change in rising sea levels means for people around the world.

12 Oct 2015 – 20 Mar 2016
Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, Paris, France

© Doppelgangster (photo by Jorge Lizalde)

© Doppelgangster (photo by Jorge Lizalde)

The Oxygen Travelling Sales Team

Theatre company Doppelgangster seek to use performance to encourage critique of issues such as climate change. Catch them on the bank of the Seine, where they will be selling oxygen (yes, you heard us right), of which ‘resources are limited’. A unique, and at first glance rather perplexing performance, guaranteed to make you think.

30 Nov 2015 – 11 Dec 2015
The banks of the Seine

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Paris 2015: The Last Opportunity to Prevent Disaster?

The Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to France and Switzerland have decided that diplomacy and political change is not enough when it comes to tackling climate change: there needs to be a cultural shift too. They are hosting a two-in-one film screening (The Three Last Refuges and 2015: In Climate Transition) with a post-film panel discussion including both directors.

24 Nov 2015
L’Entrepôt, 7 Rue Francis de Pressensé, Paris, France

By Catherine Wyatt