AFTER(MATH) COP15

QUESTION TIME – AFTER(MATH) COP15

COP15 is over

But the legacy of Question Time lives on.

We continue to consider smallness, the ground and performance in working towards an alternative statement on (climate) change.

EVENT

Question Time is included in the line-up for Café Carbon, an event at Café Oto on Friday 19th March which starts at 8pm. Join us as artists, musicians and activists share an evening of stories about the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.

For more details go here: www.cafeoto.co.uk/TheGluts.shtm

PODCASTS

Part sound art, part document of our COP15 encounters – these CSPA commissioned podcasts are unique windows into the Question Time archive. To listen click here: www.questiontime.me/podcasts/

PRINT

Excerpts from a carefully chosen random selection of Question Time interviews also appear in the CSPA Quarterly available soon from www.sustainablepractice.org/ and www.magcloud.com/browse/Magazine/38626

UPCOMING

A reading salon for fiction that has arisen out of COP 15, Copenhagen and Question Time. Details to be confirmed. Please get in touch for more information.



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Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Author: Rachel Lois Clapham | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ending

COP 15 finished on 18th December 2009 and as it did so we ended our series of conversations in Copenhagen. Dialogue, of course continues and this site remains as an archive which we invite you to explore and respond to. During 2010 we hope to respond to this body of voices, opinions and views so please subscribe to our mailing list so we can contact you.

We would like to thank all the people who were involved in the project.

If you would like more information on the project please do contact us at info@questiontime.me


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Posted: January 19th, 2010 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Information | No Comments »

Daily Life Prognosis

A very small performance based upon the BIG task of predicting the future and climate change

Make a specific prediction for yourself for one month’s time.  It should be on something important within your daily lived experience, and preferably something contingent upon outside influences, but not necessarily. Actually, it could equally be about your making of a cup of tea at a certain date or time. In fact, that would be quite nice.

Write this prediction into http://www.futureme.org and choose the date when you want to receive it. It will be emailed to your inbox at your chosen date and time in the future. Try to do a prognosis as a daily exercise of sorts, or at least at regular intervals. See how each prognosis affects you or the way you do things, or not.   Keep a record of how you felt and what you were doing when the prediction came through.

Make a note to compare the two sets of texts, before and after, whilst considering change.


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Posted: December 20th, 2009 | Author: Rachel Lois Clapham | Filed under: Text | Tags: | No Comments »

Statement: How to write the future now? How to perform end speech? What is an insincere or false statement of intent? Is an insincere or false statement of intent that comes true a successful prophesy or failed speech? To what extent is a prediction a socio-political performative? What is an unutterable prognosis made public? How does prognosis socially construct the now? How do words change the world?

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit 20 December (Post COP15)
Attending: Rachel Lois Clapham and lots of other random passers-by
Location: Copenhagen Airport
minute taker Rachel Lois Clapham

On the 6th December, on my way into Copenhagen, I passed a poster. On it, an aged, grey haired President Sarkozy was pictured, looking apologetic, saying :

I’m sorry. We could have stopped catastrophic climate change dot dot dot  we didn’t’

sorry-sarkozy

A latent apology from a world leader and COP15 delegate predicting the failure of the conference and envisioning the attendant global catastrophe.

Back then, I read the doom-laden poster as a bold statement of hope, as the setting up of the horizon line for ‘Hopenhagen’, for COP15; the conference would dispel the sure and forthcoming global disaster. Success was imminent since the conference could not fail. Too much was at stake within our own lifetimes.

I’m on my way to the airport today, C0P15 having ended with no definable agreement other than to carry on trying to agree, and I just passed the same poster.

There is a lot to be considered between my initial reading of the poster and this one.


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Posted: December 20th, 2009 | Author: Rachel Lois Clapham | Filed under: Statement of Intent, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: Twice lost gloves the finger

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit Date: 17/12/2009

Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Mary Paterson.

Location: Cafe Zusammen.

Minute taker: David Berridge

We are approaching agreement. An oppressive place. You should subscribe. Its spiral is a slow, continual gradation. The shape of potential. We have to agree dates. When did we first become aware of this climate change crisis our own existence in time? One of us proposes 1984. Another says 1989. But each has their agenda, wishing to sit in their birthday chair, covered in crepe paper.

Maybe these are bargaining positions, the real year two or three years before. I do not yet have a year for acquiring awareness. Is that why I keep the minutes? How can we achieve agreement? One of us had a boyfriend who had one testicle. One of us had a boyfriend, born with forceps that slipped and poked out one eye. Maybe there will be a deal at the last minute.

This is my birthday. But everyone is in the next room watching television. The writers group have abandoned the democratic process to go off on their own and write villanelles about lego. They fight over end words, equating their predicament to the fall of the Soviet Union. Stupid writers. Perhaps no deal is happening but then there is a late intervention: if we have birthmarks we will celebrate them as parts of our body. Everyone who sees our mark in its entirety – a baroque protestant drape over half the body – has given us a letter. The letters spell a phrase:

TWICE LOST GLOVES

The story of the performance by the man in the towel at the party at 3AM has been omitted from these minutes. All his work is about testicular cancer. We chased a convoy – was it Obama? – convinced our gloves were inside. We were reassured in our failure by a man who gave us fruit and tea and lowered our bicycle seat so we could ride under the convoys that were everywhere blocking free passage through the city. Everything was nice. We were all reassured by the unfamiliarly close proximity of our knees and chin.

The agreement takes shape: We wash our hair, and sort audio files, and lose some more gloves and insist the floor be mopped. We love mopping followed by a multi-bird roast. But this 10 bird monstrosity could be deal breaking so we must be more concrete:

(a) WHERE WE ARE NOW

The lack of gloves focusses delegates attentions on the hand. An argument is made for focussing solely on The Finger. The Finger is its own delegating bloc: it points where it wishes, appearing in photographs of climate change activists and world leaders alike. Nothing about COP15 must be without the finger.

(b) SOME CONTEXT

Individuals highlighted or obliterated by The Finger find me on the internet afterwards and write to complain. I explain it is a Writers Finger, “saying” more about me than about them, a way of saving time by laughing at my writing and my finger together, a confessional trumping-perspective moment. Usually they are reassured enough not to email me again.

(c) OUTSTANDING ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED

(1) I am learning the comic timing of The Finger.

(2) I think the agreement is fine but The Finger should be in bigger type.

(3) The Finger had its third night of terrible sleep.

(4) A shaman called Angelica from Peru.

(5) The Finger gave itself the excuse not to do anything because it was so tired

(6) Drawn there by the food? No, it was more ephemeral.

(7) A sinister finger presence. A device to distract finger people.

(8) The guilt of doing finger and the guilt of not doing finger.

(9) This is the finger for me ( fear of circles).

(10) You can’t repent you just live with The Finger.

(11) We’ll give you this meaningless finger.

(12) Re-define it once The Finger is here.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: David Berridge | Filed under: Statement of Intent, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Instances of Non-Participation, Thursday 17th December 2009

COP 15 Remote Participation at the Forum Centre in Copenhagen. Photo by: Alex Eisenberg

COP 15 Remote Participation at the Forum Centre in Copenhagen. Photo: Alex Eisenberg

MARY PATERSON:

‘Crisis in Copenhagen – the pressure is building’ says an email in my inbox, from Avaaz, the international activists’ organization.  They want me to sign a petition to encourage the delegates at COP15 to secure a 2 C deal.  A 2 C deal is one that makes the whole world work together to stop the Earth’s temperature rising a further two degrees.  On Wednesday I heard someone say that people at the Bella Centre, where the COP15 talks are taking place, were resigned to a 4 C deal as the best they could hope for.  I overheard this comment at Klima Forum, the ‘people’s’ climate conference, organized by the Danish Government in a leisure complex in the centre of town.  Klima Forum is the place where everyone who has not been accredited for access to the Bella Centre comes to meet.  There are talks and discussions taking place here every day, an art exhibition, some relatively cheap food.  Sometimes I wonder if Klima Forum is just the Danish Government’s way of keeping all the NGOs and the activists busy, so they don’t make trouble.  Today it is too cold to make trouble anyway – the snowstorm last night has laid a thick white blanket over the city, and left a biting chill in the air – but yesterday, at 8am at Taarnby train station, a few hundred activists were looking for trouble.  They were gathered for the legal march to the Bella Centre, to protest against the ticketing system that has denied access to 15,000 accredited delegates.  The previous day, the American activist Naomi Klein stood up in the main hall at Klima Forum and urged everyone to join the march.  The 15,000 excluded delegates, she said, included representatives from NGOs from developing countries, some of whom had only flown out for the second week of talks, in order to save money.  They have flown out, she said, only to find that they cannot take part.

I had already picked up a leaflet about the protest, and hearing Naomi Klein talk made me determined that it participation was the right thing to do.  But when I arrived at Taarnby station the following morning, wearing an extra pair of socks and two pairs of gloves to guard against the cold, I felt out of place.  Other people were holding banners about Tar Sands in Canada and about relocalizing food production.  I trusted the banners, but I wasn’t informed enough to march in their name.  I felt like I had done earlier in the week, when a woman from Greenpeace asked me to vote in the Angry Mermaid Awards, a satirical prize for the least helpful lobbyist at COP15.  The woman handed me a list of international corporations that lobby governments to act in ways that exacerbate climate problems.  I said I would do some research before I cast my vote.  The representative from Greenpeace looked concerned, and said I must vote now, because the polls were about to close.  So I apologised, and she looked disappointed, and then she left.

At the protest, I stood around for a while in silence.  I didn’t join in when someone started a chant: What do we want?  Climate Action! When do we want it?  Now! I wanted to march with the 15,000 excluded delegates, but this group of young people seemed to be social protestors, willing to march anywhere, for anything.  The demonstration was planned to culminate in a ‘popular assembly’, a real and symbolic act to reverse the hierarchy of political power.  The marchers from outside the Bella Centre would be met by supportive delegates from inside, and together the two groups would overthrow conference security, disrupt the politics of exclusion and impose a true mandate for discussion.  At Taarnby, a string of four of five policemen moved silently past, and the crowd roared in protest.  I didn’t recognise myself in the emotions of any of the activists and wondered what kind of mandate this would be.  It reminded me of watching an England football match in a pub.  I got embarrassed when England scored a goal because I didn’t know how to join in with the shrieks and whoops of spontaneous sociability.

Photo: Alex Eisenberg

Photo: Alex Eisenberg

Leaving Taarnby, I sat on a quiet commuter train and glided back into the city.  This time, the train route did not take us past the Bella Centre, like it had on the way there.  Earlier, I had passed the site of the official talks while the sun was still rising in the grey blue sky.  It is a faceless place, like an aircraft hanger or a football stadium – a structure with no windows, and a lot of security.  Out the back, there is a model of the globe.  It was being watched by two officials in high visibility vests, who were not quite as tall as the globe itself.  The globe was lit up, its seas glowing blue and its land glowing green.  The metro train seemed to slow down as we went past, but there was nothing much to see.  A queue of people.  A building without any windows.  An industrial space, sightless and slippery, outside which the rest of the world slides by.

Instances of non-participation, December 2009

  1. Taarnby Train Station, 8.30am, Wednesday 16th December [not taking part in the protest for the popular assembly at COP15]
  2. Klima Forum, 4.45pm, Monday 13th December [not voting in the Angry Mermaid awards]
  3. Metro train near the Bella Centre, 8.15am, Wednesday 16th December [not entering the Bella Centre]
  4. Forchsammer Vej 11, 3.00pm – 6.00pm, Thursday 17th December [not going to a talk at Klima Forum in which world leaders were invited to answer the question, ‘Did we get the deal we came for?’]
  5. London (various), Sunday 6th December – Friday 11th December, inclusive [not travelling to Copenhagen for the start of COP15, New Life Copenhagen, and Question Time]
  6. Gmail inbox, daily [not signing petitions sent to me by Ricken Patel at Avaaz.org

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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: Mary Paterson | Filed under: Text | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Statement: No Interviews

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Date: Thursday 17th December 2009, 5.30pm

Attendees: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Mary Paterson

Location:
Minute Taker: Alex Eisenberg

Dictaphone runs out of battery.

Dictaphone SD card (memory) is full.

No interviews.

It is -4c and it snowed heavily last night – stay inside, spend the day writing.

Visit only two bookshop cafés on a walking trip between the cities multiple bookshop café’s.

Miss seeing any convoys leave the Scandia Hotel.

Fall off bike into snow. Get snow in shoe.

Laugh at your own jokes.

Loose gloves (for the second time).

Feel guilty about doing this.

Feel guilty about not doing this.

No interviews.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: Hit the Ground Running

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Date: Wednesday 16th December 2009, 5.30pm

Attendees: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Mary Paterson

Location: Café Zusammen
Minute Taker: Mary Paterson

I wasn’t impressed by it at all today, actually. We could talk about what an interview marathon is, if nobody comes. It’s a beautiful space. I was very excited about that before I came but funnily enough, now I’m here, it doesn’t seem that important. The fact that nobody came doesn’t affect the actual gesture in time and space What is prohibition? I dunno.  I just find that an interesting moment. The rocking chair was particularly meditative.  – The rocking chair was beautiful.  Did you put your head on the rest and just go with it?  – Yeah. I could have stayed there forever. His silences were really good.  He was really struggling with the questions. She was into the big.  We were small.  So it was a total ideological separation. What are we asking of people? Is our project really antagonistic?  We’re sticking to our guns and asking people to answer these questions, even if they don’t want to. Even if you say oh you don’t have to, it’s totally loaded. Human beings want to please other human beings, right? It’s a fucking inconvenience. One person asked me today, how does it feel, approaching people?  Because you’re really out on a limb? I think it gives you a license to do things that are not commercial. It’s a negative economy.  And it’s not sustainable.  Somebody has paid, and that somebody has an agenda. I don’t think they’re fully succeeding.  I think they need to be more radical to approach this. I’m gutted, that I haven’t been in a domestic situation, to cook for people. In London, if you give your room to someone it’s not a political act. Before you came we talked about that a lot: what the frame of ‘the art project’ is. That’s no more hideous that any of the others.  -Yes it is.  It doesn’t have an obscurity built into it. There’s that whole going-with-the-moment thing, isn’t there? She was a ‘young person’ – I’ve got a real problem with that – boring the tits off me. But, it came from a really boring place.  I made it sound interesting by accident, but really it was banal. I don’t think it matters if someone answers the question wrong. I’m very particular with the people I interact with. This has been much more challenging, but much more raw.  Hit the ground running.  Hit the ground running.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: Mary Paterson | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Statement: Micro Minutes

Micro Minutes [over 4 pages – This is not allowed by the protocol laid out by the group that is named Question Time which stipulates that Statements should only be 1 page.]

Summit Date: 15 December 2009
Attending: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Tord Andreassen, Rachel Lois Clapham, Neil Bennun, Mary Paterson
Location: Café Dyrehaven, Vestebro, Copenhagen
Minute Taker: Alex Eisenberg

2.1 Reflexive Interviewing

We [the interviewers] were interviewed [by us, the interviewers]. This took place at:

  1. The Greenish Cafe, Central Copenhagen
  2. On a wooden bench outside the People’s Climate Action building in Faelledvej 12, The Annex, 4th., DK-2200 Copenhagen N.

3.1 Obama Mania©

We think that it is coming.

We think that it pervades right down.

4.1 Oppositional Language

We think that there is a proliferation of oppositional language but not necessarily a productive place for this opposition to be reconciled.

4.2 Default Position

We have noticed a position.

We will be terming this ‘the DEFAULT POSITION’. This is a position at the very front of dialogue, which happens almost automatically and generally without the need for thought. This is the first stage of things. [and we all do it]

5.1 Perceived Hierarchy

Here is what I perceive the hierarchy to be here, for now [there is no truth in this]:

United Nations

COP15 [pink badge] delegates

Some huge gap,

then groups like:

5.1 Perceived Hierarchy [contd.]

NGO’s

Charaties

Activist organisations

Artists

Other Activists

Violent Activists

6.1 Generalisation

It’s so boring to generalise.

7.1 The Event

We walked past the district where there are the big hotels [SAS, Scandica, The Imperial etc.]. (Copenhagen appears to be deeply influenced by its historic relationship with Lego. I walked past a Lego shop and there were people in there staring at the boxes, not buying, just staring – a slight glaze over their eyes. The effect of this history of Lego might account for the city feeling, at times, like a model town – kind of perfect. It’s the sort of place where the erection of concrete barriers outside certain key buildings is therefore noticeably unusual). There are now concrete barriers blocking the roads off. Police and army officers stand on corners. And if you try to enter they say “STOP”.

“What’s all of this for?”

“What do you think?”

“COP 15?”

“Yes!”

“So is anyone special staying here?”

“What do you think?”

“Yes, any presidents?”

“Yes lots of VIP’s, that’s why the security is tight”.

We will keep asking:

WHERE IS THE EVENT?

8.1 Pushing Through [it can be rewarding]

We will start.

We will try not to judge how things are going.

We will try to stay in the process of what we are doing.

We will keep going.

We will PUSH THROUGH and emerge out the other side [of an interview].

And things, then, will have changed.

9.1 Yurt Conversation

We will enter a yurt.

We will appreciate that a yurt is warm, circular and low lit.

We will sit around the edge of a yurt.

We will begin conversation.

We will exit a yurt.

We will consider how our space affects what we are doing.

9.2 Christiania[1]

We interviewed in Christiania.

We wonder how interviewing in Christiania is different to not interviewing in Christiania?

10.1 Assurance – Eye Contact

We will try to make eye contact.

We will not stare and instead we will try and LISTEN with our eyes.

(Lost my gloves so had to go and buy some new ones. Found a great army surplus shop which had just the ones I wanted – the fingerless ones but which also double as mitts – perfect for my activities here. Whilst we were in the shop three things happened:

  1. I bought a new pair of gloves. (89kr)
  2. A man came in and asked for a gas mask because he said “the police are using tear gas”. The gas masks the shop has in stock were too expensive so he opted for ‘German goggles’ instead. One of the panes of glass on the goggles was cracked. The man asked for a discount. (129kr)
  3. I bought a number of clip on brooches in the shape and colour of a (white) human’s ear.) (15kr each)

We will wear our ear brooches – as a badge and emblem of all that we stand for, as a badge that says:

We will LISTEN to you WITH OUR EYES, give you space to say your bit. [Even if we think it's boring].

10.2 Assurance – ‘Everything you say is correct’

We might say to the interviewee – ‘Everything you say is correct’

10.3 Crib Card

(As our memories get better at remembering what the questions are) We might abandon the crib card (on which all the questions have been written down). And so, we might be able to engage better with our interviewee.

10.4 Follow Up

There has to be follow up.

OR

Make sure you give someone the card that explains the project – after you have interviewed them.

11.0 Some (potentially additional) Questions

What is the agenda?

What is the concern?

What is the atmosphere?

What are we doing to the earth?

What on earth are we doing?

12.1 Bike

We will learn how to back break on the bike.

We will bike.

13.1 Somalian Delegate

We spoke to a Somalia delegate who has been refused entry to COP15 despite travelling all the way here from Somalia and thinking that she was going to be a part of the conference.

14.1 The Recycling Panopticon

[The Recycling Panopticon is in the centre of the building, the courtyard, we are living in – i.e an observer can observe (-opticon) you doing your recycling from all (pan-) the other flats in the building without you being able to tell whether they are being watched.]

We will, from now, separate our waste.


[1] Also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen.


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Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Interview Marathon

IMG_1976

On:

Wednesday 16th Dec. 1300-1700

Friday 18th Dec. 1300-1700

At:

Huset ved Kongens Have galleri og bar,
Gothersgade 89, Copenhagen.

Now is your time to be heard. Come and talk to us about how it’s been. Participate in Question Time by being interviewed.

Question Time are holding a drop-in interview marathon for the 6,000 guest and hosts in New Life Copenhagen, exploring how your experience relates to the debates and challenges of climate change and COP15.

Each interview will take 5 to 10 minutes, and will be completely anonymous. Our interview marathon will at Huset ved Kongens Have galleri og bar, Gothersgade 89, Copenhagen.


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Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Information | Tags: | No Comments »