I remember as a young child wondering about the impacts of our emissions. Ever since then, the people around me have, at some point or another, ended up in discussions relating to this topic.
So it might come as a bit of a surprise that when the idea of doing an exhibit on carbon was first suggested, I did not think we should do it. Even further, as I began the initial research and planning for the exhibit, I still did not believe this was what we should be doing.
The reason was simple - how could we? How could we manage to either do an exhibit which properly addressed carbon emissions or do an exhibit which did not talk about carbon emissions? What could we bring to the table which provided something new, something thought provoking, something worth doing?
Add to this the expectations, real or perceived, of colleagues, and the result was a feeling of ‘doomed to fail’. For most of this exhibit’s development cycle, I felt as if no matter how this exhibit unfolded, it was going to be a disaster.
About half way through the development cycle I stated that if I could I would scrap everything done to date and start over, but there was not enough time for that. Even at that point the exhibit’s opening date already had to be shifted back a few weeks.
Yet not thought about through this entire process was how this exhibit was, in some small way, a culmination of those childhood thoughts regarding emissions, waste, and how we treat the planet. Building on top of this are the more the complex thoughts around our economic and social models.
Will this exhibit change the world? No. Will it stimulate people to think about our personal and societal relationships with the planet? Perhaps.
And perhaps that is why now, as we work on the installation of the exhibit, I am still haunted by the end product. It is in this I must remind myself to step back and allow the exhibit to be whatever it will be for our visitors. For if I do not, I will suffer the feeling that through this exhibit and everything associated with it, that I have not accomplished anything at all, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.