Exploring our Connection to the Environment Through “Purple” at the ICA Watershed

One of my favourite things about art is its ability to transcend demographics and open up dialogue about a range of issues. In this day and age few topics are more polarizing than climate change and the challenge we face as we try to understand our growing impact on the environment, and the impact our rapidly changing environment is having on us.

“Purple” by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah explores the the effect of climate change on the planet. Filling a room about the size of a high school gymnasium “Purple” is presented as a multilayered montage of film clips set to music and which evolve through six different stories and across six different screens. The viewer, encouraged to relax in the dark and expansive cinema style viewing room, has ample space to lounge on a couch, or sprawl across one of the large cushions on the floor. The immersive experience of watching these videos somehow goes farther and says more than any roadside lecture about the importance of recycling or mindful consumption ever could. I would not call “Purple” uplifting, but I don’t think it has to be and perhaps that is part of its strength. What it is, is moving, emotional and visually stunning in a way that highlights the importance of understanding our interconnection to the environment and what is happening to our planet.

“Purple” is open until September 2, and admission is free. See it while you can.

The ICA Watershed is an 8 minute water taxi ride across the harbor from the ICA to East Boston. The water taxi ride is included with the price of admission into the museum and you need to book your place on the taxi when you pay for your admission. Plan accordingly.

The ICA Watershed is also reachable via Blue Line via the Maverick T stop and is about a 10 minute walk from there.

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