Watch Your Head
Coach House Books, 2020
A warning, a movement, a collection borne of protest.
In Watch Your Head, poems, stories, essays, and artwork sound the alarm on the present and future consequences of the climate emergency. Ice caps are melting, wildfires are raging, and species extinction is accelerating. Dire predictions about the climate emergency from scientists, Indigenous land and water defenders, and striking school children have mostly been ignored by the very institutions – government, education, industry, and media – with the power to do something about it.
Writers and artists confront colonization, racism, and the social inequalities that are endemic to the climate crisis. Here the imagination amplifies and humanizes the science. These works are impassioned, desperate, hopeful, healing, transformative, and radical.
This is a call to climate-justice action.
Cover design by Ingrid Paulson
...Watch Your Head does not disappoint. It serves as a warning to heed, a reminder to be thought of often, and a well-thought-out piece of art. Throughout the anthology, readers encounter pieces that provoke and insist, demanding attention, consideration, action, and creativity. Essays and stories and images alike bring about questions and statements on Indigenous rights, white privilege, exploitation of land and people, colonial power structures, place, home, language, and imagination.
This anthology is not to be missed. The pandemic may have defined our year, but the climate crisis defines our time in geological history. See how this roster of talented writers and artists advance the conversation, put the crisis in context and call for climate justice.
2030 SURVIVAL GUIDE (TIP #19): FIELD DRESSING
Poster by artist Jen Rae with illustration by Indie Laden.
Commissioned for the Climarte Poster Project II (2019), the poster is a visual double entendre and a provocation to consider a future impacted by climate change from a disaster preparedness perspective. The illustration provides basic instructions on how to field dress a rabbit in case of food scarcity. It also brings to the fore questions around the abdication of climate action and responsibility by the global elite; altruism and population control; and, international food security. The most rigorous scientific report published in human history states we only have 11 years to curb run-away climate change and collapse. Some are preparing for the worst better than others in the game of ‘survival of the richest’. For instance, billionaires are investing in prime farmland globally; ‘doomsday bunkers’ are now hot real estate for rich ‘preppers’; and, most apocalyptic survival guides are written by and for middle-class, often middle-aged, white men. What does that mean for commoners? Disasters heighten disadvantage. By the time the elite take action, it might be too late for most commoners.
Excerpt from the CLIMARTE POSTER PROJECT II (2019), curated by Will Foster
Dr. Jen Rae is a Narrm (Melbourne)-based artist-researcher of Canadian Métis-Scottish descent engaged in the discursive field of contemporary environmental art and a scholar in arts-based environmental communication. Her creative practice and research interests centre around food systems knowledge, disaster scenarios and ecological futures thinking via transdisciplinary collaborative methodologies and community engagement. Jen is a multi-art-form artist including public art, drawing, animation and cookery.
Indie Ladan is a Melbourne-based illustrator and freelance graphic designer with more than ten years experience in the industry, designing and consulting for corporate and non-profit organisations as well as local businesses. Her recent projects include branding designs, illustrations, website designs, photography, social media management, art direction, signage design and many more.
Watch Your Head is an online journal of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
New work is published monthly!
Check out our latest project: a print anthology published by Coach House Books!
Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis
Coach House Books
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