The clock is ticking, the snow is melting. Time is limited if we want to keep our planet from overheating. In 2026 we want to highlight these issues in a public art commission embracing local environmental concerns within a European context.
Climate Clock is one of Oulu2026 Flagship productions. It will explore how climate change is affecting Sub-Arctic life, its effects on the weather, nature and culture. The project will create six permanent artworks across the region and the city of Oulu, forming a new cultural heritage route for Oulu.
Climate Clock is curated by Alice Sharp from Invisible Dust (UK). Alice has worked with artists and scientists since 2009 and is an international advisor and presenter on arts and climate change, including talks at Davos 2020 and the UN Development Programme 2019.
Read more: Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Alice Sharp
Over the coming years international artists commissioned for Climate Clock will collaborate with scientists to explore local stories. For example, the effects on daily life and people’s wellbeing during the shorter snow season. Less snow reduces ambient winter light as the snow acts as a reflector under the trees. A reduction in the amount of seasonal snow and ice is seen as a cultural loss.
Like most Finns, people in the Oulu2026 region are very connected to nature. In the context of the project, artists will look at the effect on local plant and animal life, including microbiology, using sensors and scientific research methods.
Arts and Science tell our story
Technology is interwoven throughout, as is Oulu’s history, each informing the artists on their creative journey. Through the involvement of several European artists a Europe-wide climate change perspective will be ensured.
Community involvement is at the heart of the project and Climate Clock includes a community-based umbrella project taking place in the years leading up to 2026, and culminating in the first community-created artwork across the region.
Climate Clock will also enable high level art/science collaboration and professional development through a capacity building project. Artists new to this cross-sectoral field will have an opportunity to learn and engage in professional development through online workshops with leading international practitioners in the field of art and science, culminating in an exhibition.
Climate Clock’s artists will seek to be optimistic and potentially also humorous, engaging in and building on inspiring local and European stories of adaptation and resilience – creating artworks to embody the Oulu region’s growing climate awareness and action.
Oulu2026 cultural programme is all about Cultural Climate Change. Our story will come to life through three themes: Wild City tells how a harsh, unforgiving Northern wilderness grows into a city with a unique wildness of creative spirit, focused on encouraging and supporting the dreams of young people. Cool Contrasts celebrates, challenges and connects the contrasts that are such a strong feature of Northern life. The differences and divisions – both here and in Europe – between the connected and the disconnected, between light and darkness and between technology and art. Finally, there are tales of the Brave Hinterland, telling stories of life at the edge and on the edge, of climate change and of an area yet to be fully discovered by Europe.
Climate Clock is the Flagship production of Brave Hinterland. Learn more from our BidBook