Icelandic-Danish artist and former #DI speaker, Olafur Eliasson is the co-founder of Little Sun, an NGO that strives to deliver universal access to clean energy and inspires climate change action through their work. This organisation was founded in 2012 by Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen with an original goal to provide portable solar lamps to Ethiopians living without electricity. The founders’ marriage of art and science made for a powerful force of meaningful change.
A recent example of Little Sun’s climate conscious work is a five-part series of short films they commissioned and produced entitled Fast Forward. Each film is created in collaboration with artists from Ethiopia, Senegal, and the United States. It features their dreams for a regenerative world and commentary on the future of the climate and shared social responsibility.
The series, with a collective run-time of roughly 20 minutes, explores the narratives of those most affected by climate change and vocalises their experiences, which are so often ironically overlooked. It goes beyond data and technology-heavy conversations and looks to empathise with those from whom Western society seems to be so detached. Too often the conversation revolves around the future dangers of climate change and less so the immediate ones occurring in poverty-stricken lands.
One of the renowned artists commissioned for Fast Forward is Senegalese fashion designer, Selly Rabe Kane – a former Design Indaba Festival Creative Director and Conference Speaker. Her short film, Jant Yi, is set in Dakar, Senegal and features a sinister dystopian future where citizens from age 12 are required to generate energy from physical activity and store it in batteries, then surrender their hard-earned batteries to the government, which in turn supplies them with oxygen tanks to survive.
“Jant Yi is the opportunity to put the creative practice at the service of preserving beauty and life. It is the opportunity to convene the imaginary and Senegalese immaterial heritage as efficient tools to change our relationship to what is alive,” writes Kane.
Artists also featured in this film series of reimagined futures are Ezra Wube, Ghost of a Dream, Naod Lemma and Jessica Segall. They tell real-life stories and show the disconnect between the vulnerable and the decision makers. The films are set to be incorporated into an experimental curriculum for 16-18-year-olds that will roll out in Ethiopia, Senegal and the United States.
Give Fast Forward a watch here: Little Sun