The sublime response is described as an agreeable kind of terror related to awe and often encountered in nature. Using visual elements that provoke the sublime, I wish to connect very contemporary issues related to climate change and potential global collapse. This is new work in progress but my attempt is making images that pose questions about the experience of the sublime and the global dangers of human action and inaction. Only recently has my investigation of sublime emotions in the natural world turned toward the notion of climate change catastrophes. Blending 17th and 18th century concepts of the sublime with 21st century environmental issues, there seems a new opportunity to explore landscape to evoke aesthetic and emotional responses related to the specific issues humans have created. Burke proposes, “experiencing otherwise terrifying phenomena from a position of safety can elicit ‘a sort of delightful horror, a sort of tranquility tinged with terror; which as it belongs to self-preservation, is one of the strongest of all passions.’”* Burke’s assertions were true in his day, but never more than now when our tranquility and self-preservation in the face of potential collapse create another kind of horror.
* Edmund Burke – from A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful