Signs, Wonders, Blunders

sign12On View Through Spring 2021

The Climate Stories Collaborative is pleased to present Signs, Wonders, Blunders, a temporary public art installation commissioned from art collective Dear Climate that takes the form of a campus-wide trail marker system exploring the complexities of cross disciplinary conversations centering around climate change. 

Trail markers contain evocative fragments of language gleaned from a wide variety of climate related scholarly texts from many different disciplines, along with the artists' own playful puns and aphorisms.They are set up at pathway junctures across campus to suggest various nodes of conceptual convergence and divergence. 

The language chosen for the trail markers is meant to orient and disorient walkers, physically and intellectually, as well as to disrupt our normal methods of navigating both physical and conceptual terrain here on campus. Overall, the project encourages us to cultivate a better relationship to the more than human world, and to wonder at how we might think and feel differently in order to remain resilient and engaged in the face of multiple connected global crises, from climate breakdown and mass extinction to pervasive inequality and economic instability, and the migrations of many living beings (including humans). 

signs_mapThe trail system implied by the placement of the markers does not require viewers to encounter the markers in a specific order or as an entirety in order to meaningfully engage with the project. Instead, the installation encourages new routes between markers, open ended exploration across campus, and freeform engagement that allows those who encounter elements of the project to create their own conceptual connections over time.

Throughout Spring and Fall 2020, the Climate Stories Collaborative invites classes, clubs, and individuals to "adopt-a-sign" and to make artwork and other forms of creative research that takes their cue from the themes of the project and ideas presented by specific trail markers.

Signs, Wonders, Blunders is curated by Jennie Carlisle, faculty in the Art Department at Appalachian State and Co-Facilitator of the Climate Stories Collaborative.

To schedule an educational tour of Signs, Wonders, Blunders, or to find out about additional educational resources, contact Jennie Carlisle at:

sign1 About Dear Climate

DEAR CLIMATE is an ongoing creative-research project that was founded in 2012 by Una Chaudhuri, Fritz Ertl, Oliver Kellhammer and Marina Zurkow. The collective hacks the aesthetics of instructional signage and the techniques of meditation to lead viewers and listeners towards a better informed, more realistic, and more affectionate relationship to the more-than-human world, including geo-physical forces, and others species. Their work takes many forms: installations and public art interventions, as well as  guided meditations, workshops and poster campaigns. 

Members of Dear Climate: 

Marina Zurkow builds animations and participatory environments that focus on humans’ relationships with animals, plants and the weather. Recent exhibitions include bitforms gallery; the Montclair Art Museum; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Museum for Women in the Arts; Borusan Collection, Istanbul; and the Sundance Film Festival. Zurkow is a 2011 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, and has been granted awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Creative Capital. She is on faculty at NYU’s Interactive Technology Program (ITP), and is represented by bitforms gallery.

Una Chaudhuri teaches English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. Her recent books include The Stage Lives of Animals: Zooësis and Performance, Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (co-edited with Holly Hughes) and Ecocide: Research Theatre and Climate Change (co-authored with Shonni Enelow).  She is a founding member of the CLIMATE LENS creative network.

Oliver Kellhammer is a Canadian land artist, permaculture teacher, activist and writer. His botanical interventions and public art projects demonstrate nature's surprising ability to recover from damage. Lately, his work has focused on cleaning up contaminated soils, reintroducing prehistoric trees onto landscapes damaged by industrial forestry and cataloging the biodiversity of brownfield ecologies. Recent writings include ‘Neo Eocene’ published in Making the Geologic Now, edited by Jamie Kruse and Elisabeth Ellsworth (Punctum 2012) and ‘Violent Reactions’ in Marina Zurkow’s Petroleum Manga (Punctum 2014). He divides his time between rural British Columbia and Alphabet City.

Project Support

This project is co-organized with the Smith Gallery, the Art Department’s Teaching Gallery located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, with support from The Office of Cultural Affairs, University Facilities Management and the Chancellor’s Office. Funding for the project comes from a 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars Award and the Smith Gallery.

Fabrication for Signs, Wonders, Blunders was by Roger Atkins of Cove Creek Woodworks. Ian Snider of Mountain Works Sustainable Development donated fresh cut locust and red oak wood for the sign posts.