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Abstract

Amy Balkin is a contemporary artist whose work often addresses issues surrounding anthropogenic climate change. Her recent project A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting (2012-present) is a crowdsourced collection of discarded remnants found in areas currently susceptible to changing climatic conditions. Through both the archive’s physical and online existence, one becomes subtly aware of the connecting qualities between the internet and climate change, specifically the seemingly subdued role each plays in everyday life despite their respective magnitudes of importance. By examining the inherent traits of the internet—particularly its participatory nature and also its increasing expansion into offline realities—and comparing them to the “slow violence” of climate change and its often semi-hidden and obscure existence, the similarities between the two become more apparent. This essay sets up a dialogue between theories of the internet developed by other artists and the practical use of the internet, such as A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting. Balkin’s work provides the impetus for this merging realization between climate change and internet (in)visibility, allowing us to ask specific questions regarding our relationship to these ever-present phenomena.

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